Wednesday, February 27, 2019

"nauseatingly love-rotted and psychotic"

In an introduction to a collection of his comics dream diary (or dream-like tales), Jim Woodring talks about childhood influences. Like me, Woodring found a real sympathy for L. Frank Baum’s Oz. 

I believed that Oz was a place, a real place a person could visit … Magic … was extensively and convincingly documented in the Oz books. In the great The Marvelous Land of Oz, a rough and tumble boy learns that he is really the flouncy, frilly, flower-bedecked Princess Ozma, and he accedes to the retransformation willingly! That’s real magic. You can’t make up something like that.

All of the Oz books had unpleasant magic in them, but The Tin Woodman of Oz was by far the grimmest, the most nauseatingly love-rotted and psychotic. For one thing there was a fifty-foot woman who was completely amoral. I vomited right on the book. For another there was an invisible monster called a Hip-po-gy-raf, which I suspected was covered with blinking eyes … And there was a lot of cutting and gluing of human flesh in the book.

The Oz creature’s being covered with eyes seems to be a vision unrelated to Baum’s description or John R. Neill’s illustrations. It’s not the only thing Woodring says he imagined was covered with eyes. On the other hand, Woodring doesn’t go into one of the weirder scenes in The Tin Woodman of Oz, the scene in which the Tin Woodman converses with his old meat head, after he finds it stowed in the tin smith’s cupboard. The head has a sour disposition and you don’t blame the Tin Woodman for feeling well rid of it. 

source:Jim by Jim Woodring
2014. Fantagraphics Books, Seattle WA


David Lee Ingersoll said...

That conversation between Nick and his old head has always stuck with me.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I wonder if Princess Langwidere would like to try it on.

David Lee Ingersoll said...

There's a story in that question.