Saturday, May 31, 2008


A few years ago I had the privilege of attending both BookExpo and ToyFair. I forget at which of these events it was that I discovered the company Eeboo, but I quickly decided they had the coolest product ever. Their catalog was full of sweet domino packs and card games and growth charts, all with art from amazing illustrators and designers like Chris Raschka, Dan Yaccarino, and Ross MacDonald. Their products come straight out of an artist's dreamworld.

My admiration was further multiplied when, years later, I came across amazing Little Nemo themed art supplies, and upon checking the manufacturer, saw the Eeboo brand once again. Yes, they have great taste.

Check out these amazing products! They're just a sampling. Be sure to hunt around Eeboo's site... they've got even more McCay product there.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lusitania Review

Via The Constant Viewer, you can read a 1918 movie review for McCay's animated masterpiece "The Sinking of the Lusitania." The reviewer struggles with what to make of an animated cartoon that, for the first time in history, is not intended for humorous entertainment... Here are some excerpts:
Winsor McCay seems the only American today interested in exploring this medium. Animations are particularly suited for the young.... However, after the amusements of Flip and Gertie, with his re-enactment of the Lusitania offense McCay turns pointedly away from the little ones, and assaults us with horror.... It is visually powerful in its intermingling of direct facts and outraged sentiment.... There is something at once momentous and audacious when an animated cartoon asks me to weep and rage.... But it's safe to say that McCay has engendered yet another shift in the history of this flickering art form. The animated cartoon, for better or worse, now has aspirations.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Windsor McKay who?

I figured the blog would get some extra hits if I included a post with common misspellings...

So just for the record... It's Winsor, not Windsor. And it's McCay, not McKay or Mackay. You see his name spelled wrong almost as often as you see it right. Not that I blame anyone - they're both tricky. Imagine if he had continued going by his actual given first name too: Zenas!

I think the most ironic misspelling is on the Juried Awards section of the Annie Awards site. As they talk about the accomplishments that led to Canemaker winning the Winsor McCay Award, they mention that his tome on "Windsor McCay" is an essential reference!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Brian Fies

Eisner Award winning comic artist Brian Fies has written more than once about his admiration for Winsor McCay. And his love shows through when he describes purchasing one of the original Gertie drawings. What a treasure! He writes about it here, here, and here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

McCay Day

An article appeared in the Muskegon Chronicle about Spring Lake District Library's upcoming "McCay Day." Here are some excerpts:
Famed animator and illustrator Winsor McCay will finally get his very own day in his hometown of Spring Lake Village.

As part of next month's Spring Lake Heritage Festival, The Spring Lake District Library will host the first Winsor McCay Day July 17 at the library, a day that will include events for all age groups. [Correction! The article has it wrong... the Festival is in June, McCay Day is June 17]

McCay Day events kick off at 10:30 a.m. with a special pre-school story time. Pre-school age children will be able to make a brontosaurus-shaped stuffed reading buddy based on images of Gertie the Dinosaur, one of McCay's most famous cartoons, then bring it to the story time.

At 2 p.m. local artist and illustrator Kevin Collier will host "I'm OK with McCay," which will include an introduction to McCay and his work, as well a a cartooning and comics class. The program is designed for adults and children starting in third grade.

The day also will include a Winsor McCay Film Festival starting at 7 p.m. McCay's animated films, "How a Mosquito Operates" and "The Sinking of the Lusitania" will be shown along with the documentary, "Remembering Winsor McCay" by film historian John Canemaker.

You can read the whole article here: Spring Lake Heritage Festival to honor animation pioneer Winsor McCay

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Title Card

"Winsor McCay, Inventor of Animated Drawing"

It appears McCay himself thought he was first. I wonder if he was even aware of Blackton??? McCay's work looks nothing like the few fiddlings that preceded it. Perhaps he was working from complete originality - unaware of anything prior to build from... Or maybe he knew of Blackton, but considered his process so different as to be a different art form...

(Later Update: Okay - I just recently discovered that McCay actually worked WITH Blackton when creating his (McCay's) animated films. In my mind, this just confuses things all the more... Did Blackton ALSO see McCay's work as significantly different than his own, as a brand new art form? Odd...)