10 June 2006

New launch for Ozoplaning

Hungry Tiger Press has announced that it will launch a new edition of Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, the last Oz novel that Ruth Plumly Thompson wrote for Reilly & Lee. That book was first published in 1939, when the publisher knew that MGM was about to release its big-budget Judy Garland movie. Thompson was therefore under pressure to deliver a story that took off from the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz but was new and exciting. The result looks both back and forward. Thompson chose her heroes from the characters whom Baum had invented for Wizard, but then took them into the stratosphere on rocket-powered balloon-levitated magic Ozoplanes. (No, the machines don't make any more sense when you read the book.)

One great quality of past Hungry Tiger Press Oz titles and other latter-day Oz books designed by David Maxine is that they were the first to replicate the "look and feel" of the Reilly & Lee series. The typeface, layout, and trim size reflect the originals--though often with thoughtful variations. That makes nearly the whole series fit together well on a shelf.

In this case, however, the Tiger is roaring about "a whole new look for the classic Oz books!" Not just the out-of-the-world cover by Eisner Award-winner Eric Shanower, but a bigger trim size--with bigger John R. Neill illustrations inside. So this Ozoplaning will not fit with the Reilly & Lee Oz books, or others on that model. What's the flight plan here?

The answer seems to appear in this interview with Eric Shanower at Comic.con. (Thanks to Eric Gjovaag for the alert.) Eric S. states, "I’ll be doing covers for new editions of some of the Oz books from Hungry Tiger Press." The plurals in that sentence hint that there are more Oz reissues ready to take off--and they will, I presume, fit well on a shelf with each other.

1 comment:

David Maxine said...

Hey John, Thanks for the mention : )
While the new edition of OZOPLANING will indeed have a "new look and feel" it will not be shockingly different from the traditional Oz books. The 7 x 10 format actually preseves the "squarish proportions" of the original series better than the 6 x 9 size used for the Oz club and Books of Wonder reprints. The new size matches the depth of the originals - 6 x 9 matches the height of the originals. And if one looks at a Reilly and Lee OZOPLANING one will notice that mnay of the illustrations are printed smaller than they need to be. I truly hope the books will feel like OZ books.