You Oughta Be in Pictures


When I wrote my review of The Wonder City of Oz, Marc Berezin mentioned that he thought John R. Neill had written some of it to make use of pre-existing art. Repurposing his art is definitely a thing Neill did; Baum Bugle article from earlier this year showed a few such drawings that ended up in Glinda of Oz. With Wonder City in particular, it’s also worth noting that his original manuscript was heavily rewritten, adding some new stuff and rearranging the old. Jenny Jump is shown throughout with different hairstyles, which makes sense for her character, as she’s very stylish. But there are a few where she has the same style, but the pictures aren’t anywhere near each other in the text.

The early chapters where Jenny meets Ozma and the Wizard of Oz for the first time show her with the short, curly hair and flowers she wears again in the final chapter, and Chapter Four includes two where her hair is the same as during the Ozoplane flight and when she frees the animal-plants.

This probably indicates where Neill originally intended these illustrations to go. The picture at the beginning of the first chapter shows her with braids, and you don’t get a very good look at her.

I understand Neill originally meant for her to be older than fifteen before growing younger, and this could be a somewhat obscured older Jenny. It’s also not clear why the leprechaun is holding sacks when, according to the text, he’s supposed to be eating pepper-cheese. This incident was probably different in the original. Eric Shanower acknowledges the changing hairstyles in Runaway by giving Jenny different hair in almost every illustration, even when there’s no time in between for her to change it. She actually has the same hair throughout Scalawagons and Lucky Bucky (although that’s not saying too much for the latter, as I think she’s only in three pictures there), however, the same one as in the opening picture for Chapter 11 of Wonder City.

Another picture that shows Jenny talking to the firefly fairies could have been drawn for some other project, and these fairies weren’t even in Neill’s manuscript.

And one that doesn’t particularly look like an Oz drawing at all appears in the story when Number Nine‘s mother disables the two Nomes Umph and Grumph, but none of the three look like they do elsewhere.

I’ve already talked about the Wizard and the mysterious broom man, and I really don’t know what Neill’s original intentions were there. Did the Wizard make himself taller, or was this originally a different person?

Regarding the endpapers, the boy simply labeled “Munchkin” looks a lot like Number Nine again, but I guess a lot of his boys are pretty similar. Maybe it’s one of his siblings. The bear called “Sniffer” doesn’t appear in the finished story, but I suspect it’s Snufferbux from Ojo. I’ve also heard that Neill’s manuscript spells the leprechaun’s name “Psychopompus,” while the published version goes with “Siko Pompus,” but here it’s spelled a third way as “Sico.”

In this picture (I only scanned part of it), Ozma is on the palace balcony with Dorothy and Glinda on her right, the Wogglebug and Sir Hokus on her left, and several people who aren’t readily identifiable. Someone once suggested that the person two behind the bug is Peg Amy in wooden doll form, even though that doesn’t make sense. The woman next to the knight is wearing a hat like his mother does in Yellow Knight, and could also potentially be his wife Marygolden, except that Neill never mentions either of these characters or Hokus’ change in situation in that book. The long-nosed man right behind the Professor resembles the soldiers from Hiland in John Dough and the Cherub.

Another picture in Scalawagons includes some unidentified royals chatting in front of Kabumpo, the Comfortable Camel, and some other animals.

It looks like Neill made an effort to make the one guy distinct, with his buck teeth and platform shoes, but as far as I know he isn’t a specific character from this or any other Oz book. It just seems weird to me because there are so many established L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson characters who could be filling out these scenes, but unless he’s drawing them very differently, he’s instead going for total unknowns.

Most of the Scalawagons pictures are pretty consistent with the text, although there are a few oddities. The kelpies are described as having “horse-shaped bodies,” but this is never shown in the illustrations. Then again, kelpies are traditionally shape-shifters. We also have this indication that Tik-Tok doesn’t know how to spell his own name (or else it’s the authors who have been getting it wrong).

A two-page spread near the end shows various people dancing in couples, including the Soldier with Green Whiskers with a generic girl. unless it’s supposed to be Betsy Bobbin.

It does look like Trot with Tik-Tok, but nobody in particular with Captain Salt. The thing is, the text says that the Soldier and the Guardian of the Gate hear the infectious music and start dancing with each other, so there’s a contradiction. Lucky Bucky has a picture showing, according to the text, Dorothy, Betsy, Trot, and Jellia Jamb (spelled without the B in this book) running into the Council Chamber, but there are six girls shown and only Dorothy is easily recognizable, although that’s probably Trot in the hat. The one right behind Dorothy looks kind of like how Jellia is drawn in Ozoplaning, with the curly hair and rolls in the front.

I believe Jellia is in another illustration in this book, with the celebrities meeting Davy Jones and the uncles from Wise Acres.

The person behind her looks like a younger version of Jinjur, and the one behind her probably isn’t supposed to be anyone in particular but reminds me of Cayke the Cookie Cook.
As mentioned here, there is a Neill drawing that looks like it could be from Scalawagons, with a guy who looks like the Wizard getting into a self-driving car with a turret on top.

Apparently it’s actually for an unfinished story called “The Voice of Bong,” with the illustrations drawn in 1939. Since the picture also shows a guy with a bell on his head, Neill might well have incorporated some of his ideas for it into Oz.


One piece of art that definitely looks to be repurposed is the first one of the outlaw sorcerers of the Winkie Country, the original purpose of which I really don’t know. It does look like many of the people on the right are town officials instead of sorcerers, and there’s a guy with butterfly wings doffing his three-cornered hat in front of them. It’s followed by another two-page spread that actually includes the characters from the story, and is quite different in style.

It’s not like the text mentions the grasshopper people or mushrooms with arms, however. I guess the stalk with six eyes might belong to one of the “huge prowling spy-ders.” There are a few oddities surrounding the castle wall paintings in Lucky Bucky. One illustration shows the Wizard examining a picture of a small, skinny person sawing the nose from a mushroom with a face.

I have no idea what’s supposed to be going on there, and I don’t think the text gives any indication. It’s a little disturbing. Is it somehow related to the mushrooms from the picture of Davy passing the evil magicians? And the part where Davy sails into the Emerald City is confusing in both text and art.

The whale, leaving Lake Quad, somehow takes the Scarecrow’s river with him, and the water solidifies so that no one can sink into it. When they get close to the city, we’re told, “They could even make out the details of the brightly colored pictures on the city walls,” even though the Wizard said earlier that the Ozites were painting the CASTLE walls. I don’t think it would be the first time in the series the two walls were confused, though. That does, however, raise the question as to whether the new river runs right up to the city, or THROUGH part of the city; and how the latter would work without blocking one of the gates. And it’s even more confusing when Davy is said to have “continued on his way gaily, encircling the wall.” I think I would need a diagram, not just an illustration.

This entry was posted in Animals, Art, Bill Campbell and Irwin Terry, Celtic, Characters, Eric Shanower, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Mythology, Oz, Oz Authors, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to You Oughta Be in Pictures

  1. Ha, I love the hairstyle where it looks like Princess Leia buns crossed with Frankenstein bolts! 😂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s