Off-topic: Masonic sub-texts in Little Nemo

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When I class a post on this blog as ‘off-topic’ I do so with caution, as it’s probably far too early to dismiss anything as being ‘off-topic’. Jeet Heer, a Comics Journal forum user sent me back to an earlier post of mine about Will Alsop and Winsor McCay to point out something that I’d most definitely missed.

Yes, Gray and McCay were both Masons. There is a subtle masonic joke woven into the famous “Little Nemo” page with the walking bed. The bed stumbles against a church steeple, causing Nemo to fall back into waking life: the idea being, as per Masonic doctrine, that organized religion is a stumbling block to the imagination and freedom.

There is a fair bit of Masonic themes in Gray’s work as well: the orientalism of many of Daddy Warbuck’s aids (Punjab, Wun Wey, the Asp) who form a brotherhood to protect innocence and goodness (Annie). Warbucks and company are an international fraternal order, held together by a common decency that trancends culture: the masonic ideal in a nutshell.

Or consider the figure of Mr. Am — a jovial diety in the Annie world. He looks like Santa Claus and dresses like an arabian sultan; he’s lived forever and testifies to the unchanging verities of reality (and of human nature); he’s a benign and jovial god, but somewhat distant from human concerns. He’s illustrates the principal of deism.

You learn something new every day…

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    "no words no action" was an experiment in academic blogging. The blog recorded the progress of reading, research and investigations that lead to a Masters in Architecture dissertation at the University of Sheffield in autumn 2007. You can find out more about the author's interest in blogging here.

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