COMIC READING REVIEW: Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #4

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Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (#4)

  • Writer:  Eric Shanower
  • Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Published by: IDW
  • Pages: 20, Publish Date: March 18, 2015
  • Notes: Monthly series


“Nemo’s first new adventure in Slumberland concludes in gorgeous and surreal fashion, courtesy of Shanower and Rodriguez!”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

Another fantastic issue!

Though a little late for reasons I do not know, as #3 came out in December. However, the wait is worthwhile. The art from Gabriel Rodriguez continues to amaze and imaginate. The writing style continues on its playful course, keeping us patient readers back on the adventure.

The story itself, is nothing epic..just awesome to its full potential. It can stand alone, as many dreams do. Readers at this point I feel show just go with the flow, and enjoy Dreamland for its many twist and turns, without looking to the end. For Nemo, his adventures have no limit and I feel grateful for my view as the audience, sharing in these crazy adventures.

At this point, Nemo is fully accepting of his strange place in Dreamland. This is a good conclusion to his first adventure, as we find him somewhat mastering his place in Dreamland. That being out of control, and moved by the strange currents of happenings throughout. There are moments of danger, that wake him up at times throughout the book, but then his excitement for the new happenings pops him back in. He learns to best go with the flow in the 4th issue, with helpful guidance by his new friends.

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The supporting cast of friends old and new, comes together; to guide each other through dangers. The Princess, taking a more active role, leads this strange crew of Dreamland players to her city home; this time with Flip, Dr. Pill, Bon Bon, and Fruckus.  Some wonderful interaction takes place, as the Princess shows compassion for Flip; who in turn initially does not. By the end, they seem like good friends, but I feel that Flip character will be up to no good again. I love Dr.Pill, with his little suitcase of strange remedies. I can only wonder, what else he has for Nemo besides a growth pill..

Overall, the storybook telling is fantastic. The way back leads to new friends, a discovery of a volcanic themed land with a possibly great new ally. There are some odd terrors, though a bit regular for Slumberland. just go with the flow, whether by fish chariot or magic balloon. All lead to the next new adventure, which hints toward the end; the lost crown of the Princess. Our heroes seem well prepared at the end, and excited for what is too come. I am with Nemo to the last panel, and curious for what comes next.

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– Orion T




COMIC READING REVIEW: Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland


Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland

  • Writer: Eric Shanowar
  • Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Published by: IDW
  • Notes: Monthly series

Synopsis (from IDW site):

“An all-new, all-ages series full of magic and whimsy from award-winning creators Eric Shanower (Adventures in Oz) and Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key)! Spinning out of Winsor McKay’s brilliant early 20th century strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland sees King Morpheus’ daughter, in the Royal Palace of Slumberland, select her next-playmate: Nemo! Only Nemo has no interest in being anyone’s playmate, dream or no dream!”

Personal Thoughts (#1-3):

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland brings us brilliant, intelligent writing by Eric Shanowar whose great works includes Age of Bronze (Image Comics), and various Oz comics (Marvel, IDW).  This new series brings the spirit of the classic Winsor McCay strips, but modernized for the current style of sequential storytelling. You will find much of the magic and visual styles familiar to the fantasy settings of the early 1900s, but with the added touch of modern developments in fantasy storytelling.


The story setting takes us from a mundane world, with a new hero (his middle name is Nemo) as successor to the past Nemo of the McCay strips, then taking us into a fascinating realm full of dangers and fascinations; pushing the boundaries of imagination. I identify with our new Nemo as a child, thrust into this strange realm of wonders but at first reluctance and a little skepticism. There is some resistance as we also see hints of some mature development to our hero. Maybe he doesn’t want to play, or perhaps a part of him is still stuck in our reality of video games and TV. Yet, he finds joy with new friends, and wonders intended (and not) for him. He soon takes on new responsibilities in helping others, while drawing in danger to him. There are temptations in this dreamworld, which may draw our protagonist away from his heroic nature or perhaps a danger to others and Slumberland.  Some include but not limited to: forbidden areas, breaking rules, forces that lead him astray like Flip (a mischievous clown). Overall, there is great pacing and buildup for our character, and his destined place in Slumberland; which I think extends far beyond the role of the simple playmate.


I was originally drawn to this book by its artist, Gabriel Rodriguez; after his fantastic work on Joe Hill’s Locke and Key series. His art in this revamp of Nemo is perfect, and so much more with the turn of every page. He does not try to copy the classic Winsor McCay comics, but combines visual elements as an influence to his own unique style. This was also done before this series, back in a short story to the excellent one shot, Locke and Key: Guide to Known Keys.

The backdrops and landscapes are gorgeous, extensive of the minds expectations with complex and grand architecture and curious situations. The characters he draws are full of emotion and playfulness. The colors are fitting, full of playful combinations and textures relating back to the classic McCay strips.  Together, this is world-building at its visual finest. The added situations and physics of Slumberland enhance the visuals; especially in the third issue as our hero undergoes some crazy Escher influenced obstacles and strange puzzles. There are moments where I stop reading, and find myself lost in the details and grandeur of this comic world of dreams.

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I recommend this series for anyone who loves a good adventure and craving something more than traditional storytelling. It’s great and fitting for all almost all ages. You need not familiarize with the classic strips of a century back, though it could add to the reading experience. In that, the single issues contain pages of the original works (and other cool extras).  Overall, just read let your inner child enjoy.

Where to find this: 

At comic books stores and digital comic outlets for IDW. There will likely by a trade paperback combining these early comics in the near future. Then perhaps, look for this at graphic novel/trade sections of retail bookstores and libraries. For more information