Dave in Slumberland

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!”

12 thoughts on “Dave in Slumberland

  1. If other web-cartoonists take nothing else from Narbonic, (and there is plenty of lessons to take), the one I want them to see is how far in advance Shaenon knew her storyline.  These Slumberland strips are the proof of the Shaenon’s genus.



  2. And of course, this look at the new year for Narbonic is awesomely surreal. Said awesomeness only eclipsed by the fantastic literalism of it. ^-^

    I say no more to prevent spoilers, for the few people not addicted enough to READ THE REST OF THE ARCHIVES ALREADY! ^-^ 

    Speaking of which, about time for another archive trawl. Might even start collecting stuff for that AMV I’ve been thinking of… Heh, heh, heh. 

  3. I still remember wheni re-read the Archive for th first time and these Dave in Slumberland bits Blew. My. MIND. Seriously.

    Funny thing with that last panel, is that daves hand covers her boobs, so i keep thinking that it’s just vaugely-bishonen!Dave.

  4. “Madness, provided it comes as the gift of heaven, is the channel by which we receive the greatest blessings. The men of old who gave things their names saw no disgrace or reproach in madness; otherwise they would not have connected it with the name of the noblest of arts – the art of discerning the future – and called it manic art.”
    — Socrates in the dialogue ‘Phaedrus’.

  5. “[W]hence all the Daves are going” is a very odd phrase – source, or destination? Is this something McCay did?

  6. I love love love the art style in the Slumberland strips.  I also love the Mell-character with the cigar.  (Of course, Mell is always smokin’.)

    Mad Genius Dave:  “Helen!  I had this weird dream where my bed grew giant legs and was walking around and we had all these bizarre adventures.”

    Helen:  “No Dave, that was real.  You’ve been inventing in your sleep again.  No more ‘Girl Genius’ and Welsh Rarebit at bedtime for you!”

  7. Heh. It was Kaja Foglio’s profession of love for Dave that first led me to Narbonic.

    Shaenon, this page is absolutely beautiful. McCay’s work was so whimsical that I never thought to analyze the dream, so I didn’t see the foreshadowing until you just now told us. Wow! … just… Wow!

  8. Just got to nitpick:Should be “…whither all the Daves are going.” Whence means “from where”, whither means “to where”.

    Also,  @ James Rice: I would think the proof of Shaenon’s Genus would beprovided by even a cursory anatomical study 😉

    I guess I’m just in one of those moods this morning. 

  9. Also gotta love how Dave’s instantly got a cigarette going as soon as she wakes up.  Wait, Dave never smoked.  What the hell?

  10. I think it’s funny that the ur-gerbils are kaeuqsing the same day that Skin Horse runs a Palindrama.

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