Music SkeletonPete Says

Mixes Suite(r) Than Wine: Steven Wilson Distills Gentle Giant for 21st Century

gentle giant, steven wilson, alucard records, three piece suite
Gentle Giant’s “Three Piece Suite.” A fitting birthday gift for baby Pantagruel.

Gentle Giant
Three Piece Suite
Alucard Records
Release Date: September 29, 2017

Film & Television Series

Game of Moans: Morbid Anatomy Museum to Screen Adventure Classic

the most dangerous game, morbid anatomy museum
Count Zaroff’s trophy room reveals his preferred prey in 1932’s “The Most Dangerous Game.”
Better Run Through the Jungle…
On Tuesday September 1, 2015 at 8pm The Morbid Anatomy Museum (MAM), one of Brooklyn’s most unique spaces, will present a screening of RKO – Radio Pictures’ The Most Dangerous Game. “Movie Mike” will project a 16mm print of the classic 1930’s jungle adventure with its lurid pre-Hayes Code themes of violence, sex and extreme (pre-Predator) big game hunting. Grab tickets here.

The film has an interesting production backstory that just happens to intersect with one of my favorite obsessions, RKO’s 1933 film King Kong and its debt to the art of 19th Century illustrator Gustave Doré.

Thanks to museum director Joanna Ebenstein I get to shed some light on those connections via an illustrated guest blog on the Morbid Anatomy website. This link will take you there.
morbid anatomy museumMourning Becomes Eclectic…
The Morbid Anatomy Museum and Research Library is a cabinet of curiosities focused on the parallel evolutions of the occult and medical sciences, with lots of side trips that include anthropomorphic taxidermy, gothic tropes, and religious reliquaries. Check out the museum’s calendar for future events including MAM’s Common Shade lecture series, presented in conjunction with the Green-Wood Cemetery Historic Fund, which has yielded two exceptional installments thus far.

Books & Graphic Novels

Dream A Little Dream: IDW Compiles New Little Nemo Tales

little memo, return to slumberland, idw, winsor mccay
Issues 1-4 of IDW’s “Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland” are compiled in this new trade paperback.
Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland

IDW Publishing
Trade Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63140-322-4) $9.99 USD

Writer: Eric Shanower
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colorist: Nelson Dániel
Lettering/Collection Design: Robbie Robbins
Editing: Chris Ryall & Scott Dunbier

Release Date: June 17, 2015

Sweet Dreams ’til Sunbeams Find You…
As namesake of a famous Disney character AND coincidentally the best ever playmate of the Princess of Slumberland young James Nemo Summerton finds himself spirited into a series of nightly adventures when summoned to replace the original Little Nemo. This IDW Publishing release compiles the first four issues of Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland (begun in August 2014) into a single 88 page, digest-sized (6” X 9”), full color trade paperback.

Like Alice in Wonderland, Nemo enters a topsy turvy dream terrain where the laws of daytime physics do not apply. It’s the deftly drawn and daftly scripted handling of the premise that made cartoonist and writer Winsor McCay’s character so popular from its beginning in the pages of the New York Herald in 1905. A bold draftsman McCay often broke the fourth wall in his cartoon strips (Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend) and even went so far as to destroy the panel frames in his classic Little Sammy Sneeze.

little memo, return to slumberland, idw, winsor mccay
The nocturnal royals find a new Nemo in IDW’s “Return To Slumberland”
Stars Fading But I Linger On…
Sharing creative duties on Return To Slumberland are writer Eric Shanower and artist Gabriel Rodriguez. Return To Slumberland represents a new series of stories which contemporize the lead character but do not lack the visual grandiosity or inventiveness of the McCay strip. Slumberland’s architecture remains rooted in McCay’s homage to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (AKA Chicago World’s Fair) and fin de siecle Luna Park of Brooklyn’s Coney Island. Each panel is absolutely spectacular in detail and vibrant coloring (by Nelson Dániel), not only honoring the stylized work of McCay but later 20th Century work by Max Fleisher and Maxfield Parrish. Escapades in the “tessellated tower” give Rodriguez a chance to render his best M. C. Escher inspired dreamscapes. At one point our adventurers find themselves in a lake of india ink surrounded by dip pen spires and stacks of paper that I believe are a whimsical wink to the thousands of individually drawn pages McCay created for his early animated opuses, including Gertie The Dinosaur (1914).
little memo, return to slumberland, idw, winsor mccay
The “tessellated tower” pays homage to artist M. C. Escher’s mind-boggling graphics.
SkeletonPete Says…
This all-ages, Eisner Award nominated, book will be enjoyed by those who are read to, as well as those who read it to them. I believe it will be a keeper in any library and returned to often over years.

Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland is also a really wonderful way to introduce youngsters to the rich heritage of the graphic novel, fantasy art from Gustave Doré through Frank Frazetta, and a jumping off point to explore early cartoon animation. Go find Gertie the Dinosaur on YouTube, I had to buy it on 8mm reel.

The story’s updating has the added benefit of eschewing the extremely unfortunate sexist and ethnic characitures that, while “of their times,” mar some of the original strips for a modern audience. That said, those collectors who become enchanted by the little dreamer might avail themselves of Winsor McCay: The Complete Little Nemo the entire run of 549 strips in full color as a gigantic magnum opus from Taschen Publishing.