Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oziana #37

Okay, so I got a copy of Oziana #37, the magazine of fiction from the International Wizard of Oz Club, and seemingly, also the last.

The first thing you'll see is the cover, which is by Oz fan and artist Kevenn T. Smith. It doesn't illustrate any of the stories, but rather uses characters from all of the stories to create a "Battle in the Emerald City," The wraparound cover shows mostly familiar faces in Polychrome, the Glass Cat, Ozma, and the Wizard, but there's a couple other characters on the front and all the characters on the back will be new characters to most Oz fans.

There are only three stories inside. The first is the shortest, running for three pages, and it has two beautiful illustrations by Melody Grandy. "As The Rainbow Follows The Rain" by Jeff Rester isn't much of a story, as very much, it is Polychrome telling new character Hyetal (a rain spirit, it seems) about her family as the Rainbow makes a customary appearance after a shower. As I said, there's not much to the story, but it is well-told and imaginative, and tells us some fascinating things about the Rainbow and the family. Worth reading, especially if you like Polychrome.

The next story is "The Magic Door to Oz" by Paul Ritz and Johanna Buchner. An unnamed protagonist finds a door to Oz and discovers the Witched Wick has been taking storybook characters from their lands and imprisoning them in a land under Oz. It is up to the hero, with some help from the Glass Cat and Mary Poppins' umbrella, to put an end to the Wick's wicked ways and send everyone home.

This is a more satisfying story than the first one, but even though it takes place in Oz, it didn't feel like an honest-to-goodness Oz story. I guess that's how the story was written to be. The illustrations by F. Kay Baumann are rather well-done and exquisitely so.

The third and longest is a whole book by Sergei Sukhinov, made readable to us English folk by Peter Blystone, and illustrated by Dennis Anfuso. I haven't finished this one yet, but I'm enjoying it. It really isn't an Oz story, but it easily could be. The story is one of the Russian Magic Land tales written after Volkov's original series. It's a prequel to Volshebnik Izumrudnovo Goroda (The Wizard of the Emerald City), and deals with Bastinda, Volkov's version of the Wicked Witch of the West. A lot of English readers should enjoy this one.

Overall, I'd say this is a worthwhile issue. I'm enjoying it, and hope anyone who gets it (and you should) enjoys it, too.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

John R. Neill - An Appreciation - Volume 3

Sam Milazzo suggested I point out pictures where John R. Neill's artwork seems to be a slight tribute, in layout at least, to W.W. Denslow. While he gave me his list, he didn't write out a blog, so I'm going to just have to wing this.

Now, Neill was given the job as staff illustrator at Reilly & Britton, and The Marvelous Land of Oz was his first major title. As this was going to be the flagship title, it is not inconceivable that Neill may have picked up a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (or a later edition, like The New Wizard of Oz or The Wizard of Oz) and looked over Denslow's work to try to determine what was so great about it. We know he copied Denslow's Dorothy for The Road to Oz, so definitely, at some point, he did study Denslow's work.

Here are examples Sam pointed out:

Note the dishwashers... (Sorry about the Esperanto, but these were from those famous PDFs that were once online.)

Dorothy sits on a fence with Toto nearby, meeting a new friend.

Dorothy is carried by a feline-ish beast through an otherwise impassable situation.

The Tin Woodman raises his axe to make some progress.

Royal Processions.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fun on Photoshop

On my new PC, I've installed Photoshop and have been making use of it. I was trying to edit a map of Oz, and I tried a few effects, and one looked so cool, I had to share it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A new video and other matters...

Friday night, I uploaded a new video to YouTube:

I edited the video with Adobe Premiere, which is pretty much the best video editing software you can get on Windows. (However, special effects must be added in After Effects, so really, to make good videos, you need both. MAC users have it easier with just Final Cut Pro.) However, due to some other issues, I had to crop and re-size the video before uploading, and I also remixed the sound.

So, now I'm going to get to work on the next Wonders episode, which will be the last numbered episode, Sam's "Wonders of the Land of Oz" (as he's calling it) will be next, followed by the finale.

I'm also looking into the content for my new site. Here's some things I'm looking into:
  • The public domain Oz books and Baum's Oz-related stories in PDF files for Oz books that can both be downloaded and read online easily. I may be including some illustrations, but not all of them.
  • A map of Oz where you can click on landmarks from Baum's books and see information about them.
  • My original computer games available for online play, using a DOS emulator in Javascript, so they can be played by anyone on any platform.
  • My Oz videos hosted on the site, not being mirrored from YouTube.
  • A podcast that can be downloaded or played from the site.
  • Content from last site updated.
Sound good? When I get the site launched, some of these cooler features might not be ready, but I will be working on them.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Road to Oz - The Road Less Traveled?

Sometime back, I promised (in more or less words) an analysis of The Road to Oz. Well, here we go.

I mentioned that this book is considered one of Baum's weakest books in the series, and honestly, the argument stands.

The story is straightforward, and even, on some degrees, mirrors that of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy meets the Shaggy Man in Kansas, and he asks her how to get to Butterfield. When she shows him the way, she, Toto, and the Shaggy Man are instantly transported to a crossroads that is certainly in some fairyland.

They are quickly joined by the young Button-Bright, and soon find their way to Foxville, where King Dox becomes impressed with Button-Bright and gives him a fox's head. He also tells Dorothy she is very close to the Land of Oz, and that Ozma's birthday is on the 21st of the month (Dorothy says earlier in the book that it's August, so Oz fans have easily deduced that Ozma's birthday is August 21st). Despite what he did to Button-Bright, Dorothy promises to ask Ozma for an invitation for him.

After leaving Foxville, they are joined by Polychrome, the Rainbow's wayward daughter, who makes her first appearance. (I should devote a blog to her sometime.) Their next stop is in Dunkiton, where slightly anthropomorphic donkeys live. (Wasn't there a place like this in one of Gulliver's Travels? Wait, I think that was horses instead of donkeys.) There, King Kik-a-bray becomes fond of the Shaggy Man and gives him a donkey's head, an obvious reference to Bottom's transformation in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. King Kik-a-bray also asks to be invited to Ozma's party, and also tells the travelers that their transformations can be dispelled by the Truth Pond, which is somewhere in Oz.

Now wait, look, here we really see where this compares to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We have Dorothy and Toto with three travelers, each of who need something. Similar to how the how the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman wanted body organs that represent certain traits, Button-Bright and the Shaggy Man wish to be rid of their enchantments, and Polychrome, similar to Dorothy's quest in the first book, wants to go home.

Dorothy's goal is not so substantial here. She has wound up in another adventure, and having done so before in the previous two Oz books, is beginning to take these adventures as things that just happen to her, and even mentions that if she's not gone for too long, Aunt Em shouldn't worry too much about her. Is Dorothy's initial moral resolve of loyalty to her family being dissolved by her repeated exposure to Oz? Very possibly so, but at least in the next story, we see she hasn't completely lost it.

The travelers meet the Musicker, Allegro de Capo, who makes music as he breathes, and thinks highly of himself. Although he is amusing, he is another of Baum's easily disposable yet entertaining and memorable characters, similar to the Braided Man in Dorothy & The Wizard in Oz, and many others in Baum's stories.

Next is an adventure where they encounter another race of Baum's strange, exotic, and sometimes violent creatures: the Scoodlers. This race wants to make the travelers into soup, but they manage to escape.

Then they reach the Deadly Desert, which they manage to cross, when the Shaggy Man uses the Love Magnet to summon the busy Johnny Dooit, who whips up a sandboat to carry them across the desert.

The Love Magnet (which was actually introduced very early on in the story) is a curious device. The Shaggy Man claims that when he has it, it makes everyone around him love him. This is the only magical device Baum used in his Oz books that was magical with no apparent origins in Oz or fairyland, or anywhere else, for that matter. (Some fans have ideas, though, Eric Gjovaag and Karyl Carlson's Queen Ann in Oz has an explanation, and is worth reading!) It's odd, but you'll notice Baum is full of such details, or rather lack of details. While some people might point this as poor writing, actually, it lends to the idea that Baum was relating these stories second-hand. His informant (Dorothy) didn't know the details, so Baum didn't make it up, at least, not in the fantastical explanation he created for his tales.

So, now the travelers are in Oz proper, and soon discover the Truth Pond. While Button-Bright and Shaggy are freed from their transformations, there is a side effect that Shaggy reveals: all people who bathe in the Truth Pond are forced to tell the truth. In Baum's works, there aren't any real contradictions to this effect. It is even used again in The Lost Princess of Oz, the "victim" there later became the main character (and titular character) of Eric Shanower's short story "The Final Fate of the Frogman," and in the McGraws' The Forbidden Fountain of Oz, if someone who bathed in the Truth Pond lies, their ears will glow green. (Thanks, Nathan DeHoff!)

Along their way to the Emerald City, they meet old friends Tik-Tok, Billina, and the Tin Woodman.

During their stay at the Tin Woodman's palace, the Tin Woodman reveals that money is no longer used in Oz. There was money mentioned in the first two Oz books, but it has apparently been abolished since then. The way the Tin Woodman is adamant about this suggests he was a supporter of this decision. I had the idea that maybe the main characters of Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz stories suggested this, given that they had problems with money in the series. As the Tin Woodman was among the visitors, this does make sense.

Next, we re-visit Jack Pumpkinhead, who we finally discover can replace a spoiled head at will, so he grows his own pumpkins. This finally puts an end to Jack's main worry from The Marvelous Land of Oz that he would spoil all too quickly.

Finally, we reach the Emerald City, but during the trip, the Tin Woodman tells a story about the Powder of Life. Apparently, the Crooked Magician Mombi got it from back in The Marvelous Land of Oz met a tragic accident that "destroyed" him (as later Oz books would define death). The Powder goes to a woman named Dyna who accidentally uses it to bring her blue bear rug to life. Some of these details will be discussed in a later blog about Dr. Nikidik, Dr. Pipt, and the Powder of Life.

Ozma's birthday festivities begin, and some of the guests are easily recognizable to people who are well-read in Baum's non-Oz work, and here we begin to see one of the biggest reasons why this is considered a weak book:

We have:
  • The Queen of Merryland and the Candy Man from Dot & Tot of Merryland
  • Santa Claus, Ryls, and Knooks from Baum's own Santa tale, The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus.
  • Queen Zixi of Ix, and King Bud and Princess Fluff of Noland from Queen Zixi of Ix.
  • John Dough, Chick the Cherub, and Para Bruin from John Dough & The Cherub.
But why did Baum do this? People have said, "Hah, he was promoting his other books!" Very likely, actually! Probably he did this to interest his readers in his other, non-Oz fantasies, because he had already planned to end the Oz series with the next book, and wanted to introduce his readers to his other works so they'd read the other things he'd turn out.

He spent most of Road in countries outside of Oz, and tying his other books into this showed that there was more to Oz than... Oz! In The Emerald of Oz, his next book, and, he had hoped, his last Oz book, we get to see more of the wonders inside Oz as well as see some of the nastier people who live outside of it.

We know now, with almost 100 years of hindsight, that this cross-promotion plan, if this was what Baum was aiming for, didn't work, as there seems to be no major increase of the sales of those books, and The Sea Fairies and Sky Island didn't sell very well, forcing him to return to Oz in 1913.

The festivities continue, and climax with the Wizard making giant soap-and-glue bubbles that Santa Claus (who has learned some magic, it seems, since his book) uses to return many of Ozma's guests home, including Button-Bright. The Shaggy Man opts to live in Oz forever, while the Rainbow appears and takes Polychrome home. Dorothy opts to have Ozma send her and Toto home at night so she will awake in Kansas, so really, this is the first Oz story that features Dorothy where she doesn't return home at the close, but it is promised she will do so.

And, well, for one of the weaker Oz stories, it certainly was a well-told story! It managed to introduce three new characters to Oz who play major roles in later books, and with the promotion of his other stories and the adventures before arriving in Oz, Baum shows us definitively that there were other countries to explore outside of Oz, other than the already established Ev and Nome Kingdom from Ozma of Oz.

Baum finally showed in The Road to Oz that he did not create a fairyland with Oz, he created a world, a world that all of us enjoy visiting again and again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2 Quick Things

Okay, I'm waiting for a camcorder to arrive. I have to check the compatibility, but if it works out, I might be doing another live Q&A show soon, with better video quality! Feel free to leave a comment, telling me when would be a good time for you to tune in, so I can try to schedule accordingly. (Please include your timezone and/or where you live.)

And the other thing... is the comments! I've decided to take off the option to approve comments before they appear on the blog, since it's been a long time since I've rejected a comment. However, I thought it might be best if I enabled the word verification (or CAPTCHA) system, to avoid any spam comments. I might turn it off in the future, but in this age of spam, you can never be too careful.

John R. Neill - An Appreciation - Volume 2

Neill was instrumental in Reilly & Britton getting on their feet as a publishing house. He was a staff illustrator, so just about anything published got artwork by him produced for it.

Among Reilly & Britton's early titles was "Children's Stories That Never Grow Old," also available as "The Children's Red Books." I own one of these, and when I get a new scanner, will be sharing some pictures from it. It seems that one of these was an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice books. I have some pictures of his artwork, courtesy of Al Cook, who found them on eBay about six years ago. (So we can't exactly link you to the source.)

The pictures Al gave me were rather bright, so I adjusted the colors in Photoshop. Because I have no idea what the originals looked like, I just had to go with a look that was easy on the eye.

Alice look a little... familiar?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Something really cool!

If you don't follow Bill Campbell's The Oz Enthusiast, maybe you should.

Just yesterday, he posted this blog that showed his own handmade versions of the Scarecrow and the Patchwork Girl together.

Some years ago, about 2001, I'd think, I tried to make my own Oz toys. The Tin Woodman was made of that grey cardboard they make cereal boxes with (so guess where I got it from...) and brass brads. The Scarecrow's head was a sock on a body I'd made myself (I actually still have that). The Gump was very much a glorified shoebox. Jack's Pumpkinhead was made from a miniature toy basketball, covered with paper. And Tik-Tok never worked. I couldn't prevent him from looking like a dumpy version of the Tin Woodman.

Someday, though, I should give it another shot...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Step 1: Done

Quick update on me migrating my Oz site. I am the domain owner of for one year, starting tonight. I'm already talking with someone who has server space. Right now, don't try to access the site, as there's nothing there. The server is not attached to the domain, but this is a good start!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

John R. Neill - An Appreciation - Volume 1

This will be the first of what I hope will be many blogs about John R. Neill's work on the Oz series. These blogs will be sporadic, but I will try to keep them numbered.

Just yesterday, I finished re-reading my third Oz book in a row, which was The Road To Oz.

I'm not going to do an analysis just now, but I will say that this book is one of the favorites of many Oz fans, yet it is often criticized as being one of Baum's weakest. I'll save these points for an analysis later on, but right now, I want to focus on the illustrations.

We know Neill was the second illustrator of the Oz series, but because of his illustrating thirty-five of thirty-nine Oz novels published by Reilly & Britton (later Reilly & Lee), his work has become more cherished than the art of any other Oz artist.

Neill started drawing at a young age, and indulged in it frequently. The Baum Bugle of Autumn, 1964 (which I'm using for reference), even says his mother would use his love of drawing him to avert him from getting into serious trouble. Neill originally started to study to become a doctor, but when his professor noted how he illustrated his studies, he was told, "If I could draw like that, I wouldn't try to become a doctor." Neill went to Art School, and soon became a professional artist, illustrating for newspapers, magazines, and children's books.

The work that put him in the position he is best remembered for happened in 1904, when he was commissioned to illustrate The Marvelous Land of Oz. While Neill's art was a little in the style of Denslow, without a lot of detail, and designs of previously established characters based on his style, his style was prevalent. Although the Tin Woodman still has his cylinder body and limbs like Denslow's, Neill's first version also gave him a cylindrical head, with odd braces to keep it steady. When he returned to Oz later in Ozma of Oz, the Tin Woodman's head is more reminiscent of Denslow's, the braces lost forever. (Neill later returned to the cylindrical head.)

Neill's Dorothy is strikingly different from Denslow's. Denslow's Dorothy could be no older than eight, and looks a little pudgy at times. Her hair is in thick braids, and in color plates, is colored with alternating lines of yellow and red, which has been interpreted as brown or red. Neill's Dorothy is older, thinner, and has a stylish blond bob. (One could say that Neill failed to draw her as a Kansas farm girl, but the person would be forgetting that in both Ozma of Oz and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, Dorothy is on vacation with Uncle Henry, not at home on the farm.)

Neill revealed in The Road to Oz that he was well aware how different his Dorothy was from Denslow's, as is shown in this illustration, probably one of the most popular images from the book, if not the whole Oz series:

In fact, The Road To Oz has some of Neill's most lavish illustrations. While there were no full-color pictures (instead of spending money on that, the publishers printed the book on multi-colored paper), Neill drew many full-page illustrations, and in doing so, showed how endless the possibilities of Baum's fairyland were, best summed up by this early illustration:

The Road To Oz also features the first appearance of Polychrome, and in doing so much detail, Neill perfectly captured how the Rainbow's Daughter would look. This picture is my personal favorite illustration of Polychrome:

I noted that Neill makes two corresponding pictures. One is the last illustration of chapter two, the other is the last of chapter five, both chapters telling how Dorothy, Toto, and the Shaggy Man were joined by a new companion:

Neill gets to draw some of Ozma's guests, characters from other Baum books that he had not illustrated (with the exception of John Dough and the Cherub), and while all his pictures are exquisite, I found one to be the only John R. Neill picture I was dissatisfied with. Queen Zixi of the land of Ix, I felt, was better portrayed by her original illustrator, Frederic Richardson. Here is Neill's Zixi, followed by two by Richardson:

Neill excels in other illustrations, though. In this one, note how the Scarecrow, being clumsy and unable to drink, is tipping his glass of lacasa most precariously:

And, well, I really love Neill's artwork, and a lot more can't be said about his work on Road, unless I wanted to analyze every picture he drew, which is possible, but would make for long loading times for you and a long time blogging for me.

I'll close with this picture of the Wizard sending Ozma's guests home in his bubbles, which I feel sure were the origins of Glinda's bubble in MGM's The Wizard of Oz:

All images are hosted from The Ozmatron, except those from Queen Zixi of Ix, which is from this blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What do you like about the blog?

I've been wondering recently what people like most about my blog. I decided that the best way to determine this is to ask the people who view my blog, which means, YOU.

As commenting might be a bit too much for some, I've made a poll. I've allowed multiple answers, so if more than one option is a reason why you read my blog, feel free to answer more than once. There's even a write-in slot, so if I didn't list your reason here, you can fill it in, though I think I did a pretty thorough job.

The poll, for now, is going to be a sidebar feature, so vote over there. Thanks, and I look forward to your feedback!

Saturday, February 07, 2009


For some reason, when I need a leading child character in an Oz story, I tend to choose Button-Bright.

When I downloaded a program to create simple text-based adventure games, the first game I made with it was called "My Adventure in Oz," in which the player was Button-Bright, gathering guests for Ozma's birthday party. (The play scheme would be that the character had lost something, so you had to find it and give it to them, then they'd join you.) As it's currently available for download (DOS game, so Windows only), I guess it's really the first Oz story I published.

Later, I tried my hand at writing an Oz story that found Button-Bright and the Shaggy Man traveling through Oz. The story was going to involve a magic fountain that was in fact, the Fountain of Youth, which would be revealed as the reason why people stayed young in Oz. (The idea being that's all it would do, being diluted in normal bathing and drinking water.) The fountain would be guarded by the Lonesome Zoop from the Oz Film Manufacturing Company's The Patchwork Girl of Oz silent movie, introducing the character into the more mainstream Oz universe. There was also going to be a magic ruby ring that blocked enchantments, and some rarely-seen Oz characters, including my original character Perry, the son of ex-General Jinjur. (Since he was born in the Munchkin Country, "Perry" was taken from periwinkle flowers.)

That story was abandoned when it got bogged down and I couldn't decide what to do next.

Later, I started a pass-around story at the IWOC Forums. The idea was, the story would be added to by forum users. Rather shamelessly, I included many elements from my abandoned story, starting with Button-Bright and the Shaggy Man, and later adding in Perry and the Ruby Ring, which, instead of blocking enchantments, absorbed magic around it. The Ruby Ring became such a key plot device, I proposed (and the few people who were still adding agreed) that we call the story "The Ruby Ring of Oz." We actually finished it, and the big, 61-page thread can still be viewed at the IWOC Forums. (One of the contributors and I have discussed that it needs heavy editing before anyone should attempt to publish it, with some characters biting the dust.)

But Button-Bright... He is a fun little chap. He's also, I believe, the only character Baum introduced in an Oz book who became a main character in a non-Oz book, and one of the few who definitely matured from his first appearance to his next one.

All readers of the Oz books know Button-Bright first appeared in The Road to Oz as a young boy, who was described to be about two or three years younger than Dorothy. John R. Neill's depiction of him may vary from five to seven, perhaps, but not any older than that, I'd say. As Dorothy's age seems to be a matter of debate among Oz fans (according to one book I'd read, Button-Bright would have been a teen or pre-teen about the time of Road), Button-Bright's age is undetermined. I like the idea that Dorothy was about ten or eleven by this time, so Button-Bright would probably be seven.

Button-Bright was characterized in this book by the sailor clothes he wore, and his trademark phrase, "Don't know." Really, the only information we knew about him was that he lived with his father and mother, and that their back yard had a well in it, suggesting they lived in or around a town or city. Somehow, he managed to appear outside of Foxville in time to meet Dorothy, Toto, and the Shaggy Man. One other major factor in the story is that, because King Renard (or Dox) of Foxville gives him a fox's head, he had to restore it in the Truth Pond, which also made him tell the truth. In Baum's books, Button-Bright had always been honest, so the Truth Pond had little effect on his personality. (In one of Eric Shanower's stories, he explains that Button-Bright's youth was also a safeguard against offending someone with the truth.) Later, the Wizard sends him home in a giant soap bubble.

Button-Bright later appears in Sky Island, the second book containing the adventures of Trot and Cap'n Bill. Here, Button-Bright is obviously older than before, about the age of Trot. We discover where he lives, Philadelphia, having now lost the trademark "Don't know," phrase. He does still ask questions, though. His family appears to be well-off, as Trot notices his fine clothes. Perhaps his family came into some money or an inheritance, or his father was able to better provide for his family. He even reveals his real name, Saladin Paracelsus de Lambertine Evagne von Smith.

Button-Bright's apparent aging causes us to ask how long it has been since the events of The Road to Oz. If Button-Bright was seven in that book, he might be ten or eleven by this time, making it three or four years, plenty of time for big changes in Button-Bright's family and himself.

Button-Bright is more of a major character in Sky Island, as it is his magic umbrella that carries Trot, Cap'n Bill, and himself to the Island. The umbrella can carry it's carrier to wherever they wish by flying, and later turns itself into a charging elephant.

So, L. Frank Baum beat P. L. Travers with flying umbrellas. Button-Bright beat Mary Poppins to it. (In the book Visitors from Oz by Martin Gardner, he claims that Mary Poppins now owns Button-Bright's umbrella, and that it's head changed into a parrot for her. However, this is the same book I mentioned above where, by it's aging of Dorothy, Button-Bright would have been a teen or pre-teen by the time of Road.)

Button-Bright returns to Oz in The Scarecrow of Oz, when Trot and Cap'n Bill find him in the Land of Mo, where he has lost his umbrella. This book added the final touch to Button-Bright's character: he was always getting lost. He is not such a key character in this story, though he does lead the Ork back to Trot, causing the Ork to help in the climax of the drama in Jinxland. He stays in Oz with Cap'n Bill and Trot, seeming to be content not to return home.

This always struck me as odd. Wouldn't his parents worry that their son had gone missing, and then he never turned up again? And Button-Bright doesn't care? Or suppose something very serious had happened and Button-Bright decided to escape with the umbrella. Maybe his parents died? A bit far-fetched, I must admit, but it might explain his complete reluctance to return home.

While he returns in The Lost Princess of Oz, joining Dorothy and the Wizard's search party for Ozma, he continues his habit of getting lost constantly, which ends up being key to resolving the plot, since it is, in the end, he who finds Ozma. (He just didn't know it.)

It had been established in The Lost Princess of Oz that Button-Bright became friends with Ojo, Baum's fourth leading boy character in Oz (after Tip, Zeb, and Button-Bright himself), and a brief mention in The Tin Woodman of Oz says that the two play together.

Button-Bright is also part of the rescue party for Dorothy and Ozma in Glinda of Oz, but he doesn't have any real bearing on the plot, nor do we discover much more about his character.

I recently commented on the IWOC Forums that Button-Bright has a short attention span, perhaps ADHD. No one else has agreed that he might, but Sam Milazzo commented he might have Asperger's syndrome. ("Strasheela" said it's possible, but he didn't specify if he meant my idea or Sam's.)

But really, in the end, it doesn't seem to matter, as Button-Bright is quite an endearing character, and while he might not rank highly on lists of favorite Oz characters, he certainly is a good one.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Got it!

Well, I finally got my copy of the Spring 2008 Baum Bugle, which was an enjoyable read. I usually talk about the contents of each issue, and how I liked them, but this time I won't, since most people who are entitled to their copies have them and have already read them. (I understand that I'm not the first person who didn't get their Bugle on time. To err is human, to forgive is divine, and I tend not to hold grudges.)

I did get a kick out of seeing my review for Hungry Tiger Press' edition of John Dough & The Cherub in print! I don't think much was changed from the final draft I sent off. The reason, it's the first Oz-related item I've written that has been printed. In fact, it's first thing I've written PERIOD that has been printed. I was just glad to help out, and yes, you can expect more reviews from me in the future.

Over the past few days, though, I have actually spoken to some of my overseas friends using Skype. Saturday night, I talked to Al Cook (I'm the "pal in Missouri" he mentioned in his blog) in Glasgow, Scotland, making this the first time I've called another Skype user, so the call was free. Last evening, I had an hour-long talk with Sam Milazzo (actually, for Sam, it was morning) of Maroubra, Australia, and we discussed some recent Oz comic books. We also tried to see who could do a better Wicked Witch of the West impression. (Not really, but we both tried.) Despite his Australian accent, Sam won. (Neither of us can cackle, though...)