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“So I got that comic book you were talking about,” said Mongo Mangosteen. “Kind of weird to have a comic book with a padded cover. You know what I mean? Especially with that subject matter.”

“I think the cover is a great touch! Makes it easy to carry around,” said Stan Lambkin, “and it isn’t just a comic book. It’s the whole short run of a series from the 1950s. Man, that’s a cultural artifact! Like looking through an archeologist’s lens or maybe even looking at our own time from the perspective of the future. It’s beyond categories!”

I overheard their conversation as I was delivering Mongo’s coffee and the three cookies called nazook. Then I saw the book. Cartoony cover for a book titled The Strange World of Your Dreams.

“Let me serve you and then I want to look at this book.”

“Don’t spill anything on it,” said Mongo. “I just bought it.”

“Tell me what it’s about,” I said. “Looks like a big fat comic book.”

“Let me explain,” said Stan. “Back in the 1950s comic books were being condemned for violence and for causing juvenile indecency or delinquency. People got upset because of Fred Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent. Talk about pandering to a crowd! That guy was a rabble rouser! So then the publishers tried to prove that comics were educational and wholesome and people had nothing to fear. So someone got the brilliant idea to use comic books to bring psychology and dream interpretation to a wide audience. Not that comic strips hadn’t done that already if you’ll remember Little Nemo. These comics introduced a dream detective who offered semi-Freudian interpretations of dreams. Typical 1950s–the dream detective would take his secretary out to dinner. Pre Mad Men culture. In the first issue the editorial group invited readers to send their dreams for interpretation. The artwork is cool—classic Jack Kirby and Mort Meskin. It feels like classic suspense and horror and then the endings are always twisted positively by the dream detective. It’s bizarre cool. Like cheap time-travel. The collection compares the material to the meeting of Sigmund Freud and Salvador Dali, something that actually happened in London and must have been metaphysical.”

“Slow it down. I’m following you and I can see now why Mongo wants the book. I’m interested because of the mystical reality of dreams.”

“You might not like this because it’s not so much about divine messages in dreams. At least not in any traditional way. I think it’s a cool book and produced well,” said Stan. “Why don’t you buy a copy? Available online. You can always show it to people as an artifact of the old days.”


The Strange World of Your Dreams. YOE Books, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-61377-614-8