Monthly Archives: January 2016

Dinomania: The Lost Art of Winsor McCay, The Secret Origins of King Kong, and the Urge to Destroy New York

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See sample pages of Dinomania at Wink.

Cartoonist Winsor McCay was best known as the creator of the hallucinatory Little Nemo in Slumberland and Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend newspaper comic strips. Fewer people know that he was also the creator of the first animated dinosaur to appear in the movies (Gertie the Dinosaur, 1914). But hardly anyone knows that when McCay died in 1934, he was at work on a new comic strip called Dino, about a dinosaur that awakens after sleeping for 65-million years and befriends a young girl and her brother in New York City.

One person who knows is McCay historian Ulrich Merkl, who has put together a massive, astounding book about McCay and his influence in depictions of rampaging dinosaurs, robots, apes, and monsters in popular culture. Every page is loaded with eye-popping art from the early 20th century, much of it never reprinted before now. People of that era were just as hungry for city-destroying cinematic behemoths as we are today, and Merkl convincingly makes the case that it was McCay who whetted our appetite for them. If you like illustrations from the 1900s, you will go ape over Dinomania. (more…)