Day #398: Flip is Wrecked on the Coast of a Lilliputian Zululand

"In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" dated August 24, 1913:

Transcript of Tweets by @LittleNemo1905 (JULY 19, 2021):

Welp, it would've been much better had we just magically appeared in… *checks notes*… Schrimpville… without this little detour. - 1/18

This strip is all kinds of uncomfortable… spoiler alert, I don't really have anything good to say about it, but I do want to point out some of my difficulties with it. - 2/18

These begin right off the bat with the first panel… we see everyone crowding around the king and queen of Gulliver City while Impie carries a massive trunk on his back to load the boat. - 3/18

We've seen Impie be forced into manual labour before, but this is incredibly overt, in your face, and frankly indefensible. His utter exclusion is emphasized by his role as labourer… - 4/18

Granted, in panel 3, Flip tries to get him something for his nausea… but all I could think is that it was out of selfishness… as in, Flip not wanting to carry his own bag should Impie be incapable upon arrival… - 5/18

Panel 5 is interesting because I read it as a cacophony of voices… it seems as though they are all speaking over one another and the chaos of the moment is reflected in the chaotic spatial organization of the balloons. - 6/18

When they come to shore on the new island, I wasn't surprised by the boys scampering off… I *was* surprised by Pill's willingness to see Nemo offed if it meant him being rid of the others. - 7/18

Not cool, Pill. Not cool. - 8/18

The transition from panel 9 into 10 baffles me mostly because… Impie is speaking gibberish again. If you'll recall, he learned English during the early days at the NY American… has he totally forgotten it because of lack of speaking it? - 9/18

The Princess comments in panel 10 that she wishes "[he] could talk English" without mentioning that, in the not to distant past, he could… possibly a necessary retcon for the purposes of the story that McCay felt his readers would forgive/not notice? - 10/18

Of course, the sign over the hut in the Lilliputian Imp city is in English… which makes all kinds of sense… - 11/18

I really hate the penultimate panel… Nemo and Flip have come in and just commanded leadership… true, it is much like he did with the Runts, but the colonial angle makes this even worse, in my opinion. - 12/18

On top of all this, the Lilliputian Imps are carbon copies of Impie… it suggests that these people do not have a distinct culture that would be theirs, but rather share a homogenized identity with Impie and his Jungle Imps from Candy Island. - 13/18

This has the effect of suggesting a) that all people of colour are savages, b) that all people of colour share an identity, and c) that all people of colour share the same culture. Of course, none of this is true. - 14/18

The only real value I see here with this strip is it's ability to demonstrate the act of reading "against" the work… it collaborates on meaning making, but it does so in conflict with my own values and beliefs… - 15/18

This makes working with the strip difficult, but ultimately valuable in the sense that a reader can develop the skills necessary to decode and deconstruct elements of the text that are set against their axiological instincts. - 16/18

In terms of Anti-Racist and Anti-Discrimination education, it can help readers to better verbalize or identify the things that they are most troubled by and call out similar elements in other texts, as well. - 17/18

This is my reading of "In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" #398. What's yours? - 18/18