You'd thisk an Oz comic published today, on Thanksgiving, might involve a joke about the Scarecrow's stuffing or something else seasonal. But no, today's edition of Pardon My Planet would probably have been more appropriate last month, as it's closer to being a Halloween comic. Still, an Oz comic is welcome any time of the year, even if it does crib an old idea from The Far Side.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Sunday, November 22, 2020
The second story from the 2018 issue of Oziana is a rare sequel, in this case to The Final Fate of the Frogman" from the 1990 issue. Even more unusual is that this sequel is not by the original author. "The Fabulous Frogman and the Faith of Freakish Friends" is by Joe Bongiorno and illustrated by Darrell Spradlyn, and it turns out to be a tale of friendship and rehabilitation. Against his own instincts, Woot reports on the events of "The Final Fate of the Frogman" when he next reaches the Emerald City, and naturally all of the Frogman's friends take it upon themselves to find him and help him out of his identity crisis. They also reach out to Cayke and the Big Lavender Bear, who naturally want to help as well. So a veritable crowd descends on the Truth Pond to try to convince the Frogman to come back to society. It takes some doing, and a lot of persuation that nothing he said (or, in the case of Professor Wogglebig, did) was unforgivable, and that his complete candor was not met with derision, but in many cases reflection, and caused his friends to rethink their actions and attitudes. In the end, the Frogman is convinced, Ozma whips up some new clothes for him, and he is welcomed back by his friends.
"The Final Fate of the Frogman" is a fine story, but it is very bleak, and not terribly nuanced, so I can see why someone would want to rehabilitate the Frogman and bring him back into the main cast of Oz characters. And the Oz characters would do just that, in pretty much the way shown here. "The Fabulous Frogman" is, ultimately, about how messy and complicated friendship can sometimes be because none of us is perfect, and recognizing that in oneself means we can more easily overlook imperfections in others. Both stories together show two sides of the same coin, and make an interesting study in the nature of truth and how it affects relationships.
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Wow, this quest to reread every story in Oziana is just about done now, how did that happen? (Relax, I have more stories to read once this is done!) Can it be only two years ago now that the 2018 issue came out? Well, here it is again, and I'm starting with "The Strongman of Oz" by Jay Davis and Jonathan Miranda, illustrated by Sam Milazzo. Theo St. James is the strongman in Bailum and Barney's Consolidated Show circus, and he's about to enter the big top when he is magicked away to the Kingdom of Dreams. There, Myletta, the Witch of Dreams, demands to know information about the Wizard of Oz so that she can use him in her plans to conquer the waking world. But Theo has no idea who the Wizard is, until he discovers that he is Oscar, one of his old circus colleagues. Theo then reflects on his times with Oscar, and how prickly they could be together. But the Wizard holds no grudges, and comes to Theo's rescue. In the Emerald City, both Theo and Oscar deal with their issues, and then Theo is given the chance to start an amazing new life.
This is a fun story because even though the threat from the Witch of Dreams is serious, it's not the main thrust of events. It's much more of a character study about how others (Theo, in this case) have perceived the Wizard when he was still working in America. We all know that, although he's a stand-up guy now, the Wizard has had a bit of a shady past, and it colors how Theo sees him. Fortunately, the Wizard is not a vindictive man, and he and Theo work things out.
Good grief! Yesterday, Looks Good on Paper went really, really, really, REALLY dark in depicting an alternative take on what could have happened to Dorothy. (How dark? One reason it's a day late was because I wasn't sure I should really point it out! Even now, I'm not sure this is such a good idea…
Monday, November 16, 2020
Every Monday, Gary Larson puts up a curated, themed collection of comics over at the still-pretty-new-ish The Far Side website. And this week, The Wizard of Oz pops up in the third one down. (The rest of them are pretty good, too.)
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Well, he's been the Wicked Witch, now our soon-to-be-former President is playing the Wizard in this cartoon by Jimmy Margulies. Since nobody followed this direction from the Wizard in The Movie, we should't do it in this context, either.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Way, way back in the day, when I was in high school and was first learning about these new machines called home computers, I started a little newsletter for Oz fans about computers called Computerozzed. (I must thank Susan Hall for that title, it lure beat my first idea, Bits of Oz.) Don't ask, only two issues came out, I had a circulation you could count on one hand, and I have no idea where my copies are, or even if they still exist. Along with talking about general topics of how Oz fans could use computers and some pretty basic BASIC programs, I included cartoons. One I recall was the Wizard giving the Scarecrow one of those newfangled Apple Macintosh computers with the caption, "Here, Scarecrow, is your new brain." Well, nearly forty years later, the gag still works, as evidenced by today's edition of the Half Full comic. Except now the technology has moved on, and it's not a computer that is at the center of things. (I think my calculator, and definitily my phone, have more memory and power than my first computer, a Radio Shack Color Computer, affectionately known by its users as a CoCo.)
Sunday, November 08, 2020
(Please don't mess Polychrome up, please don't mess Polychrome up!)
A promising start, with Polly falling right off the rainbow and into the Tin Man's arms! That hear must be pretty effective, because he's immediately smitten. But in the course of their meeting, the rainbow fades away, which is a problem for Polly since she's part rainbow, and can only survive a day on the ground. Not wanting that to happen, Tin Man takes her to the Emerald City to get her some help. While Polly is trying to understand the strange habits of creatures on the land (she's a little miffed at how a chair rudly doesn't answer her), Dorothy and the gang try to find a rainstorm so that they can get Polly back on the rainbow once it appears. The wonky weather machine is on the fritz, so they use Ozma's magic painting to search for the rainbow. It's in Munchkinland, so they ruby slipper over there, only for the rainbow to fade away as soon as they get there. They keep chasing it around Oz, but it always fades away. If we can't get to it running around on the ground, Dorothy reasons, maybe we can fly after it. Sure enough, using the Wizard's balloon, they find the rainbow, but the moment Polly steps out of the balloon, the sun goes behind a cloud and it disappears again! All right, says the Tin Man, if we can't take Polly to the rainbow, we'll bring the rainbow to us! Back in the Emerald City, the Tin Man turns himself into a watering can and makes rain. Sure enough, they make a rainbow, and Polly makes it home just before she fades away for good. The Tin Man misses Polly, but Mr. Smih and Mr. Tinker fix the weather machine, which is predicting rain tomorrow. Things are looking up for him!
This was one of the most charming, Ozzy episodes of the show so far. And they got Polychrome mostly right! Okay, she looks a little more cartoony than I would like, and her colors are really bright, but she has all the elements that John R. Neill put into her in his illustrations of her, including the blonde hair and skull cap, and unlike some depictions of characters from the books on this show, she's actually pretty close to her book version. I think the Tin Man falling for her as hard as he does is a little out of character, but that's about the only thing that feels off to me. And we get the magic
picture painting put to good use, too.
Saturday, November 07, 2020
The final story from the 2017 issue of Oziana is "Unsociable" by S. A. Samuelson, with illustrations by David Bishop. Prime Minister Ervic of the Skeezers is bored, and a little frustrated with how easy his job is. He looks so young that he is delighted when he finds a small patch of Oz where the anti-aging enchantment didn't take, and manages to grow a little by visiting it frequently. He also does something he promised he'd never do again: He goes to visit Reera the Red. She is not upset at seeing him, however, and their relationship continues much as it did in Glinda of Oz, with Ervic revealing very little and coming and going at his whim, causing Reera to want to know more and see him again. This goes on for years, with both of them not revealing much at all, until towards the end when Reera points out he's spending more time with her than he is with his own people, she asks him to stay. It takes a little persuading, and a special promise, but that turns out to be exactly what he wanted all along.
It's not a story with a lot of plot, but it sure is a great character study. Ervic and Reera are exactly as Baum wrote them over a hundred years ago, but Samuelson makes their relationship more personal. They both come off as complex people who aren't quite sure what to make of the other, especially Reera.
Thursday, November 05, 2020
I think today's edition of Harley is a rerun. It sure seems awfully familiar (and not, so far as I can recall, from personal experionce). But hey, a good Oz comic is appreciated at any time, and if you missed it before, it's new to you now!
Monday, November 02, 2020
The penultimate tale from the 2017 issue of Oziana is "The Road Not Taken" by E. J. Hagadorn, with illustrations by Dennis Anfuso. Dorothy and Ozma are speculating about how their lives would have been different if it hadn't been for the yellow brick roads they traveled on their first adventures. But there's no time to worry about that, because Dorothy is off to a celebration in Munchkinland, celebrating her original arrival in Oz and the defeat of the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy is surprised when Boq, now the Munchkin mayor, hands her a letter found in the wreckage of the Wicked Witch's castle, now finally and completely demolished—addressed to her! It turns out to be from Brickaback, a construction worker from Hartford who came to Oz long before Dorothy, and was eventually enslaved by the Wicked Witch of the East. In one attempt to escape, one of the witch's potions backfired on him, and he saw the future of all Oz. (This is how he knew who Dorothy was.) As punishment, the witch pressed him into service to create a road all the way to the Emerald City—all by himself! But Brickabrack did this cheerfully, because he had seen Dorothy taking the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, and therefore knew that he would succeed. He even went on to build another road in the Gillikin Country (the one Tip followed to the Emerald City) before building the second yellow brick road in the Munchkin Country (presumably the one Ojo, Scraps and company traveled on in The Patchwork Girl of Oz). He lived a long life, but knew that his roads would help out Oz one day.
It's not a groundbreaking story, but it does give some backstory to pre-Dorothean Oz, and gives us a nice explanation for the origin of the yellow brick roads. The art, I will add, is charming, especially the final picture of Ozma reading Brickabrack's letter.
So, just one more story to go in this issue. And just in can]se, if you couldn't wait, the 2020 issue of Oziana, celebrating its fiftieth issue, is now available for sale. But if you want to know what's in it first, it will be popping up in this series in only a few weeks. My, where did that time go?
Sunday, November 01, 2020
Yeah, yesterday's Halloween edition of Working Daze slipped through the cracks, so you get to enjoy it today. No, the comic, while amusing, isn't particularly Ozzy—but there is that one guest on the very far left who looks extremely familiar.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Okay, technically one of these is from yesterday, but it fits the holiday nicely, so I'll give myself a pass today.
- First, from yesterday's Andertoons, yet another variation on one particular Oz character getting into the spirit of the holiday in a particular way. But this is at least another perspective on it.
- And in today's edition of Ripley's Believe It or Not!, a little bit of Oz knowledge that I suspect most of us already knew. But nice Denslow homage in the illustration! (And it was the bit about CCR that I found particularly interesting myself.)
Friday, October 30, 2020
There is a little tiny bit of a tradition of daytime programming having Wizard of Oz-themed fun around Halloween. There was The View all dressing as Oz characters one year (with Sharon Osborne's husband making a cameo as the Wizard, no less), and the year Drew Carey dressed as the Cowardly Lion to host The Price Is Right. This year, it's Drew
Barrymore Scarymore's turn, as she dressed up as — nah, why spoil it? I'll just let you watch right here and see what she does for one of her viewers.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
I got so busy with another project yesterday that I totally spaced out on posting these two comics that sure would seem to indicate Halloween is coming!