Sunday, September 23, 2018

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Kitten Around

Something is attacking Purrville, a village of cats, and one little pink kitten gets lost in the forest. She comes across the Cowardly Lion (who's practicing his boxing with a fighting tree), and the Lion decides to help her, taking her to the Scarecrow to translate. Unfortunately, the Scarecrow speaks Cat, but not Kitty. An encounter with Toto results in a chase, and the kitten lands on a map of Oz, right on her home in the Valley of Pussycats. Eureka (which then becomes her name)! They Ruby Slipper into Purrville, only to find the place abandoned. Then they finally encounter what's been attacking the town: a Rak! Unlike his counterpart in Tik-Tok of Oz, this dragon-like creature can shoot laser blasts! The gang finds its way into Eureka's house and meet her parents (thank goodness the Scarecrow can translate them), and come up with a plan to douse the Rak in one of the milk fountains, putting out his blasts. Things go wrong, however, prompting Eureka to go out and confront the Rak herself. Her courage inspires the Lion to do his part, and together they douse his lasers. Dorothy uses the Ruby Slippers to get him as far away from Purrville as possible, and all is back to normal. The Lion, having bonded with Eureka, doesn't want to go, but a few days later, Dorothy takes the Lion back for a visit so that the Lion can give lessons to Eureka.

Yes, they've changed some elements of Eureka, who is now from Oz, can't talk, and has a totally different personality from her namesake counterpart in the books. She is also adorable, with pink stripes and a purple bow in her hair. This is a nice look at the Lion and the development of his courage, and how the courage of others brings it out in him as well.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

This week's story from The Lost Tales of Oz is "Ojo and the Woozy" by J. L. Bell. It's a little slice-of-life tale about Ojo, not long after the events of The Patchwork Girl of Oz, trying to figure out how things work and how to get along with people now that he and Unk Nunkie are living in a cottage just outside the Emerald City. The Woozy helps him, especially when two Emerald City boys want to play fetch with the Woozy, too. But when their antics upset a hive of bumblebees, only quick thinking on Ojo's part and his own unique skills can save everyone from a swarm of angry insects. Talking to Bell at last month's OzCon International last month, I know his goal with this story was to invoke The Little Wizard Stories of Oz, telling a simple story with two characters teaming up. Other than the absence of the Wizard (who appears in just about every one of the original stories), I would say Bell succeeded admirably.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Today's Oz Comic

Oh, finally! It's not about politics or reinterpreting the story or anything odd like that. Today in Baby Blues is all about the kids being introduced to The Movie, and having a typical kid reaction to it. This is far from the first time anyone has made this point, but it's always nice to see the next generation embracing this.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Time After Time

In this episode, The Wizard of Oz meets Groundhog Day in one of the funniest episodes they've done. While everyone's getting ready for bed, Frank suggests to Wilhelmina that Dorothy must take off the Ruby Slippers at night, because nobody sleeps in their shoes. So Wilhelmina sneaks into the Emerald City (still in her pajamas!) and climbs the tower to Dorothy's room. Whoops, Toto is still awake, who pushes her and a flowerpot off the ledge, resulting in Wilhelmina not only landing with a thud, but getting hit by the flowerpot as well. Back in her castle, Lyman says it's too bad she can't go back and try again, only for Wilhelmina to remember she has a magic hourglass that lets her go back and do just that. Sure enough, she makes her way back into Dorothy's room—only for Toto to stop her again, causing Wilhelmina to fall out the window and drag the flowerpot after her. Wilhelmina is persistent, however, and tries a few more times. But each time, no matter how she does it, she ends up alerting Toto, falling out the window, and getting clonked by the flowerpot. Finally, she thinks to distract Toto with Lyman's squeaky squirrel, and she gets the Ruby Slippers! She tries to put them on her feet, but they don't fit well. Nevertheless, she tries to use them, only for the Slippers to not really follow her commands well. By this time, Dorothy and the guards are alerted and trying to capture her, so she tells the shoes, "Get me out of here!" Sure enough, they take her out the window, then turn over so she falls out! Toto retrieves the hovering Slippers, and in the process knocks the flowerpot off the ledge one last time. Wilhelmina gives up, and decides to sleep off what has proven to be a very, very long night for her.

Today's Oz Comic

Today's edition of Off the Mark takes a modern-day approach to the Tin Woodman's request. (Sure enough, over in the Wizard of Oz Comics group on Facebook, several members of the group has been giving this comic a heart by loving it.)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

A quick one this week from The Lost Tales of Oz: "The Trade: A Langwidere Story" by Mike Conway presents the story of Cari, a young woman in Ev who, not long after King Evardo XV is crowned, comes to Princess Langwidere with a proposition. Believing that she is too unattractive to attract a mate, she offers her head to Langwidere as a form of suicide. But things get interesting when Langwidere offers her a trade instead. There's an important moral in this story, but I'm not sure anyone learns it, as Cari leaves happy but not necessarily wiser, and Langwidere already knew.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

It was bound to happen: The famous anonymous editorial in The New York Times spawned an Oz-themed cartoon. John R. Rose provides the art and sentiment.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Today's Oz Comic

Half Full today presents another example of The Wizard of Oz crossing over with another story, with the results.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

This week's story, the second from The Lost Tales of Oz, is "The Witch's Mother of Oz" by Paul Dana, who continues his tradition of telling stories about the Yookoohoos. The bulk of this story takes place during the final chapters of The Marvelous Land of Oz. It seems Ramana, a Yookoohoo, has been long estranged from her daughter, Bina, a Yookoohoo who could only change her own form, not that of anything else. As a child, Bina lashed out and did horrible things to others as a result of her affliction, and was eventually exiled. Having heard news about recent events in the Emerald City, Ramana wonders if the witch, Mombi, might be Bina, as that was a form she used to take. Ramana goes to the Emerald City to investigate, and finds that Mombi is indeed her daughter, and offers Bina a small amount of aid. Dana wrote this to explain Mombi's rapid transformations after Glinda discovers her as a transformed rose, and it all hangs together very well. It also makes for an interesting origin story for Mombi.

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: The Beast Royales

Ozma invites the most popular band in Oz, the Beast Royales, to perform a concert in the Emerald City. Their enthusiastic fans soon follow! When Wilhelmina gets word, she decides she wants a private concert and kidnaps the group! Ozma disguises the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion as the band (who happen to be a lion, a tiger, and a bear), and Dorothy steers them in the Beast Royales' balloon to Wilhelmina's castle, with the fans following. Once they reach the castle, an example of the classic chase scene with doors on both sides of a corridor ensues, with Wilhelmina and the monkeys, the band, their fans, and Dorothy and company all running around and not actually getting anywhere. Finally, however, everyone makes it out and heads back towards the Emerald City, where the Beast Royales give a successful concert. Wilhelmina, meanwhile, decides she doesn't like the Beast Royales anymore, and switches her allegiance to the Winkie Country Wizzards.

This one was even sillier than usual, and the story could have been done in some form in just about any cartoon, so it's pretty generic, too. The titular band doesn't get much development, and what little we hear of their music seems to consist mainly of roars. Definitely one of the more forgettable episodes, but it's short, and a harmless way to pass a little time.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

This Week's Oz Political Cartoons

When The Wizard of Oz makes the news, you know the editorial cartoonists are going to use it. Sure enough, the recovery of the Ruby Slippers stolen in Minnesota in 2005 prompted cartoons from both David Granlund and Joe Heller. Granlund just did a straightforward one, but Heller added a little political twist.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Yesterday's Oz Comic

Our internet was down all afternoon and into the night yesterday, otherwise I would have posted this much sooner. But Michael-sensei found an interesting one that starts off Ozzy, but features a literary guest star from another series, in yesterday's edition of Smith. Enjoy!

Monday, September 03, 2018

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: If I Only Had Some Brawn

Yup, we're back! I'm going to try to blog one episode a week until I run out. If I luck out, maybe Boomerang (the cable channel, not the streaming service) will show some more before I'm done with the current batch of episodes I have, or more DVDs will come out. Anyway, in this one, Ozma sets up a corn maze to remind Dorothy of home, and as an amusement for her subjects. Patchwork Girl drives by, but when her car has trouble and can't stop, Scarecrow can't help, and it is up to Lion to save the day. Patchwork Girl gushes over the Lion for a bit, and Scarecrow gets jealous, wishing he were stronger. Ozma then creates the prize for solving the corn maze, a crown that makes its wearer Ruler of Oz for a day. Kaliko overhears about this, and heads off to tell the Nome King. The crown needs some royal jelly to complete its magic, so Dorothy and friends head off to get some from Dr. Pipt. While they're there, Scarecrow also picks up a jacket that makes him incredibly strong, but at the expense of his brains. The corn maze contest begins, and the Nome King immediately shows up and orders Kaliko to dig to the center. The Scarecrow pushes through the corn walls to get there, too, and they reach the crown at the same time. But the Nome King can't open the chest, so he takes it underground. Dorothy and the gang (with Patchwork Girl!) go after him, where the Nome King sics Clobbus, a big dumb rock creature, after them. Not even the Scarecrow's newfound strength can defeat him. So Dorothy removes the jacket, and he then thinks of a plan to get away from Clobbus and find the Nome King. Just as the Nome King opens the chest, Scarecrow sends Toto to fetch the crown, and the Nome King won't become King of Oz, thank goodness. Patchwork Girl gives him a big kiss for all he's done to save the day. Back at the corn maze, Ozma declares Scarecrow to be the winner, but he says the honor should instead go to Toto, who we then see on the throne with a big plate of bones in front of him. This is far from the best episode, but it's harmless fun, and we get a lot of Patchwork Girl. I think everyone had some fun with the idea of a stupid Scarecrow, too, but I'm not wild about how this could reinforce dumb jock stereotypes.

This Week's Oz Short Stories

Forgive me for missing posting a story last week. But I was starting a new job, and that took up a lot more time than I anticipated. Fortunately, now things are underway, and I have a three day weekend, so I'm going to make up for it with two stories this week. Not only that, but it's the first two stories from one of my most recent acquisitions, The Lost Tales of Oz, an anthology edited by Joe Bongiorno, with illustrations by Eric Shanower. I got it last month at OzCon International, and so I thought it would be fun to jump in and read the stories in it as soon as I could. This weekend was, finally, my first chance.

First up is a story setting up the premise of the book, "The Lost Histories" by Bongiorno. On a rainy day in the Emerald City, Betsy and Trot go searching for Dorothy in the Royal Library when they stumble across a section none of them have ever seen before marked "Lost Stories". It turns out that the library keeps expanding as more stories about Oz are "discovered" by the now numerous Royal Historians out there. The three girls decide to delve in and see what some of the stories say.

The first story they discover is "The Great and Terrible Oz Mystery" by Michael O. Riley. After a copy of Mary Louise Solves a Mystery makes its way around the Emerald City celebrities, a mania for mysteries ensues amongst some of the children, and the grown-ups play along by creating mysteries for them to solve. But when Jellia Jamb approaches Ojo and Tik-Tok about a possible real mystery to solve in the palace, it's not starting to look so fun. Jellia is seeing people that she had just seen somewhere else, and wonders what's going on. She suspects the Wizard, who she believes may have been more powerful when he was the ruler of Oz than he has let on. Her biases infect Ojo, who jumps to some unusual conclusions when he goes on a stakeout in the Wizard's room. With some help from Dr. Pipt, however, Ojo is able to discover what is going on, just as the mysterious figure (who is not, as it turns out, the Wizard, as if there was ever any doubt) is about to cause some possible terrible harm to the rulers and magic makers of Oz. Ojo is a hero, and all is explained. This was a fun way to start the book, and it's a very Ozzy way of dealing with a mystery. I think I twigged on to what was causing the problems before the characters in the story, but sometimes thats' half the fun of reading a mystery, isn't it?

Today's Oz Comic

Over in today's Berkeley Mews, the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman once again realize that the Wizard is not the only source of brains and hearts. And as I usually do when this sort of cartoon comes up, another word for courage is guts, so the Lion could have gotten in on things, too.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Today's Oz Comics

A doubleheader today!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Today's Oz Comic

Over in today's Pearls Before Swine, another of Pastis's tortured puns, this time at the expense of one of the greatest songs ever.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Today's Latest Political Cartoon

Rick McKee at the Augusta Chronicle adds on to the whole witch hunt theme, but with a twist.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Today's Oz Political Cartoons

Oh, boy, wouldn't you know, with the "witch hunt" against the president bearing fruit, and two defendants either being found or pleading guilty the other day, the cartoonists would have a field day. Here's the roll call:

I expect we'll see a lot more of these until the hunt finally ends.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Today's Oz Comic

It looks like, today in Lola, our title character has not done her research on the show she's about to see. (Come on, Lola, the show's been running, what, fifteen years now? It's not that hard to find out what it's about.)