Little Nemo in Slumberland, February 2nd 1908. Winsor McCay.
It's another installment of my Robot 6 column, this time on a page that's at the very least got a case as Winsor McCay's most famous piece of comics. Lest you look on me as an analyzer of the over-analyzed, I also brought the little-seen animated version of this sequence into the conversation, centering the article around the formal differences between comics and animation, which are more subtle and interesting than it seems at first consideration. As far as I know, this McCay page has the closest proximity to the animation based on it of any comic that's been adapted to the screen -- being able to see McCay's treatment of not only the same scene but the same motions and figural distortions is completely and utterly fascinating. So soak the page in, watch the movie, and then head on over here and read what I had to say about them. Starts like this:
Comics and animation have an interesting relationship. Both can be broadly designated “pictures that move”, both have the same typical end goal of visual storytelling, and both rely on frame after frame of closely considered progression to push themselves forward. Someone smart (I can’t remember who right now, apologies) once said that animation is comics at 24 frames a second, which is basically true, especially when the physical medium — film strips — that animation resides on is considered. A stretch of animation celluloid is a comic, maybe a weird, incredibly slow-moving one, but a comic nonetheless. A litany of great comics artists, from Alex Toth and Jack Kirby to Matt Groening and Ben Jones, have done serious time in animation. The skill set isn’t the exact same thing by any means, but there’s plenty that translates. Read more