Superman meets Little Nemo
August 5, 2008 1:25 PM   Subscribe

"I've recently been reading the whole run of I've recently been reading the whole run of Superman comics from the relaunch in 1987 through the end of 1999... There's some very wonderful stuff in there amidst a lot of frustrating and very often muddled and boring storytelling, but I will say that THIS find in particular was just stunning; Artist/writer Stuart Immonen - who is great - composed the lead story for a 1998 "Secret Files" comic - which are usually quite boring - focusing on the origin stories of Superman's 90's-era Rogues Gallery. -- What makes it more than just a flashback or recap is that Immonen told them by way of Lex Luthor telling fairy tales to his infant daughter Lena, and illustrated the origins in one- or two-page comics fashioned after Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland." ~v
posted by vronsky (59 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Those are great.
posted by box at 1:34 PM on August 5, 2008


Um!
posted by MrVisible at 1:35 PM on August 5, 2008


Never a fan of Superman, but I loves me some McCay. These are excellent!
posted by lekvar at 1:45 PM on August 5, 2008


Here's a peek into Stuart and Kathryn Immonen's home studio, courtesy of Comic Book Resources. (That type case is pure love, never mind the contents. Mignola originals? Sign me up...)

Stuart's also gained a lot of fan recognition for his work on Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., Warren Ellis's ransom note to Marvel D-list history.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:46 PM on August 5, 2008


Oh! Oh!
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:48 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


i like it.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:50 PM on August 5, 2008


I've recently been reading the whole run of I've recently been reading the whole run of Superman comics

With special focus on the time travel stories, apparently.

(Immomen's great!)
posted by Shepherd at 1:50 PM on August 5, 2008


That's some cool stuff, thanks for posting this. No way in hell I would have heard about this otherwise.
posted by marxchivist at 1:51 PM on August 5, 2008


I hate to be that guy, but regardless of who wrote and drew the comics, and in what style he drew them in, I bet they still belong to DC.
posted by yhbc at 2:22 PM on August 5, 2008


This has been a pleasure.

Right You Are.
posted by shmegegge at 2:25 PM on August 5, 2008


Metafilter: "I wish this would stop! I do!" "Down is up for me!"
posted by JHarris at 2:30 PM on August 5, 2008


Stuart Immonen is brilliant and it's nice to see him finally getting some of the credit he deserves.
posted by davros42 at 2:39 PM on August 5, 2008


See also from The Sandman (Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2008


I haven't kept up with comics since I was 13 or so (Ditko and Kirby are the only artists I would know by name) but these really caught my eye :)
posted by vronsky at 2:56 PM on August 5, 2008


These are fantastic!
posted by Greg Nog at 3:04 PM on August 5, 2008


Ooh, more, please.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:05 PM on August 5, 2008


Man, Page 12, Panel 5 is one of the most fun illustrations I have ever seen.

EVERYBODY ARE FLYING!

EVEN BATMANS AND FLASH GO FLYING!
posted by Greg Nog at 3:07 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tong Poo makes a good soundtrack for these comics ;)
posted by vronsky at 3:12 PM on August 5, 2008


The artist nails the Nemo-ness in some subtle ways, too--page 15, lower right hand corner, mimics the way that Little Nemo ends up in bed in the same position in each Sunday panel.

This post reminded me that Volume 2 of the Sunday Press Books Little Nemo series is now available for purchase. The books are 16" x 21", with fully restored pages--fans should not sleep on these.
posted by Prospero at 3:32 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


and I in turn am happy to report that my copy of same arrived last week, safe and sound and HUGE!
posted by mwhybark at 4:00 PM on August 5, 2008




Linked in the thread comments we find -- clips from the never-finished Miyazaki version of Little Nemo -- one, two.
posted by vronsky at 4:56 PM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Gah! Miyazaki Nemo! WANT!
posted by GuyZero at 5:21 PM on August 5, 2008


"KEEP WELL AWAY FROM THE SUN, NOW!"

How is this remotely good? Stuart Immonen has taken storylines of the past two decades and distilled them down to insipid 'soundbytes' that make the old Flash Gordon newspaper comic serials look downright cathartic in comparison. This art looks like the earliest Wonder Woman comics in style, and there was better dialogue in Ziggy.

This work sets comics BACK eighty years. We don't need to regress to the 1940s.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:42 PM on August 5, 2008


...okay SEVENTY years... So I suck at math.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:42 PM on August 5, 2008


...Okay a CENTURY depending on how you look at it.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:47 PM on August 5, 2008


That's totally wack Zach!
posted by vronsky at 6:28 PM on August 5, 2008


I think my Sarcastometer is broken. Are you being serious, ZachsMind?
posted by lekvar at 6:36 PM on August 5, 2008


A lot of you may not know that Zach is an expert merkin fitter.
posted by vronsky at 7:16 PM on August 5, 2008


I think the Little Nemo meets Watchmen origins story should have Dr. Manhattan wearing underoos.
posted by i less than three nsima at 7:52 PM on August 5, 2008


Hm!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:05 PM on August 5, 2008


Zachs, these are bedtime stories that Lex Luthor is telling his daughter. They are supposed to be funny. And they are!
posted by straight at 8:11 PM on August 5, 2008


Okay, I was right. All the comics came from this book, which was published in 1998 by DC comics. DC obviously still owns the copyright on all the art and the story, so why is this post still up, and the most recent Calvin & Hobbes copyright infringementaganza deleted?
posted by yhbc at 8:26 PM on August 5, 2008


Hints:

It's not okay if it's just a few instances of infringement.

It's not okay if it's something you don't care about as much as Calvin and Hobbes.

It's not okay if it's stealing a big, impersonal corporation's property instead of a nice quirky guy who lives down the street.
posted by yhbc at 8:28 PM on August 5, 2008


Oh yeah; here's the infringementaganza.

I love Calvin and Hobbes, and I love comic books. I also love (or at least respect) consistency.
posted by yhbc at 8:37 PM on August 5, 2008


...okay SEVENTY years... So I suck at math.

Among other things.

I do have to say that the Nemo cartoon kind of misses the spirit of the strip. As did the Capcom video game (!).
posted by JHarris at 8:51 PM on August 5, 2008


ZachsMind I hope when you had your sense of fun and whimsy removed you at least had the sense to donate it to someone who needed it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:36 PM on August 5, 2008


It's not okay if it's stealing a big, impersonal corporation's property instead of a nice quirky guy who lives down the street.

Meh, if DC/Warner Bros. had the same sort of integrity that Watterson has, I'd almost want to agree with you. Folks respect him because he hasn't sold out his creation and isn't willing to treat it like any other commodity. Unfortunately, DC has done that not only to their "intellectual properties", but also to the folks who created the damn things. While I do believe that in most cases work-for-hire is work-for-hire and acknowledge that DC has taken steps to rectify past mistreatments of creators, I do believe you are comparing apples and oranges.

How is this remotely good? Stuart Immonen has taken storylines of the past two decades and distilled them down to insipid 'soundbytes' that make the old Flash Gordon newspaper comic serials look downright cathartic in comparison. This art looks like the earliest Wonder Woman comics in style, and there was better dialogue in Ziggy.

This work sets comics BACK eighty years. We don't need to regress to the 1940s.


McKay began Little Nemo in 1905 so you're actually saying he and his work, which is so freaking clever and gorgeous it has caused the blind to see and the lame to walk are several decades ahead of their time.

Which they were, but I doubt you meant it like that.

You know how in Annie Hall, Marshall McLuhan is pulled into the shot by anirritated Alvy and then tells the irritating know-nothing knowitall "I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!"?

Boy, if only real life were like that.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also: Great post, vronsky!

(I meant to make an FPP when I saw this the other day, but, like the George Saunders FPP, never got around to it. Damn my laziness!)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:02 PM on August 5, 2008


Am I serious? The fact people STILL ask that question after all these years pisses me off to no end. Am I EVER serious? Why so serious?

Lex Luthor telling bedtime stories? I prefer seeing Lex Luthor being a BAD GUY! I knew after the first season of Smallville that they'd start turning him into an Anti-Hero in the comic books. I swear.

I got some art for ya. Now this is more like it, but I'm obviously a little rusty. I figured out Catwoman, Oracle, and Zatanna. I'm presuming the first blond is Black Canary cuz she's touching Oracle's chair, but it doesn't look like her to me. Next I'm guessing is Power Girl due to the cleavage, then that better be Diana Prince. The third blonde escapes me. The post-Crisis Supergirl maybe? Or Wondergirl? The real Supergirl died in 1985, and MY Wonder Girl is Donna Troy. Neither of them are depicted here, which illustrates how today's DC is so not mine anymore. Then the two brunettes are maybe Vixen and Huntress but I'm guessing there. Finally on the far right is Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.

Am I close? Do I win the teddy bear?

YhBc: "...why is this post still up, and the most recent Calvin & Hobbes copyright infringementaganza deleted?"

Cuz Calvin and Hobbes copyright controversies are BORING! They were maybe interesting back in say 1992 but not any longer.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:05 PM on August 5, 2008


Catwoman, Oracle, Zatanna, Black Canary, Power Girl, Wonder woman, Supergirl, Vixen, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Lois Lane on the stool.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:13 PM on August 5, 2008


If a website is linked to on MetaFilter, and then the post is deleted, it magically disappears from the internet and no one's copyright is infringed. PHEW!

Wondertwins yhbc and dnab activate!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:16 PM on August 5, 2008


- Metallo
- Lex Luthor
- Silver Banshee
- Cyborg
- Brainiac
- Obsession
- Rock
- Mister Mxyzptlk
- Mainframe
- Maxima
- Atomic Skull
- Riot
- Parasite
- Toyman
- Doomsday
posted by vronsky at 11:42 PM on August 5, 2008


And thanks Alvy. I always think of Alvy Singer anyway when I see your name.

"Alvy Singer... I seen you on the Johnny Carson!" "It's for my brudda."
posted by vronsky at 11:45 PM on August 5, 2008


Lex Luthor telling bedtime stories? I prefer seeing Lex Luthor being a BAD GUY! I knew after the first season of Smallville that they'd start turning him into an Anti-Hero in the comic books. I swear.

Actually, the seeds of Luthor as a potentially heroic type have been there since the beginning. Remember that it was in the golden age where he saved an alien planet, that considered him such a hero that they named their world after him: Lexor. The what-if series Red Son basically makes him the hero at the very end. (I'm actually not fond of Red Son, but the ending is dynamite.)

Luthor is interesting especially because he's very much an anti-Batman. Batman's gimmick is that he has no powers, he's just the acme of normal humanity in all areas. Yet he still succeeds, even against super-powered adversaries. Luthor is Batman with his genius turned for his own ends, but he turns his efforts to defeating the ultimate super-powered hero.

Like rooting for Wile E. Coyote, there's something in us that sympathizes with Lex, because he's much closer to us in general, both in ability and motivation, than the Blue Boyscout. Even though he's incredibly rich and a genius, against Superman, he's still the underdog.

And yet, since he's still Superman's greatest foe, in a universe that contains Doomsday and mother-f***ing Darkseid no less, it also helps to keep things grounded in reality. Not by much, but still.
posted by JHarris at 1:40 AM on August 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yay McCay! For a moment it felt as if I had found some Nemo cartoons I didn't know. Great.
posted by jouke at 4:38 AM on August 6, 2008


Actually, Alvy, it's Batwoman (Kathy Kane) sitting on the stool.
posted by LN at 5:40 AM on August 6, 2008


This post reminded me that Volume 2 of the Sunday Press Books Little Nemo series is now available for purchase.

Damn, I bought the Fantagraphics volumes that came out in the 1990's. Looks like these are better.
posted by marxchivist at 6:51 AM on August 6, 2008


Actually, Alvy, it's Batwoman (Kathy Kane) sitting on the stool.

Argh! The rings (One looks looks like Superman's S) threw me. Thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:17 AM on August 6, 2008


Damn, I bought the Fantagraphics volumes that came out in the 1990's. Looks like these are better.

It depends on what you value. The Sunday Press volumes are absolutely gorgeous, but they don't represent a complete run of strips. For the first volume, the selection was a matter of what strips the editor could get his hands on and which ones were his favorites (since a second volume wasn't guaranteed at this point--essentially, these books are self-published, and the first one entailed considerable financial risk). So they're in order within the volume, but there are huge gaps in the sequencing.

On the other hand, the smaller reprints I've seen don't have the same degree of detail that these full-size reissues do. I don't care (much) about not having a complete run of strips--the quality of the images makes up for that--but if you want a full run, you'll have to settle for smaller books.
posted by Prospero at 8:08 AM on August 6, 2008


I also own the Sunday Press vol 1. It's an amazing undertaking.
Personally I find the huge dimensions a pain. It doesn't fit in any bookcase.
I ordered vol 2 anyway.
posted by jouke at 8:32 AM on August 6, 2008


Excellent. I mean that. Thank you!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:33 AM on August 6, 2008


Hey Zach? That artist makes all those amazing femme fatales look about as interesting as WWF female wrestlers. I'm not saying you're dumb, but that link sux. Surely you can do better than that if you are going to poo poo this post?
posted by vronsky at 11:05 AM on August 6, 2008


Night of the Demon
posted by vronsky at 11:19 AM on August 6, 2008


Damn, I bought the Fantagraphics volumes that came out in the 1990's. Looks like these are better.

marxchivist, these books reproduce a smaller selection than the Fanta books did, and cover differrent ground in other ways. I view them as complementary.
posted by mwhybark at 11:46 AM on August 6, 2008


This work sets comics BACK eighty years.

So John Byrne's terrible fucking reboot never existed? WIN CITY!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2008


vronsky: "Hey Zach? That artist makes all those amazing femme fatales look about as interesting as WWF female wrestlers. I'm not saying you're dumb, but that link sux. Surely you can do better than that if you are going to poo poo this post?"

I SO don't need to do better than that. If you gotta problem with femme fatales looking like WWF female wrestlers, that is NOT my problem.

Here you guys are praising the smarmy and saccharine work of Winsor McCay when this Little Supey in Luthor Land is closer to E. H. Shepard than anything that belongs in a comic book today, and It's a sad hack bastardization passing itself off as a tribute to McCay. Superheroes don't need honey poured all over them to make them more palatable. Why doncha just put mouse ears on Batman while you're at it?

(Yes I fully understand Stuart Immonen is essentially saying we need to take comic strips back to the way they were a century ago, but Watterson made this same statement decades ago when he compared his own Calvin & Hobbes to Krazy Kat, and nobody in the industry listened to him then. So why should I applaud Immonen when I'm still ticked off at Watterson for giving up? Don't look back in aw-aint-it-cute. Look back in angst.)

I got two words for you Vronsky. George Perez.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:02 PM on August 6, 2008


Here you guys are praising the smarmy and saccharine work of Winsor McCay when this Little Supey in Luthor Land is closer to E. H. Shepard than anything that belongs in a comic book today...

Sequential art is a medium that encompasses all genres and forms of expression, from the repackaged sunday funnies chapbooks that first popularized the medium in the 1920's; to Batman in the 30's; to the romance, true-crime & horror comics that dominated the market in the 40's and 50's; to the re-emergence and dominance of superhero comics after the industry castrated itself with the Comics Code Authority; to the underground comix of the 60's, 70's and 80's, 90's and today.

Everything belongs in comics because comics are bounded only by the fact that they contain sequential art.

Let me say that again.

Everything belongs in comics.
posted by lekvar at 7:06 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes I fully understand Stuart Immonen is essentially saying we need to take comic strips back to the way they were a century ago

He's not saying that at all. It's a tribute, and one that's well done at that.
posted by turaho at 12:17 PM on August 8, 2008


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