Winsor McCay was a pioneering animator and comic strip artist who was a native of Spring Lake, Michigan.
In 1880, the Goodrich steamship Alpena, en route from nearby Grand Haven to Chicago, was wrecked in a terrible storm and sank to the bottom, carrying with it nearly one hundred passengers. At the age of thirteen, young Winsor drew a picture of the wreck on the blackboard of Union School, which he attended on Exchange Street. The illustration was photographed and copies were sold as postcards.
McCay’s comic strips included Little Nemo in Slumberland and Dream of the Rarebit Fiend. McCay created the very first animated cartoon in America with the release of Little Nemo in 1911 (See video link below).
Many in the animation world hail McCay today as the “Father of Animation.” As a tribute, the highest award that an animator can receive is an “Annie,” which is the Winsor McCay Award for Lifetime Achievement in Animation.
You can read more about McCay and see Little Nemo in this feature from Seeking Michigan entitled The Father of Animation and watch one of his early animations below on a very Michigan topic … the mosquito.