Dream of the Rarebit Fiend -- beautiful new book


19 Responses to “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend -- beautiful new book”

  1. nemo says:

    @ AFO: from wikipedia:

    “The strips[little nemo], along with most of the rest of McCay’s works, fell into the public domain worldwide on January 1, 2005, 70 years after McCay’s death (see Copyright and the EU’s Directive harmonizing the term of copyright protection for details). The complete set of Little Nemo strips is available in a single volume from Taschen: Little Nemo 1905-1914 (ISBN 3-8228-6300-9), leaving out only the later revival from the 1920s.”

    So as far as I can see it is in the public domain, so it has always struck me as peculiar that it’s not available on the web. I’ve searched extensively over the past few years.

  2. Anonymous says:


    Regarding any copyright Taschen may hold in its compilation, this page from Gutenberg is helpful: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:No_Sweat_of_the_Brow_Copyright

    As for where to upload scans, archive.org seems like a pretty natural candidate.

  3. Vanwall says:

    For so many years, very little of McCay’s work was available, so I went for it – might not be around again. I’ll never be able to afford the originals I’ve seen for sale at Comic-Con, so this a bargain. I’ve passed up some earlier comic collections on occasion and have always regretted it. I figure it can help prop up “So Many Splendid Sundays” and “Little Sammy Sneeze” on my bookshelf.

  4. armyofgnomes says:

    I went on a hasty search for something downloadable after reading about Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, especially since the works are in the public domain. I managed to find a copy of Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend by Winsor McCay from 1905 on Google Books, but I don’t think it’s a complete collection. It should contain a nice sampling, if only 59 pages worth. Link to Google Books:

  5. afo says:

    well I’ll be darned! I am darned to scan. the only question now is, where should they go? is there an appropriate archive?

  6. the Other michael says:

    Careful — although the strips themselves may be public domain, the cleaned-up version in your book may not be.

    Taschen can’t copyright public domain work, but they do hold some rights to their clean-up efforts.

    As to how much “some” is, I have no idea. But I’m sure there’s some legal difference between that dollar-store video-rip DVD, and the Criterion Collection version, namean?

    Barnacle Press, above, posts scans from original newspapers (er, quite often microfilm, which accounts for their often poor repro quality). So even though they have (some) Little Sammy Sneeze, it doesn’t interfere with the Checker publication, becuase they aren’t using Checkers remastered, cleaned-up etc. version (if you’ve ever tried scanning & cleaning up b&w line art from a poor source, it ain’t no bed of roses).

  7. billy says:

    i’m torn.

    i love the work and deem a complete collection necessary
    i also am so tired of all these overgorgeous trophy fetish books

  8. Stefan Jones says:

    I don’t see any mention of the Rarebit Fiend film short.

    It features a guy being chased through the streets by a giant animated lobster. Very freaky.

    And, by gosh, there were SEVERAL Rarebit Fiend films made:


    According to imdb, McCay was involved with all of them.

  9. nemo says:

    I’m always excited to see Mccay’s work as I owe my first name to Little Nemo in Slumberland.

    I was under the impression that some of Mccay’s works like Nemo had entered the public domain. Is there any reason they cannot be released as a free e-book onto sites like Gutenberg?

    I would love to see more people aware of little Nemo, it’s a beautiful series.

  10. the Other michael says:

    You might want to check out some of the weirdness over at vintage-comics site Barnacle Press, like The Naps of Polly Sleepyhead — a DotRF-like strip, and a few minor McCay’s, and a youtube of a Little Nemo Short from 1911.

  11. edgore says:

    There is also a Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. episode based around this very series – Gomer, the Welsh Rarebit Fiend – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0589982/

  12. SEK says:

    Whedon lied:

    The Cheese Man is significant.

  13. Flying Squid says:

    Stefan, they can be watched online: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=dream+of+a+rarebit+fiend&sitesearch=

    I don’t know about those, but McKay hand-animated each frame of Gertie the Dinosaur. This was before cell animation too so each frame had to be redrawn from scratch.

  14. the Other michael says:

    I hear you, Billy.

    I’d love to have this collection — it looks fantastic! But at $114 there is no way I can justify it to my fiancee. :-(

    If, you know, there were _more_ than 1000 copies, it might be affordable. The arts and crafts movement created some beautiful works, but there’s something to be said for the age of large-scale mechanical reproduction, as well.

  15. fredini says:

    My 2¢:
    I just bought this book, and while I am very excited to finally have a compemndium of all the work, I have serveral design issues with the book.

    First of all, they put the book title upside down on the spine. Defying convention, the title reads from bottom to top as it sits on the bookshelf.

    Secondly, there is a weirdly disturbing design element running through the book. They underlay these weird scraps of newsprint paper under the comics throughout many pages of the book. This is just plain weird looking and IMHO is bad design.

    All in all, its great work, but I find the presentation in this book to be lacking.

  16. donopolis says:

    Please also be sure two check out Comic Book artist Rick Veitch’s Rare Bit Fiends collections…


  17. klg19 says:

    Congrats on scoring a free copy, Mark! I collect comics/GNs for the Columbia University Libraries, and Art Spiegelman gave me the heads-up on this edition after he taught a course here last spring. I’m so glad I was able to get a copy for our library! Winsor McCay is my personal comics god, and this is as fitting a tribute as one can imagine…

  18. afo says:

    @ #2 – “I was under the impression that some of Mccay’s works like Nemo had entered the public domain. Is there any reason they cannot be released as a free e-book onto sites like Gutenberg?”

    I own 3 of the “Complete Little Nemo” hardcover series; if what you say is true, I’d be willing to scan/upload them in full. EVERYBODY should see these drawings, they’re stunning and totally unique.

  19. License Farm says:

    Donopolis beat me to the punch. Rick Vietch’s RARE BIT FIENDS is fantastic stuff, like most of the rest of his oeuvre. He’s like what you’d get if Steve Ditko and Jim Woodring were spliced together.

Leave a Reply