Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 28, 2009
An afterword to Marcus D. Mebes's new edition of ZAUBERLINDA, THE WISE WITCH, by Eva Katharine Gibson ([Shreveport, LA]: Pumpernickel Pickle, 2009)
For more than a century, Eva Gibson's ZAUBERLINDA has labored under the reputation of being a quick, cheap imitation of L. Frank Baum's WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ; and, as nearly as we can tell, this is probably the first complete edition since the original one of 1901; though my Internet search revealed what must be one drastically abridged recent edition.
My Afterword explains why I am confident that any slight resemblance between Gibson's work and Baum's is coincidental. In my opinion, ZAUBERLINDA definitely does NOT deserve unexamined dismissal as an Oz clone -- though an argument could be made that some of Baum's later Oz work, perhaps even parts of the 1939 movie, bear remarkable resemblances to bits that Gibson clearly published first.
Sean Patrick Duffley adds a valuable second Afterword in a short biography of the elusive Eva Katharine Clapp Gibson.
If I have persuaded even a few fellow Oz enthusiasts and other readers that ZAUBERLINDA should be taken on its own merit as at least a minor classic, if I have helped to bring an unjustly neglected gem into its own light at last, I feel prouder of my part in this project than of many a "solo" item in my bibliography.