The second New Year’s Slumberland strip! The crowd of multiple Daves is based on an early Little Nemo strip. Unlike the rest of us lazy lumps, Winsor McCay leapt at the opportunity to draw large numbers of nearly-identical figures. I learned a lot about drawing palm trees and other vegetation by copying Nemos for these strips.
Like all the Slumberland strips, this is designed to foreshadow events in the coming year. 2002 SPOILERS: The multiple Daves allude to the Dave Conspiracy, then Dave goes to the island where the ur-gerbils are hanging out, and Helen’s mother appears and reveals that she’s in league with the Daves. At any rate, that mask is really creepy.
The ur-gerbils squeak backwards as a nod to Julie Hamilton’s Disturbing Palindrome Song of the Mutant Gerbils. In the island storyline, I expanded this concept by giving all the ur-gerbils palindromic names.
Dave’s mug in the last panel reads “By Silas,” Winsor McCay’s usual cartooning pseudonym. The papers on the desk read, “this is the tiny text for Chris Ellmann,” and “Enjoy!”