Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Special Delivery

Good grief, at this rate I will never finish watching this show! However, I am cautiously hopeful that the personal stuff that's been keeping me from regularly updating on ntis show is mostly taken care of now, and I can get back to blogging about it on at least a semi-regular basis. So let's see what this one is about!

The Cowardly Lion is so excited about a delivery from Munchkin Country, he completely misstuffs the Scarecrow. SO where is the Lion's delivery of lollipops? It seems the delivery truck was hijacked by giants, who love lollipops more than just about anything else. The delivery driver gives Scarecrow and Lion a note, sending them off on a search for Dorothy. The Giants of Tartary plan to stop all shipments to the Emerald City—including the Lion's lollipops and the mineral emerodium that powers the City—unless Dorothy hands the Wizard over to the Wicked Witch of the West! What to do? Well, how about if Smith and Tinker make a delivery truck that can smash through the Witch's blockade? One quick Ruby Slipper trip, and Smith and Tinker get to work to create the Ozmobile! Of course Frank and Lyman observe this, and report to the Witch and Wilhelmina. One quick trip to Munchkinland, and Dorothy and the gang pick up more emerodium (and lollipops), but are stopped by the giants on the way back, and they love to fight. Dorothy uses a little psychology and asks which one of them is the best fighter, and the resulting rumble provides the distraction they need to get by them. The Wizard's magic and a few tricks built into the Ozmobile gets them further along, but then the Witch and her entourage show up, demanding the Wizard. Lion is forced to give up some of his lollipops to distract them further as the Wizard enchants them to explode. The Ozmobile is almost to the Emerald City when the giants catch up to it again. Luckily, as the city is running out of power, they make it through the gates just before they close on the giants. The giants then turn on the Wicked Witch, who won't give them any sweet treats because of their failure, chasing them back to where they came. The emerodium is installed, and the Emerald City is working again. The Lion even gets to enjoy one last lollipop.

Okay, that was just plain silly. The Ozmobile in pretty cool, but it really doesn't belong in Oz. This episode was just all on ebig runaround. But as usual, the good guys win in the end again.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

The 2014 issue of Oziana started with a story set in Merryland, so it's appropriate that it ends with a story about Dot and Tot themselves. "Roselawn" by Jared Davis, with illustrations by David Baker, is set in 1919, after the end of World War I. Eva "Dot" Freeland, now an up-and-coming illustrator of children's books, has returned to her childhood home, Roselawn, to welcome home her old friend, American Expeditionary Forces soldier Matthew "Tot" Thompson. But the war has had a bad effect on Matthew, and he needs a lot of love and patience from Eva and the Roselawn staff to overcome his PTSD. Eva is finally able to break through by showing some of her illustrations based on their childhood trip to Merryland, even though he doesn't really believe it actually happened anymore.

This is a powerful, raw story of two old friends and how their friendship has endured through time and hardships. It ultimately has a happy ending, but we see a lot of the bad times Tot went through in Europe. This is in sharp contrast to the lighthearted fantasy these two first went through in Dot and Tot of Merryland. This story stands well enough on its own, but it really needs the reader to have read, or at least be familiar with, Baum's original book to truly understand it all. But that is easy enough nowadays to reckon with, as the book is in public domain.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Today's Oz Comic

In today's edition of Moderately Confused, that little witch waving inside the bubble looks more like Galinda from Wicked to me than Glinda from The Movie. Blonde hair, blue dress, she sure evokes Krintin Chenoweth a lot more than Billie Burke.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

Here in the west, it's so smoky and the air so hazy that it's easy to forget just how bad it is in the rest of the country, like the storms battering the Gulf coast, as pointed out by Bill Day in this comment about the weather down there.

Today's Oz Comic

It seems an unusually long time since our last Oz comic. Good thing Brad babysitting his niece Shannon has resulted in this little bit of drama in today's Luann to give us something Ozzy to talk about here again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

Actually, at the rate I'm going, maybe I should call it "This Month's Oz Short Story". But starting a new job and dealing with minor crises on the home front have made it a challenge to get this one up, even though I read "Rob Zombie in Oz" by Aaron Solomon Adelman, with illustrations by John Troutman, as published in the 2014 issue of Oziana, in plenty of time to write about it last week. This story (which, despite its name, does not feature any heavy metal singers) takes place during Ojo's first trip to the Emerald City in The Patchwork Girl of Oz and, surprisingly, incorporates some of the changes that book went through when it was turned into a movie a year later. A lot of this story centers around Jinjur, former commander of the Army of Revolt, and her decision to blackmail Dr. Pipt's daughter, Jesseva, into becoming a Yookoohoo. (No, really, it makes sense in context.) In the process, Jinjur spills some Powder of Life in an Emerald City graveyard (from before Oz was enchanted), creating a zombie! She has to deal with not only a zombie, but also a vengeful Yookoohoo, and in the end, it doesn't really work out well for Jinjur. We also see a little bit of what happened in the Emerald City while Ojo and his party were out looking for more ingredients.

It's a fun little exercise in melding the events of the book and the movie, and both Jinjur and Jesseva prove to be interesting characters. Despite my odd description of the story, it all flows very logically and sensibly, although maybe not in the way some people would expect. Even Ozma doesn't come off quite as well as one would expect, but it all fits into what we've seen in both the books and the movies.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Today's Oz Comic

Today's One Big Happy is not the first time the strip has featured this joke. (I remember the first time I saw it, in fact, another strip did the same thing!) I think this is, however, the first time it's been featured in this particular context.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Today's Deja Vu Political Cartoon

It appears that Pat Byrnes of The New Yorker had an extremely similar idea the other day to the last political cartoon I posted. Byrnes, however, narrowed his version's focus just a bit.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

We've seen many variations on politicians sending out the flying monkeys before. But Clay Jones sure has a lot of monkeys to deal with in today's cartoon!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

I made myself some more time and went back and read the second story from the 2014 issue of Oziana, which is "Labor of Love", written and illustrated by Kim McFarland. The Scarecrow and Scraps decide, since they're spending so much time together, they should get married. The only trouble is, they're not exactly sure what that means, since it's never really crossed their radars before. The first person they tell is Jack Pumpkinhead, but he's not much wiser than they are on the subject, even with a new head. But they have more luck with their next visit, to the Tin Woodman. Having once been flesh-and-blood and in love himself, Nick tells them a little more about what marriage actual is and means. As Emperor of the Winkies, he even has the power to perform the ceremony, and does so. By the time the happy couple gets to the Emerald City, word has spread, and they are warmly greeted and congratulated by their friends. But part of being married is the decision to have children, which everyone thinks will be impossible for the new couple. So imagine everyone's surprise when Scraps shows up with a baby that's part patchwork, part denim, and stuffed with straw! Both Scraps and the Scarecrow contributed parts of themselves towards the creation of Pip (whom the Scraps declares will decide whether they are a boy or a girl in a few years). After some question and hesitation, Pip is accepted by everyone, and the seamstresses and tailors of the Emerald City contribute all kinds of fabric that can be added to Pip andmake them grow.

This is hardly the first story about these two characters having a romance and becoming a couple. But this one is really very sweet, and a realistic (if that word can be used about an Oz story) portrayal of what these two might actually go through. Pip is a great creation, too, and it would be cool to see a story about them in a few years. Scrasp teaching Pip about eating in much the same way as she learned in The Patchwork Girl of Oz is endearing, and shows that she has great potential as a mother, no matter how maternal she may not appear to be in the books.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Today's Oz-ish Comic

It looks like the saga of Kristin Chenoweth on a slice of toast ends with this Heart of the City strip. It's probably just as well.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Today's Oz Comics

Good grief, the comics pages are crazy with Oz stuff this week! Okay, here's what we have for today:

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Today's Oz-Adjacent Comic

Today in Heart of the City, we get a guest appearance from someone extremely well-known and associated with her "Popular" role in Wicked. I wonder if this foretells a few more appearances in the coming days.

Today's Recent Oz Political Cartoon

Somehow, based on this recent caricature, I suspect Tom Stiglich is a conservative.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Today's Oz Comic

Hmm, yet another comic about Oz characters having to deal with water, this one apearing in In the Bleachers. At least this one is not about how hot it is.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Today's Oz Comic

It seems the Wicked Witch of the West isn't the only Oz character trying to beat the heat. Here's another one doing the same, but who also has problems with moisture. It's a good thing Heathcliff is there to help!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

Time was not something I could spare a lot of this weekend, so I skipped the (lengthy!) second story of the 2014 issue of Oziana and went straight for the third, "The New Fellow" by J. L. Bell, with illustrations by David Bishop. It's a short little tale about Kabumpo's first proper visit to the Emerald City, and the reactions of the other animals in the royal stables. This probably takes place not long after Grampa in Oz, as Kabumpo mentions the palace not being there on his first visit to the Emerald City. Anyway, let's just stay he does not make a positive first impression, as he's, well, Kabumpo! He puts on airs and generally looks down on the rest of them, although in a seemingly kindly way with faint praise. He also takes the time to change for dinner, and even sits on th eWoozy, mistaking him for a big blue box. But in the end, a kindly deed shows his true self, and the rest of the animals accept him—begrudgingly, but genuinely—as someone who will likely be visiting frequently. It's a fun little slice-of-life story, as there are no huge stakes, but we get a great character study out of it, especially of Kabumpo's early self.

This was short enough that I can also do a quick survey of some other non-short story items from this issue:

  • The front cover, also by David Bishop, shows Dorothy reading a book on the palace lawn with Ozma, the Cowardly Lion, and some other characters around her.
  • "Theresa's Pink Road" by Theresa McMillan is a poem about the adveture of the author finding her own road on her visit to Oz.
  • And the back cover, also by David Bishop, depicts a scene from a story I haven't talked about yet, so I'll just save that for later!

Today's Belated Oz Comic

Here's a sample of the Half full comic from the other day that fell through the cracks and didn't turn up until last night. Still, it's never too late to enjoy an Oz comic. (And I know just how you feel, Nick!)

Friday, August 21, 2020

A Gaggle of Elphabas

You know what? I've gotten into a rut with this blog. Lately it's just become comics, what I'm reading, and what I'm watching. It's time to mix things up again! So here's a supercut of a whole bunch of different actresses, over the last two decades, playing Elphaba and singing "Defying Gravity" in various productions of Wicked.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

Actually, it would probably be more accurate to call this "Today's Oz Meteorological Cartoon", as Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune has something to say about the weather. This is not the first cartoon I've ever seen on the topic, but this takes it in a different direction than most others, and is one of the best I've seen.