Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Newsies in Oz!

Back in the very early 1980s three teenage boys went to Oz. . . . Well, they each started Oz newsletters, anyway.

Eric Gjovaag - David Maxine - Scott Cummings (circa early 1980s)

In those days the Oz Club's journal, The Baum Bugle, was being published very sporadically, yet the Oz Club was heading into its biggest decade. Oz fans were simply itching for contact with each other, to learn of local Oz news and activities.

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The Seattle area was especially rich with Oz interest and club members, and the local group had begun holding a regular mini-Oz convention called The Oogaboo Rendezvous.

The group was becoming so active that Eric Gjovaag was the first to address the need for a regional Oz newsletter. In January 1980 he produced the first issue of The Oogaboo Review. The newsletter was published quarterly.

In addition to local news, Eric filled the issue with book reviews, mini-essays, short fiction, profiles of local Oz folk, and of course announcements and reports on the Oogaboo Rendezvous.

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In 1981 my family had just recently moved to Minneapolis and there was a large Oz community waiting to be organized. I started hosting local Oz parties, showing my collection at local libraries, and Fred Meyer mentioned The Oogaboo Review to me. I was immediately smitten with the idea of starting my own newsletter and in the Spring of 1981 I produced the first issue of The Pumperdink Press.

Like Eric's Seattle newsletter, The Pumperdink Press included a good deal more than local Oz news. I shared new treasures from my collection,  reviewed books and movies, and was pleased to include some really neat things, including Oz fiction by Philip José Farmer and previously unpublished artwork by W. W. Denslow, Dick Martin, and Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Each issue also contained an advice and gossip column written by Kabumpo, the Elegant Elephant.

The Pumperdink Press was published for three years. I  tried to make each issue more elaborate than the last, absorbing new layout techniques, printing on colored paper, exploring dry-transfer lettering and decorative layout tape, and having photographs screened. By the third issue I had switched from photocopying to off-set printing. All these regional newsletters were typed on typewriters. Affordable home computers and laser printers were still several years away.

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At exactly the same time, Scott Cummings of upstate New York began The Munchkin Monthly. Yes, a monthly! Though in actuality it was only supposed to be published ten times per year, the daunting schedule forced the closure of the paper after only six issues. It was soon reborn as a quarterly called The Munchkin Times.

Scott was the youngest of the three of us - his youthful enthusiasm was evident in his taking the time to hand decorate many of the issues (note the Ozmite wings under the masthead), and Scott would send personal notes and valentines. I even have a Munchkin Times pendant Scott made with Shrinky Dinks!

I don't know if Scott did this for everyone, but some of my envelopes came very elaborately decorated.

If memory serves me right, all three newsletters ceased publication sometime in 1985. I completed three volumes (twelve issues) of The Pumperdink Press. The final four issues were spread over almost two years. My first full-time theatre job was sapping all my creative energy. Eric Gjovaag eventually turned the reins of The Oogaboo Review over to his Assistant Editor, Glenn Ingersoll, after volume five, and Glenn produced another couple issues. The last partial issue I have of The Munchkin Times dates from August 1985 and I think that was the final one.

What I find most interesting is that we Oz boys were about the same age, each of us built our little Oz journals at about the same time, and each journal ended as our lives became too "grown up" for us to manage the headaches of editorship. Yet we each also went on to fairly high-profile lives in the Oz community. Eric Gjovaag developed the earliest (and best) major website devoted to L. Frank Baum and Oz; I went on to found Hungry Tiger Press and edit Oz-story Magazine (not to mention this time-sap of a blog); and Scott Cummings is currently the editor of The Baum Bugle - one of the best Bugle editors that journal has had.

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I can't finish this blog without mentioning one other Ozzy newsletter, The Quadling Quarterly. It was founded by a young kid named John Plummer from Tennessee. He prepared three or four issues and disappeared. Maybe he'll read this blog and say hello! [Note: Just reconnected with John Plummer on Facebook!]

The 1970s and early 1980s produced a very large and very engaged group of young Oz fans. I wish I saw more of that happening today. Kids, teenagers, and families seem to be disappearing from organized Oz life. I know kids still love Oz, but although I've seen a special few, I haven't seen a whole new generation of Ozzies chomping at the bit since the early 1990s - certainly not in the Oz Club anyway - but here's hoping!

Eric Gjovaag - David Maxine - Scott Cummings  -  (these days)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Just for the Record

Eloise Jarvis McGraw - early 1960s
My fondness for Ozzy and Oz-related recordings should come as no surprise to my readers - I have Ozzy recordings on everything from wax cylinders to eight tracks, from midis to mp3s.

My readers should also be aware of my interest in Royal Historian of Oz Eloise Jarvis McGraw. I was very excited a couple months ago to find two Oz-related LPs (I had never known existed) that fit neatly into both Ozzy interests.

Three of Eloise's non-Oz children's books were nominated for the prestigious Newbery Award - Moccasin Trail (1952), The Golden Goblet (1961), and The Moorchild (1996). It seems that in the mid-1970s the Newbery Awards produced a series of children's records of Newbery winners and Newbery Honor books.

The recording of The Golden Goblet was released in 1973 and the recording of Moccasin Trail came out in 1976.

The recordings are limited to one LP record each, and they are dramatizations with music, sound effects, and multiple actors, rather than a "reading" of the text. They are very well produced (as one would expect from the Newbery Awards).

These recordings were clearly made for school room and library use rather than for sale to the general public. The back of each record jacket features a synopsis, list of characters, background information on Ancient Egypt, Oregon, the Westward Movement, etc., as well as vocabulary words and "follow-up" activities.

I find no evidence that this sort of recording of The Moorchild was ever produced, though there is an unabridged version of The Moorchild produced by Recorded Books read by Virginia Leishman. In any case I'm quite pleased to have found copies of these two most unusual Oz-related recordings.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sis Sez Sunday - 75

Nice to see Sis's grandma has so much spunk!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 60, in April 1940. 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.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What's In a Name?

Many authors return to ideas again and again in their writings. The Royal Historians of Oz are no exception to the rule.

In the first chapter of The Hidden Valley of Oz by Rachel R. Cosgrove (Payes), we meet the main character, a little boy who’s busy building a kite. The boy is called Jam. On page two we learn that
Jam was really only his nickname. His full name was Jonathan Andrew Manley, so his initials spelled “Jam.”
Creating a nickname from a person’s initials isn’t unknown, but it’s fairly rare in real life. However, it isn’t all that rare in Rachel Cosgrove Payes’s fiction. Consider this passage on page twelve of Rachel’s romance novel Long Journey Home (1962), from the middle of a scene between the main character Ellen Leona Ford and her Uncle Simon.

  Even that foolish nickname Elf was so unsuited
  to her, she thought. Uncle Simon had started it
  years ago, because the initials of her full name
  spelled “elf,” but there was nothing magic
  about Ellen and she would be the first to
  admit it.

Two instances might be coincidence, but a name created from the initials of her main character turns up yet again in Rachel's books. In chapter eight of her gothic novel The Black Swan (1975) the main character Lady Margarita Elena Godoy loses her memory when her head is injured in a fall. She can’t remember any of her past. In the pocket of her dress she finds a patchbox given to her by her lover, although she can’t remember where it came from.

It was a beautiful little enameled box, with silver sides, exquisitely engraved. Turning it around in her fingers, she saw that there were initials on the box, initials formed of delicate white roses: M E G.
Then on page forty-nine, when a woman asks Lady Margarita her name, we read that
Recognizing peril in the woman’s words, she swallowed hard, trying to get rid of the lump of fear that was lodged in her throat. Who was she? She didn’t know. Then, she thought of the letters on the box hidden in her pocket. They spelled a common name.

“Of course I know who I am.” She put as much hauteur in her voice as she could muster. “My name is Meg.”
Rachel obviously wasn’t one to let a good idea go to waste. But once a decade might have been enough, since I've yet to find this naming convention in any of her other books. But there are still plenty of books to go, so we’ll see if she ever did it again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

White Edition Wednesday - TIK-TOK

Last week we pieced together The Patchwork Girl of Oz, so this week we've little choice but to to wind up Tik-Tok of Oz. This is actually the first hardcover "white edition" that I ever read. I already owned the ten Rand McNally "white edition" paperbacks then available, but I had never actually seen one of the hardcovers until I found a copy of Tik-Tok at the Albuquerque Public Library. I checked it out and devoured it. I remember reading Baum's letter to the readers and wondering what the heck The Tik-Tok Man of Oz was - and I was really surprised at the wraparound cover design. And that unusual feature of this "white edition" gets us firmly into today's blog.

The cover of Tik-Tok is one of Dick Martin's greatest finds and best choices. It is based on an original drawing by John R. Neill that was meant for the dust jacket of the first edition in 1914. For some reason it was not used, and Dick probably found the artwork in Reilly and Lee's files in the early 1960s. It was first published as the cover of the Christmas 1961 issue of The International Wizard of Oz Club's journal The Baum Bugle.

It would have been such a great dust jacket back in 1914! In any case, it finally joined the text it was meant for in 1964. It is too bad it throws off the uniformity of the full "white edition" series by lacking a spine vignette and having the wagon and harness wrap around the spine - but who cares, it's a grand image! Since I knew Dick Martin had access to the original line art, I was surprised to notice that he redrew the faces of Betsy, Polychrome, Ozga, and Queen Ann.

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Also note that one can only see Neill's original spine lettering on the Bugle cover - Dick redrew it to make it narrower and a tad easier to read, and, of course, to alter the publisher's name.

I thought I'd take a few minutes on this title to discuss the four-color, hand-done, color separation technique that Dick used on these books. There used to be two distinct ways to prepare an image for printing in color. One could do it photographically which required a piece of finished full-color artwork which was then photographed four times using filters to create four separate printing plates: cyan (a light blue), magenta (a vivid pink), yellow, and black (called "k"). This photographic-separation technique was always used for high-quality reproduction, for photographs, fine art books, etc., but many publishers used a cheaper method - they had a graphic artist draw each of the printing plates by hand, using his imagination to "create" a color image. This is what Dick Martin did for the "white editions." Below is an image showing each of the four drawings Dick prepared to print the Tik-Tok cover.

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The black drawing features the main line drawing - essentially Neill's original drawing. The blue drawing shows the grass, fills in some of the clothing, and outlines the title. The red drawing fills in the "Oz" and the title, the plumes on Hank's back, and is lightly shaded in to make Ozga's gown pink. The yellow drawing has lots of solid color, showing the grass again, the wagon, and a base-color for Hank. So you see, the light blue overlaps the yellow to make green grass. When you add the blue and red shading visible in Hank to the heavy yellow of Hank, you get a brownish Hank! First grade color theory at work!

Dick did something a bit unusual. He didn't always use the standard four printing colors. For example, above, he used a bright stop-sign red instead of the usual process-color magenta. The light blue was Dick's choice for all the white editions, though sometimes Reilly & Lee used cyan (which is a bit darker) and makes some printings of the books look a bit odd.

OK, on to Tik-Tok's interior. The ownership page has been omitted in favor of the "Famous Oz Books" ad - but you can see that Dick has reused the upper portion of the image.

The cover of the original edition of Tik-Tok was very striking - perhaps one reason the original dust jacket design was abandoned back in 1914. Dick must have found the cover an appealing image, too, as he traced it and prepared a new frontispiece for the book - and eliminated Tik-tok's gun. Note, too the blue outlining of the title in the original cover design. It is clearly Dick's inspiration for the same thick blue outlining on the "white edition" cover.

There are four copies of the "white edition" of Tik-Tok here in the Tiger Den, yet every copy here lists all forty Oz books on page two. Does anyone out there have a copy listing only Baum's fourteen?

Eventually, Rand McNally did release Tik-Tok in paperback, though I only found it in 1978 just as the paperback rights were being pulled from Rand McNally. It was at the same store on the same visit that I first saw the Glinda paperback, too. Rand McNally never did publish paperbacks of Rinkitink and Lost Princess. Do any of my readers recall exactly when they first saw or purchased a copy of the Rand McNally Tik-Tok or Glinda?

Next week, The Scarecrow of Oz!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sis Sez Sunday - 74

If there was ever an advantage to being the rear end of a horse it's when one is skating on thin ice!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 60, in April 1940. 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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

White Edition Wednesday - PATCHWORK GIRL

Last week we looked at The Emerald City of Oz, so this week we get to spend some time with The Patchwork Girl of Oz. For the cover Dick Martin adapted the original 1913 pictorial dust jacket design seen below.

The new cover design is in fact wholly redrawn and re-lettered by Dick Martin, though he clearly stays very close to John R. Neill in spirit. Breaking up the edges of the orange background with the parchment effect is a nice touch and the removal of the "steps" that Scraps and Ojo seem to be sitting on makes the image a bit simpler and elegant. The Woozy on the spine is from the original edition of the book. It's interesting to compare Neill's original (below left) with Martin's redrawn version (below right).

In many ways I think Martin has improved the image, making Scraps and Ojo more visually appealing. I'm especially glad Dick got rid of the red eyes and the Fred Flintstone-esque five-o'clock shadow on the Patchwork Girl.

Dick Martin made a number of interesting modifications to the interior. He eliminated the original ownership leaf, but reused the illustration on the "Famous Oz Books" ad page.

Dick Martin made two really nice "fixes" to the fore-matter. In the original color edition (circa 1913-1935) the Patchwork Girl's hair on the half-title was printed in red. When the color was eliminated in 1935 it left the illustration a bit nonsensical, showing Scraps with no hair and some missing art where the hair used to be. Dick drew in new "hair" and inked in a bit of the missing art to make the picture whole once again.

 Left: 1913 original, Center: typical 1935-1965 edition, Right: Dick's improved version.
Dick gave the same treatment to the picture of the Shaggy Man listening in on "the wireless," but note that Dick repositioned the sparking letters to avoid some rather ugly overlaps and clunkiness in Neill's original.

Left: 1913 original, Center: typical 1935-1965 edition, Right: Dick's improved version.

Bibliographic Oddities

The earliest copies probably featured a list of forty Oz books on page two, but none of the copies in the Tiger Den list forty Oz books. Can anyone out there confirm a copy listing all forty titles? However, in looking over copies I have access to, I found two variants of the book featuring the list of fourteen Oz books. In variant one, the "Famous Oz Books" ad has had the numeral "40" replaced by "14" in a new bold typeface and on the verso the ad lists the fourteen Baum books at the top of the page. Clearly the other twenty-six Oz books in the list have simply been eliminated. At the bottom of the page is the publisher's name (see below).

Variant One
Variant two, clearly later, has had the "Famous Oz Books" ad reset and partially rewritten, eliminating the need for a number at all. The list of the fourteen Baum books on the verso has been centered and the publisher's info has been eliminated.

Variant Two

What is odd about these two variants is that variant one was purchased new by me in 1979. It has a penciled-in price of $8.95 and it was bought at a major chain bookstore. The cover of this copy is also stamped in the lighter blue I believe Dick Martin preferred, yet this copy also has the under-sized boards, making the stamped image wrap wrongly. The interior is clearly quite early - the under-sized boards (I believe) indicate a later date. Variant two was recieved by Eric as a gift in 1971 and it has the proper-sized boards, but the blue ink on the front cover is the darker process-blue.

I find it very odd that a copy with an interior printed before 1971 shows up at a new bookstore in 1979 - though by that time the "white editions" were officially out of print. I'm not sure exactly what to make of this, but it is something to ponder. Any of you have any other variants?

That's it for Patchwork Girl right now - next time we'll pay a visit to Tik-Tok of Oz.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pondering the Program

Program Book for 2009
It's time for me to start giving some serious thought to my plans for the 2012 Winkie Convention Program Book. This year will be our fourth edition of the expanded convention guide.

If you've seen the Program Book you know that in addition to all the basic contents like the schedule and map and meal information, it also contains essays and articles about the books we are honoring at each convention. This year we are celebrating the centennial of one of L. Frank Baum's finest books, Sky Island. If you would like to write an essay or article on Sky Island or on Trot and Cap'n Bill, I'd be delighted to have it.

We are also celebrating Ruth Plumly Thompson's birthday with a special focus on her two Pumperdink books, Kabumpo in Oz and The Purple Prince of Oz, and I'd be happy to have an article or essay on RPT or her Pumperdink books.

The Winkie Convention can not pay for your submission, but we will make sure you get a copy of the Program Book - this can be especially nice to have if you aren't otherwise attending the convention. The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2012, though I'd appreciate them before then if possible.

If you would like to submit an original illustration or artwork, that is great, too! Images must be in black and white or grayscale and should measure proportionally  5 1/2" x  8 1/2".

For information on attending this year's Winkie Convention click here or click the Winkie Convention tab at the top of this blog. You may send submissions or submission questions to me at chair@winkies.org

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sis Sez Sunday - 73

All Sis needs is Mickey Rooney and she could be in Strike Up the Band!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 59, in March 1940. 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.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Eric on the Road to Oz

Today there's just a quick post to let you know that Eric Shanower will be speaking at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco next week. Details follow below. Hope to see you there!

Travel down the Yellow Brick Road with award-winning cartoonist Eric Shanower as he presents words and images from his many Oz projects through the years. Laugh as Shanower discloses his childhood efforts to channel the magic of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. Cheer as Shanower details his struggles to find a publisher for his early Oz comics. Sigh with relief as Shanower extolls his collaboration with Skottie Young on their New York Times best selling series of Oz graphic novels. Don’t miss this unique peek behind the curtain of today’s Oz comics and illustration.

The suggested donation for this event is $5.  Please join us at the Cartoon Art Museum on Thursday, January 19, 2012 from 7:00-9:00pm for this special presentation.

For more info you can visit the Cartoon Art Museum's website by clicking here.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Not everyone has lived with an Oz character. But in the early 1990s I did. And I don't mean Eric Shanower; I mean Eric Shanower's pet rat, Percy - the Personality Kid.

Percy came to live with us after Eric was hired to illustrate Rachel Cosgrove Payes's The Wicked Witch of Oz. Percy was to play a large part in the book, and Eric felt strongly that one reason Percy had not been much loved in Hidden Valley of Oz was because Hidden Valley illustrator Dirk Gringhuis drew the original Percy (in Eric's words) "like a deformed guinea pig."

Dirk's Percy form HIDDEN VALLEY (1951)
Indeed, Dirk's Percy is almost uniformly ugly and unappealing. His paws are elongated and formless, his head often perched on top of his torso like a furry darning egg. Dirk seems never to have consulted rat anatomy or any rat photos. Occasionally Dirk's Percy is a bit more rat-like - but often he's just weird - especially when Dirk had to draw Percy in a non-rat-like posture, such as walking on his hind legs or riding in Jam's collapsible kite.

Eric determined to redeem Percy, to make him both look like a real rat and to make him a likable character.  Percy was to play such a large part in the book that Eric thought photo research would not properly suffice, so he headed to the pet store and bought a rat. At the pet store Eric watched the assortment of rats, checking out their personalities, finally selecting "Percy" from the ratty riff-raff.

Eric sketched Percy, taught Percy to "pose," after a fashion, by  placing food on top of the cage so Percy would stand on his hind legs. So not only did the illustrations of Percy in Wicked Witch look a lot more like a real rat - but the personality of this "real" Percy came through as well.

One thing to note about drawing rats from life is that male rats have rather large balls. Eric wanted to remain true to life, so there is a good deal of rat-scrotum in the book, though Eric kept poses as clean as possible for the most part, as in the fine illustration above.

The picture I remember the most about was the title page/frontispiece spread. Eric had drawn a life-sketch of the real Percy sleeping and decided to use it in the book. He then decided that it would be a fine title-page spread and he could fill up the space, and sort of tell a little story, if there were a lot of rat paw-prints. Eric needed some reference for rat prints so he dipped Percy's feet in blue watercolor and let him walk around on white paper. Eventually Eric got some good prints and Percy got a rat treat.

I think Rachel was pleased that Eric got a real rat to help him with the book. Rachel much liked rats. Eric got Percy in July 1992, and we had him for about seven months. Percy succumbed to a respiratory infection in early 1993. No rat ever had a better memorial than The Wicked Witch of Oz. So long, kiddo!

Illustrations from THE WICKED WITCH OF OZ copyright © 1993 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

White Edition Wednesday - EMERALD CITY

So sorry to keep you waiting so long for this installment of "White Edition Wednesday," but holiday travels made it difficult. Last time we took a trip down The Road to Oz - thus it was inevitable that our next stop be The Emerald City of Oz.

The cover was inspired by the pictorial label used on Emerald City circa 1917-1928 (at right), which was based on the original first edition endpapers for Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.

For the front cover of the "white edition" Dick seems to have used a photostat of the Dorothy and the Wizard endpapers rather than redraw the image. But for the back cover he has traced in busts of Jack Pumpkinhead and Tik-Tok and he redrew part of Dorothy so that her arm hangs in front of the wall. Dick also eliminated Eureka. It's a very handsome design. You can see the original Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz endpapers below.
Original 1908 endpapers for DOROTHY AND THE WIZARD IN OZ

But there is one very interesting part of this cover design which I'd not particularly noticed before. The Nome King seems to be a Dick Martin original. I can find no Neill illustration that this Nome King is based on. With the background removed it's easy to see how very Martinesque this fine drawing of Roqaut really is. [Blogger's note: A reader has pointed out that Dick based this drawing of Roquat on the cover of the 1913 "Little Wizard" story, Tik-Tok and the Nome King.]

Dick Martin made very few modifications to the interior of Emerald City. There are only a few additions to the fore-matter. The "Famous Oz Books" ad on page one is illustrated with a modified version of the front cover illustration; Page four features a vignette of Ozma from the front cover. Indeed, the only real addition is the pair of lovely drawings on pages eight and nine of Ozma's and Dorothy's heads that were pulled from the original 1910 Emerald City endpaper design.

Original 1910 endpaper design for THE EMERALD CITY OF OZ

The earliest copies of the book list all forty Oz books, later printings reduce the list to Baum's fourteen. I have one query for my readers - Paul Bienvenue's Collector's Guide to Oz and L. Frank Baum shows an Emerald City "white edition" cover that is much darker, much more "emerald" that the usual "key-lime pie" color most copies of the book feature. Does anyone have a "white edition" Emerald City with this darker green? It may just be an oddity of Bienvenue's photograph - but it's also possible that some copies were much darker.

It actually looks like this "variant" might have been printed in true CMYK, the four process-color printing colors, cyan, magneta, yellow, and black (k). But Dick had clearly specified his own non-standard ink colors, so whether this odd-ball version is early, late, or a printer's glitch is hard to say. If you have one of these darker copies let me know if it had ads for fourteen or forty or if it has an inscription date.

OK, that's it for this week - next week we pay a visit to The Patchwork Girl of Oz!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

That's My Shaggy Man!

One of my favorite Oz acquisitions of 2011 was this very nice first edition copy of The Shaggy Man of Oz in a rather nice first dust jacket.

I've generally enjoyed the Snow Oz books. They don't violate Baum's Oz as much as Thompson's often do. I've also developed a fondness for Snow because he was gay in a time when it was not so easy to be so. I wish someone had done an in-depth interview with him, or an oral-history of sorts (though that really wasn't being done much back then). Snow did leave his personal papers to Fred Meyer - but Fred proceeded to destroy all of Snow's personal letters and documents not of an Ozzy nature. It's a great shame. Snow's private papers might have shed some light on his private life in New York City but Fred had a homophobic streak and probably felt he was improving Jack's reputation by destroying the personal material.

The thing that makes this copy of Shaggy Man a favorite acquisition of 2011 is that it is inscribed by Jack Snow on the ownership page: "This Book Belongs to Pat and Janet Nelson with love from the author, Jack Snow".

I've no idea who Pat and Janet are, nor whether Pat is male or female thus the book could be inscribed to an adult couple or to two little girls. Perhaps they were twins like Twink and Tom? In any case I'm very pleased to have this small but direct contact with the fourth Royal Historian of Oz.

Inscription by Oz author Jack Snow in THE SHAGGY MAN OF OZ (1949).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sis Sez Sunday - 72

I think Sis's boyfriend Bill is kind of a jerk. Keep writing, Sis -  freckles and all!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 59, in March 1940. 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.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Return of RETURN TO OZ

This fine French Return to Oz picture book was discovered a few months ago by my Ozzy friend Freddy. I had never seen one before and it wasn't listed in the published Return to Oz bibliography.

Given my fondness for Return to Oz and my interest in learning French, I had to have one! Knowing what to look for, my Ozzy friend Freddy pointed me toward a second copy - and voila! - I immediately ordered it from a fellow named Jordan in France. It took quite a few e-mails, some in my mediocre French and some in the seller's much better English, but finally the deal was done, the book was shipped. Then one day a few weeks later I go to the mailbox and the postman greets me saying he has a damaged package for me. Indeed, he ONLY has the damaged package for me - the large envelope covered in French stamps is ripped open and empty. The book is missing.

I scold the post office. I sob a little. I call the dead letter office, describe the missing book, and leave my cell phone number, then sob a little. I call Freddy and sob a little. And then Eric and I take off for our holiday trip.

One day out on the road I get a call from a nice woman named Roseanne at the dead letter office. She has found my book! I explain I am on the road for the holidays and will be back on January fourth. She says she will hold it and mail it to me to arrive on the fifth. It arrives. My book and I are happily united and my faith in the U.S. Post Office is greatly renewed. Thanks to Freddy, Jordan, and Roseanne for helping me get such a nice copy of Oz un Monde Extraordinaire!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dorothy of Oz

We're happy to offer another preview treat today - the cover by Eric Shanower for the first issue of the Dorothy of Oz prequel comic series coming in March from IDW! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sis Sez Sunday - 71

That is no way to spend New Year's Day, Sis! Besides, I think the cop saw you!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 58, in February 1940. 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.