Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Today's Oz Comic

All I can say about today's edition of Rubes is, I don't think that doctor understood what his patient wanted.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Today's Oz Comic

Thanks to my man in Japan, Michael-sensei, I got word of another Oz comic. So, go take a look at today's edition of Pop Culture Shock Therapy for an interesting perspective on an Oz event that, thankfully, never actually happened.

This Weekend's Oz Comic

My fellow Oz fan Rei Shaw found this installment of the webcomic Kevin and Kell, a strip I was not previously familiar with, and posted it on my Facebook wall. (Gee, do you think I'm getting a reputation now for being the go-to place for Oz comic strips?) Thanks, Rei!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

This Week's Oz Short Story

Yup, you've got it, one more from I Should Have Stayed in Oz. In "Dorothy Down Under" by Glenn R. Sixbury, Dorothy is in a hospital for the mentally ill after telling Aunt Em and Uncle Henry about Oz once too often, with violent results. She flips out again when one doctor presents her with her magic shoes (Sixbury rather craftily doesn't tell us what color they are!), and they don't work! But over a conversation with some of her fellow patients, she begins to understand that she's not crazy, and also how she was able to make the shoes work in Oz. She gives it one more try, and — well, I won't spoil it for you, but one look at the title may suggest where she ends up. This one was mostly a lot of talking heads, and maybe not as action packed as some of this book's other tales, but that format also gives a lot of insight into Dororthy's head and how she figures out some hard truths about herself.

And with that, I have finished this collection. Right now, I have no new Oz short stories to read, so between that and going off to the convention next week, I'm giving this series a little break. But I have quite a few stories I'd like to reread, and as soon as I can I also want to get this volume's follow-up, I Didn't Quite Make It to Oz. So I will be reading a short story every weekend again, starting soon. And maybe I will even talk about some of them here!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Oz in Jeopardy!

Yeah, it's been a while, now that I've caught up, but there was a new one in the game for July 17, 2015 and it was in the Double Jeopardy! category It's a Palindrome, of all things. Uncovered at the top of the category, for $400, was this clue:

Lawrence, the challenger in the middle, rang in first and correctly responded, "What is a deed?" Well, yeah, it is a palindrome, isn't it? Lawrence continued to do well, but ran into trouble in Final Jeopardy! and eventually lost. And in case you don't already know the song, here's the original Elphaba, Edine Menzel, singing "No Good Deed":

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fifty Years of Winkies!

Last year, as I suspect a few of you know, was the fiftieth Winkie Convention. Part of the plans to commemorate such an auspicious occasion was a celebratory book covering all of the previous forty-nine events. With everything else going on to put on the actual convention the plans for the book kind of got shoved aside, but then that means that the final product could include all fifty conventions. It's due any day from the printers, so the publishers have put up a few preview pages. Go ahead, take a look, see if you can spot me (and, for that matter, Laura). And if you didn't already order one last year, you can order your own copy right here.

What I'm Doing at OzCon Next Week

I know that many people who go to cons post their schedules online, so that people who want to see them know where to find them, and everyone else will know where to stay away from. So, since I now have my schedule for next week's OzCon International in San Diego, I may as well share it here:

  • Friday, July 31 at 1:00 p.m., I will be part of a group looking at Unexplored Territories of Oz: New Areas for Research and Interpretation. This is about what kinds of Oz research there are to fill future issues of The Baum Bugle, mostly. I have a few ideas, but I'm also stymied as to what I can really add to this.
  • Friday night at 9:00, I'm hosting the It's The Baum game show, where teams try to guess Ozzy names behind them based on clues given by teammates. Think Celebrity Name Game or some games on Hollywood Game Night and you get the idea. It's silly fun, and at only half an hour long it probably won't wear out its welcome.
  • Saturday, August 1 at 10:00, I'm conducting this year's Oz quizzes. By a quirk of fate, even though I'm only obligated to write the masters' quiz (by winning it last year), I'm also writing the other two. So come take one of my quizzes, if only to validate all my hard work!
  • Saturday at 1:15 is a panel I thought up that should be particularly appropriate this year, The Novelizations of Oz. This year is the centennial of The Scarecrow of Oz, which is often cited as one of the earliest ever novelizations of a movie, as much of it is based on the 1914 movie His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz. I thought an overview of Oz movie tie-in books would be good this year. I'm especially excited by this panel as my co-presenter will be Joan D. Vinge, the author of the novelization of Returt to Oz, which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year. This should be fun.
  • That afternoon at 4:15, I will be hosting the costume contest. So no, I won't be wearing one this year.
  • And finally, at 2:00 Sunday, August 2, I will be part of the final wrap-up panel with my co-chair, Karyl Carlson, as we find out what went right, what can be improved, and how we can incorporate them into our own convention as we talk up next year's convention, July 15-17 in Portland. Yes, I will be very busy with that for the next year, and you may get tired of me blathering on about it (I think my wife already is).
So if you want to meet me in person in about a week and a half, make plans now!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

This Week's Oz Short Story

One more from I Should Have Stayed in Oz. We had something with a similar premise earlier in the book, in that "Oh, Them Silver Slippers" by Laura J. Underwood involves Toto finding the Silver Slippers. But here, Toto is very much a dog, and does what any dog would do when he finds a slipper. Nope, nobody gets to Oz in this one, I'm afraid. What amused me about this one, however, is that Toto is menaced throughout the story by the farm's lead chicken, Billina. Yes, this is the first appearance in this book by a character from the rest of the books, albeit this is more likely the Return to Oz version as she's in Kansas, and Dorothy doesn't first meet her in a chicken coop on the way to Australia.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Today's Oz Comic

Actually, I'm not 100% convinced that today's Red and Rover is Ozzy, but the punchline sure made me grin.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Today's Oz Comic

See, in today's edition of The Argyle Sweater, they're making fun of the Tin Man because he's made of tin, which you used to be able to recycle for money, and...okay, yeah, this one is pretty lame, actually.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Today's Not Oz Comic

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that today's Brevity has absolutely nothing to do with Oz. But Oz and Narnia are so closely related in my mind (first read them both in third grade), and I just wanted to share this somewhere.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Today's Oz Comic

I will present today's Off the Mark comic with no further comment, because I doubt any is needed.

Friday, July 10, 2015

This Week's Oz Short Story

After so many recent strong, Ozzy stories, the latest entry in I Should Have Stayed in Oz is a big disappointment. For one thing, "But Wait, There's More!" by Allison Stein is only two pages long. Now, you can have a good story in only two pages, but this isn't really a story. It's an ad for Dorothy Gale's OZ Complete Body and Soul Makeover System®. Think cheesy cable ads and you get the idea. Trouble is, it isn't much of an idea, and this doesn't really add much of anything to the Oz mythos or Dorothy's character or any of that stuff a good short story should do. Oh, well, you can't win 'em all.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Something New to Get

There is so much Oz stuff out there now that it is extremely difficult to stay on top of it all. That's a big reason I don't talk about stuff here much. But today is an exception. I've been listening to Big Finish's audio productions from the very beginning, and they are a fine company that makes all kinds of shows that make fans happy. So when I heard they were getting into Oz, I got very excited. Well, it's gotten even better, because they've released the trailer for their edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Here, give a listen:

I hope this is a success, because then they'll probably do more! It comes out in September, but you can preorder it right now. If you get the CD, the download comes with it for free.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Today's Oz Comic

All I can say about today's edition of The Argyle Sweater is that's not the origin of the Tin Man we saw in the books. (I am also amused by young Kermit — which could make that Ozzy as well, since he played the Scarecrow in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.)

Friday, July 03, 2015

This Week's Oz Short Story

Oh, my, the stories in I Should Have Stayed in Oz just keep getting better and better! "Who Rode the Winds" by Bradley H. Sinor and his wife, Susan Sinor, is a wonderful little gem of a story. Dorothy is now grown up and making her living as a petty thief (!). She and her partner, Nathan, receive an interesting commission to break into the safe of a M. Jay Gatsby of East Egg, New York, where Dorothy finds one of her silver shoes. Then they're caught by the Great Gatsby. This is just the start of an adventure that takes Dorothy and Nathan to Omaha to meet the Wizard, and then Hollywood. It turns out there is a secret society to protect the existence of Oz from getting out, and now that she's old enough to understand the truth, Dorothy is being let into the group. That nosy reporter who first let the secret out, L. Frank Baum, is now dead, but his son has teamed up with a Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald (!!) to exploit the elder Baum's collection of Oz artifacts, so Dorothy must stop them. This was a lot of fun, and the crossover with The Great Gatsby is a terrific idea. (There's also mention of a young archaeology student named Jones, hinting at even more possible connections.) And while other stories in this collection make allusions to the book(s), this one makes all kinds of accurate references to Baum's life and the early exploitation of the Oz brand! My biggest gripe is that, like so many other stories in this collection, it ends just as things are getting good and Dorothy gets back to Oz! Come on, Yard Dog Press, I want to see a volume of sequels to some of these!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's Time to Go Oz Shopping!

Due to a variety of circumstances, the International Wizard of Oz Club has to shut down its online store. So you have until Friday to get stuff from them. Here's the link.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Latest Oz Comic Book

I told you I was getting back on track! Last night I read Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen #2 and got caught up with Zenescope's barely-clothed version of Oz. When we left off, Dorothy has come across the body of the king of Oz, murdered by the recently returned Zamora (Zenescope's version of the Wicked Witch of the West and, as previously revealed, Dorothy's mother!) and Warlord. Dorothy, now that she's a witch, tries to save him, but is too late. We then see Zamora and Warlord send zombified soldiers all over Oz to sow the seeds for their forthcoming (they think) conquest. The leaders of Oz all get together to decide what to do about it all and choose Dorothy to be the new Queen. Reluctantly, she takes the job. Oh, but before that, Smynth casually tells her that his brother was her father. Yeah, yeah, lots of stuff, but as much as I'm enjoying this book, I know it's not the real Oz, so I can't take it terribly seriously. But it is the only Oz comic book out right now (oh, if only The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West could return!), so I'll keep reading it, of course.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Oz in Jeopardy!

A pretty straightforward clue on the June 1, 2015 game, for $1000 in the Jeopardy! round category Fictional Places:

Dan, the returning champion, was the first to ring in and correctly responded, "What is Oz?" He would go on to win the game again.

And that brings us, for now at least, to the end of Oz in Jeopardy! I'm caught up, and have no more for you right now. There may be a few more before the season wraps up in a few weeks, of course.

Friday, June 26, 2015

This Week's Oz Short Story

Yup, I'm still trying to get through the anthology I Should Have Stayed in Oz. This week, it's "The Monkey Queen of Oz" by Sherri Dean, and this one was a treat! Dean clearly knows the book, because she references the Silver Shoes and the Golden Cap. Not only that, however, her story is a logical extension of what could have happened if Dorothy hadn't returned to Oz as soon as she did in the other books. Dorothy is now in her teens, and Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are getting too old to run the farm. They want to marry Dorothy off, but everyone around thinks she's crazy because of how much she goes on about Oz. On a trip to the carnival, Dorothy tries to see if the Wizard is working there, but is surprised to find a cage full of flying monkeys! It turns out that the Wicked Witches had a brother that they had exiled. With the witches dead and the Wizard gone, he swoops in to fill the vacuum of power, taking on the guise of a wizard named the Humbug (a clever reversal of the actual Wizard's situation). He enslaves the monkeys again and brings some of them, a Munchkin flunky, and a few other Ozites to Kansas in an attempt to get revenge on Dorothy. Since she doesn't feel like she belongs in Kansas anyway, Dorothy helps the monkeys escape, defeats the Humbug, and leaves the carnival in the balloon. The story ends with an interesting offer from the monkeys. This one was a lot of fun, and it just seemed to be the Ozziest story of the book so far. One of only two quibbles is that, like a couple of other stories in this anthology, the end just felt like the start of the real story, once they get to Oz, but we never see that. My other quibble is the story's placement in history, but this one is the opposite of what I've usually seen. Many stories (particularly in this collection) set things during the middle of the twentieth century, more in line with The Movie. Here, however, Dorothy witnesses the incorporation of Kansas City in 1853, decades before the book. I think the author wanted to make a point about the fight over whether or not Kansas would be a slave state, and equating that with the monkey's situation, but it really wasn't a factor. Still, it's a small thing, and ultimately didn't take away from my enjoyment of this story.