This particular edition of The Wizard of Id is not from today, but is a couple of days old now. I only got word of it today. Still, it's Ozzy. But I'm not sure what other wizard there is who can help poor Nick there. Harry Potter, perhaps?
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Yes, they just keep coming. Last Tuesday, April 23, one of the categories in the Double Jeopardy! round was All-Time 100 Songs. These are the top one hundred songs, in the history of Time's editors, since the magazine's founding in 1923. The first four clues were relatively modern (certainly all that I recall becoming hits), but then Laurel, the challenger in the middle, hit the Daily Double. She bet $5000, and was presented with this clue:
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Yup, time for another post to catch you up on all the Oz stuff I've been reading lately. It's mostly comics this time. I hope you don't mind.
- The Road to Oz #6 by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young. Yup, it's over. This one starts with the Scarecrow's arrival (abbreviated a bit from the book) to, well, the end of the book, of course. Dorothy gets the honor of greeting the guests, and yet again, Skottie Young doesn't disappoint. He gets the chance to illustrate such characters as John Dough, Chick the Cherub, Para Bruin, the Queen of Merryland and the Candy Man, Queen Zixi (looking very exotic), King Bud and Princess Fluff, and Santa Claus, of course. (I'll be interested to see if there's an afterword in the trade collection explaining who all these people are!) Naturally, he goes to town. Because of the shortened page run for this book, Ozma's birthday parade and the appearance of the Good Witch of the North are cut out. This does not bode well for The Emerald City of Oz, which will be limited to only five issues! Yikes!
- Fables #127 by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, and Andrew Pepoy. Snow white is still under a nasty spell, so of course the rest of the Fables are trying to save her. This includes all of the most powerful magic users in town. This includes Ozma! She hasn't appeared for a while. Sadly, she isn't able to help much.
- The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West ongoing #5 by Tom Hutchison, Alisson Borges, and Kate Finnegan. We now know who the guy is with the hatchet and the orange face mask: It's Jack Pumpkinhead, of course. He shows up at Glinda's mansion, demanding to have an audience with her or he'll start breaking off Tip's fingers. But he won't do that, as he and Tip are old accomplices; it was all a ruse so that he could see her quickly. It turns out he has some information for her — which we won't hear about until the next issue, of course! Also, we get some flashbacks to Jinjur's life, and how events helped to make her the woman she is today. I'm still enjoying this series, and I'm interested in seeing where it goes. And I'm already thinking about the possibility of cosplaying Jack some day.
- Not part of the regular comics order, but a comic nevertheless, is the large Treasury edition of The Forgotten Forest of Oz by Eric Shanower. This was reprinted a few years ago by IDW in a nice, large edition. When Hungry Tiger Books announced they were sold out, I figured I'd better jump on it, and get it elsewhere. Sadly, IDW was also sold out, but I did manage to find a single used copy online, and snagged it even though money's a bit tight right now. Yup, this is still as good a story as it was when it was first published back in the '80s, but the larger size and clearer images suits it well. I would hope IDW would go back and reprint the rest of Eric's Oz graphic novels in this format, but I have a sneaking suspicion that that won't happen.
- My one non-comic reading was my reread for this cycle, Was by Geoff Ryman. I was not happy when I first read this book, over twenty years ago. It seemed to take all the fun and joy out of Oz and made it dark and twisted, and it really, really tuned me off. However, in the ensuing years, I've heard so much praise heaped on this book that I wondered what was going on. Finally, the folks over at the SF Squeecast (two of whom I now know personally) started talking about it, and so I decided to give it another shot. Could twenty years of maturation give me new insights to this book? Well, I read it, and I don't think I can say that I hate this book any more. However, I'm still not sure that I can say I like it, either. The premise, of the connections from Dorothy growing up in Kansas, meeting L. Frank Baum who wrote a story about her, to Dorothy dying in a Kansas sanitarium, to one of the attendants there becoming the doctor of an AIDS patient in the '80s, is actually pretty good, and well put together. It all comes full-circle when Jonathan, the AIDS patient, decides to find just where Dorothy lived. The scenes of young Jonathan dreaming himself into the first television broadcast of The Wizard of Oz are still the best thing about the book, but now on this read I'm more confused by the inclusion of vignettes with Judy Garland during production of the movie, and her mother's death, as they are not really connected to much else in the book. I think I can better admire what Ryman was trying to do in this story, and it's a much better book if you don't think of it as an Oz book. But I still can't accept Uncle Henry, in any manifestation, being a child molester.
Oh dear, oh dear. I had a sneaking suspicion that there would be an Oz cartoon relating to current events that I would post here, but I was expecting one about the death of Margaret Thatcher. Instead, that one played out on the British pop charts! (In case you haven't heard, sales of "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead" were so big after Thatcher died that it was number three the following week!) No, it turns out that one of my favorite political cartoonists, David Horsey, managed to drag Oz into the sordid mess around the Boston Marathon bombings and reactions to it. Still, as far as conspiracy theories go, it's pretty funny.
While I'm at it, this also gave me the chance to track down this cartoon by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. My local paper ran this one as well.
(Say, does anyone know if anyone did draw a cartoon about Margaret Thatcher that used "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead" as a tagline? I don't mean the old Doonesbury strip, but something more recent.)
Friday, April 19, 2013
For a new non-fiction comic, this one has already popped up surprisingly frequently in this blog! Today's Trivquiz profiles James Franco. Even though it doesn't mention Oz the Great and Powerful, Steve McGarry does use Franco's portrayal of Oscar Diggs as an illustration. So that counts, right?
Monday, April 08, 2013
My Cage is a fun little comic about animals in the workplace that, sadly, has been in reruns for some time now. But there's still Oz in the reruns, like today's little piece (originally run in 2009). Hey, it could have ended that way!
Sunday, April 07, 2013
(Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun in the headline there.) I can't remember if I've embedded a clip of Wicked in Finnish here or not yet — but if I did, it's worth another look! Here's a few minutes of the show from Helsinki. (Thanks to Mark Evanier for putting this up in his blog.)
Thursday, April 04, 2013
I got word the other day of a fun little promotion, so I thought I'd pass the word along. There's a new virtual world game online, to tie in with the forthcoming Legends of Oz movie (you may recall when it was going to come out as Dorothy of Oz). It's at www.legendsofozworld.com. Well, for a limited time, after you register for the game, you can request a free digital Tin Man costume for your Toto in the game! (Yeah, I know, why does he need it? But hey, it's just a game! It's all in fun.) So all you have to do is click on the graphic below and request it. But hurry! This is a limited time offer.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I've been very busy in my real life of late (new, albeit temporary, job taking up a lot of time, not that I'm complaining at all!), and so my pile of Oz reading has piled up a bit. I should be doing something else right now, but I've decided that this is what I'm going to do for the next few minutes! Here we go:
- I've read three more stories out of Shadows of the Emerald City, and as much as I'm enjoying the book, it only reinforces my opinion that this book is not meant for many Oz fans who want an Oz that's safe for children! First was "The Utility of Love" by David Steffan. This story features a totally alternative origin for the Tin Woodman, who is now and android sent out by the wizard to kill witches. He slowly learns about what it means to be human, however, from Dorothy, and eventually has a reckoning with his maker.
- "The China People of Oz" by T. L. Barrett is the first book in this collection that takes place exclusively in our world, and may be the most accessible to fans of more traditional Oz stories. A little girl who is a big fan of the Oz books and dying of cancer gets her wish to visit Kansas. Her parents are skeptical, but it turns out there are Oz attractions in Wamego, Liberal, and other parts of the state, which she is excited to see. However, it's in a little antique store off a back road in the middle of nowhere that she finds a family of people made of china. Could it be that these were taken from the China Country in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? She's bound and determined to try to get them home if they are! I especially liked that most of the point of view in this story was from the father, and that it touches on so many real Oz sites in Kansas.
- The third (and for now final) story I read from the collection was "Dorothy of Kansas" by J. W. Schnarr. Oz and its citizens are dying, and only the rusted out Tin Woodman and the not-all-there head of the Scarecrow even remember it. So they head out to Kansas to see if they can find Dorothy and get help, only to find that our world is in the same danger, and Dorothy can't even help herself very well. I twigged onto what was happening in this story pretty quickly, but it was still disturbing. So why does the odd timing of this one disturb me so much? (This one clearly takes place during the Cold War, yet the Dorothy of the books would have been long dead, and even Judy Garland's Dorothy might not have been this one. Ah, it's all make believe anyway, isn't it?)
- Next up: Last month's comics order! (Good thing, as this month's came today. Just another reason for me to do this reading catch-up now!) First, Fables #126. With Bufkin's story complete at last, there was no Oz content in this one. So, moving on...
- Marvel's The Road to Oz #5. As you can probably guess by now, I'm a big fan of these books. Eric and Skottie are still hitting them out of the park. This issue covers Dorothy's arrival at the Tin Woodman's new palace (there's even an homage to the famous picture of Neill's Dorothy seeing the Denslow-inspired statue of herself) to the Shaggy Man accepting Ozma's offer to live in the Emerald City. Hmm, so that just means the party left to go in the final issue (which I now have, and may just go off and read once this entry is done).
- The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles: Prelude to Evil #3. Sarah's adventures in Wonderland continue, but by the end she's chosen her own path and finds her way through several other worlds. If this is confusing to you, don't worry; I don't quite get it, either. That's been the problem with these Oz/Wonderland Chronicles series: They not only come out months apart, so it's hard to follow, they also seem to have had several series going at once, which didn't help. However, if I've figured everything out, everything is pretty well tied-up at the moment. But they also promise Sarah's return in Book 3, so I guess the stor will continue some time. Maybe I need to go back and reread these books in the proper order.
- The last comic (this month) is The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #4 (which Big Dog only seems to have for sale as a limited edition exclusive). This issue focuses mainly on Jinjur. We see a little bit about what she's been doing while ruling the Emerald City, a flashback to her first encounter with the Wizard, and her pursuit of Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, and their friends as they continue to head south towards Glinda.
- One book I read in the past few weeks was Fables, Volume 3: Storybook Love, which collects issues 11 through 18 of the comic, and features several shorter stories. There are a couple appearances by Bufkin, but otherwise no Oz. Next!
- The Denslow Picture Book Treasury by W. W. Denslow (who else could it be?) reprints nine of the classic picture books illustrated, and in many cases written, by W. W. Denslow at the turn of the twentieth century. It's a great collection, and the art looks fabulous. (I suspect some hardcore collectors who have the originals will find flaws in the reproduction, but I don't have the originals to compare them to, so I'm pleased enough.) The Scarecrow even makes a cameo appearance in The House that Jack Built. My only complaint is that the job is only half done, seeing as how Denslow produced eighteen of these. Therefore, I hope this one is successful enough that Dover puts out Volume 2, which would include Denslow's Scarecrow and the Tin Man.
- As you can imagine, a lot of tie-in merchandise has come out for the movie Oz the Great and Powerful, and I'm trying to get my hands on some of it as my funds allow. Since I know it will be available for only a short time, however, I pounced on the Spring 2013 issue of Disney twenty-three magazine. Not only does it have several articles about the movie, it also includes one about other Oz projects Disney has taken on, or tried to present, including Return to Oz and the aborted The Rainbow Road to Oz. But where was The Muppets' Wizard of Oz?
- I also read the Junior Novel. It was a pretty standard, straightforward novelization of the movie, with no real surprises or new revelations — except for Glinda's father's name (no surprise to fans of the books, it's Pastoria). My question is, however, why is there a junior novel, but not a standard novelization for adults? There's a lot that could be expanded upon in a longer book. Oh, well, we may never know.
- I was given a complimentary review copy of The Origin of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Michele Rubatino, but I'm afraid I can't be very complimentary back. This is a very slight little book, which purports to explain how the origins of Oz rest in the King James Bible. Sadly, Rubatino does not do a terribly good job of convincing me. There are an awful lot of very earnest assertions made with little or no citations or other claims to back them up, and the book doesn't even contain a bibliography. What's more, what works that are cited are suspect, or have been superseded. The first edition of The Annotated Wizard of Oz is mentioned a couple of times, but the author seems to be unaware of the superior and much deeper second edition, available since 2000. The only Baum autobiography mentioned is The Read Wizard of Oz by Rebecca Loncraine, but there are enough issues with that book that one or two others would have been excellent additional resources. And Rubatino seems only to be interested in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the maps of Oz as first published in Tik-Tok of Oz, but there is so much more to Oz, and Baum's other writings, that she totally ignores. She assigns a meaning to Noland (or, as she writes it, No Land) that has nothing to do with what happened in Queen Zixi of Ix, for instance. But my biggest gripe is that she continuously refers to a book called The Oz Omnibus and how "omnibus" has special meanings that Baum must have had in mind. The only trouble is, there are now several volumes called The Oz Omnibus (or variations on that theme), all of which collect several books, and none of which were published in Baum's lifetime. Therefore, Baum would never have any reason to associate the word "omnibus" with Oz or the Bible. This book, in short, totally fails to either delve into the breadth of Oz and Oz scholarship that precedes it, nor does it make any compelling arguments in its own right.
- Finally, I managed to get a copy of The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Movie Classic by my friend John Fricke and Jonathan Shirshekan. Much of this I already knew from previous books, but this is a nice, well-designed package, and I learned a few new things and saw a few new items I hadn't seen before. Fans of The Movie will want to track this down. But the fact that it was available for so short a time makes me wonder if we're going to get something new next year for The Movie's seventy-fifth (!) anniversary.
Last week, on the show for March 25, Oz popped up as part of the clue for Final Jeopardy! No surprise, actually, when you consider that the category was:
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
My apologies for the long delay and very light posting over the past few weeks. I've been very busy, and I've had other priorities. But the good news is I have a little down time now, and can finally catch up on a few things, like this blog. Expect a few entries over the next week or so. And to start off, a little dose of Jeopardy! (that's over a month old now, so I hope you don't mind). They really, really like giving Oz clues on Jeopardy! in pairs this season, for some reason. For not only did they do it again in February, they did it in perhaps the two most important games of the entire season, the two-game finale of the annual Tournament of Champions. The fifteen top winners of the previous year come back and duke it out for trivia supremacy (and a quarter of a million dollars), and it came down to the final three. In only the second clue of the first match, we find this clue in the category 3 Last Words, in which you must give the last three words (makes sense) of whatever is named. The $200 clue was:
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Wow, it's been some time since we've had one of these, hasn't it? So what did our four friends all want from the Wizard? Today's Off the Mark gives us some new insight!
(And before anyone asks, yes, I've seen Oz the Great and Powerful. I just haven't had time to post a review or reaction yet. I hope to soon, however.)
Saturday, February 23, 2013
There was not a lot of Oz content in the Tournament of Champions quarterfinal match shown on Tuesday, February 19. But there was some Oz-ish content. First off, during the contestant interviews after the first commercial break, Ashok commented on one of his incorrect Final Jeopardy! responses (as seen in this blog entry). The Wizard of Oz didn't come up, but his brother did get him a copy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and made sure he knew about it. Then, after the second break, came the Double Jeopardy! round, in which the final two categories were
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The Chesterton Oz Festival in Indiana, one of the oldest and longest-running of the many Oz festivals around the country, is in danger of disappearing. They need new sponsors. So, as you can imagine, there's a petition going around, but it hasn't got many signatures yet. You can help! So go sign it already! Then spread the word!