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

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Philadelphia North American

Newspaper pieces are an interesting area to collect, but also difficult - due to the rarity of surviving pieces, and the fragility of those that do survive. These need handling with care!

The Philadelphia North American newspaper has several ties to the Oz series. The biggest is the Queer Visitors from the Land of Oz comic page which was published and syndicated by the paper. This was written by L. Frank Baum, and drawn by Walt McDougall, one of the earliest comic page artists.

John R. Neill worked for the paper at various times, and his artwork appears for a variety of stories/articles, including a serialized version of L. Frank Baum's Fate of a Crown. Most notable is the Sunday comic The Little Journeys of Nip & Tuck, written by W. R. Bradford.

In 1909/10, when the North American was running the Little Journeys comic page, another person was working at the paper. Lawrence Semon provided a series of illustrated articles explaining magician's tricks, and also created a paper toy on the Sunday comic page for children to cut out and assemble. In 1925, as Larry Semon, he would play the Scarecrow and star in the silent film of The Wizard of Oz.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea the "Queer Visitors" comics were printed in color! I've only seen black and white copies and I'd just assumed that the originals were in black and white as well.

Bill Campbell said...

As a Sunday comic, and with a prestigious author, these pages were intended to be printed in color - it's possible that some papers may have reduced the printing to two colors due to costs. The Baum Bugle has reprinted them over the years, in black and white.

The Nip & Tuck pages were also in color, although they were reduced to half page strips and printed in two colors by the end of the series.

Anonymous said...

It makes sense that they would have been in color. Thanks for sharing these, they're much more vibrant than the black and white copies.

It would be great if full-size, full-color reprints of the "Queer Visitors" and "Nip & Tuck" comics were available though I suppose that wouldn't be economically feasible.

Bill Campbell said...

A quick correction - after taking a look at them, I realize the Nip & Tuck comic pages were still printed in full-color, not two-color at the end of their run. However, they did get reduced to half page. I really should double check these things before posting!