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

Saturday, October 31, 2009


The Marvel Comics edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been high on the New York Times list of graphic novel bestsellers for a few weeks now. The adaption by Eric Shanower, drawn by Skottie Young, is very enjoyable, including many incidents from the original book that would be unfamiliar to fans who only know the MGM film.

The original artwork for this series of graphic novels has been available for sale online for a while, and I finally purchased a couple pieces. With so many pages available, I couldn't decide what I wanted - but as the pages I was interested in kept disappearing, I had to make a decision! In the end, I chose two pieces that deal with the Wicked Witch of the West.

The artwork by Skottie Young is very fun, and takes a fresh approach to the characters. On the original art, the initial sketching is done with blue pencil, which adds nice movement and shading to the finished piece. (See comments below concerning the blue "pencil"). It's also fascinating to see the choices made by the artist as to which lines to ink or ignore. The drawing on the left shows the Witch wearing the Golden Cap and summoning the Winged Monkeys.

There's quite a contrast between the drawing, and the printed image which has been colored. The color adds a lot of depth and atmosphere to the scene, but after seeing the original, I think a lot of Young's lovely line work gets lost.

The second drawing shows the events leading to the melting of the witch. Both drawings have a nice darkness to them, in contrast to some of the lighter, cheerier images in other parts of the story. But I have to admit, I can't help thinking of Sam Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes when I look at Dorothy's face in the final panel!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Book Collectors Guide to L. Frank Baum & Oz

Earlier this year I men- tioned my excitement and anticipation for this new guide to the works of L. Frank Baum and later Oz authors. Having written a review for the Baum Bugle, I decided to wait a bit before reviewing the book on my blog; but now that the Bugle review has been published, I'll post a capsule review.

In a nutshell, it's a lovely book filled with all kinds of information concerning the works of Baum, his successors, and book publishing of the period. Every title is shown in full color, as well as significant binding changes, and the information for identifying editions and states is clearly presented. A number of rarities are shown, certainly a number of things I've never seen before, and there are essays throughout that juxtaposition Baum's life with his books. The portions dealing with non-Oz books by Baum are particularly handy, as this information hasn't been available in a single source before.

Paul Bienvenue and Robert Schmidt have done a fine job in assembling this book - anyone interested in Oz, Baum's writing, or collecting Oz and related books will find this a very enjoyable resource. It's as entertaining as it is informative, which isn't something that can be said for a lot of bibliographies!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


In honor of the 70th anniversary of MGM's Wizard of Oz, here's a wood engraving by Barry Moser of Judy Garland as Dorothy. I'm afraid this is a little late for all the 70th anniversary hoopla that was held a couple weeks ago! This portrait was commissioned by Books of Wonder in 1987, prior to the 50th anniversary of the film. 600 prints were produced from the original woodblock.

Moser illustrated The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with a suite of wood engravings in 1984. In the book, he included a portrait of Judy Garland as the China Milkmaid in the Dainty China Country.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wonderful People of Oz

Today I'm showing the newspaper page which was a preview to the Queer Visitors From the Marvelous Land of Oz comic series. This was published on August 28th, 1904, a week before the comics began. Quick summaries of the various characters are presented, to familiarize the readers and prepare them for the stories ahead. Illustrations by John R. Neill from The Marvelous Land of Oz were used, even though the comic page characters would be drawn by Walt McDougall.

The story summary given is interesting, as it seems to imply that the comic adventures take place during the time of the character's escape from the Emerald City in the Gump. Of course, this doesn't make sense in terms of story continuity, as Tip is not included in the comic pages. I don't know if this page was written by Baum - I suppose it may be. References are made to the stage show of The Wizard of Oz, and the siege of the Emerald City is compared to the Russians at Port Arthur!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oz Hats

Earlier in my blog (here) I mentioned that I once had two hats from the 1981 Children's Theater Company production of The Marvelous Land of Oz. I worked at the theater while I was in college at the time, and after the show was filmed for video some of the costume pieces were tossed. These hats were disposed of, and I latched on to them.

I passed them on to my nieces, and assumed that they had long since fallen apart and disappeared. However! My sister recently visited, and as proof that she reads my blog, she delivered the two hats. I should have realized that they would still be lingering somewhere in her house. Here they are - 28 years later, somewhat worse for wear but still recognizable. The question is, what do I do with them now?