Before Frank King created his seminal strip Gasoline Alley, he drew this charming and amusing Little Nemo knockoff, Bobby Make-Believe. In the teens, many strips were "inspired" by McKay's touchstone opus, such as The Explorigator and George MacManus' pre-Bringing Up Father journey into the fairy-world, Nibsy the Newsboy. Each of these carried it's own creator's style to the fairy-tale/dream concept, and Bobby Make-Believe brings Frank King's gorgeously flowing line and focus on the young people of the blue-collar class.
Like many early strips, Bobby Make-Believe is essentially a "one-note" comic. Each of Bobby's adventures began with Bobby playing at being a pirate hunter, a prince, or even a monkey! Then the perspective shifted to the imaginary world Bobby was creating, before being brought crashing back to the real world by the oft-jarring intrusions of the mundane.
As the Great War raged in Europe, Bobby imagined himself as a flier and a soldier several times. These strips where he imagines himself a signal corpsman are especially interesting, with their extended semaphore sequences (and signal key!).
Like McKay, King revisited themes of growing and shrinking several times, and even tipped his hat directly to the master on more than one occasion.
But if it was derivitave at some level, it was transplendent on so many others, and it was King's first successful strip. Prehaps King even played inspiration to later works, as the pattern that King developed in Bobby Make-Believe matches closely the later, wonderful Thurber classic The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Bobby Make-Believe was discontinued in 1918, as King's true calling--Gasoline Alley--premiered.
By Frank King