Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I suppose folks have noticed that I've been blogging a lot less than I used to. There are many reasons - I have been busier at work, I became irritated over a handful of obnoxious people who were leaving obnoxious comments on the blog (I deleted them), and I must admit I felt a little bit of blogger burn-out - a quite common disease! I sincerely hope to begin blogging more regularly again and will do my best to do so.

Today I am sharing an assortment of Ozzy news, but wanted to add a personal touch as the more personal blog posts have always been the more enjoyable to write. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my first exposure to Oz was my watching the MGM film on our black-and-white television when I was four years old. I enjoyed it a lot, but it certainly didn't turn me into a mega-Oz fan. However, not long after seeing the film, my mom and I were walking through the Lobo Bookstore near the University of New Mexico campus, and on an end-cap I saw a copy of The Wizard of Oz - the edition pictured below.

I don't remember if I saw the cover and knew what it was or whether my mom pointed it out. In any case, we bought it and I think it was read to me. However, the main thing I remember was how much the cover illustration fascinated me. I'm still not sure why. Perhaps it was because the characters looked quite different from the way they did in the MGM film? I think it was partly the heavy blue/green tonality of the image. I don't know what happened to the original copy of the book we bought, but when I found this copy about fifteen years ago, I saw the cover illustration and instantly was taken back to being four years old. It was quite a powerful sensation!

The book has proved quite interesting to examine with my adult eyes. The book was published by Avon Books, and this copy says "First Camelot Printing, November 1967." I suspect I encountered the book right after it came out. The interior is an unabridged Wizard text featuring all of the illustrations from the early 1960s Reilly & Lee "white edition." The little book even has a collage of Denslow images printed on the inside covers and fly-leaves, creating an "endpaper" effect. I am sure, in retrospect, that one thing that drew me to want the book when I was little was the fact that it was profusely illustrated. 

So this was my first ever Oz book. I wasn't really hooked until my second grade teacher started reading us the later Baum Oz titles, but I'm really happy to have found a copy of the first Oz book I ever remember seeing or owning.

OK, now that I have made you read this far, I will toss a few bits of Ozzy news into the blog. First, we have posted our December Tiger Tale on the website and I hope you'll take a moment to check it out. It is L. Frank Baum's short story "Aunt 'Phroney's Boy," first published exactly a hundred years ago in the December 1912 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine.

I am also pleased to announce that a new issue of Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze has just been published. Copies can be ordered from our website or found in your local comic book store. Click here to order.

That's about it for today - I'll do my best to not make you wait too long for another blog post.

Happy Holidays!


Jay said...

Welcome back! And yeah, I can relate to blogger burnout. (Also doesn't help when you come down with something...)

Sam said...

It's always Good to read your new Blogs, David! And when you see a book that makes you remember, as I call it, "little days", it is interesting - FLASHBACK!

Nice to see that it had illustrations and wasn't JUST text, though the cover could be a little weird (almost a tiny scary) for some kids.

Interesting cover though: Lion is cowering behind his friends but has the gold/green spectacles, Scarecrow also cowers behind Tin Woodman but smiles, while Tin Woodman is all-green and ready to strike . . . and Dorothy and Toto are nowhere to be seen.

Anonymous said...

The companion Avon 1968 edition of THE LAND OF OZ was the first post-WIZARD book that I read. I wonder if the publisher technically needed Reilly & Lee/Regnery permission to use White Cover edition adapted Denslow and Neill illustrations.

ilex said...

I have missed your blogs!!! You're always so positive and I love all the obscure bits of Oziana you share with us. You generously linked to my blog when I was stalled out with personal problems and gave me a much appreciated boost. Thank you!
I too had a teacher who read Oz books to the class and turned me into a reader and an Oz fan for life. My first Oz books were new white editions, but the library had the entire set and I vowed to someday own them all. I have some ex library reading copies I love more than the "good stuff" because they take me back to those happy days---like your paperback copy.
Merry Christmas!