In today's Mustard and Baloney, Dorothy appears to be overusing one of her most famous lines. (True story: My sister-in-law once texted us when she was on a road trip through the midwest. She had just crossed the Kansas border into Missouri, and so of course the text was "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." Nothing like knowing your audience!)
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The 1986 issue of Oziana opens with the first story of the computer wizard, "A Computer Wizard in Oz" by Phyllis Ann Karr, with illustrations by Melody Grandy. This is actually a shared story (think something like a game of Dungeons and Dragons) among a group of friends about one hundred years in the future. One player decides that he is going to conquer Oz by, essentially, hacking the Magic Picture and using it as a conduit to the Emerald City. The other players throw obstacles in his path, like things other Oz characters would do or how they would react. I was particularly amused by Jellia Jamb's nonchalance/seen-it-all-before attitude that culminated with her pouring hot chocolate on him as a wake up call. I was also amused at Karr's attempt to look into the future of computing (remember, this is 1986, and the Macintosh was only two years old at the time), and how spectacularly wrong and/or off-track it is, even though we're now only thirty years into the future and not one hundred. But anyway, in the end the Computer Wizard turns out to not have a lot of teeth, Oz is easily taken back, and our protagonist is hauled off to jail, where he is scheduled to meet Tollydiggle and start serving his punishment.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Sunday, November 12, 2017
The 1985 edition of Oziana wraps up with "The Ice Cream Man of Oz" by Jim VanderNoot, with illustrations by Robert Luehrs. Leonard, the freezer (yes, there's backstory explanation as to what this is and why) in a Quadling town near the Emerald City, decides to create an ice cream sculpture for Ozma's birthday. But in order to keep it solid, he needs a little help from the town pharmacist, Erba Liss. Erba gives him some help, but her failing eyesight causes her to misread some labels, with the result being that Leonard unintentionally brings his statue to life just as dessert is about to be served! It causes some issues, and Leonard is almost arrested for practicing magic without a license, but all gets straightened out in the end, the Emerald City has gained a new celebrity (whose fingers grow into scoops of ice cream, then regrow, which is handy), and Erba gets some additional training and new glasses before she takes up being a pharmacist again. This is a fun little slice-of-life story that holds together very nicely, and wraps up the issue on a fun note.
The only other item to mention about this issue is a cover illustration of Ruggedo by Eric Shanower, so next week it looks like I'll be starting the 1986 issue.
And hey, if you want the newest issue of Oziana, the 2017 issue is now available.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Monday, November 06, 2017
So I finally got to the beginning of the 1985 issue of Oziana, and read "Mombi's Pink Polkadot Vest" by Frederick E. Otto, with illustrations by Eric Shanower. Yes, it is an origin story for the titular garment and the other clothes Tip first dressed Jack Pumpkinhead up in. It turns out that they belonged to Mombi's four-horned cow, who ate some forget-me-nots and remembered just who he (yes, the cow turns out to be a he) is—Phogg, a four-horned Horner wizard! In flashback, he ends up telling Ozma, the Sawhorse, and Jack Pumpkinhead his story about his ambitions to travel and practice real magic out in Oz, only to be foiled by Mombi and the Wicked Witch of the West. It's all perfectly logical and holds together tightly, yet at the same time it has a lot of dark humor, and is just a lot of fun. Mombi and Phogg also end up visiting some iconic sites in Oz, and Mombi's method for dealing with Mr. Yoop foreshadows how she solves many of the problems she faces in The Lost King of Oz. This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest stories Oziana has ever published.
Friday, November 03, 2017
Bruce Plante of the Tulsa World really seems to like using The Wizard of Oz to explain state politicl, as you may remember him doing the same last month when talking about Oklahoma schools. (One thing I like about Plante's version of Oz: A blonde Dorothy, much like as she was drawn in the Oz books.)
Thursday, November 02, 2017
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
A surprisingly busy and diverse flow of Ozziness for Halloween yesterday:
- Things got off to a very good start when one of the teachers at the middle school I was subbing at was dressed as Dorothy.
- Not necessarily related to Halloween, but during lunch I heard some familiar music and went to investigate. Sure enough, "The Merry Old Land of Oz" was playing in the cafeteria. Lunch was nearly over, and all the kids were gone, so this may have been for the benefit of the cafeteria crew.
- Our first costumed denizen of Oz during trick or treating was a zombie Dorothy. Okay, she may have just been a zombie (she was wearing white sneakers, so no proper footwear), but she was definitely wearing a costume Dorothy dress. And when we told her that we give out double candy to Oz characters, she quickly decided that she was indeed Dorothy.
- We had not one, but two green-faced witches. Yup, that counts as the Wicked Witch of the West.
- We also had a father-son Scarecrow duo. They didn't look much like Ray Bolger, but considering how many different ways the Scarecrow has been drawn over the years, I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt (and the extra candy).
- Finally, one guy came with a pumpkin for a head. I chose to declare him Scary Jack Pumpkinhead and gave him an extra. (Can you tell that our standards for a costume being Ozzy are pretty low?) Of course by that point the hoards were trickling off, and it was pretty clear we were going to have a lot of candy left over, so I had no problems being generous.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Yes, it's another doubleheader today:
- In today's Mother Goose and Grimm, we learn why witch's familiars are usually cats. (Maybe this is why the Witch wasn't too fond of Toto in The Movie.)
- And it looks like I made an erroneous conclusion yesterday, because over in Luann, Luann and Fay are settling in to watch The Wizard of Oz. Somehow, I thought they'd already seen it and were leaving yesterday. So we may have a few more days of this after all!
Monday, October 30, 2017
Saturday, October 28, 2017
The first story of the 1985 edition of Oziana is a long one, and my time is tight right now, so I thought I'd start with the second story, "Magic in the Kitchen" by Jane McNeive, with illustrations by Minh Huynh. In this charming little slice-of-life story, we meet Lon, the son of a Quadling farmer, who is responsible for taking the farm's vegetables to the Emerald City. Along the way, he picks up a magic wand, then forgets about it again in the course of his journey. It is Fran, a slightly flighty kitchen maid in Ozma's palace, who finds it and absentmindedly wishes the kitchen would run itself. Whoops! Before you know it, all the kitchen appliances, utensils, and even food come to life and prepare lunch, scaring the kitchen staff away. But a cleaver, related to King Kleaver of Utensia, takes over, and before long lunch is ready. The lunch guests are a little unsure about eating living food, however. With Ozma and the Wizard away, it falls to Dorothy to deal with the immediate issues and inform Ozma about what's going on. I like this story a lot because we get a glimpse into how life in the palace works and the staff that runs things, and Lon, Fran, and Dorothy's paths all intersect at one point or another. There are no big stakes involved, just a day in the palace kitchen, albeit a highly unusual day. The solution is nicely Ozzy, too, with an old friend of Oz assisting.
Friday, October 27, 2017
As our storyline continues in today's Luann, my opinion of both Fay and creator Greg Evans has just shot way up, as zFay not only mentions L. Frank Baum, she brings in that Oz is a series of books! Woo-hoo!
And hey, if you want another perspective on this story, here's the first strip in Spanish. To see the rest, just keep clicking on the little triangle pointing to the right.