Winsor McCay (4 stars)

Editorial Works (Checker BPG)


Better known for his groundbreaking 1930s animated film Gertie the Dinosaur (a film so exquisitely animated that it upped the game for Disney at the time), and comic strips Little Nemo in Slumberland and Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend, McCay was also a prolific pioneer of satirical and political cartoons.

This impressive compilation of ‘funnies’ that appeared in US newspapers between 1910 and 1917 follows a loose trajectory from the American/Mexican wars to the US entry into WWII after the sinking of the Lusitania. For anyone with an interest in early 20th century US history this is giddy, fascinating and darkly familiar stuff. The grim reaper, Uncle Sam and corrupt officials vie for space amongst the dark crosshatching and symbolic anachronisms.

McCay’s fantasy artwork was justifiably unrivalled (except perhaps by the German/American caricaturist Lyonel Feininger) and was a great influence on Chris Ware and Moebius. But his satirical work is less well chronicled, so it is a treat to see it showcased in such a sensitive and finely ordered collection.

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