Day #479: Little Nemo Rains Down on Slumberland

"Little Nemo in Slumberland" dated August 30, 1925:




Transcript of tweets by @LittleNemo1905 (OCTOBER 23, 2021):


The first half of this strip is an interesting blend of reality and dreaming. I wonder if Nemo has been learning about cloud formation in his science class? - 1/17

The reality of how clouds work (condensation, etc.) is present here and could serve today as a really good introduction for science learning (at least I think it's fairly accurate?). - 2/17

Of course the whimsy comes in the form of Nemo and the boys riding the clouds… clearly, this isn't something that happens (nor are clouds formed out of fog coming from lakes). - 3/17

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud

I think the blend works quite nicely. It prompts some critical thinking on the part of the events, but also permits us to accept it as normal for the dreamscape. - 4/17

I wonder if this strip was inspired by the silent film, "Clouds," which was released by the United States Department of Agriculture Education Film Service sometime in the 1920s: - 5/17

Clouds (Ca 1920's)

The film is a short, fifteen minute documentary about clouds. Is it a coincidence that this film came out in the 1920s and McCay's middle of that decade strip focuses on them? Maybe. But I thought it was neat when I stumbled across it. - 6/17

Now, the Princess begs Nemo to stay with her instead of becoming involved in what Princess Aqua warns is a pretty dangerous endeavour… but Nemo fears being labelled "a boob" and succumbs to peer pressure from Flip. - 7/17

As the two Princesses say their goodbyes, Nemo and the boys float up on the fog into the sky… six panels later, the Princess, Pill, and Figures have arrived back in Slumberland on their trusty tame whale. - 8/17

Somehow, the boys have also made it back to Slumberland, so when the cloud *finally* begins to precipitate, they do so right over Pill and Figures. - 9/17

As always, I'm never fearful for the boys' safety, but their fall is worth focusing on. First, because Nemo recognizes that he was silly to listen to Flip! He declares "I think I'd rather be a boob here…" as they fall. - 10/17

He also says, in panel 10, that he 'hopes this is a dream." I found that really intriguing because it suggests that he is beginning to become aware/conscious of his dreamstate in a way that I don't think he has been previously. - 11/17

This *might* explain why Slivvers' descent (which is stopped by the final, wake-up panel) causes the panel to crumble a bit! - 12/17

I really love this blurring of the structural/spatial and the visual/narrative. It's a really interesting bimodal moment that communicates across the visual and spatial register to heighten the narrative experience. - 13/17

It also plays with temporality in a neat way. Because Nemo is looking up in that direction when he wakes up, it acts as a brief residual reminder of the dream and blurs waking and dreaming. - 14/17

As we discussed yesterday, McCay seems to have reinvigorated his interest in this particular element of the strip. Here, he is playing with it in a way that he hasn't explored with any real detail before. - 15/17

Ultimately, though it could be boiled down to *another* travel strip with little narrative content, I do think it has some charm mixed in! - 16/17

This is my reading of "Little Nemo in Slumberland" #479. What's yours? - 17/17