Nemo in bed, where he awoke at the end of each strip (here 11 February 1906)
|Launch date||October 15, 1905|
|End date||December 26, 1926|
|Alternate name(s)||In the Land of Wonderful Dreams (1911–1914)|
Little Nemo is a fictional character created by American cartoonist
Little Nemo in Slumberland ran in the
A weekly fantasy adventure, Little Nemo in Slumberland featured the young Nemo ("No one" in Latin) who dreamed himself into wondrous predicaments from which he awoke in bed in the last panel. The first episode[a] begins with a command from King Morpheus of Slumberland to a minion to collect Nemo. Nemo was to be the playmate of Slumberland's Princess, but it took months of adventures before Nemo finally arrived; a green, cigar-chewing clown named Flip was determined to disturb Nemo's sleep with a top hat emblazoned with the words "Wake Up." Nemo and Flip eventually become companions, and are joined by an African Imp whom Flip finds in the Candy Islands. The group travels far and wide, from shanty towns to Mars, to
The strip shows McCay's understanding of dream psychology, particularly of dream fears—falling, drowning, impalement. This dream world has its own moral code, perhaps difficult to understand. Breaking it has terrible consequences, as when Nemo ignores instructions not to touch Queen Crystalette, who inhabits a cave of glass. Overcome with his infatuation, he causes her and her followers to shatter, and awakens with "the groans of the dying guardsmen still ringing in his ears".[b]
Although the strip began October 15, 1905 with Morpheus, ruler of Slumberland, making his first attempt to bring Little Nemo to his realm, Nemo did not get into Slumberland until March 4, 1906 and, due to Flip's interfering, did not get to see the Princess until July 8. His dream quest is always interrupted by either him falling out of bed, or his parents forcibly waking him up.
On July 12, 1908, McCay made a major change of direction: Flip visits Nemo and tells him that he has had his uncle destroy Slumberland. (Slumberland had been dissolved before, into day, but this time it appeared to be permanent.) After this, Nemo's dreams take place in his home town, though Flip—and a curious-looking boy named the Professor—accompany him. These adventures range from the down-to-earth to
Story-arcs included Befuddle Hall, a voyage to Mars (with a well-realized Martian civilization), and a trip around the world (including a tour of New York City).