Sunday, January 22, 2012

Krizzle-Kroo and Forcucci, Too!

Thanks to my new Nook reader, I've been re-reading all of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. I haven't read them in years, but I still enjoy them just as much as I did when I was a young geek-in training.

Those of you who are only aware of the Land of Oz from the famous MGM film, and have never read the books are really missing something. Baum wrote fourteen books, give or take, about Oz and its inhabitants. One of my favorite characters is (the) Woozy, who makes his debut in the book, "The Patchwork Girl of Oz". Instead of boring you with (the) Woozy's history, I'll just direct you to this link , and you can read all about him. Of course, you could also read the book, but that might take away too much valuable TV-watchin' time!

Why do I like Woozy? I dunno. I think because I love the randomness of his personal idiosyncrasies, as well as his awesome visual design. Kudos to illustrator J.R. Neill for that!

I like ol' Woozy so much, I whipped up these images of him. I can tell you that he is as much fun to draw as he is to read about. These may not be examples of my best work, but I enjoyed drawing them so much, I was almost going to do a whole "Woozy Week" here on the blog, with pictures of Woozy in various situations.

Don't worry though, I came to my senses, and this shall be my only Woozy-centric post.


IN OTHER NEWS: My pal David, over on his must-read-regularly blog, "David Wasting Paper", has a new cartoonist survey up. This time, he's interviewed another pal o' mine, the lovely and talented John Forcucci . Go here to read it!

Next time, more jocularity. In the meantime, go read John's interview, eat a honeybee, and Krizzle-Kroo to you!

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Blogger Mykal Banta said...

Bill: I did read these as a kid, but (honestly) mostly I just studied the illustrations of Baum; which scared the heck out of me.

January 23, 2012 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hey Bill, I never read any of the Baum books, so I'm going to fire up my Kindle and download some of the free ones.

The illustrations that I always associated with the OZ books were the ones done by Denslow. I'm going to have to check out the ones done by Neill.

As a real young kid I remember loving the illustrations of Johnny Gruelle. I had an ancient copy of "Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees" that I pretty much wore out. Wish I still had it.

January 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

Mykal- Forgive me for correcting you, but Baum wrote the books, and Neill did the illustrations after the first book, which had FANTASTIC pictures by W.W. Denslow. It might make some Oz fans crazy, but I actually prefer Denslow's drawings to Neill"s- Much more cartoony and fun. It also helps that Denslow and I share the same first and middle name: "William Wallace". Make no mistake though; J.R. Neill was a wonderful illustrator. Mayhap the reason his drawings disturbed you so, was that his realistic style made all the fantastical residents of Oz seem so "real".

David- Make sure you get the Kindle versions with illustrations! I got a collection of several of the first few books, but they left out the illustrations. My bad for being cheap. I plan to head to the library to find some illustrated copies of the book.

I don't think that the readers of this blog have seen the last of my depictions of the citizens of OZ...

LOVE Gruelle's work, but as a kid, it was embarrassing for a boy to admit you read the Raggedy Ann books.

January 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

BTW, David, If you want to read my favorite "Oz" book, read "The Tinwoodman of Oz". The really creepy/wacky conclusion will definitely appeal to the "Horror Fan" in you!

January 23, 2012 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Mykal Banta said...

Crap! I always do that mix up! No prob correcting me, of course, - with my blog, I'm used to it!

January 23, 2012 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger David said...

I'll be sure to get "Tinwoodman of Oz."

I think I was 5 or 6 when I was given "The Camel with the Wrinkled Knees", so I didn't that it was un-cool yet ;^)

Of course wishing I still owned it when I'm on the cusp of turning 50 kind of makes me mondo-un-cool!

January 23, 2012 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

Mykal- No worries! If mistakes and typos were gold, I would be the richest man in Puppetland!

David- Yes, yes you are Mondo-uncool, but that's just what makes you cool 'round these parts!

January 23, 2012 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

L. Frank Baum 14 Oz books, the Original 'Founding Fourteen' . . . fifteen if you count "Little Wizard Stories of Oz".

It was the next Royal Historian of Oz, Ruth Plumly Thompson, who wrote 19 Oz books.

January 24, 2012 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

Sam- I stand corrected, and have changed the info on the post. Thanks!

January 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger eeTeeD said...

i do hope that woozy was not zapping that bee in the second drawing.

if so, i will have no choice but to report this agressive act to the king bee of comics...

January 25, 2012 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

eeTeeD- No Honeybees were harmed in the drawing of these cartoons.

I suppose I should explain, for those that are still following along: In the books, the Woozy becomes enraged when someone utters the phrase, "Krizzle-Kroo". He gets so mad, flames burst from his eyes. The only thing is, he cannot recall WHY that particular phrase make him so angry. Just one of those wacky character flaws I love about Baum's characters!

Honeybees are his favorite food, BTW.

January 26, 2012 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Bill White said...

One last comment: eeTeeD has unearthed another great site! Check out Jay Hosler's blog!

January 26, 2012 at 11:00 AM  

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