Before there was Charles Schulz and Peanuts, before there was even Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, there was the comic strip artist and animator who made it all possible. Winsor McCay, the creator of "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and the groundbreaking short animated films based on Nemo and Gertie the Dinosaur, was a pioneer in early filmmaking and comics, and today's Google Doodle is celebrating him, timed to the 107th anniversary of the "Little Nemo" comic. Click on the screenshot below to see the action all go down at Google.

If the drawing style here feels familiar, that's because McCay's influence has been felt for more than a century, even though his stories and especially the animation may feel primitive today. Little Nemo was never the most popular cartoon strip of its time, but McCay was revered for his artistic ambition, and obviously the inventiveness with which he brought his drawings to motion pictures. You can watch the 1911 short "Little Nemo" below to see just what an insane proposition an animated film really was at the time.

Obviously Winsor McCay didn't invent animation, but he was incredibly important in moving the art form forward, and we owe him credit for virtually everything that's come since, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs-- the first animated feature film, made nearly 30 years after "Little Nemo"-- to Toy Story. Little Nemo and Winsor McCay may be icons of the past, but Google picked a perfect pioneer to honor all the same.