It’s odd to think that comics and graphic novels existed in the 1900s, as well as earlier. I think we’re just accustomed to associating the term “graphic novel” to the works of Frank Miller and Alan Moore. I personally always think of Watchmen. I never would have thought that a series like Little Nemo could share anything in common with the bloody, sexually graphic book that is Watchmen. But they both are graphic novels. I do wonder how Little Nemo was received in the 1900s. Even looking at it now, the images are eerie. The panel where Nemo kisses a woman and she shatters could easily induce nightmares into many children, and even a few adults.
The artwork of Little Nemo is beautiful, but also unnerving. The whimsical panels juxtaposed with the more haunting, nightmarish panels most likely intended to draw the reader into Nemo’s dream world. The surrealist imagery may have put off people in the 1900s.
The portrayal of Impie, who is intended to be an African tribesman, would most definitely not be accepted today. But it’s interesting to note that the character is not drawn that way out of malice.
While the portrayal of Impie might make us uncomfortable today, the image would be widely accepted at the time of the comic’s publication. What we react negatively towards changes from generation to generation.
Oh, I found this interesting. I was on Buzzfeed and there was an article entitled 18 Important Lessons “Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland” Taught Us. It’s about the movie that came out in 1989, and I found it sort of had to do with what we accept is appropriate for our children today. Some might argue that the imagery in the film adaptation of Little Nemo is too frightening for children. But, it is still primarily considered a children’s film.
Just some food for thought.