Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 180

Dream Of The Rarebit Fiend

by Winsor McCay
Genre notes: newspaper strips, dreams
ISBN: 1479106569 (Amazon)

Winsor McCay is largely known for his bizarre and imaginative and colourful Little Nemo comics, which ran in Sunday papers from 1905 to 1926. During nearly the same period (1904-1925) McCay drew a similar strip called Dream Of The Rarebit Fiend, often under the name Silas (for contractual reasons).

Dream Of The Rarebit Fiend follows a similar structure with Little Nemo in that the dreamer becomes increasingly aware of the chaos of their dream and wakes in the final panel (usually remarking on how they should not be eating Welsh Rarebit before bed). But while structurally similar, DOTRF is much more adult oriented, dealing with mature themes like suicide, insanity, social situations, alcohol. Each strip is self-contained and there aren't really recurring characters.

DOTRF, like Nemo, has been published in numerous editions over the years. A few years back Ulrich Merkl released a large (12x17") hardcover edition with a lot of background and history and essays to give context for the series. It sells for stupid amounts on Amazon currently, but if you ever run across a copy for less than $200, it's worth it.

Dover has an 80-page paperback selection of the strips for 12 dollars. The pages are 8.5x11"

CreateSpace has a 714-page edition for 20 bucks. The dimensions are a bit smaller at 7x10" - but the quality of the book is apparently pretty weak with many of the strips too small to read.

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