Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Dreams of A Rarebit Fiend: The Book
Over at the Boston Globe Brainiac blog today, Josh Glenn has a really cool and enlightening slideshow about Winsor McCay's early comic (predating Little Nemo in Slumberland), Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend. True to McCay form, the comic's loose pretense, the wild imaginings of restless sleep after ingesting some rarebit, is a close ancestor to Slumberland. The McCay mandate insisted on any excuse to draw the strange and surrealist imaginings going on in his head, and both Slumberland and Fiend offer as much freedom for odd imaginings as possible while still keeping a modicum of plot continuity. He was the world's first pop surrealist, to be sure.
In his slide show, Glenn examines a (unfortunately rather pricey) new self-published book by German scholar Ulrich Merkl, which gives Rarebit a close examination and makes the argument that McCay, and Rarebit in particular, influenced a great deal of popular images in our culture. You won't hear any dispute from me that McCay remains one of the most important artists of the the 20th century, though some examples, like the Buñuel film Age D'Or, carry the argument much more robustly than others, like Mary Poppins. Regardless, it seems like a great book, and the slide show by Glenn is a joy to watch.