Dream of the Rarebit Fiend

Dream of the Rarebit Fiend is a newspaper comic strip by American cartoonist Winsor McCay. It was McCay’s second successful strip, after Little Sammy Sneeze secured him a position on the cartoon staff of the New York Herald. The strip had no continuity or recurring characters, but a recurring theme: a character has a nightmare or other bizarre dream, usually after eating a Welsh rarebit. McCay revived the strip in 1923–1925 as Rarebit Reveries.

About Dream of the Rarebit Fiend in brief

Summary Dream of the Rarebit FiendDream of the Rarebit Fiend is a newspaper comic strip by American cartoonist Winsor McCay. It was McCay’s second successful strip, after Little Sammy Sneeze secured him a position on the cartoon staff of the New York Herald. The strip had no continuity or recurring characters, but a recurring theme: a character has a nightmare or other bizarre dream, usually after eating a Welsh rarebit. McCay revived the strip in 1923–1925 as Rarebit Reveries, of which few examples have survived. A number of film adaptations have appeared, including Edwin S. Porter’s live-action Dream of a Rarebit. Fiend in 1906, and four pioneering animated films by McCay himself: How a Mosquito Operates in 1912, and 1921’s Bug Vaudeville, The Pet, and The Flying House. The comic is said to have anticipated a number of recurring ideas in popular culture, such as marauding giant beasts damaging cities—as later popularized by King Kong and Godzilla. The protagonists are typically, but not always, of America’s growing middle-class urban population whom McCay subjects to fears of public humiliation, or loss of social esteem or respectability, or just the uncontrollably weird nature of being. The rarebit is a dish typically made with rich cheese thinned with ale and served melted on toast with cayenne and mustard mixed in. Scott Bukatman states rarebit was not the sort of dish a person would associate with his most famous character, despite its innocuousness.

The stories were self-contained, whereas Little Nemo, whose focus was on beautiful visuals, continued to appear from week to week. In 1905, McCay had his own strip in his own newspaper, the NewYork Herald, and had it appear in the first year of the year. In 1904, a year before the dream romps of his Little Nema, he began his own comic strip in the same paper, the Evening Telegram, in New York City. The story was about a man who had a dream about eating a rarebit, and woke up in the closing panel regretting it. The character was called the Fiend, and McCay used it to refer to the character’s phobias, hypocrisies, discomforts, and dark fantasies. Whereas Nemo was aimed at children, RarebitFiend aimed at adults. The popularity of Rarebit and Nemo led to McCay gaining a contract in 1911 with William Randolph Hearst’s chain of newspapers with a star’s salary. His editor at Hearst had McCay give up comic strips in favor of editorial cartooning and had him give up cartooning for a career as a cartoonist. In comparison to Little NemO, the artwork of the strips had minimal backgrounds, and were usually done from a static perspective with the main characters often in a fixed position in afixed position. The strips were often done from the first-person perspective.