If you’re an Oz fan and a member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, you’ve already received this latest issue of their magazine, which is a treat for art lovers, Oz and otherwise. The front cover features this charming watercolor by John R. Neill, the artist most associated with the Oz books, having illustrated all but one of the original L. Frank Baum series, and many of the ones by other authors. The accompanying article is about his granddaughter Jory Mason and her project to put many unpublished or long unseen pieces of his art online, and eventually (she hopes) into a book, one which is long overdue in my opinion. Have a look at her website to enjoy lots of wonderful Neill art.
Also in this issue is an article about and by book cover painter Michael Herring. Herring dropped out of the cover art scene some years ago at the top of his game to follow a new path toward more personal work, and he’s currently living and painting in Australia. You might know his work from covers for science fiction and fantasy novels for Star Wars, and Tolkien’s books, among many others. He also painted the paperback covers for the Oz books published by Del Rey. Michael describes his workaholic life as a cover painter, and why he decided to quit, but since you can only get the magazine if you’re a club member, I’ll summarize: he really enjoyed the actual painting, but the market was going more and more into the computer world, which he didn’t like as much. So, he and his wife decided to give it all up and moved to a small village in Australia. Sounds pretty cool to me, and they had enough saved to live on, so that made it work for them. Michael doesn’t seem to have any online presence, but there are two of his Oz paintings for sale here.
I’ve been an Oz Club member for decades, and just when I think every possible Oz subject has been covered in the magazine, they come up with new ones. Well done.
I really should start reading the Baum Bugle one of these years, since I’m a huge fan of the books. I was never a fan of Herring covers for the Del Rey books, though. They were generally directly taken from an interior illustration by Neill, and even as a kid they looked out of sync with the books to me. This may be because I first read the books at the library. The Del Rey’s only came out when I was 8 or 9 and with a couple of exceptions from the Scholastic book club they were the first copies I ever owned.
I’m happily surprised to see this! I’m familiar with your work from decades of comic book collecting, and to learn you’re an Oz Club member is really groovy. This issue was a lot of fun to put together. Graphic Collectibles actually only has one left… they’ve mistakenly left GIANT HORSE on their site, even though I have it.
Hey, please get in touch and let me know if you’d ever be interested in doing something with the Bugle!
I’ve been unable to track down a back issue of the article about Michael Herring. Would you know how I could go about obtaining a copy?
Patrick R. Webb
San Jose, CA
You might try asking on the International Wizard of Oz Club message board at http://ozclubforums.yuku.com/directory