Friday, September 28, 2012

The Earth Moved!

I just sat down and read  the newly released Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz from Marvel Comics. Eric Shanower and Skottie Young have made one of their best efforts yet. I'd read a lot of it as it was being serialized but really prefer to wait for the collection to come out.

I enjoyed "seeing" so much of the Mangaboo country - I'd never imagined the gang walking thru the air in low-gravity the whole time they are there. I also found I liked Zeb a lot more than I do in the original - and Eureka is just the best!

The graphic novel is actually a much stronger book than Baum's original as Eric has Dorothy explain how Ozma keeps watch over her via the Magic Picture and that if the gang can just stay alive until Friday at 2:00 PM they'll be OK. With this ticking clock started it adds suspense and deflects from the Deus ex machina quality of Baum's original.

I am also glad to report that we have copies in stock at our on-line store! Why not come by one today! If you order from us your book will be autographed by Eric Shanower and he'll even do a little Oz sketch in it for you!During checkout just let us know how you'd like the book signed in the "Special Instructions" field.

So come order a copy for yourself and maybe even pick one up for a friend! We have copies of Marvel's Wonderful Wizard, Marvelous Land and Ozma of Oz as well as all our usual Oz and Baum titles.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gage Graves

Last month on our cross-country trip we spent a day in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where L. Frank Baum lived from September 20, 1888, until about May 1891. A major impetus for Frank and Maud Baum to move from New York state to what was then the Dakota Territory was that Maud's siblings, including Helen Leslie Gage and Thomas Clarkson Gage, already lived there. Frank and Maud Baum spent less than three years in Aberdeen, eventually moving to Chicago where Frank would find fame as an author of children's books. But Maud's Aberdeen, South Dakota, siblings resided there for the rest of their lives.

The Riverside Memorial Park on the southwest side of Aberdeen, South Dakota, has a Gage plot where these folks were buried. We went to see it late in the day and took these photos.

Thomas Clarkson Gage (1848-1938), a founding settler of Aberdeen, was Maud Gage Baum's brother. He remained prominent in city affairs until his death.

Sophie Jewell Gage (1855-1945) was Thomas Clarkson Gage's wife, and thus sister-in-law to Maud Gage Baum and L. Frank Baum.

Helen Leslie Gage (1846-1933) was the eldest sister of Thomas Clarkson Gage and Maud Gage Baum.

Charles Henry Gage (1818-1892) was the husband of Helen Leslie Gage. Although he had the same last name, he doesn't seem to have been related by blood, at least not closely.

Matilda Jewell Gage (1886-1986) was the daughter of Thomas Clarkson Gage and Sophie Jewell Gage, and thus the niece of Maud Gage Baum and L. Frank Baum. Matilda was named after her maternal grandmother, Matilda Electa Joslyn Gage, the prominent women's rights activist. Matilda Jewell Gage visited her Uncle Frank and Aunt Maud often, preserved many artifacts related to Frank, and in her later years proved to be a valuable source of information about her famous uncle.

Leslie Gage (1882-1966) was the daughter of Helen Leslie Gage and Charles Henry Gage, and thus another niece of Maud and Frank. This previous posting features a newspaper photo of Leslie Gage.

It was near sundown when we stopped at the cemetery and the sky was spectacular. Who knew that Aberdeen, South Dakota, could be so beautiful?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Winkie Con Collectibles

This week the Winkie Con has been auctioning off a couple dozen Oz collectibles on eBay. all of the proceeds from the auctions will go to the Winkie Con Programming Fund.

Isn't that neat? Here's a chance to add something cool to your collection and support the the Winkie COn at the same time. Click here to see a list of the items being offered. The auctions end on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 PM Pacific time.

All of the items were donated by the family of the late Rik Thompson - a long-time Winkie who passed away earlier this year. Our thanks go out to his wife Haven, and daughter Melissa for their thoughtful generosity.

The many items date from the mid 1970s through the mid 1990s. There are many Ozzy Christmas ornaments, little dolls, stuffed Oz figures, Ozzy Russian nesting dolls - items celebrating the MGM Wizard of Oz film as well as Disney's Return to Oz.

So come on - go check out the auctions and show your support for the Winkie Con! If these auctions are successful we'll do our best to do this kind of thing again!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baum's History of Fairy Tale Authors

The following interview with L. Frank Baum was published in the Syracuse [New York] Post Standard, on June 28, 1905, taken substantially from the Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Sentinel. The H. C. Baum mentioned is L. Frank's older brother Henry Clay Baum.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the interview is Baum's assessment of his place among fairy tale authors.

Love in Children for Fairy Tales Is Natural, Says L. Frank Baum

To a Milwaukee Sentinel reporter a few days ago L. Frank Baum, the brother of Dr. H. C. Baum of this city, talked interestingly about children’s stories, The Sentinel says.

“L. Frank Baum of Chicago, author of the most fanciful and pleasing fairy tales for childhood since the days when Hans Christian Andersen used to charm readers, both young and old, with his great tales, is in Milwaukee on a business trip, and is registered at the Hotel Pfister. Mr. Baum talked interestingly yesterday about his work and the fascination that folk lore and fairy tales have always had for readers of every age and condition of life.

‘The love for fairy tales seems to be a natural inheritance of childhood,’ said Mr. Baum. ‘The reason for this has been debated by students of psychology and teachers of the young with frequency, and the only plausible explanation they have been able to reach is that the mind of a child, which unfolds with great rapidity during the first few years of life, is conscious of so much of the happenings of the real world it can only wonder at, that any story not containing a great deal of exaggeration and wonderful happenings seems tame to them.

‘In other words, children crave fairy characters and prefer their adventures to any other sort of a story.

‘Childhood seems to be perennial in the human race. Although we adopt grave and sedate airs, we are all children at heart, with the same love for the miraculous and the wonderful as in the days when as tiny tots we listened in round-eyed amazement while mother or nurse read us of the adventures that Jack had with the beanstalk. For that reason adults read my books with the same interest that characterizes the most youthful readers.

‘The recognized authors of fairy tales are few indeed. The Grimm brothers were simply collectors and compilers of tales and old folk lore. This is also true of Andrew Lang who has published so many entertaining books. These men have done work of inestimable value to the world in that they have preserved numerous legends which otherwise must have been lost or forgotten.

‘Hans Christian Andersen was the first author to be recognized as a producer of fairy tales, and he became famous in consequence as there was considerable satisfaction in being able to trace a fairy tale to its legitimate source. After him came Lewis Carroll, the famed author of “Alice in Wonderland,” who was the next author to create a distinct class in fairy literature, and so the list really ends as far as the Old World is concerned.

‘I think I was the first author of fairy tales in America to win recognition. My most famous book is the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” The “Scare Crow,” the “Tin Woodman” and the “Cowardly Lion” have all become famous in their way. All of my stories have some sort of a central figure, around which the somewhat gauzy plot is woven.’

“Mr. Baum has published no less than sixteen books of fairy tales.”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Boy Fortune Hunters in Shasta Lake

I promised to discuss some treasures I found along the way during our great summer road trip - the first goodie I found was this!

As you can see, it's a copy of L. Frank Baum's Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska, published under Baum's pseudonym Floyd Akers. I found it at an antique/junk shop in Shasta Lake, California. It's in decent condition and seems to be a first edition, third state. It was inexpensive, but not exactly a steal at $35, but I talked the seller down a bit.

I didn't actually have a copy of this title, even though I did reprint it in Oz-story No. 1 and there has been a copy in the Tiger Den as my partner Eric has a copy in his collection. Also, in fairness, I did already have a very nice copy of Sam Steele's Adventure on Land and Sea, which is in fact the same book - just in its earliest incarnation with a different title.

More treasures to come!