Monday, May 31, 2021

The Disney-Oz Connection

For its 2015 convention, OzCon International, the longest-running annual Oz event, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company's 1985 feature film Return to Oz. I presented the theme-related program "The Disney-Oz Connection." I discussed all the Oz and Oz-related projects the Disney company has worked on during its history, whether an individual project came to fruition or not.

Five years passed. The world found itself in the grip of an epidemic. OzCon 2020 was held virtually because of Covid. The convention chairman, Colin Ayres, asked whether I'd record my Disney-Oz presentation as a feature for the virtual convention. Sure, I said. I revised and updated the presentation for 2020. You can watch it for free on OzCon's YouTube channel, the OzConnection. "The Disney-Oz Connection" is here:

I don't know how it occurred, but the presentation has a mistake. The second slide goes by too fast. In the online version, the narration for the second slide consists of only one sentence. The missing narration isn't vital to the presentation, but it sets the stage for Walt Disney's interest in Oz. Here's the full text I wrote and recorded for that slide:

Any discussion of Oz and Disney starts with Walt Disney himself. Walter Elias Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 5, 1901. Whether he was familiar with the Oz books when he was a child is unknown, but I think the chances are that he was. As a young child he listened while his mother read him fairy tales. As he grew older he became a voracious reader. He devoured the works of Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, and as a teenager he loved the adventure stories of Jimmie Dale, alias the Gray Seal.
OzCon for 2021 will be virtual again. I'll be presenting a program or two, if you're interested. Here's the link to more info on the OzCon website:

Copyright © 2021 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 17, 2021

All the Stooges Minus One

I drew the cover for the forthcoming Three Stooges Thru the Ages #1. It features Stooges stalwarts Moe and Larry, plus Curly, Shemp, and Curly Joe. But no Joe Besser.

I was told not to draw Joe Besser on this cover. I guess Three Stooges fans don't like Joe Besser.

The issue with my cover is currently on sale
from publisher American Mythology. Or order from your favorite comics shop.

Copyright © 2021 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Mail Voting

On July 4, 1876, one hundred years after the United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain, more than half the population could still not vote in a federal election. White male landowners had the vote from the beginning of the country. In 1870 the Constitution granted black men the right to vote. But all women were still denied voting rights.

At the great centennial celebration of the USA in Philadelphia, the National Woman Suffrage Association was denied the right to speak. So Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereux Blake, and Phoebe W. Couzins stormed the podium during the proceedings to present the Declaration of the Rights of Women of the United States. The women were shooed from the stage. Another fifty-five years passed before women in the USA could vote in federal elections.

Syracuse Cultural Workers issued a postcard commemorating the July 1876 issuance of the women's rights declaration. I drew the artwork for it and Laura Martin colored it. I originally drew it for a short comics biography of Matilda Joslyn Gage, perhaps the most fascinating figure in the women's rights movement of her time. I highly recommend her book Woman, Church, and State first published in the 1890s. I suspect it will never go out of style.

If you're interested in ordering the postcard with my drawing of Matilda and her compatriots, it's available here:

Copyright © 2021 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Royalest Book of Oz

The Royal Book of Oz was the first entry in the Oz book series written by Ruth Plumly Thompson, the writer who took over the Oz books after L. Frank Baum, creator of Oz, died. In an attempt to get readers to accept a new Oz author, the publisher slapped Baum's name on the book as author, despite Thompson's complete and original authorship of the text of The Royal Book of Oz.

Ruth Plumly Thompson went on to add eighteen more books to the official Oz series (as well as two unofficial Oz books, a slew of poems, a short story, and a play). Her authorship of The Royal Book of Oz has been public knowledge since the 1950s, and Thompson herself never tried to conceal the fact that she wrote the book, but some ignorant publishers continue to issue editions of The Royal Book of Oz that credit L. Frank Baum as author.

Clover Press is not one of those publishers and issued a new edition of The Royal Book of Oz about a year ago. One of Clover's reasons for the new edition was to proudly credit Ruth Plumly Thompson as author. But this new edition features much more than that.

Sara Richard newly illustrated the story in color. The new illustrations feature bold new designs of favorite Oz characters. The text has been slightly updated to eliminate several racially denigrating details. And I provided a brand new Afterword to illuminate the history of how Ruth Plumly Thompson was chosen to continue the Oz books and about the writing of The Royal Book of Oz.

You can order The Royal Book of Oz direct from Clover Press here:

Ted Adams, publisher of Clover Press, has been an Oz fan since he was young. I know from talking with him that he'd be happy to publish more of Thompson's Oz books for a new generation--as long as this one sells well enough to make such a publishing program feasible. I'd like to see that happen, too.

Copyright © 2021 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.