Winsor McCay's early twentieth century comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland, is indisputably one of the most important comics works of all time. There isn't a creator alive today who wasn't influenced, directly or indirectly, by McCay's experimentation with the art form. Well, anyone good, at least. Let's not go blaming McCay for Rob Liefeld or anything.
Winsor McCay: Not to Blame for Rob Liefeld
The point is, if you're a cartoonist or comics creator today, and you're given a chance to take part in a tribute to Little Nemo, you're damn well going to do it. Which is why I'm sure Locust Moon Press had absolutely no trouble assembling one of the greatest collections of talented creators of all time to contribute to their anthology, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. Now, I know what you're thinking. You hear the phrase "greatest collection of talented creators blah blah blah" all the time. Marvel says it whenever they get more than two artists to draw variant covers for their latest super-mega-crossover event, and DC says it whenever someone other than Scott Lobdell writes one of their books. But in this case, it's not hyperbole. Check out this list of talent that contributed to Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream:
Paul Allor, Michael & Laura Allred, Weshoyot Alvitre, Connie Applegate, Gabriel Bá, Peter Bagge, Fil Barlow, Jeremy Bastian, Jeremy Baum, Art Baxter, Alexandra Beguez, Gregory Benton, Stephen R. Bissette, Box Brown, Mark Buckingham, Dave Bullock, Kevin Cannon, Zander Cannon, John Cassaday, Bodie Chewning, Senk Chhour, Cliff Chiang, Dave Chisholm, Cole Closser, Jorge Coelho, James Comey, Aaron Conley, Toby Cypress, Farel Dalrymple, Camilla d'Errico, Peter Diamond, Maëlle Doliveux, Dave Dorman, Eleanor Doughty, J.M. Dragunas, Becky Dreistadt, Gustavo Duarte, Jerel Dye, Alex Eckman-Lawn, Daniel Elisii, Theo Ellsworth, Lisk Feng, Charles Fetherolf, Charles Forsman, Rawn Gandy, Gerhard, Frank Gibson, Raul Gonzalez, Stephen Halker, James Harvey, Dean Haspiel, Sam Heimer, Marc Hempel, Maria & Peter Hoey, Paul Hoppe, Matt Huynh, J.G. Jones, Kelley Jones, Keren Katz, Jeffro Kilpatrick, Denis Kitchen, Todd Klein, Roger Langridge, Brendan Leach, Mike Lee, Jasen Lex, Paul Little, David Mack, Andrew MacLean, Michelle Madsen, Mark Mariano, Benjamin Marra, Laura Martin, Paul Maybury, Katie Moody, Fábio Moon, Adriano Moraes, Moritat, Scott Morse, Dean Motter, Marcus Muller, Ramón Pérez, David Petersen, Roger Petersen, Shay Plummer, David Plunkert, Nik Poliwko, Paul Pope, Nate Powell, George Pratt, Dave Proch, Joe Quinones, Sara Richard, Hans Rickheit, Paolo Rivera, Paul Rivoche, Rafer Roberts, Marco Rudy, Jim Rugg, P. Craig Russell, Tom Scioli, Mike Sgier, Yuko Shimizu, Galen Showman, Bill Sienkiewicz, R. Sikoryak, Bishakh Som, Carla Speed McNeil, Dave Stewart, Tobias Tak, Jamie Tanner, Craig Thompson, Jill Thompson, Jen Tong, Anh Tran, Jenna Trost, Andrea Tsurumi, Jonathan Tune, Charles Vess, S.M. Vidaurri, José Villarrubia, Jonathan Wayshak, Mark Wheatley, Maris Wicks, Grim Wilkins, J.H. Williams III, Ronald Wimberly, Rob Woods, James Yang, Alexis Ziritt, David Zissou, and Chrissie Zullo.
HHHHhhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuggghhhh! *deep breath*
See what I mean? Locust Moon is looking for $50,000 to fund this project on Kickstarter. And before you go getting cold feet because you're concerned that such an impressive array of talent could never work together long enough to complete such a massive endeavor when the seven or eight Image founders couldn't even manage to put out three consecutive issues of Image United, fear not! The book is already complete! Locust Moon just wants to publish it.
And with more than 80% of the funding already achieved, they're not going to have a lot of problems. So, you know, contribute, or don't. Whatevs. But I think you're going to want to get in on this one. Not sure yet? How about after looking at some of the strips you'll find in this 144 page newspaper sized hardcover:
Peter and Maria Hoey
I'm betting most of you jumped ship and headed straight for the Kickstarter page within three images, but in case you're still around, I'll blather some more.
There are a ton of reward options on the Kickstarter site. Signed copies. Exclusive prints. Original artwork. And more rewards yet to be announced. Of course, if you want a copy of the book, you're looking at a $100 minimum. That might seem like a lot of money, especially when you consider that you could have collected the same number of Winsor McCay original strips by purchasing 144 copies of the New York Herald for just five cents a pop, back in the day, for a grand total of just $7.20. But then, you would have to be at least 110 years old today, and isn't your youth and vitality worth more than a little money?
So head over to the Kickstarter and check it out. And check back here later this week for an interview conducted by Christian Hoffer about the book. Until then, here's the press release:
SMALL PRESS PUBLISHER KICKSTARTS STAR-STUDDED LITTLE NEMO TRIBUTE
Philadelphia publishing company Locust Moon Comics has announced a crowdfunding campaign to finance the printing of their hotly anticipated Winsor McCay tribute project LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM. Featuring an almost impossibly star-studded lineup of over one hundred cartoonists and illustrators including Mike Allred, Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Pope, Peter Bagge, J.H. Williams III, John Cassaday, J.G. Jones, Craig Thompson, Yuko Shimizu, Dean Haspiel, Paolo Rivera, Scott Morse, Denis Kitchen and Carla Speed McNeil, this oversized hardcover anthology is among the most eagerly awaited publications of 2014.
Described by Mr. Allred as the “book of the decade,” and J.G. Jones as “the most stunningly ambitious comic project I've ever seen,” this unique publication will feature original strips that revisit the characters and universe of McCay's seminal turn-of-the-century Sunday newspaper strip, which remains an unmatched comic creation and one of the most inventive and visually stunning works of American art.
What began as a fledgling tribute project from a small press publisher quickly took on a life of its own, snowballing into a cause and crusade among comic creators and illustrators, who were excited to pay tribute to one of the true forefathers and founders of their medium.
To be printed at the full 16”x21” broadsheet size of the original Little Nemo newspaper strips, this collection will celebrate McCay's endless legacy, chart his influence on generations of modern cartoonists, and most of all shine a light back on an artist who has given his art form so much, and whose work should be more widely known.
The contents of the book, assembled over the past two years, are now complete. The deal with the printer is in place, and the Kickstarter campaign, to be launched on 6/23/2014, will go directly to cover printing costs, for a limited release in the fall of 2014, and national distribution in the spring of 2015. Locust Moon is inviting fans of art, illustration and beauty of all kinds to get involved in this literal and figurative dream project: a love song for Winsor McCay, Little Nemo, and the limitless possibilities of comics.
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Locust Moon is a retail store, art gallery, and small press based in West Philadelphia. Their first book, ONCE UPON A TIME MACHINE (published through Dark Horse in the fall of 2012) was nominated for a Harvey award for Best Anthology. Aside from LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM, Locust Moon's other current and upcoming projects include the just-debuted periodical comics & illustration magazine QUARTER MOON, and 36 LESSONS IN SELF-DESTRUCTION, a collection of the mini comics of the infamous underground Philadelphia cartoonist Rob Woods. Locust Moon also hosts an annual comics festival, to be held this year on October 25.