I am prone to fits of lust over really, really beautiful books, and no one gets me lustier faster than Sunday Press, publishers of the gigantic, marvellous "Little Nemo: Splendid Sundays" collections. These books collect the Sunday Little Nemo comics of Winsor McCay, a surrealist watercolor genius whose weekly strips were lush, gigantic paintings that took us through the dreamscape of Little Nemo, a charming and enigmatic boy living in turn-of-the-century America. And now there's a second volume: "Little Nemo in Slumberland, Many More Splendid Sundays."
I grew up seeing the Little Nemo strips reproduced in "large-format" hardcovers, typically 8.5x11, and I confess that I didn't really get what the fuss was about. The strips were small and smudgy, the type spidery and illegible. Then I saw the first Sunday Press collection, "So Many Splendid Sundays," and I experienced enlightenment. Publisher Peter Maresca has scanned, cleaned up and reproduced his favorite Nemo pages, at full size, 21" by 16", and at that size, Nemo is a completely different experience.
First of all, you can't read a book this big the way that you normally would. I couldn't read it at my desk chair -- even in my reading chair I barely fit (as you can see from these photos). The only way to really read these books is lying on your stomach on the carpet, the book open, chin propped on your hands, and you are, once again, 10 years old, reading the funnies on a lazy Sunday.
This second volume is every bit as charming and magic as the first. Mostly, of course, it's made of Nemo strips (120 of them!), but there are a handful of sweet little essays describing McCay's relationship to Coney Island (it was his muse) and to William Randolph Hearst, his publisher (and nemesis). There's also a Dinosaur Gertie flip book for you to cut and assemble, the perfect aperitif for your lazy Sunday with the funnies.
Little Nemo in Slumberland, Many More Splendid Sundays on Amazon,
Little Nemo in Slumberland, Many More Splendid Sundays, Sunday Press publishing
Burbank's amazing quarter-century institution Dark Delicacies is a horror book-, memoribilia- and clothing-store that is a community hub for genre creators, hosting a wonderful stream of events, signings, and even an annual chance to get your photo took with Krampus at a Christmas open-house.
Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he's right: he recorded this video of him reading "The Raven" in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive. It's Poe's birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again.
The next installment in the SFinSF reading series features Kim Stanley Robinson, Howard Hendrix, and Cecelia Holland; it's this Sunday, Jan 20, doors at 6, event at 6:30, $10 (no one turned away for lack of funds), at the The American Bookbinders Museum (355 Clementina).
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