Robot 6

Christmas on the iPad: Free Little Nemo app

Here’s a holiday treat at a price Ebenezer Scrooge would appreciate: Little Nemo in Christmasland, a free sampler of Winsor McKay’s comics from Sunday Press, which publishes those big, beautiful Little Nemo books.

It’s too bad the iPad didn’t exist in 1906, because it would be interesting to see what McKay could do with the smaller format and bright colors. As it is, the comics show up nicely on the screen but are a bit too small to be fully legible. (This isn’t helped by McKay’s wobbly, crowded lettering.) That means the reader’s experience is broken into two pieces—first you look at the page as a whole, and appreciate McKay’s lovely drawings and masterful compositions, and then you blow it up to read the lettering and follow the story. Admittedly, the second stage is optional, as the stories are fairly slight. The bottom line is that the iPad is really too small to show off these comics at their best, but it is a decent alternative if you can’t afford (or store) the full-size books.

One warning note: These comics appeared in the early 1900s, and they reflect the popular culture of the times. Which is to say, there are crudely caricatured black characters in several of the strips.

If you like the Christmas sampler, check out the 38-page Little Nemo in Slumberland app for $3.99.

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