on this U.S. postage stamp, Little Nemo, a young boy in a yellow nightgown, is fallen out of bed and onto the floor with his hair dishevelled and his legs out

Little NemoWinsor McCay

Only a dream

In Slumberland, little Nemo is only an inquisitive boy called by King Morpheus to visit his daughter the Princess. * Nemo and his friends, Impie, an African, and Flip, an Irish clown, explore and are misled by colorful fantasies, fears, distortions, ogres, couriers, and Granny Hag who appears as a cute little girl and conjures Flip’s cane into a dead cat in an ornate Art Nouveau world like a carnival funhouse whose frames are not its limits. * Any wondrous predicament can be excused as a dream after, in the last panel each Sunday, little Nemo has fallen out of bed.


If innocent Nemo weren’t full of mischief, if only he hadn’t touched Queen Crystalette, or leaned against a stem in the mushroom forest, and if only he hadn’t defended Flip, since Flip, nephew of the guard of Dawn whom he could call to dissolve the dream, was always spoiling things and interrupting his dream . . .


In that phantasmagoria of the mind where real life is tried out or becomes more or less strange or sustainable, Nemo tries to stay asleep but his unconscious pulls both ways— toward love and beauty and toward a jumble of blankets on the floor.

Waking up

falling from the sky, buried in giant mushrooms, grabbed by Magoozla, falling into a lake of cranberry dressing and lost in a forest of celery stalks, running from Lunatix on the moon, crossing a firey moat on a gondola, on the princess’s elephant shooting the chute, flying through the air in the princess’s car, about, with Flip, to be executed by canon and firing squad, Nemo had eaten raisin cake; he had eaten peanuts before he went to bed, huckleberry pie at bedtime, raw onions and ice cream, turkey dressing, doughnuts, mince pie.


The Little Mermaid Little Bears The Little Tigers Little Jimmy Little Sammy Sneeze Little Nemo Little Orphan Annie The Little King Little Joe Li’l Abner Little Lulu Little Pancho Vanilla The Little Scouts Little Wise Guys Little Dot, Little Audrey, Little Lotta The Little People Little Archie Little did I know when I was little.