Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wonder City Art


I have a couple pieces of artwork by John R. Neill from The Wonder City of Oz. Two pieces feature one of Neill's new characters, Number Nine, a Munchkin boy who ends up as assistant to the Wizard of Oz. In both pictures, he's wearing his whistlebreeches - pants that play music if the wearer slows down while working. As Number Nine was a somewhat lazy boy, he was given these pants to make sure he kept moving!

This drawing was used as the heading for Chapter 21, on page 216. According to Neill's notation on the artwork, it was originally intended for Chapter 5, much earlier in the book. The editing and rewriting of Neill's manuscript required moving illustrations about throughout the book, and many were changed to fit the final story.

The second drawing I'm showing is Number Nine with the Town Crier - a typically Ozzy pun/character . I've always found this drawing odd because Number Nine is clearly missing one leg. On the drawing, there are pencil remnants of various positions tried by Neill for the right leg, but he must not have been pleased with any - so, no leg!

4 comments:

Bell-Snickle said...

Have you ever read the original "Wonder City" manuscript? I know its not supposed to be amazing but I hope it gets published someday.

Bill Campbell said...

No I haven't, and it would be interesting to see. There are a lot of fun aspects to Neill's writing, but overall I don't think it holds together as well as the other Oz authors. I believe a copy of the manuscript is coming up in the Bloomsbury auction of the late Fred Meyer's collection.

Bell-Snickle said...

I saw that on the auction site. Fred had a pretty fantastic collection. I can see how it makes sense for the Oz Club to auction those rarities for fund but a part of my wishes some of the things (like the original "Wonder City" manuscript and the manuscript for "Rosine and the Laughing Dragon") were going into a public museum. Ah well, I'm glad to at least get a peak of them online!

Bill Campbell said...

You never know, there's always the chance that they could end up in a library collection...