Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland #1
IDW Publishing (August, 2014, as posted to comiXology)
WRITER: Eric Shanower
ARTIST: Gabriel Rodriguez
COLORIST: Nelson Daniel
LETTERER: Robbie Robbins
EDITORS: Chris Ryall & Scott Dunbier
based on the works of Winsor McCay
The Princess of Slumberland, the world of dreams, wants a new playmate, but none of her previous playmates were as fun as little Nemo. So they find her a new Nemo…except that’s his middle name and Jimmy (his first name) doesn’t want to play with a girl. The candy kid Bon-Bon keeps trying to get Jimmy to Slumberland (after Popcorn’s one failure–sucks to be Popcorn), but something keeps causing him to wake up, the last attempt causing Bon-Bon to lose his legs to a monster. Jimmy does get him to the gates of the city but the guards mistake him for the attacker and force him to wake up again. Now Jimmy does want to at least see this Slumberland and make sure his new friend is okay.
What they got right: I haven’t read many of McKay’s original Little Nemo comic strips but I have seen enough to know that he liked to play with the comic panels to create his dream effect, and they do a good job of recreating that here. They also wanted a modern kid but rather than update Nemo himself they just found another kid they could use to be a modern take on Nemo while still being set in the same universe (or one similar) to the old newspaper strips.
What they got wrong: I’m kind of neutral on the fact that he was named after some old cartoon, as he puts it, rather than being an honest namesake or even the grandson of the original Nemo, but it might have been interesting. Making Nemo his middle name may or may not work for everyone, but at least he isn’t an update of the old kid, allowing him to be his own character while still honoring the original. I am curious how they work with that gag in the rest of the miniseries.
What I think overall: With so many terrible adaptations and updates out there on comic shelves and movie/show offerings this is a breath of fresh air. They’re trying to continue McKay’s style while still working in their own art style and honestly continue the world of Slumberland rather than reboot everything and not understand what made the source material work. Of course this could change in the other three issues I don’t currently have access to, but it’s off to a good start here.