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After the publication of the full-size Little Nemo in Slumberland, the big question for Sunday Press Books was, “What’s next?” Many other comic strips deserve the full-size treatment, but the obvious first choice was the early years of Frank King’s Gasoline Alley.
I had always enjoyed these Sundays with Walt and Skeezix, particularly those dream and fantasy strips that owed obvious thanks to Nemo. But after taking on this project I realized that the true beauty in these comics went beyond those remarkable fantasy and surrealistic pages. Like McCay, Feininger, Herriman, and others of that era, King was a graphic innovator. His panoramic layouts, themed styling, and whimsical cartoon conceits explored new artistic methods. But he also had a great knowledge of story and character, presented with a warmth and humanity never seen before in comics, and rarely done as well since. He went beyond the gags and slapstick of his contemporaries to create vignettes of genuinely human characters; showing them relating to each other and, particularly in his Sunday comics, to the world around them.