LittleNemoThis is a short essay on Winsor McCay that I wrote for the gorgeous catalog (published by Yale University Press) released in tandem with the Masters of American Comics exhibit that originated in 2005 at the Hammer Museum and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and later traveled to the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Jewish Museum in New York, and the Newark Museum. The exhibit was organized by John Carlin and Brian Walker with Cynthia Burlingham and Michael Darling; the catalog was edited by John Carlin, (the great) Paul Karasik, and Brian Walker. The first novel in my Derby Dugan Trilogy, Funny Papers was set during the tumultuous newspaper era of the 1890s that spawned McCay as well as Richard Outcault, George McManus, Fred Opper and others who, together, created the grammar and the vocabulary of the American comic strip. It was fun and a real honor to be included in such an auspicious enterprise and to find myself in the company of fellow essayists such as Jules Feiffer, Matt Groening, Pete Hamill, Jim Hoberman, Dave Eggers, and Francoise Mouly.

Continue reading