Too late for me to write it up yesterday, Michael-sensei sent me this edition of Harley. Hmm, looks like he could have used the GPS from yesterday's Bound and Gagged!
Saturday, October 21, 2017
The third and final story of the 1984 issue of Oziana is another tale of the Great Detective, "The Mystery of the Missing Ozma" by editor Jay Delkin, with illustrations by Eric Shanower. It opens much like The Lost Princess of Oz, with Ozma and several of the most important magic items missing. But rather than send out search parties, the Great Detective and his previously unknown biographer get on the case. They travel around various points of Oz hunting down leads and clues, only to be thwarted at every step. They finally return to the Emerald City and use Dr. Nikidik's greatest invention to resolve the case, if not answer all of the questions raised. This is a story with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, as tropes of both Oz and the Sherlock Holmes stories are upended, or at least gently pointed out. I'm not sure if every reader will be completely satisfied with this story's climax, but it did at least bring back Ozma and the magic instruments, so at least as far as the Ozites are concerned, it all worked out well in the end.
I may be taking next week off, but if I do get a chance to report, it will be on the first story of the 1985 issue.
Friday, October 20, 2017
Monday, October 16, 2017
Saturday, October 14, 2017
I suspect with most Oz-related comics, the cartoonist thinks of the Ozzy situation, then comes up with an appropriate punch line. But in the case of today's Off the Mark, I wonder if Mark Parisi came up with the word "oxident" (a mash-up of "oxidant" and "accident") first, and then had to come up with a situation to use it. At any rate, we have another Oz comic to enjoy!
Nope, the next item in the 1984 edition of Oziana is not a short story, but "The Pronunciad" by Robin Olderman, with charming spot illustrations by Robert Luehrs. Two pages, three short poems that attempt (and fail) to figure out how to pronounce Ev, Guph, and Kalidah. The first two seem pretty straight forward to me, but apparently there are some who like their alternate pronunciations. And I doubt we'll ever get a definitive answer for the third one! Since this is so short, I will add here the only non-literary contribution in this issue, a fine back cover drawing of the Queen of Corabia and Confido, from The Yellow Knight of Oz, by an anonymous artist.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
This cartoon by Bruce Plante of the Tulsa World seems to indicate that Oklahoma is reaching the same sort of budget that has beet such a pain in the prairie Kansas has been dealing with the last few years. But since I don't follow Oklahoma politics, I can't say for certain.
Sunday, October 08, 2017
A doubleheader today. Thanks yet again to Michael-sensei for discovering these:
- In Free Range, it looks like Dorothy's okay, but her friends may not be getting a lot of service.
- In Spectickles, the Wizard seems to have updated his name to keep up with the times.
Saturday, October 07, 2017
The second story in the 1984 edition of Oziana is "The Piglet's Revenge, or How Eureka Became Pink" by Glenn Ingersoll, with illustrations by David Ingersoll. This explains two Ozzy mysteries, namely how Eureka returned to Oz (well, that was simple enough, she was brought there), and why she was described as pink in every appearance after her first in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, where she is quite plainly described as being white. True, one of the colored Mangaboo suns shines pink light on her at one point, but that was not a permanent condition, and didn't even last that one incident. It seems that Eureka, even though back in Oz, is a pariah, after having tried to eat one of the nine tiny piglets, and is under suite arrest in Dorothy's rooms. But she manages to escape, and endears herself to the palace inhabitants, who now think she's reformed. The piglets, however, know otherwise, and realize they will have to work together to finally get Eureka to leave them alone. There's a lot of set-up in this story, but it pays off in the end with a mad chase through the palace and Eureka taking a tumble from a high ledge into a pool of pink dye. This was a lot of fun, and we see a lot of the story (and life in the palace) from the piglets' point of view. Their names are cute, too.
Tuesday, October 03, 2017
My reread of the main Oz books continues with Ozma of Oz, the third book in the series but the first in which Baum knew it was a series, and would continue with at least two more books (if Baum only know…). Dorothy is back, the Cowardly Lion returns, and some of the most beloved characters in the series are introduced. There's a good reason Oz fans often vote this one to be the best in the series, as there is a lot of drama and suspense, and may be one of the most tightly-plotted books Baum ever wrote for the series. I'm trying to read the books this time around with an eye to finding something new, but there isn't much I haven't seen before here. I did notice a few instances of multisyllabic words spoken by Tiktok (as his name is spelled in this book) that aren't broken up, and a few instances of missing or extraneous quotation marks, a phenomenon that just got worse in later books, particularly the Thompson era. But honestly, I was mostly enjoying myself, because it is so good. Ozma of Oz is the first novel I ever remember reading at one sitting (and that was after also immediately finishing The Land of Oz), so there must have been something to this whole Oz and reading thing even way back then.
There is one curious thing I found: At one point, the Nome King tries to enchant the Sawhorse, only to be reminded by his chamberlain (not named Kaliko yet, I will add) that his magic doesn't work on wood. But since Dorothy was able to use the Magic Belt on the Sawhorse in The Lost Princess of Oz, I thought that maybe Roquat was trying to use innate Nome Magic, and not the Belt. But no, the Nome King specifically asks why "my magic belt" didn't work on wood. This not only raises the question about how it worked in Lost Princess, but also the origin of the Magic Belt itself. If the Belt was made with Nome magic, then why didn't Roquat just make another one after it was taken from him in this book? Why go to all that effort to conquer Oz and steal it back so many times? I think someone needs to do some definitive research on the Magic Belt and determine its origins!
Sunday, October 01, 2017
Michael-sensei found a new one, but I didn't discover that he discovered it until late last night. So you had to wait until this morning to see this edition of Spectickles. I am now going to give the usual joke I say whenever this situation comes up: Do you think Dorothy will be charged with home-icide?
Saturday, September 30, 2017
The 1984 issue of Oziana opens with "The Blue Raindrops of Oz" by Camilla Townsend, with illustrations by Melody Grandy (Grandy also drew the front cover, which goes with this story), and wow, what a premise: Trot goes to visit Sky Island, and the former Boolooroo has learned magic. I'll be honest, I'm surprised it took that long for someone to come up with Trot returning to Sky Island as the basis for a story! But of course the old Boolooroo didn't really reform, and finding a trunk full of magic, he sets out to learn it, then happens to set out to stop Rosalie and conquer the Pink Country the very day Trot has decided to come for a visit! (What are the odds?) Of course he eventually is defeated, and meets a fitting fate, but the nice part is that it's the Boolooroo's own hubris and magic that turns on him. But where did that magic come from in the first place? It seems that there is a mystery there that involves Polychrome and her uncle, the Rain King. Ah, but I don't want to give away too much!
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Yeah, yeah, I know, autumn only just now officially started (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), but it's not too early to start planning for next summer's OzCon International, the world's longest running Oz event. This will be its fifty-fourth edition, and it's returning to the Los Angeles area for the first time since 1969, I think. So it's going to celebrate both the centennial of the novel The Tin Woodman of Oz and L. Frank Baum's local roots, as he lived in a sleepy little suburb of Los Angeles called Hollywood for the last few years of his life. You can find out more, see who the first announced guests are, and even download the first progress podcast by clicking here.
The final tale from the 1983 edition of Oziana is "Nero Zeero: Snoz of Oz" by Jay V. Groves, with illustrations by Eric Shanower. On their way to Oogaboo to help a depressed Queen Ann celebrate her birthday, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and some of their friends discover that their noses have grown two inches! The solution appers to come from the vicinity of Snoz Valley, where our friends find themselves after getting lost. The Snozzes all have incredibly long noses (three inches is considered to be quite small), and they are under the belief that their brains are located in their noses! Sure enough, the King of Snoz Valley, Nero Zeero, takes it upon himself to increase the brain power of all Oz by growing their noses (although not quite as long as those of him or his subjects). But he is soon set right, reverses the spell— and then, on a state visit to Oogaboo, falls in love with Queen Ann! (Needless to say, my friend Karyl Carlson, who often cosplays as Queen Ann, wrote me a letter in character, not long after this story's publication, decrying this state of affairs, and how she could never fall for someone called a Snoz.) It's a mercifully short little tale, and Nero Zeero is misinformed and misguided, not actually evil, in the Ozziest tradition, so all comes out well in the end.
The only other extra in this issue is a quiz that, if you've read the Baum books once or twice, you will likely do extremely well on (although I will admit there was one question I had to look at the answer). Also, Eric Shanower presents a delightful cover drawing of several Oz characters, which I remember from the previous year's Winkie Convention program.
Next week, 1984!
Friday, September 22, 2017
A couple of quickies here:
- My friend Michael-sensei recently discovered this little gem by Jeffrey Boyer about the recent shifting of political alliances in Washington.
- Noticing the "Wizard of Oz" tag on the above cartoon, I did a search, and found this comment by Kate Salley Palmer about Rush Limbaugh's latest bit of blowhardery. Granted, I'm not sure I see how dressing him up as Dorothy affects things...
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
We now reach some extremely vintage stuff that I've read for the very first time:
- I was visiting some Oz friends in Portland and had a little time, so I tucked into their copy of Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman. This is one of the later titles by "Edith Van Dyne" that was published ofter Baum's death, so this one was written by Emma Speed Sampson. And I think this is the title where "Edith" finally Acknowledged who the real star of the series is, because intrepid girl detective Josie O'Gorman is at the center of things. It is Josie who wonders about the identity of the two orphan children brought to Dorfield and how they came to be in the care of their cousin Dink. It is Josie who manages to get some information out of them that sends her to Atlanta and Indiana, tracking down the children's lost relatives. And it is Josie who manages, through her dogged determinism and a few lucky breaks, to reunite a family separated by greed and war. Granted, Josie has had a huge role in many earlier Mary Louise books, often front and center just as much as here. Domestic, married life seems to agree with Mary Louise, as she barely appears in her own book—which is fine, as she had ceased to be a terribly interesting and compelling character a few volumes back anyway.
- The reason I wanted to read that book is that I had recently acquired and read the next book in the series, Josie O'Gorman, as I saw it at a great price I couldn't pass up. Yes, finally, Josie is the titular star of the series, not Mary Louise. But at least Mary Louise and the rest of the gang are still around, and Josie is still based in Dorfield, so that hasn't changed, at least. And the girls gain a new friend, Ursula, who has come to Dorfield looking for work and a way to support her little brother, Philip. The girls take her in, of course, but something doesn't seem right to Josie, and she ends up doing some digging. But when Philip is kidnapped, she goes into overdrive and discovers a lost fortune and all kinds of skullduggery in Louisville. (Josie appears to be a great traveler, using the trains a lot in her adventures.) Of course all turns out well in the end, and everyone is happy except for the bad people who had been trying to make them unhappy. What's unusual about my copy of this book, however, is that it's not the book I bought! The ad said it was the next book, Josie O'Gorman and the Meddlesome Major, which has always been an extremely elusive book to find at an affordable price. It arrived safe and sound, with the expected title on the cover, and I set it aside to read at a convenient time. But when I finally picked it up and started reading, I realized there was no major meddling in anything. The half-title page, title page, and running titles all said "Josie O'Gorman", and the copyright date was 1923, not the expected 1924. Since Josie O'Gorman is also a hard title to track down, and I hadn't read that, either, I didn't mind. I made a few inquiries, and while such a hybrid is highly unusual, it doesn't add much to the value. So all I really have is a curiosity. But now I'm at least down to only two "Edith Van Dyne" titles I don't own, and one I haven't read.