Dream of Rarebit Fiend

The complete Dream of the Rarebit Fiend (1904–1913)

by Winsor McCay ‘Silas’
Selbstverlag 2007
30,5 x 43 cm,

464 Seiten,

1006 Abbildungen
ISBN 978-3-00-020751-8

Dream of the Rarebit Fiend was a comic strip which ran in American newspapers from 1904 to 1913.
Each strip presented the dream of some poor soul who had the misfortune of partaking of Welsh Rarebit (a melted cheese toast) before retiring, a decision that resulted in unusual and fantastic dreams, in an escalating tangle of weirdness: a man practicing for a golf tournament watches as the ground beneath his ball grows into a volcano, which then erupts; a Wall Street secretary swallows her gum, triggering a chain reaction that collapses the world financial markets; a woman standing before a gallows to witness her mother’s hanging finds that her husband can’t contain his glee – until, in the final panel, they awaken, vowing never to partake of Rarebit before bedtime again.

The strip was written and drawn by Winsor McCay (1867–1934), best known for his strip Little Nemo in Slumberland and his animated film Gertie the Dinosaur.

Other than Little Nemo, which was addressed to children, and mainly lived from its spectacular layouts, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend focused on the plots, seen from a decidedly adult point of view, and was devoted to adult nightmares and phobias, making it one of the weirdest, most amazing and shocking comic strips of all times, simply the most bizarre newspaper feature in American history.

Apart from the strip’s surreal content and outstanding graphic qualities, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend is also an important source of information about everyday culture in the United States during the early 20th century. It was here, and only here, that Winsor McCay incorporated real daily life into almost every episode – from fashion, sports and politics through work, architecture, technical progress and celebrities. One could view the feature as an encyclopedia, or a mirror on the United States in the early 20th century.

This book is the first, most complete and scholarly collection of these strips, reproducing McCay’s phantasmagoric art at full size.

It contains
- detailed information about both the life and works of Winsor McCay, as well as the

Dream of the Rarebit Fiend series
- 369 reproductions of the best Dream of the Rarebit Fiend strips, taken from the best available sources, digitally restored, and reproduced to their original published size, many of them reprinted for the first time since their original publication a century ago
- 637 additional images illustrating the author’s life and work, and the historical and artistic background to individual Dream of the Rarebit Fiend strips
- two articles by comic book historian Alfredo Castelli:
 Dream Travelers 1900–1947. Precursors and epigones of Winsor McCay
 A dreamer with his feet planted firmly on the ground
- an article by dream worker Jeremy Taylor:
 Some archetypal symbolic aspects of Dream of the Rarebit Fiend

a DVD with
- high resolution scans of all 821 episodes known to exist (including those not reprinted in the book)
- a 600 page WORD file with a catalogue raisonné of all strips, containing a vast array of information about the individual strips, including chronological strip numbering, original publication dates, later reprints, whereabouts of the original artwork, inspirations used by Winsor McCay, later quotations taken from this strip, and historical background information

Nominated for the 2008 Will Eisner Award, the comic industry’s equivalent of the Academy Awards.