Monday, 27 June 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow

Answer these OZ related questions:

What colour were Dorothy’s shoes that she got from the Wicked Witch of the East?
Answer: silver. If you said ruby then you are a victim of the 1939 film. They were made red for the film to take advantage of Technicolor.

Where was Glinda the Good Witch from?
Answer: the south. If you said the north then you are a victim of the 1939 film. The Witch of North who has no other name in the book appears to Dorothy in Munchkin land and they travel south to see Glinda after the wizard has gone up in the balloon and left Dorothy behind. When the film was made there was still a lot of anti-south sentiment after the Civil War and so it was decided to make Glinda the witch of the north because surely something good would not come from the south.

How old is Dorothy and what is her personality like?
Answer: 7 years old and clever, outspoken, practical, brave and a problem solver. If you said a weepy, wimpy teenager who sits around blubbing while the male characters do all the work to rescue her then you are a victim of the 1939 film. In the book, Dorothy melts the witch, frees the lion who has been tied up outside the castle (the witch had been starving him but Dorothy had been sneaking him food) then goes out into the forest and locates her 2 badly injured friends the scarecrow and tin man. She then goes to the Winkies and asks for assistance in getting them put back together. All at 7 years old and all without being a blubber box.

What happens at the end?
Answer: In the book it was absolutely real. If you said it was all a dream then you are a victim of the 1939 film. Dorothy went back many times to Oz and finally when they couldn’t pay the mortgage and the farm was about to be seized Dorothy made the secret sign to Ozma who watched her every day at a certain time in her magic mirror and Dorothy, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry were all taken to Oz to live.

The point of all this is to say many people think they know Oz because they love the 1939 film. Tommy Kovac and illustrator Andy Hirsh clearly know their Oz book trivia. Together they have made a comic about a man named Jasper Fizzle who is obsessed with Oz and always tries to write Oz stories but the Official Oz Society (really just gay men with dogs named Toto) keep shooting him down. And rightly so with dreadful sounding books like Percival T Cozy in Oz.  His obsession is getting in the way of his relationship with his teenage son Frank (named after L Frank Baum) who has heard all the Oz stories his entire life, but can’t see the magic. The magic really begins when Jasper finds the silver slippers in a junk shop (they fell off Dorothy’s feet as she flew over the Deadly Desert) and he is transported back to Oz  where he gathers artifacts to bring back to the Mortal World to show that Oz is real and is as amazing as the books show it to be and to help him get better stories that will not be rejected by the Official Oz Society.

Here is where the fun begins. Drawing from all corners of the 14 books Tommy K and Andy H bring out nuggets like one of Jack Pumpkinhead’s old rotting heads, the WoggleBug’s pill system for learning, a winged monkey, a kalidah (body of a bear/head of a sabre tooth tiger), a scoodler who can take off its head and throw it at you, some bun people from Bunbury (“What’s with the donut people?” his son asks), some mist from the waters of oblivion, the nine tiny piglets owned by the wizard--just to name a few. If you are not a serious Oz devotee like me then probably this all sounds really quaint and interesting, but lacks meaning. My mum is probably bobbing up and down with recognition as it was she who read me all the Oz books 2 chapters a night in the big brown chair.

Anyway, several characters from Oz--some you know like the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Woodman and some you don’t like Scraps the Patchwork Girl travel to the Mortal World to retrieve what was stolen with exciting results! Even if you are not an Oz devotee like me you will find this series wonderful. You can still get it from Slave Labor Graphics if you are interested:

But here is our next piece of loveliness: Spiderman has bought us 2 pieces of original art from the comic!!!!!!     

In the comic the characters from Oz kidnap Jasper’s son Frank in order to force Jasper to return what he has stolen. Frank is face to face with all the things he has heard of all his life, but never believed. In the upper left panel we see Dorothy, Betsy Bobbin, Jellia Jamb and Ozma sitting down for a cup of tea. You can also see the glass cat Bungle from the Patchwork Girl of Oz checking herself out in the mirror. This cat was very vain and proud of her ruby heart and pink brains (“You can see ‘em work”). Frank is trying to run away from Oz on the Sawhorse who was brought to life by Tip with the powder of life. He is the fastest creature in Oz because being made of wood he never tires--Ozma had his feet shod in gold so they’d never wear out. He is even faster than Jim the cab horse who was transported to Oz by a Californian earthquake. Anyway, this scene is where Frank and the Sawhorse run into the Glass Cat. Literally. With disastrous results for our glass friend. Click on this to check out the picture bigger:

The other original art we bought from Andy Hirsh is the Wicked Witch of the West Water Cycle. Try saying that 3 times fast. This is my favourite bit from the comics. Check out this cleverness. Again, you'll need to click to read the words--and the words are the best bit!

Anyway, we have blown our remaining food budget for the month on art because we are hardcore that way. But art feeds the soul and lentils and rice will feed the body (at least until payday.)


  1. DANG! dunno how to say how fascinating this is! I can hear you crowing like a rooster-boy named Peter Pan!

  2. I'm glad to see that everything made it one piece after such a long trip! Thank you both for being such AMAZING fans!