The animated Google Doodle recreates a typical Little Nemo strip with a few Google-related designs added in. The story was always the same, Nemo started off in bed asleep before suddenly embarking on an adventure that grew more and more fantastical as the comic panels grew larger and more elaborate. As the story reached its climax Nemo would suddenly wake up in bed, The End.
McCay's comic strip debuted on October 15, 1905 in the New York Herald. His work redefined the power of comics and innovated the medium. His influence reaches as far as the early animated films of Walt Disney decades later.
The cartoonist himself was born in Michigan in the mid-19th century; the actual date of his birth is disputed and could be either 1869 or 1871 according to records. McCay studied art on the side while attending business school, but ended up getting a job printing and engraving in Chicago. His first successful comic strip, "A Tale of the Jungle," was published by the Cincinnati Enquirer and lasted for over 40 issues.
"Little Nemo in Slumberland" ran in the New York Herald from 1905 to 1911 and appeared just once a week each sunday. Each week readers followed the exploits of Nemo, a 6-year old boy on a quest to find the Princess of Slumberland (daughter of King Morpheus), who desired Nemo as her playmate.
Following his tenure at the New York Herland, Winsor McCay was hired by William Randolph Hearst in 1911 to work as a editorial cartoonist for New York American, a daily morning paper (this was back when multiple papers were released throughout the day).
McCay even experimented with animation ahead of Walt Disney, creating a Little Nemo short (below) as well as the popular Gertle the Dinosaur.
On July 26, 1934, Winsor McCay died of a cerebral embolism at the age of 64. He was buried in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, NY.