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Masterful McCay Now on DVD

Chuck Jones used to say that the two most important people in animation were Winsor McCay and Walt Disney, so kudos to Milestone for assembling this indispensable collection of pioneering work by McCay (1911-1921) on DVD. WINSOR MCCAY: THE MASTER EDITION (Image, $29.99) streets June 1. Most of this cartoonist's work is present, revealing what a fine draughtsman and storyteller he was when it came to exploring reality and fantasy and the metamorphosis of shapes.

McCay's most famous work, of course, is "Gertie the Dinosaur," which was part of a popular live show that offered the first emoting dino in movie history. Some have called Gertie a precursor to the later prehistoric creatures of Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen.

Also included are such delights as McCay's hand-colored debut, "Little Nemo," "Centaurs"(a noteworthy experiment in rotoscoping), "How the Mosquito Operates," "The Pet" and "The Flying House."

Full-length audio commentary by historian John Canemaker rounds out the DVD along with the featurette "Remembering Winsor McCay," in which former film assistant John Fitzsimmons warmly recalls working with the great cartoonist.