"Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend" by Winsor McCay (1905)
1905? A comic strip from 1905? A comic strip about food poisoning from 1905? A collection of comic strips about food poisoning from 1905?
Yes, my friend, this is a real thing. Winsor McCay drew these comic strips for the New York Evening Telegram in 1905, and most of them have been lovingly reproduced in this volume.
The set-up is pretty simple: someone eats something called "rarebit," or "Welsh rarebit," gets sick, and has strange dreams. Some of the dreams are about getting rich. Other dreams are about getting fat. And still other dreams are about furnaces coming to life, turning into devils, and chasing you over rooftops.
Definitely one of the oddest things I've seen in a while, but not by any means bad. McCay was a good artist, and if the "dreams" that occupy each page of the collection are a bit repetitive, that's to be expected given the time period in which they were produced.
We are, after all, talking about a time before comic books even existed.