Friday, July 29, 2016

The Latest Oz Reading

Yup, they're coming fast and furious now—but since my latest was Wolves volume 8 of the comic book series Fables, that makes sense. So, real quick, Mowgli goes in search of the missing Bigby, Bigby goes on a dangerous mission, Bigby succeeds and has a long heart-to-heart with Snow White, they get married, and then Cinderella is off on a mission of her own. No Oz content in this issue, then, but it sure moved a lot of stuff along!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Latest Oz Comic Books

Besides reading Oz books, I've also been reading Oz comic books when I get them. Unfortunately, we seem to have hit a wall on three different series right now, with no immediate sign of new books coming out. But at least this let's me catch up a bit.

  • First, the reprints of The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West continues with issue number six. If I recall correctly, this brings us to the end of the original miniseries, where at the end Gale defeats the Wicked Witch, and is made the new Witch of the West! The new backup prequel story also wraps up, with the witches agreeing that they don't get along as well as they'd hoped, and each departed in their respective directions.
  • A new Legend of Oz miniseries started up, starring Tik-Tok and a Kalidah. Since Tik-Tok is practically a steampunk character anyway, he works particularly well in this version of Oz. Issue #1 sees our titular heroes coming to the aid of a town infested by a band of flying gorillas. The second issue sees them finishing the job, and then Kalidah having to face his former tribe. A third issue was advertised as being available in June, but there has been no sign of it yet.
  • And finally, a new series from Antarctic Press combines classic literary characters and steampunk in Steam League. In the first issuue, things are set up as the bad guys try to steal the power of the Mars stone, but Dorothy and her crew come in at the end with a big ol' airship and a mysterious passenger. Issue number two sees Dorothy very much driving the plot along, using her airship to move characters around. I like this Dorothy, and she has Denslow-esque red braids, but the timing is all wrong. This is supposed to be taking place in the late nineteenth century, but of course The Wonderful Wizard of Oz wasn't published until 1900. This is also a series that hasn't had a new issue come out after the first two, which makes it very frustrating to read and stay on top of.

The Latest Oz Reading

Well that didn't take long! (To be honest, I was just about done with the next book when I posted my entry yesterday, and finished this morning.) In my readings of her non-Oz works, Satan's Mistress by Rachel Cosgrove Payes is a return to torrid (but surprisingly chaste, especially considering that this was published by Playboy Paperbacks) romances. Fiona McQuade is a Scottish orphan who moves to London to work in her aunt's millinery, where her eye for fashion quickly lands her a new position at the home of the Duke and Duchess of Lawton. But she does not take kindly to the duke's attempts to seduce her, and in revenge she finds herself as a victim at the infamous Hellfire Club! Much of the rest of the book chronicles her attempts to not only keep her honor and dignity intact, but also gain revenge on the Lawtons and others who have wronged her. Pretty typical for this kind of book, actually, but Payes does draw a vivid picture and really gets into the heart of the mid-eighteenth century English aristocracy. Samuel Rogers, a politician running for Parliament who takes Fiona under his wing, was interesting enough that I actually looked him up to see if he was a real historical figure (it appears not). Definitely not my usual reading, but fun nevertheless. Between Oz, science fiction, and romances, Payes shows just what a versatile writer she was.

Today's Oz Comic

I'll keep this one short and sweet: Today in Grand Avenue, the family takes in a show on their visit to New York City.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Latest Oz Reading

Yes! At last! A post that isn't about a new comic strip! I am slowly getting out from under a pile of all kinds of stuff and catching up on others, such as my reading. I have a number of Oz and Oz-related books I've recently reread, so here are a few quick overviews:

  • Rinkitink in Oz by L. Frank Baum. Yeah, this was not supposed to be the next volume of my reread of the entire Famous Forty (and related books). But with the book being the main theme of this year's OzCon International, and me scheduled to give a keynote speech on it, I figured I'd better jump ahead and tackle that. Since the original non-Oz version of the story was written around 1905, not long after The Marvelous Land of Oz, I figured I was justified anyway. I have always felt Rinkitink is an undersung Oz book, because it is one of Baum's most tightly plotted books, at least for nineteen chapters, and the development of the three main characters over the course of the book is a great added layer. I really enjoyed reading this again, and I found all kinds of extra bits that I'd never noticed before (or at least don't remember).
  • The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Another of our theme books, and one I needed to read for a panel. This is a fun little romp about Santa Claus sailing around the ocean finding new toys. It was aimed at younger readers than the Oz books, and it shows. Heck, it took me only an hour to read. It ended with the hint that there may be more adventures, and it's too bad she never wrote them.
  • Captain Salt in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Okay, no justification for reading this one out of order, except it was yet another theme book at the convention, and the other book that went with The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa on one panel. Like the previous book, this is basically an excuse to write about a trip at sea. Captain Samuel Salt, King Ato, and Roger the Read Bird (last seen in Pirates in Oz) are off to find new islands to become part of Oz. (Yeah, at one point Ozma apparently had dreams of empire. Some have said it was just an excuse to get Sammy out of Oz and Ozma's hair!) It's a pretty straightforward, episodic tale, but the throughline is Tazander Tazah, the young king of Ozamaland who was kidnapped, and found on one of the islands. He is suffering from, as Ato put it, "ingrowing Royalitis", acting high and mighty and treating his rescuers as his servants. It is Roger who is the main one to gently tamp that down and bring out his true nature, but Sammy and Ato also help to truly integrate him into the crew. Tandy's growth and development is not something seen in a lot of Thompson's books, and it gives Captain Salt in Oz a lot more depth than should be expected. This is one book I haven't read as much as some of the others, but I am certainly glad I got the chance to read it this time. (And it's far enough back in the series, by the time I get to it in the proper order, I will likely read it again!)
  • Toto in Oz by Chris Dulabone. This is the twentieth anniversary edition of the first book Dulabone published, way back when his imprint was Buckethead Enterprises of Oz. I've been supporting Chris and his books from the very beginning, so it was a lot of fun to revisit this one again after so long. Fortunately, this edition has much better typesetting (if you've ever seen the first edition of this book, you'll completely understand why this is a good thing). Toto, not feeling appreciated and having no title, runs away from the Emerald City and, through a few misadventures, ends up as the leader of the small kingdom of Arfrica. He tries to do a good job and bring about reform, but he also finds it isn't as easy as it looks. Of course Dorothy ends up looking for him too. It all comes to a satisfying, if somewhat rushed, ending.
  • And finally (for now), Visitors from Oz by Martin Gardner. I got interested in rereading this while reading A Bouquet for the Gardener on my last wave of reading. This is Gardner's only Oz novel, and it is certainly far from the best. But it is a lot of fun, particularly if you know about Martin Gardner, his place in Oz fandom, and his other interests. It acts as two books, with the first part being a typical journey by Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman through Oz. Along the way, they meet up with the Greek gods, take a side trip through Wonderland, and deal with a detective bear and a giant. But it's the second half where things get real different. The three of them have been requested to visit America by a movie mogul and Oz fan making a musical film version of The Emerald City of Oz, so that they can drum up interest and publicity. Naturally, the rival studio boss doesn't like it much, and uses nefarious means to deal with the Oz people. Of course, magic gets involved and things all turn out well in the end. Having Dorothy and friends in New York City is a different setting for an Oz book, and Gardner has some fun with it. From this author, one would also expect some mathematics, so naturally a Klein bottle is used to travel between Oz and Central Park. It is a fun little romp of a book, and I'm glad that Gardner was finally able to fulfill that old Oz fan saying, "Scratch an Oz fan, find an Oz book."
Okay, that's all the recent rereads. Soon, I hope to report on some stuff I've read for the very first time!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Today's Other Oz Comics

My man in Japan, Michael-sensei, uncovered two more Oz, or at least Ozzy, comics today.

  • Half Full shows what happens when the Tin Woodman spends a day at the beach. (Hmm, why is the Tin Woodman at the beach?)
  • Break of Day may not actually be about Oz, but the coloring and design of those witches sure look familiar. Besides, the punchline is evocative of a certain long-running play on Broadway.

Today's Oz Comic

In light of how the airlines work today, today's Strange Brew was probably inevitable. (I wonder if the witch checked her broom?)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Yesterday's Oz Comic

Yeah, yeah, I didn't get word of this until late last night, which is why this isn't titled my usual "Today's Oz Comic". Anyway, yesterday's Cowtown has some very inaccurate information about what the characters in The Wizard of Oz did after the story ended. Methinks the creator of that comic didn't know about all of the sequels.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

Were L. Frank Baum writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz today, it's entirely possible that today's Mother Goose and Grimm might indicate how the story might go. (Somehow, however, I have my doubts.)

Today's Oz Comic

Were L. Frank Baum writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz today, it's entirely possible that today's Mother Goose and Grimm might indicate how the story might go. (Somehow, however, I have my doubts.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Today's Oz Comics

Now that OzCon International 2016 is in the rearview mirror and getting further and further away, it looks like I should be able to get up to speed and post some reviews and Jeopardy! clues and other such silliness in the coming weeks. However, today I still just have cartoons.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

To be honest, I'm not 100% certain that today's Six Chix is supposed to be Ozzy. But it sure is reminiscent of one of Glinda's lines in The Movie, so I'm giving Monday cartoonist Isabella Bannerman the benefit of the doubt and presuming it is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

In case you're wondering why this blog has been not much more than comics lately, it's because I am co-chairing this year's OzCon International, and since it starts in two days and I'm leaving for Portland today, you can imagine I haven't had the chance to do much more. Next week, I hope to start getting caught up with this season's Oz clues on Jeopardy! and what I've been reading recently. But for now, here's a fun little bit of Ozzy fun in CowTown. This is another of those Oz comics that, in hindsight, I'm surprised nobody has done before.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

I have about a week left to plan for this year's OzCon International in Portland (Oregon, not Maine), but people keep cranking out Oz comics! So, the latest is a new one that neither Michael-sensei nor I have seen before, Cornered. That could be an issue in a country with only one source of higher learning, I suppose!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

Huh? What did I tell you? Yet again, Pop Culture Shock Therapy should just be a comic about Oz gags. It is clear, however, that Doug Bratton has not read any books past The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, else he might have included some of Roquat's subjects from Ozma of Oz. Still, nice invocation of that other pop culture fantasy land, Narnia.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

This cartoon from John Darkow just about says it all! (She's right!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

Yet again, it's Pop Culture Shock Therapy. Maybe like Gary Larson, cows and The Far Side, Doug Bratton should just make his comic an all-Oz one!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Today's Oz Comics

Yes, that's right, it's another two-fer!

  • First, in Pop Culture Shock Therapy, it looks like the Lollipop Guild has a little (pardon the pun) competition! (WARNING: Slightly naughty language in this one.)
  • And in Strange Brew, it clearly pays to talk to the right people at the right time.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Today's Oz Comic

There was no caption on today's Strange Brew, but it could have been something like, "Tonight, on CSI: OZ"...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Today's Random Oz Encounters

  • In the comics, today's Trivquiz celebrates Judy Garland's birthday with a familiar looking image. It did get one of the questions half-wrong, however, as I pointed out in the comments!
  • My Jeopardy! page-a-day desk calendar had this clue for $1000 in the category Songs in Musicals:
    The correct response is, of course, "What is Wicked?" And yes, I have quite a few Oz clues piled up from the TV show that I need to blog. The good news is that now I'm on my summer break, I should be able to put some of them up soon.