Day #395: Flip Does Not Make a Hit With the Runts

"In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" dated August 03, 1913:


Transcript of Tweets by @LittleNemo1905 (JULY 16, 2021):


Today, we have one of the most recognizable Nemo strips across all three papers (or, at least, it's always been one of the most recognizable to me). - 1/18

I was really interested to reach this one because I've read it at least a dozen times and I realized that it formed what I believed (previously) to be the basis of the Impie, Nemo, and Flip relationship. - 2/18

This strip is pretty unique in regards to how they treat Impie. Yes, he is being forced into playing the school house, but they refuse to just abandon him to the Runts; they both are determined to get him out of the rubble before they get him. - 3/18

Considering some of the recent strips and the way he's been treated, I don't take that as a given assumption that Flip would rescue him. But, when I read this the first time, I didn't have the chronology to influence my reading. - 4/18

The result was my previous understanding that these three characters had a much different relationship than the series of strips have proven them to have. This isn't a criticism, just an interesting anecdote about my experiences with the strip. - 5/18

I've always been enamoured by this strip because, though it is simple, it's far from rudimentary. - 6/18

The spatial organization creates a pretty static grid, but one that we are certainly not used to seeing. The long vertical panels are, of course, necessitated by the narrative and McCay uses them to really nice effect. - 7/18

I find the top tier particularly cool. Looking simply at panel one, a reader could be forgiven for not being certain about McCay's chosen panel structure. Our characters are low with a lot of empty sky space above. - 8/18

But, with each progression of panels, the plan comes together… Impie inches upward through each act of closure until Flip places the steeple on top and Impie becomes the Walking School House. - 9/18 [INSERT IMAGE]

Because the grid structure here is static, one might see this as the narrative responding to the spatial organization. That said, the spatial organization is also placed in this way to service the narrative. This creates an interesting feedback loop of intentionality and performance that I really like. - 10/18

The large vertical panel structure works well in the final tier, as well. McCay uses the entire panel length in the first and second panel to maintain the focus on scale, then comes the slip which brings Impie crashing down in the penultimate one. - 11/18

The closure created between panel 8 and 9 is something special! I almost feel, hear, *and* see the school house crashing to the ground. - 12/18

That this is followed by the booming "voice of the people" (as McCay, or editorial, felt it necessary to make sure was recognized) decrying Flip as a false king, precipitating the boys' decision to get Impie out of there before they go after him. - 13/18

The only part of this strip that I find a stretch is the "wet pavement" bit. - 14/18

I mean, we go from a calm and quiet night on the top tier to a sunny and (seemingly) warm morning on the bottom. Nowhere is there any indication of rain or a storm. - 15/18

So, why is the pavement wet? I *guess* we can stretch our interpretive muscles and say something like "the street was just cleaned" or something or another… but it would've been so easy to add some rain in the top tier to make the slip very believable. - 16/18

Ultimately, though, it doesn't bother me much. I chalk this strip up alongside the #WalkingBed as one of my all-time favourites. - 17/18

This is my reading of "In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" #395. What's yours? - 18/18