Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sis Sez Sunday - 18

Eric and an Oz friend and I went camping last weekend; and we nearly froze to death! Atleast we weren't attacked by the pine trees like Sis!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 18, in September 1937. If you love Marge's Little Lulu you're sure to get a kick out of Sis!

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.

L. Frank Baum's Hallowe'en

Boo! Did I scare you? I didn't think so...

Anyway, we've just posted our monthly FREE Tiger Tale on the Hungry Tiger Press website. This month it's L. Frank Baum's short ghost story My Ruby Wedding Ring  Come take a look!

In addition I'm also happy to share a short poem by L. Frank Baum from Father Goose's Year Book (1907). Happy Hallowe'en!

October Thirty-First

Future husbands may be seen
On the night of Hallowe'en;
Also front gates may be found
In the back yard on the ground.
When the door-bell rings don't worry
For the boys are in a hurry.
Ghosts are seen both fat and lean
On this frisky "hallowed" e'en.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

AGE OF BRONZE: The European Tour!

Finally I can take a moment and fill our readers in on our European antics during the European Age of Bronze tour! It's a long blog!

The first stop was Bristol, England. Eric had been invited to speak at the Imagines II - Seduction and Power conference which is about the use of Antiquity in the Visual and Performing Arts. There was also an exhibition of Eric's original Age of Bronze artwork at The Bristol Gallery where the artists being shown were Eric Shanower and Henri Matisse! Hah! 

We managed to work in a day trip to Cardiff (Eric and I had never been to Wales before), and many of us at the conference took day trips to Bath and a stunningly beautiful estate called Stourhead near Wiltshire. The last day we took the train to London (where we spent a few hours) before heading to the airport to fly to Athens.

Eric had been invited to speak at The American School of Classical Studies at Athens. We stayed in the huge mansion of a house occupied by the Director, Jack Davis, and his wife, Shari Stocker. The first day we went to the National Museum in Athens. The next day we took a long day trip to Delphi to visit the oracle. Delphi was stunningly beautiful - the first place I have ever visited that may rival Yosemite for sheer natural beauty.

We departed Athens the next day for a three-day  personal tour of important Bronze Age sites in the Pelopenese. First up was Mycenae. Seeing Eric's face as we saw the Lion Gate for the first time was wonderful. Eric and I were both surprised that the approach was so steep! It doesn't look like that in photographs. Next up was Tiryns, and then a stop for the night in Nafplion. Next day gave us a trip to Pylos and on to Kyparissia where we were to spend the night with friends. It was very warm and Eric and I went to the beach for an hour or so and watched the sun set. The next AM we departed for Athens but stopped to visit Corinth (even though it isn't primarily a Bronze Age site).

We spent the next couple days seeing Athenian sites, the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Libary. Eric did multiple interviews and ended up on the front page of two of the biggest newspapers in Greece! Eric finally did his lecture in Athens, on the same program with Apostolos Doxiadis and Alecos Papadatos, the creators of the graphic novel Logicomix. We left Greece just in time to dodge a strike of the Air Traffic Controllers thanks to Olympic Airlines moving our flight-time up by several hours.

We were now off to Paris where we had to immediately catch our train to Saint Malo for the Quai des Bulles Comics Festival. Saint Malo (at left) is a wonderful old walled town that looks like it was built in the Seventeenth Century. It was actually leveled during World War II, but was carefully rebuilt as before.

This was our second time at the French comics festival. I love it! Eric sits and signs books all day long. And I get to walk the ramparts, drink little cups of coffee, hike out to little islands when the tide is out, and have fun. Twice Eric and I had lunch on one of the islands, Grand Bé. We'd buy some bread, cheese, grapes, and a bottle of Cidre Brut. Voila! Le dejeuner a eté preparé!

After Saint Malo we began the Age of Bronze signing tour! A new volume of Age of Bronze had just come out. The French are actually ahead of the USA at this point in AOB collections. The beginning of the signing tour coincided with the beginning of a French national strike, so our train connections were doubtful at times. But only one stop on the tour, Tours, had to be canceled because we just couldn't get there by train on the day scheduled. The rest of the tour went relatively smoothly. Our first stop was Caen where Eric signed at a wonderful comic shop called La Cour des Miracles. We also visited the castle of my 29th great grandfather, William the Conqueror.

Next up was a signing in Bordeaux (at BD Fugue) where we stayed with the family of Eric's French publisher; and then on to a signing in Poitiers where Eric signed books at Bulles d'Encre and I played tourist visiting two lovely 1000 year old churches. We returned to Paris where Eric had his final signing in Boulogne, a suburb of Paris, at Le Comptoir de BD. We spent the last day in Paris on our own. We saw a major exhibit on cartoonist Moebius (Jean Giraud) and then went to the Musée d'Orsay and finally dinner with friends.

The next day we flew to London where we had eight hours to kill before our train to Bristol. We went to the British Museum followed by a nice dinner. The next day we began our flights home.

It was a truly grand trip!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Opening Night! THE WIZ

Today we share a cool bit of theatre memorabilia from the original Broadway production of The Wiz.

This is an invitation to the Opening Night Party on January 5, 1975. Interestingly, the printer or copy writer has given the date as 1974. No doubt this is a mistake the likes of which many of us have made just as the year is turning. The invitations were probably ordered in December of 1974.

The show success came slowly over the next weeks as word-of-mouth and an innovative television commercial drew in an audience. I wonder how many people going to that party new they had a mega-hit on their hands that would run for years!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Judy Garland's Autograph

While I have never been a major MGM Wizard of Oz collector I do have a few things and I do really love the film. One of the first MGM-related autographs I ever got was Judy Garland's. A friend (a major Garland expert) gave it to me when I was a teenager.

While it's not a photograph or anything Oz-related, I really like that it tells a bit of a story. It is a canceled check made out by Judy Garland to the IRS in the amount of $13, 931.13. The check is dated October 14, 1963 and therefore coincides with the time she was appearing on television in The Judy Garland Show.

I like that the check and signature come from a very creative and (I hope) happy time in Garland's life. And this kind of autograph just feels perhaps more real than a signed photo would. It's a peek backstage into a very real and very important moment in Garland's life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet Sixteen-and-two-thirds!

There's a pretty good collection of old Ozzy recordings here in the Tiger Den and one of the more unusual ones is this cute little set I found in a Goodwill store in Albuquerque when I was about fifteen. I think it probably cost me about twenty-five cents.

This little album measures 7.5" x 7.5" and holds five small records the size of 45s. However, these are recorded at the arcane speed of 16 and 2/3s RPM. This was a short-lived format for making talking books. This very slow turntable speed was not adequate for music but worked fine for spoken dialogue. Indeed this little set contains the entire text of L. Frank Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz read aloud on its ten sides. Back then my Dad's phonograph had a 16 2/3 speed setting and I listened to the recording. It was pretty good as I recall. My current phonograph does NOT have this speed on it but it could be easily played by recording it at 33 1/3 RPM and cutting the speed by half in a computer-based sound editor.

This set was released in 1956 the year Wizard entered Public Domain.It was produced by the Audio Book Company of St. Joseph, Michigan.

Each spread of the album is illustrated in color showing a scene from the book. (See below) It's a really beautifully produced little album and one I have not seen come up for sale very often. That Goodwill in Albuquerque gave me several neat finds; but none as cool as this one.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marvelous TIMES!

Just wanted to let people know that Eric Shanower and Skottie Young's Marvelous Land of Oz graphic novel from Marvel Comics just made its third straight week on The New York Times Bestseller list under "Graphic Books."

Starting next week we will have copies available on our website - they're on the way to us now!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tik-Tok Gets a Friend!

You may remember one of my first blog posts was about my little stuffed Tik-Tok from Walt Disney's 1985 film Return to Oz.

Well, now Tik-Tok has a friend! I just got a Scarecrow for him to play with! These toys were produced by Heart á Heart for sale only in Japan at Disneyland-Tokyo. All of the Heart á Heart Return to Oz toys are super rare - but none are so rare as the big stuffed figures.

This Scarecrow is a bit sun-faded and he's missing his collar-piece but who cares! He's mine, mine, mine!

Now to find Jack Pumpkinhead and the Tin Woodman to complete the set!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sis Sez - 17

Sis is already busy cheering us on as this blog kicks back into high gear now that we're back from the European AGE OF BRONZE tour!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 18, in September 1937. If you love Marge's Little Lulu you're sure to get a kick out of Sis!

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I'm happy to share the news that Eric Shanower's and Skottie Young's adaptation of L. Frank Baum's Marvelous Land of Oz from Marvel Comics hit The New York Times Bestseller list under Graphic Books Hardcover. It made the list last week at No. 5 and this week at No. 9. You can see it all for yourself by clicking here.

I'm also very pleased and surprised to have made it to over 100 blog posts so quickly. This is blog 101!

This month the blog readership went down a bit. The more personal blog posts always get more hits and there really weren't any in the last four weeks because Eric and I were in Europe on the Age of Bronze tour. While I had diligently prepared a month's worth of blog posts in advance, so the blog would continue while we were away, there were none of the more beloved "personal" ones. They will return soon and  I will write a detailed post about my Bronze-age travel adventures with the celebrity husband sometime in the next few days.

So, I'm back!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

John R. Neill & Jan of the Jungle

Many readers of this blog are also fans of John R. Neill's beautiful illustrations - and many collect his non-Oz illustration work as well. But one of the more unusual Neill illustrated titles is the 1966 Ace Books rack-size paperback edition of Otis Adelbert Kline's Jan of the Jungle.

When collecting Neill illustrated books one doesn't usually think of  looking in rack-size paperbacks dating from the mid-1960s. So what's going on?

Well, Neill did a lot of illustration work for Argosy magazine. And in 1931 Neill illustrated Jan of the Jungle for Argosy. Ace Books, an inexpensive science fiction publisher simply reissued the novel and used a couple of Neill's illustrations. Neill did many other illustrations for the Argosy version of the story.

There is no mention of Neill being the illustrator except that Neill's signature appears beneath the illustration on the title page. The other Neill illustration in the book is on 43 showing Jan riding a sea serpent. There is one other illustration in the book (on page 5) which is not by Neill.

This book actually belongs to my partner, Eric, who has read it and says its a very decent Tarzan-esque novel. Indeed, Kline is considered by many to be the greatest of the Edgar Rice Burroughs imitators. Two of Kline's most respected books are The Swordsman of Mars and The Planet of Peril.

Below you can see a more detailed scan of the illustration from the title page.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sis Sez Sunday - 16

Come on, Sis, you've got to climb every mountain! But do watch out for that goat!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 17, in August 1937.

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wizard on the Roof

One of the strangest videos I own is a private VHS tape that a friend sent me. It was a video of a production of The Wiz being performed by children at a Hebrew camp. Yes, these sweet little white Jewish kids performed The Wiz in Hebrew! Songs, too. Oy!

I am not going to be posting YouTube excerpts! However, I will take the opportunity to share an image of the rare Israeli release of the Original Cast recording of The Wiz.

What makes the record so interesting to me is that it uses a photograph of the Fab Four instead of Milton Glaser's beautiful, but stark, Tornado dancer image.

The music on the album is the same as the American release; it is not performed in Hebrew. If only it were!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Purple Dragon

I've always thought that The Purple Dragon and other Fantasies was a much under-appreciated Baum book. This anthology was put together by David L. Greene for Fictioneer Books in 1976.

The volume contains stories from Baum's A New Wonderland (1900), Mother Goose in Prose (1897), American fairy Tales (1901), and a few of Baum's animal fairy tales from The Delineator magazine.The book is very handsome. It's bound in light lavender cloth stamped in dark purple, and it has multiple interior illustrations, pictorial endpapers, and a dustwrapper drawn by Tim Kirk.

Kirk has worked for Hallmark and Disney and was a Senior Designer at Tokyo DisneySea. In his early year he won five Hugo Awards for "Best Fan Artist."

I got the chance to meet him a while back at a Fantasy/Science Fiction Con and asked him to sign my copy of Purple Dragon.

Tim Kirk happily obliged, and I got a sketch of the Purple Dragon, too!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sis Sez Sunday - 15

Apparently Sis and sailing don't mix!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 17, in August 1937.

What'll happen next week? I wonder! 

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Little Wizard Strikes Again!

This edition of The Wizard of Oz is even tinier than the one in the blog a few days ago!

This very small hardcover volume measures 3-7/8" by 2-3/4" and it is about 1/4" thick. It was in a bin of assorted Christmas ornaments when I found and purchased it. The only publication data in the book says that it was published by Pleasant Company Incorporated. I think I got it around 1989.

It may have been meant as a Christmas ornament as it does not contain the entire story. But the 45 pages it does contain are a facsimile of late Bobbs Merrill printings. This little volume contains all the pages from the  beginning of the book until page 34 in the chapter "The Road through the Forest."

In any case, it's quite cute! Below you can get a better idea of the actual size of the volume. I know there is a dollhouse-size version of Wizard out there somewhere - but I don't have one!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


It's almost time for Marvel Comics' first issue of Ozma of Oz by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young!  Hooray!

This is Eric's variant cover - which I love - though the coloring is not my favorite. Eric had nothing to do with the coloring.

You can see a five page preview by clicking on the link below. So check it out and get ready for a great eight issue series!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Little Wizard

I've always thought this edition of The Wizard of Oz was exceptionally adorable. It is the second British edition of Wizard and it was published by Hutchinson & Co. of London in 1926.

While this British edition (shown at right) is almost exactly like the 1920s American edition from Bobbs Merrill (though it has no color plates) what you can't tell from the picture is that this edition is about a third smaller than its American counterpart. It's a very unusual size for an Oz book!

Pictured below are the two editions side by side. I think it's very cute!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sis Sez Sunday - 14

Seems like Sis got some sun! Ouch!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 16, in July 1937.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ease on Down the View-Master

Many know and love the 1957 Wizard of Oz View-Master set. But there is an additional Ozzy View-Master pack that many don't know about. It was produced to promote the 1978 film version of The Wiz.

The 3-D images are pretty good with a lot of depth. I'm curious if View-Master had to send a special photographer to the set, or if the 3-D images were taken on set by the film's still photographer.

If only there were a Return to Oz View-Master, too!