Friday, 21 September 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Anyone who knows me knows I am a massive OZ fan. I have dozens of illustrated versions of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is the first in a series and is the most well known. I have all fourteen of the original OZ books by L Frank Baum, including several that belonged to my mother when she was a girl. I even have OZ Barbie dolls. I love the magic and wonder of the OZ.

I have been having the discussion about how we, as human beings,  make up our own rules and follow them to suit ourselves. We often have a set of conflicting criteria that makes sense to us when deciding what we like and what we do not. I adore all the Baum books. I cannot get into other authors who have continued the series. Ruth Plumly Thompson who wrote more books that Baum did--does nothing for me. I know others *love* her, but she leaves me cold. Her puns are stupid. Baum’s puns are hilarious. Spiderman would say that puns are never funny, no matter who says them. I have some weird prejudice about her writing. It just doesn’t float my boat. 

The same for Wicked. If I had £1 for every person who asked me if I had seen the musical Wicked or read the novel, I would have about 11quid. Which is not nearly as impressive as I thought it would be when I started the analogy. Wicked doesn’t do it for me. The underground comic The Royal Historian of Oz written by Tommy Kovac and illustrated by Andy Hirsh is a gem. An emerald, I think it would be appropriate to say. It completely captures the feeling of Baum’s OZ and his characters who are so quirky and charming that you love them on sight. We have two original drawings from this outstanding comic. If you want to buy the comic (and you totally should--it is a great read) then go here:   
  The more you know Baum’s works the cleverer it is--but it can be read and enjoyed without any knowledge of OZ history.

Why is it thumbs up to the Royal Historian and thumbs down to Wicked? Who knows. But it is.

Why all this waffle about OZ? You ask? Well because we bought two original pieces of artwork from Skottie Young who illustrates the Marvel comic version of OZ. Yes Virginia, there is a Marvel comics version. Not only of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but they are planning to do all 14 in the original Baum set! That is just a dream come true for a OZophile like me. They are currently working on book 5--The Road to Oz. In fact, I just got an email that said my copy of Dorothy and the Wizard has been shipped. Hoorah!

Please excuse the wonky photos. Spiderman did an excellent job of framing and hanging our artwork if they appear all skew-whiff (that’s British for catty-wompus)  that is because I am crap at taking photos, not because he hung them crookedly. 

The first picture is a drawing is from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and shows all the characters you’d expect walking down the yellow brick road…Dorothy, the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion. The bottom panels depict the scene where the tin man accidently steps on a beetle and kills it and is so overcome with grief he cries. His tears rust his jaw completely shut—such is the depth of his anguish.

click to see it bigger

The second is a drawing from Dorothy and the Wizard. It is a picture of Eureka the kitten sitting on the head of Jim the cab horse. Spiderman once scanned the colour page of the comic and labeled Eureka—the cheeky, naughty, always up to something cat—with my name and his name was by Jim the put upon, expected to carry all the heavy stuff horse. So this was an extra treat that he bought us the original.
click to see it bigger

Lastly, I am decorated with OZ myself. My newest tattoo is the symbol for OZ—the Z within the O. 

I wanted to get something to remind me to keep that magic in my life—to hold on to the innocence and joy found in those books. To be reminded to be brave and level headed like Dorothy. But also to celebrate being a British citizen. As Dorothy says, There’s no place like home.

Stay tuned for the next installment of  What I did on my summer vacation.


  1. wow oh wow for it all! Reading those OZ books to you, sitting in the big recliner (back when both our butts would fit there), is one of my precious memories too. Love this entry, and love the tatoo. Your father and your husband are just rolling their eyes.