Sunday, September 25, 2016

Oz in Jeopardy!

Yup, another Oz clue already, this one from the game of September 21 (and again, I'm on top of this so fast it's not even in the J-Archive yet). In the Jeopardy! round, the category is "Poly" Wanna, which means the letters "poly" will show up in the correct response. (Naturally, the following category was Cracker, but that doesn't enter into things here.) The $600 clue proved to be this:

Yup, a clue about one of the characters from a later Oz book, and it doesn't even mention Oz! Sharon, the challenger on the right, rang in first and correctly responded, "Who is Polychrome?" Unfortunately, she ran into a complete buzzsaw of a contestant in returning champion Seth, who went on to dominate yet again, so her extraordinary Oz knowledge didn't do her a lot of good.

This Week's Oz Poem

No, that's not a typo, as I have concluded my reading of the 1973 issue of Oziana with Frederick Otto's poetic rendition of The Patchwork Girl of Oz from his saga, The Oziad. It Oziana, Fred maintains that he is merely translating the traditional Oz folk poem into English from its Old Ozzish original. But I knew Fred and heard him recite many chapters of The Oziad at the Winkie Conventions, so if it really is a translation, it's a pretty loose one, and Fred injected a lot of his own droll, wry humor into it! It is otherwiso a pretty straightforward retelling of Scraps' first adventure, but Fred mercifully mentions a lot of the side incidents in rapid passing, and focuses on Ojo's quest to get the ingredients for the antidote for the Liquid of Petrifaction. It actually zips by pretty quickly, even for an Oziad.

Today's Oz Comic

Hmm, today in The Argyle Sweater, we seem to have found a previously unknown character. (An additional hmm, it seems Dorothy may be about to channel her inner Frogger!)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

My man in Japan, Michael-sensei, has found us another one! Today'sThe Gray Zone shows us what might happen in a sci-fi-based version of The Wizard of Oz.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

Drive is an awesome, sprawling space epic that also happens to have a very well-developed funny bone. And for some reason, it's printed in blue, not black. So you can imagine it's not terribly Ozzy, and it's not—but there is a very appropriate Oz reference in today's installment.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

This Week's Oz Short Story

This weekend I continued my reading of Oziana with the second story, "The Improbable Forest" by Harry Mongold from the 1973 issue. Technically speaking, it's not really a short story, but three chapters from the then-unpublished novel The Sawhorse of Oz. (Mongold would later go on to privately publish the entire novel in 1981, and yes, I have it. Hmm, maybe that could be something to throw onto the reread pile.) Fortunately for readers of Oziana over forty years ago, this excerpt works very well as a self-contained short story. The Sawhorse, having gotten separated from the rest of the adventure, is trying to find his way to Glinda's castle so she con intervene. (Considering how many times the Sawhorse has made that run from the Emerald City to Glinda's and back, he must have gotten way off course to forget the way!) HE wanders into the Improbable Forest, an area where unlikely things happen quite frequently. Among the denizens he meets is a sprite who may have been at least partially responsible for enchanting that forest in the first place. She recruits the Sawhorse to help defeat her nemesis, an enchanted green serpent. The Sawhorse, after a couple of little mini-adventures, finds the serpent, but things do not go anywhere near the plan! It all turns out well in the end, however, and the Sawhorse even manages to find his way to Glinda's as a result. I liked it, and remembered just enough of the complete novel to put it in its place. It's a good thing this takes place in an Improbable Forest, however, as the Sawhorse is pulling the Red Wagon the entire time! I find it highly improbable that the forest could be navigable for the Red Wagon, or that it didn't at least get all kinds of bumps and scrapes and scratches. But maybe the Improbable Forest had a way of making that easier. (Either that or the Sawhorse just has a lot of experience hauling that thing around in any conditions.)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Oz in Jeopardy!

No, unlike most of last season, I'm not going to waste any time posting Oz clues from Jeopardy! this season if I can possibly help it. For that matter, Jeopardy! didn't waste any time, either, posting a clue in only the fourth show of its thirty-third (!) season, in the game for September 15. (The only one falling behind here appears to be the Jeopardy! Archive website, which doesn't even have this game up yet!) It was the Double Jeopardy! round, in the category A Song In That Movie — they give the title of the song and the year, the players identify the movie. The very first clue uncovered, at the very top for $400, was:

Amy, the challenger on stage right, correctly responded, "What is The Wizard of Oz?" She did not, however, go on to win the game.

An Oz Project Looking for Funding

The Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas has been around for quite some time now, and they are looking to freshen up their entrance and make it really, truly Ozzy. So they've started a crowdfunding campaign over at to raise some of that money. They appear to be off to a good start, but with something like this, every little bit helps. So if you can give, go on over to and give a few dollars. I'm sure it will be worth the effort!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Weekend's Oz Short Story

Yes, at long last, they're back! I think I've dealt with most of the other stuff that had to be dealt with, and picked up very few new things, so I am going to do my best to read an Oz short story every week again and write a little something about it here. I picked up where I left off, with the third issue of the International Wizard of Oz Club's literary magazine, Oziana 1973. The first story in it is "Tempus Temporis in Terra Ozis" by George Van Buren. As you may be able to guess from the title, Van Buren originally wrote the story in Latin, but he managed to provide an English translation for publication. In this story, the Wicked Witch of the West leaves a message behind for the king or queen of Oz warning that, if he or she sees it, the country has only a week left before a doomsday device she buried somewhere in Oz goes off, in the event of her destruction. When Ozma gets the message, she, Dorothy, and Glinda have to figure out where it is and how to disarm it. A search through the Book of Records and some detective work leads everyone to figure out that the burial was witnessed by a Gillikin boy named Tip. Longtime Oz fans probably know what that means, but Ozma has no clue. So a little time travel is used to bring Tip to the present day, and I'm sure you can guess the kinds of issues that that could raise. All works out well in the end, of course. Van Buren's writing style can be a little stilted (perhaps an aftereffect of its Latin origins), but the story itself is solid and well put together, even with a bit of a deusex machina ending.

Next week, an excerpt from a novel I haven't read in nearly forty years (hmm, maybe it's time to put that one in my to read pile!)

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

All I will say about today's Mother Goose and Grimm is: Hey, Scarecrow, you're a scarecrow! You are probobly the most qualified to take care of your own problem!

Monday, September 05, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

The Wizard isn't married. In fact, he never seems to have shown a lot of interest in women until Oz the Great and Powerful. So I doubt we'd ever see him in the situation shown in today'sMother Goose and Grimm. But it still makes for an amusing comic.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Latest Oz Reading

I wrapped up my latest round of Oz reading with Strange Maps by Frank Jacobs. This is one that has actually been kicking around the house for a while, because we got a complimentary copy when it first came out. You see, while compiling it, Jacobs found my website and the maps of Oz on it, and asked for permission to use it. I told him the map was public domain (it's one of the endpapers from Tik-Tok of Oz), so he didn't need my permission, but that I'd also be glad to provide a high resolution scan. Sure enough, in the chapter on "Literary Creations", there is the map of Oz and the surrounding countries. (What this chapter also needs is Pauline Baynes excellent map of Narnia, but it wasn't included, I suspect for rights reasons as most of the maps in this book are in the public domain.) Anyway, the book is an outgrowth of Jacobs' blog of the same name, and there are some unusual maps here. Some are just looking at our world from another perspective, some are more fanciful, and some just make you scratch your head, like the clouds that look like the British Isles. But it's all in fun, especially for fans of maps and geography. Unfortunately there is a lot more white space in this book than there really should be, and many of the maps are reproduced so small that they're hard to discern any details. Other than my modest little contribution, the only Oz connection I found was a connection to Wicked in a of the history of the American musical based on the famous London tube route map. So if you are just interested in getting this book as an Oz fan, I recommend getting something else. But if this is the sort of thing you'd enjoy anyway, by all means, take a look!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

Today's One Big Happy didn't look very promising at all—until the final panel, that is! What an unexpected surprise!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Todays Oz Comic

All I will say about today's One Happy Family is that Ruthie seems to have mistaken Miss Lucille for Willard Carroll. (The very small number of you reading this who get that are probably laughing until you cry right now!)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Latest Oz Comic

Not so long ago, there were quite a few Oz comic books coming out every month. As a fan of both Oz and comics, this was not a bad thing! But that seems to have trickled off to almost nothing now, for a number of reasons. In fact, the most recent book I've received, Legends of Oz: Tik-Tok and the Kalidah #3, appears to be the last one for a while. This is especially bad news for the Wicked West universe, because it is an awful lot of fun. Still, this miniseries went out on a high note. Tik-Tok, Kali, and their unnamed young lady friend are surrounded by a hostile city locking them out behind them, a horde of Kalidahs approaching on the ground, and the flying monkeys on their way through the air. So what do they do? Bust into the city and turn their enemies against each other, of course! This is a pretty action-packed issue, and it turns out this version of Tik-Tok has some abilities he never showed in the books (although some can be readily extrapolated from what he did in some scenes in Return to Oz). They seek sanctuary from the city's ruler — who turns out to be Queen Zixie [sic] of Ix! The Queen comes up with a plan to protect the young woman, get Tik-Tok and Kali out, and get the rest of the Kalidahs and the monkeys off their backs for good. Our little adventure ends as Tik-Tok notices…but no, that would be giving too much away. But let's just say it ties the series very neatly into the main Legends of Oz: The Wicked West series.

Should anyone from Aspen Comics be reading this, hear my plea: Please give us more! Don't let The Wicked West end here!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

One might think that just about all the Oz jokes one can come up with have been done — and then along comes one like today's edition of The Argyle Sweater and you realize someone is always going to come up with a new twist. Yeah, there can be issues when you have a large carnivorous beast in your party!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Latest Oz Reading

I seem to be really zipping through them right now. Too bad the current wave is almost over. Anyway, first up is Leading Ladies by Marlee Matlin and Doug Cooney. This belongs in the behind-the-scenes-at-the-play drama subgenre of literature, and I have picked up a surprisingly large number of these that all have to do with productions of The Wizard of Oz. This time around our protagonist is Megan, a fourth grader who happens to be deaf (and if the name Marlee Matlin means anything to you, you'll understand why). I gather this is not the first book about Megan, but you don't need to know the other books as well, everything you need to know about Megan, her friends, her family, and her classmates is in this book. Her class is putting on an original musical based on The Wizard of Oz (it's a trick by her teacher to get the class to read the book!), and Megan really wants to try out for Dorothy. But when her best friend from camp, Lizzie, moves across town and joins Megan's class, Megan is embarrassed that Lizzie will be auditioning with the exact same songs she had planned to use. Ah, but Megan's new dog, Solo, comes to her rescue! Not only does Megan get the part, Solo also gets cast as Toto. So what happens when Solo digs his way out of the yard right before dress rehearsals, and Megan's classmate who was going to voice her lines gets laryngitis? Don't worry, it all comes out well in the end, but things do take some turns before getting there. I really like Megan, she's a fun character with all the highs and lows any kid gets, and the supporting characters are all well realized as well. I really enjoyed it, even if the Oz content was a little on the light side.

My other recent book was volume 2 of Namesake, collected from the webcomic. Emma is still dealing with being a namesake (and not the Dorothy everyone in Oz thinks she is), and discovering all kinds of secrets about those around her as well. What impresses me about Namesake is the rich tapestry of a world that's being woven in the story, and the minimal use of color. It's primarily in black and white, but with just enough touches of color here and there to indicate mood, action, or other bits of atmosphere. If nothing else, it's a very attractive comic, but the story is pretty compelling, too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

And we're back to these. Today's Bound and Gagged is one of those ideas that's so obvious once you see it, you're surprised nobody has thought of it before. I might have saved this one for closer to Halloween, however.