Little Nemo in Googleland
October 14, 2012 10:21 PM   Subscribe

Google is commemorating the 107th anniversary of artist Winsor McCay’s comic masterpiece 'Little Nemo in Slumberland' with an animated Doodle that follows Nemo through several levels of adventures, Inception-style.

AV Club - Winsor McCay includes a guide to Winsor McCay's work -- In the Little Nemo series, 'McCay’s graphic imagination is practically boundless, as was the blank page on which he was free to invent without having to conform to a predetermined grid.' At the same time, 'his writing leaves much to be desired, and his occasional reliance on racial stereotypes can be off-putting, even if there’s no apparent malice behind them.'

The animated movie
NY Times Off the Shelf - 'Little Nemo in Slumberland'
A Brief Biography of Winsor McCay
posted by mysticreferee (23 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Dreams Of The Rarebit Fiend
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I feel it would be better to say that Inception went through several levels of adventures, Little Nemo-style.

Definitely my favorite Google Doodle in a long time, possible ever.
posted by whitneyarner at 10:32 PM on October 14, 2012 [11 favorites]

Wow, McCay's work is so delicate and lovely. I think this is the nicest Google Doodle I've seen, too (and I tend to really like them!).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:36 PM on October 14, 2012

I've always liked this incredible, never-completed pitch that Studio Ghibli allegedly did for the film.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:41 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

You can preview the doodle at, and bypass the asinine pop-over video ad in the wired article.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:42 PM on October 14, 2012

The Centaurs is good. Rock chucking and freaky infant notwithstanding.
posted by unliteral at 11:04 PM on October 14, 2012

My Japanese co-teachers just learned of Nemo today, from that doodle. I thought it was interesting, though. It looks like Google 'whitewashed' the tall guys looking down at Nemo as he falls. If I recall, all of the tall thin guys in that sort of clothing were the awful racial stereotypes.

That said, I grew up with a book of full-sized reprints of Nemo in Slumberland, and I truly believe that my imagination is all the better for it. The detail and beauty of each and every panel is astounding. For a long time, I fully believed that Nemo and Mickey in the Night Kitchen were done by the same person.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:11 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Should also mention, the Little Nemo strips are public domain.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 11:33 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

These Birds of a Feather: "I've always liked this incredible, never-completed pitch that Studio Ghibli allegedly did for the film"

Well, I'm pretty sure the TMS at the end of that clip is Tokyo Movie Shinsha, the firm that animated the final version as well. If wikipedia is to be believed, Miyazaki felt the "it was all a dream" concept was a cop-out he didn't want to be a part of.
posted by pwnguin at 11:36 PM on October 14, 2012

Here's his 11 minute animation The Flying House. Last year animator Bill Plympton launched a Kickstarter project to fund a colorized restoration. According to the updates section, contributors have already received DVDs and digital downloads of the completed restoration.
posted by dgaicun at 11:41 PM on October 14, 2012

Great galloping Gertie that was good.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:16 AM on October 15, 2012

I would be ok with google keeping this style indefinitely.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:32 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would as well. But that should be obvious.
posted by litlnemo at 12:54 AM on October 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

McCay - *sigh* - one of my heroes. I have the collected (large format) newspaper comics and Rarebit Fiend. The Google Doodle is very faithful to McCay's spirit, but the animated movie is a travesty, despite Giraud and Bradbury being somehow involved. I can understand Miyazaki not wanting anything to do with it.

A lot of the original Nemo was cleverly satirised political commentary (eg the Mars sequence), and Nemo's travelling companions (Flip, the Imp and the Princess) had interesting personalities.
posted by arzakh at 2:36 AM on October 15, 2012

Absolutely delighted that G is remembering Winsor McKay -- everything he did was genius. In addition to the Sunday Press version of Slumberland mentioned earlier, I highly recommend their Sammy Sneeze compilation (including my absolute favorite, the mildly disturbing and weirdly affecting "Hungry Henrietta", about the travails of a misunderstood infant who desperately wants to eat). Not yet as wild and crazy as Nemo, but the draughtsmanship is outstanding, and you can see him developing the build-narrative-tension-and-explode-it-in-the-last-panel technique, and also starting to loosen up -- sowing the seeds for his Nemo Fantasy Revolution. But really, when it comes to McKay, I recommend anything you can get your hands on.
posted by ariel_caliban at 3:15 AM on October 15, 2012

outlandishmarxist: "Should also mention, the Little Nemo strips are public domain."

In 1995-96 or so I read about Little Nemo somewhere and, only knowing the character from the awesome Nintendo game, this made me very excited. At the same time I had also heard about this fantastic thing called the Internet, so I asked my dad to look for Little Nemo comics; he had the Internet at work. But no, he said, you can't just find things like that on the Internet.

We've come a long way.
posted by Aiwen at 4:29 AM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Speaking of Winsor McKay, I recently discovered Kim Deitch's 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams', which is also something else.
posted by ovvl at 4:47 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Meanwhile is promoting "JUSTIN BEIBER NAKED" and "MAN COOKED TO DEATH."

Ah, Microsoft, you still don't get it.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:21 AM on October 15, 2012

Is this the post where I can say how great the Little Nemo game on the NES was? Aiwen is correct - the game is awesome, and anyone who has ever played it will likely tell you that. The problem is that not as many people as I would expect have actually played it.
posted by mysterpigg at 10:07 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Sunday Press reprint above is absolutely glorious. But you need a custom made dedicated piece of furniture to read it on; it's that big.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:55 AM on October 15, 2012

As with any Winsor McCay post, I approve.

I think I'll have to have some Welsh rarebit for supper now.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 12:52 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

You don't read the Sunday Press books on the furniture. You read them on the floor, like a kid with the Sunday supplements.
posted by egypturnash at 9:02 AM on October 16, 2012

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