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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Earlier this year I spent a good deal of time creating centerpieces for the National Oz Convention, in the form of candy containers based on the corn mansion of the Scarecrow. While I was working on  them, I kept thinking that Jack Pumpkinhead's house would also work well in the same style. In fact, I considered making both for the convention but decided, in the interest of sanity, to stick to one design that I had already figured out and knew how to do!

Anyway, once that was over, I began to think about Jack again, and this is the result. I've based the piece on John R. Neill's wonderful illustration showing Jack's house in the 1909 book, The Road to Oz. Once again, this is a candy container - the pumpkin lifts off to reveal a central core for hiding sweets.

 Here you can see the door open, with Jack at home ready for visitors. The process started with an artificial foam pumpkin, which I carved and embellished before making a mold and casting in paper mache. There are still a few details I want to adjust, but the general scheme is finished. There are a number of similarities to the Scarecrow's house, but as Jack designed both, that shouldn't be too surprising!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Crossing the Desert

There are certain Oz illustrations that I find iconic - John R. Neill's illustration for Ozma of Oz, of Ozma crossing the deadly desert with her army, is one of these. Unfortunately, the original artwork by Neill seems to have vanished into the mists of time, like so many other original Oz illustrations. I would love to have been able to see this piece!

 I was fortunate several years ago to acquire Michael Herring's version of the same scene, painted for the cover of the DelRey paperback in 1978. This was closely based on the Neill illustration, with some minor changes. In this case the scene was considered memorable enough to represent the entire book!

 I've just picked up another version, Skottie Young's drawing for the Marvel comic of Ozma of Oz. I've been enjoying the Marvel editions, scripted by Eric Shanower and drawn by Young. I'm not really a comic collector, and I haven't been picking up the individual comic books. Instead, I've been buying the hardcover compilations, so seeing the entire story in a fresh light is a pleasant surprise. In my view, Marvel has managed to do something that Reilly & Lee was always half-heartedly attempting - produce an updated version of the Oz books in a format to appeal to today's young readers!