Perhaps a picture? (Click picture for full majesty.)
It's more akin to flipping the pages of a wallpaper sampler than a collection of historic comics. This book is 18 inches tall and 14 inches across. It dominates the largest clear surface in my house - the kitchen island - like a B-52 bomber somehow parked astride an aircraft carrier's deck.
And then you open it up. First published in early 1911 - over 100 years ago now! - the art on the page is massive, but filled with delicate details. Cross-hatching, fine lines, skinny pen to create outlines, subtle washes of color. Many of the strips are illustrated from eye-level of small children, and the natural world around the characters seems almost life-sized.
Mr. Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann's Sprightly Cousin - The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpieces of Johnny Gruelle
By Johnny Gruelle
Edited by Rick Marschall
Introduction by Tony Millionaire
Fantagraphics / W.W. Norton | 9781606994115 | $75 | June 2012
From Fantagraphics' page about the book, some more context (you can click through to see a 12-page sample of the stunning interior pages):
The title character in the Sunday color page, Mr. Twee Deedle, is a magical wood sprite who befriends the strip’s two human children, Dickie and Dolly. Gruelle depicted a charming, fantastical child’s world, filled with light whimsy and outlandish surrealism. The artwork is among the most stunning ever to grace an American newspaper page, and Gruelle’s painterly color makes every page look like it was created on a canvas.
Gruelle’s creation was the winning entry out of 1500 submissions to succeed Little Nemo, which the New York Heraldwas losing at the time to the rival Hearst papers. With such import, the Herald added a $2000 prize, a long contract, and arguably the most care devoted to the reproduction of any color newspaper comic strip before or since.
Yet the wood sprite and his fanciful world have been strangely overlooked, partly because Gruelle created Raggedy Ann immediately after the strip’s run, eclipsing not only Mr. Twee Deedle but almost everything else the cartoonist ever did.
You'll want to follow the Fantagraphics Tumblr blog, too, for daily wonder and awe.