By Eric Shanower, Gabriel Rodriguez & Nelson Daniel
Since Windsor McCay started Little Nemo in Slumberland back in the early 1900’s, it has always had a cult following. So much so that in the year 2014 there are still fans both new and old interested in reading more stories from the kingdom of Slumberland. This year in particular seems like a lot of different Slumberland centered projects have been showing up all over the place. One of those stories debuts its first issue, Little Nemo Return to Slumberland, this week.
It’s no easy feat to take something so beloved and cherished and find a way to build upon it without disrespecting the original works that came before it. This first issue of Little Nemo Return to Slumberland does an excellent job of pulling it off. This first issue shows us the kingdom of Slumberland and shows us that the princess has had many playmates since her time with the original Nemo. It would seem none of them have since lived up the legacy Nemo has left but when a candidate appears with the middle name of Nemo; she takes it as a sign and demands that he will be her new friend. This Nemo however doesn’t seem to want to go to Slumberland nor does he want to play with a girl, so it takes a lot of trial and error just to try to get this new Nemo to Slumberland. Shanower presented us with an incredibly fun start to this new series, which kept a smile on my face from the first page onwards.
When it comes to a series based on Windsor McCay’s masterwork you need to make sure that your art is beyond stunning because McCay already set the bar quite high and that was over 100 years ago. Hot off his brilliant artistic work on Locke & Key, we get to see another side of Gabriel Rodriguez. He is no stranger to the fantasy genre but the work he has done on Little Nemo Return to Slumberland is nothing short of amazing. You get to see Rodriguez go all-out on every page, making the reader just want to sit and stare. However the book still manages to stay loyal to the classic look of McCay’s work.
Another reason the art has that classic look is thanks to the gorgeous color palette of Nelson Daniel. The very first thing that jumps out at the reader when you first read this issue is the colors. Everything looks so vibrant and playful but somehow still gives off the same feeling you get from Windsor McCay’s original colors. These colors really feel like an authentic Little Nemo comic with a subtle but fun brightness that has always made Slumberland seem so alluring.
This was an excellent first issue that was just plain fun to read and then immediately re-read right after that. Do you need to know anything about previous Little Nemo stories before reading this? No, of course it never hurts. My start into Little Nemo was through the animated movie and NES game from 1989 and I was able to jump in without any problems. This was a pleasure to read, it feels so good to be back in Slumberland.