Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Today in The Argyle Sweater, it appears that not just humans want to go see Oz plays on Broadway.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: The Return of the Wicked Witch

Yes, our epic tale featuring the return of both the Wizard and the Wicked Witch concludes with this segment. Everyone is out of the crystal ball, including the Witch possessing the Wizard! But the Witch fools them all into thinking she's gone for good, including Wilhelmina, who mourns the loss of her auntie. The Scarecrow sneaks the crystal ball out and takes it back to the Emerald City, not trusting the Wizard. In a private conference, the Witch steals Ozma's wand, and uses it to take over Oz and transforms Ozians into animals, trapping Ozma in butterfly form in a bell jar. The Wizard takes control long enough to tell Dorothy what's happening, but the Witch transforms the Lion into a pig to get the Ruby Slippers from Dorothy so she can get her old body back. Dorothy gives her one slipper—which looks really, really odd on the Wizard's foot—but then Ozma escapes, causing the wand to give her her real form and return to her ("I had no idea my wand could do that!"). They nearly trap the Witch in the crystal ball, but Wilhelmina zaps it and takes the wand back. Left with no choice, Dorothy hands her the other slipper, and the Witch regains her old body. She's primed to bring trouble to Oz—but she has no magic powers. They're still in the Ruby Slippers, which are still on the Wizard's feet! He's tempted to use the Slippers himself to gain magic powers and rule Oz, but he now knows that that wouldn't be right, and he gives the Slippers back to Dorothy. The Witch vows revenge, but doesn't even have the power to fly a boom, so she hitches a lift on Wilhelmina's broom back to the castle. The Wizard, however, seems to have gained the Witch's powers, and can do some magic. He's still so uncoordinated with it, however, that nothing he tries goes right. He's settling down to practice, and Dorothy is sure he'll get there in the end.

This was a satisfying conclusion to this storyline, and sets things up nicely for the rest of the series. The Wicked Witch is back, but needs to get powers before she can take over Oz. The Wizard is not only back, he even has real magic now, but doesn't know how to use it. And there's still several episodes left! But it looks like this is now going to become a weekly update. So I'll see if I can tell you about the next episode this weekend!

The Latest Oz Reading

I know, I know, I said int was going to be a while before I had another of these. But that was before the comics order came! There were a few Oz items in it, so I guess I'd better summarize them here.

  • Grimm Fairy Tales #30. This is Zenescope's flagship title, and the Ozzy cover caught my eye, and I found out part of the storyline took place in their version of Oz. Unfortunately for me, this was not the first issue of their Oz storyline, and I may have to go back and get a few more issues (plus stay on top of things until it leaves Oz again). I gather that Skye, the title's main protagonist, captured some Munchkins in the previous issue, and accompanies them to their village, where she meets up with their sage. The sage helps Skye decode the writing on a shield from Camelot, and so Skye is off on a journey to find other magic items and the ingredients needed for a spell. Not much actually happening, but Skye does get to learn more about Oz and pick up some allies.
  • Oz: Heart of Magic #5. Dorothy's quest to regain her true form and save Oz continues. She and her allies manage to infiltrate the Nome Kingdom and find Glinda and Adastra, awakening them. But in the Emerald City, Bartleby, the Scarecrow, finds out that the usurper's plans have nearly come to fruition, and they reveal themselves to be the Mad Wizard and Ann Soforth, exiled empress of Oogaboo! And what's worse is they hold Ozma in their power. Good thing there's only one issue left of this miniseries.
  • Cheshire Crossing by Andy Weir and Sarah Andersen. Way back when, before he became a bestselling, award-winning science fiction writer, Andy Weir wrote fanfic, and even created crossover comic books. One of those featured Dorothy Gale, Alice Liddell, and Wendy Darling meeting up and having adventures in each other's worlds. Weir would be the first to tell you, however, that his art was not terribly good. So when it came time to collect this adventure into one book, he wisely decided to find someone to draw proper illustrations for it. Sarah Andersen fits the bill very nicely, and this collection is the result. Not a lot has changed about the actual story, which eventually sees the Wicked Witch of the West and Captain Hook allying themselves to take over various realms, and the three girls and their friends stopping them. They make clever uses of their various abilities and magic talismans, and it all comes to a satisfying ending, while still leaving the door open for further adventures (yes, please). I'm glad this story has finally been properly published, and in such an attractive form, too.
And that's it for now! I have no idea if I'll have another entry in this series soon, but Oz books just keep popping up at this house all the time!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Escape from the Crystal Ball

When we last left the Wicked Witch's castle, everyone was stuck in her crystal ball. And I mean all the regulars, good and wicked, along wit the newly-returned Wizard, whose loyalties seem to be in some flux. The only way out is if Dorothy uses the ruby slippers—but then the Wicked Witch of the West would also be free! Dorothy surprises everyone by choosing to keep the witch from making trouble and staying in the crystal ball! Then Dorothy wonders how the Witch survived her melting, which leads to a flashback of the events of The Movie, and we see the Witch's spirit (looking something like a sickly green pollywog) possess Lyman and Frank as she tries to get to the Emerald City and acquire the ruby slippers, just as Dorothy is taking off in the balloon with the Wizard. The Witch possesses a cat to lure Toto away, keeping Dorothy in Oz. The Witch finally makes it into the crystal ball before fading away entirely, and just before Wilhelmina returns from witch finishing school. As the flashback ends, the Witch sends Wilhelmina off for the first time to fetch the ruby slippers so the Witch can escape for good. The Witch ten starts crying crocodile tears, trying to convince Dorothy that she's reformed. But she overplays her hand and Dorothy sees right through her intentions. Dorothy decides to use the slippers to get everyone out except the Witch, so everyone (yes, even Wilhelmina, Frank, and Lyman) grabs on, Dorothy clicks her heels, and they're free—with no sign of the Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard speculates that she's still trapped in the crystal ball, but then he cackles evilly as the episode ends!

Despite this being almost entirely exposition, this episode really books along at a good clip. The flashback is padding, in that the story would work out just fine without it, but just getting the chance to see The Movie with these versions of the characters is a lot of fun. (The Emerald City sure looks a lot like a green version of Munchkinland, however.) Kudos to this episode go to Laraine Newman (yes, that Laraine Newman, one of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players), channeling her inner Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West. This isn't her first episode as the Witch (nor is the series her first time, having also voiced the role in Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz), but this is probably the most she's had to do the voice in one episode, and she's good at it. She definitely has a lot of the same cadence as Margaret Hamilton did in The Movie, but with a little more sass and humor, more in keeping with the audience this show is aimed at.

This Week's Oz Short Story

After reviewing last year's OzCon International program book, I've decided to take a little break from Oziana to cover a few miscellaneous stories from other sources. One in particular I'll get to next week. But this week it's from that same program book, and it's "Woot Meets the Kalidahs" by J. L. Bell, a writer I seem to be reviewing a lot of lately. He does a terrific job of taking a small little bit from an Oz book and turning it into an entertaining story that also gives us more insight into some characters we've seen little of before. And Woot the Wanderer is a perfect character for this sort of story, as he can co all over Oz and visit just about anywhere in the country. Bell has developed an excellent character for Woot, who has gained a lot of wisdom and experience on his journeys, and he's not afraid to use it. He's also very shrewd, and can quickly sum up someone's personality from just a few observations. And all this works well for Woot, as he does indeed wander into a Gillikin forest inhabited by Kalidahs. But first, he manages to extract some useful information from a riddlesnake, a new creation by Bell that will answer questions truthfully but cryptically. (Think the Sphinx from Greek mythology.) Despite his best efforts, Woot gets captured by a mother Kalidah and her two cubs, and only a fortuitous encounter with a sourberry bush prevents Woot from being immediately consumed. Woot manages to use flattery and a little psychology on all three of them to, eventually, turn the twins against each other and make his escape. Once he's out of the woods, he manages to give the riddlesnake his just desserts as well.

This story reminded me of Woot's encounter with Mr. Yoop (from Oziana a few issues back), and highlights just what a great character he can be. Hmm, maybe someone can put together a collection of short stories about Woot's adventures.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: The Wizard Pays a Visit

Well, so much for my plans to blog this show daily! Darned real life keeps getting in the way. But I will try to at least wrap up this current, extended storyline as quickly as possible. Then the remaining episodes I can do on the weekends, probably. But let's look now at the second chapter about the Wizard's return to Oz and his visit to the Wicked Witch's castle. Having heard she's still alive, the Wizard hopes to see the Wicked Witch, and convinces Wilhelmina to divulge a few secrets. Back in the Emerald City, Dorothy creates a hot air balloon pie, but Ozma throws in some flying magic, causing Dorothy and her friends to retrieve it. Back in the castle, the Wizard bargains with the Wicked Witch to get real magical powers, in exchange for delivering Dorothy to her—not realizing that Dorothy and the gang have ruby slippered into the castle to deliver the pie to him. They overhear the whole thing! Little does the Wizard know, but you can't have magic powers granted to you, you must acquire them after years of study. (So this is clearly not the Wizard of the books, who got his powers in just that way!) The pie gets away from Dorothy, causing the Wizard, the Witch, Wilhelmina, Frank, and Lyman to all notice her. Ozma discovers what's going on and comes to the rescue (with a pie cutter, no less), but in the ensuing chase, the crystal ball gets knocked over. Dorothy, being the helpful soul that she is, grabs it before it can fall—putting her exactly where the Witch wants her! Dorothy starts getting sucked into the crystal ball, then everyone else joins in trying to pull her out. No suck luck! So now the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard, Ozma, Wilhelmina, Frank, and Lyman are all trapped in the crystal ball! To make things worse, Ozma drops her magic wand/scepter, so she won't be able to use that!

And that's our cliffhanger ending for this episode. Not a lot happens, but there's a lot of set-up for the second half of our story. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next! On a side note, the floating hot air balloon pie is a nice touch, and a very Ozzy invention.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Today in Savage Chickens, Dorothy points out one of the disadvantages of being the Wicked Witch of the West. (I seem to recall Gregory Maguire touching on some of the same issues in the original novel of Wicked.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Oh, this is an especially Ozzy one today! The beloved library comic Unshelved is now in perpetual reruns, as the creators have ended it, but today's book club is sure to look really familiar.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: The Wizard Returns

Yes, at long last, new (for me) episodes of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz! Boomerang came through with a whole batch of new episodes, so I'm going to do my best to blog about as many of them as I can over the next couple of weeks, before I have less time of my own to do this. It is especially important that I do the first few as quick as I can, because "The Wizard Returns" is the first of four interconnected episodes that finally sees the other title character appear in this show. But first, the Wicked Witch has concocted a plan to get Dorothy into the crystal ball. Wilhelmina invites Dorothy and the gang over to tea as a peace offering, but they sense it's a trap and get out of there—but now they finally know that the Wicked Witch is alive! As they contemplate this, the Wizard's balloon crashes into a nearby tree. In the Emerald City, the Wizard meets Ozma, who invites him to be one of her Royal Ozian Advisors. He accepts, despite Dorothy's warning that he's not a real wizard. Ozma lets him move into the throne room, who then tries to become Oz the Great and Powerful Oz again. (Yes, the giant flaming head and all.) He misses being respected and important, so Ozma takes pity on him and gives him another chance. He takes a pass on lunch to visit an old friend—and the last thing we see in this episode is the Wizard knocking on Wilhelmina's door!

Well, Dorothy says it's one of her strangest days ever, and she's right! What a coincidence that the Wizard returns at the same time Dorothy finds out the Wicked Witch is still alive! (I suspect we'll find out more later.) My biggest complaint about this episode is the Wizard's appearance: He has a mustache and a turban. The Wizard in The Movie (and let's face it, that's what this show is based on, despite the appearances of characters from the book) had neither. The mustache is not unprecedented (the Wizard in the 1990 DIC cartoon, also based on The Movie, sported a mustache), but the turban just doesn't work, and it all makes him look like Professor Marvel. Still, it is clearly the Wizard (the old flaming head set-up in the throne room is a nice homage), and it's good to see him in the show at last, but I'm not sure yet if it's going to be good for Oz having him back! We shall learn more in the next episode!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Today, Red and Rover are off on an Ozzy adventure in their own back yard!

Friday, August 09, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

I have guests coming over for the weekend, and so I won't have a lot of time for blogging. But the preparations are nearly done, it will be a few hours before anyone arrives, and so I have just enough time for this week's very short story (which I kipped over last week for this very occasion) from the 2004 edition of Oziana, a prose poem by M. A. Berg entitled "New Moon Over Oz". Very simply, the sliver of a new moon rises over Oz, and several Oz characters compare it to something they are familiar with. It's quiet and lovely and very sweet.

While I'm at it, a couple of other items from this issue:

  • Don Marquez's wraparound cover is entitled "The Road through Oz", and depicts a number of characters walking along (or flying above) the yellow brick road. The fun part is, you have to identify them all. Fortunately, there's a key inside the issue.
  • "Calling All Ozzy Poets!" is just that, a call for poets to submit Ozzy poems for publication. Of course it's done as a poem—in this case, four limericks.
Next week, I am going to take a brief break from Oziana and share a short story or two from other sources. But never fear, the Oziana recaps will return before too long!

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Over in today's Pop Culture Shock Therapy (which has really had a lot of Oz cartoons lately!), Doug Bratton seems to have gotten two popular fantasy franchises mixed up. (And there are warlike nomes in the Oz books, couldn't he have used them?)

The Latest Oz Reading

It has taken me longer than anticipated to finish off these summaries of my latest Oz reading, but here they are!

  • The Wicked Will Rise, volume 2 of the Dorothy Must Die series by Danielle Paige. Having failed to assassinate the dictator of Oz, evil Dorothy, Kansas teenager Amy Gumm finds herself separated from the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. She has to deal with her growing magic powers on her own, but receives guidance from the Queen of the Winged Monkeys and the land of the Rainbows. And she'll need their help, because she still needs to collect the Scarecrow's brain and the Lion's courage if she's ever going to stand a chance of defeating Dorothy. I'll be honest, I can't take this series too seriously, just because it's so different. But I am enjoying it nevertheless because Paige is so good at creating realistic characters and putting them in difficult situations. Amy keeps bouncing from one situation to another, and she doesn't always handle things well. I'm interested in seeing where this series is going to go, because it sure isn't predictable.
  • The Magic Scroll of Oz by Ray Kelley. Dorothy, having finally grown up and tiring of the urban life, is living a quiet, agrarian life on Jack Pumpkinhead's farm and distancing herself from the Emerald City. But when a scroll is stolen that can rewrite history, Glinda asks Dorothy to recover it and prevent disaster. Kelley really knows his Oz books, as one can guess from the premise alone. His Dorothy may not be what a lot of people expect, but her portrayal makes sense within the context of the story. Other than a grown-up Dorothy, this is a traditional Oz book in that there are lots of little side trips that ultimately don't come into the main story, but they are still fun, and show that Dorothy hasn't lost a step in the ensuing decades. The identity and motivation of the thief are surprising, but come out of an L. Frank Baum classic, so it all wraps up very neatly.
  • The Complete Annotated Oz Squad, Volume 1 by Steve Alhquist, Andrew Murphy, and Mike Sagara. This collects the 1990s Oz Squad comic series, including two specials. The basic premise is that Dorothy, Toto, and their friends from the original novel are now secret agents, moving between the Emerald City and our world to protect them from each other (but primarily Oz from us). I don't recall this from my initial reading of these books when they first came out, but the notes make it clear that during World War II, the Nazis found a way to Oz and tried to use its magic to conquer both worlds. They were driven back, of course, but it was a wake-up call for Oz as to just how far Earthlings will go to exploit them. These issues originally came out from four different publishers, and it shows. The first half is a hard-hitting, gritty version of the characters, which includes Tik-Tok going on an expletive-filled killing spree in Kansas when his thought works run down, and Dorothy becoming John F. Kennedy's lover. The second half, however, is a little gentler, with some time-travel exploits that see the Scarecrow befriending Leonardo da Vinci, among other shenanigans. This is not for Oz traditionalists, but fans of Oz comics will appreciate having this. (I've seen listings for a volume 2, but I don't know what it could possibly contain, as the entire series is in this book—complete with unresolved cliffhanger ending, I'm afraid. But volume 2 also seems to be well out of print, if it ever existed at all.)
  • Bucketheads in Oz by a whole bunch of authors. By coincidence, this picks up after the events of Tippetarius in Oz, which I had read only weeks earlier. Anyway, a bunch of new Oz characters are out to find Zim Greenleaf, because they think he is their best bet for rescuing a woman who is trapped in a ring. Through the course of events, they meet up with Boq' have to deal with Mombi, and find a potion that can grant wishes—but only once. Yes, of course Zim saves the day, but the journey getting there is a lot of fun.
  • And finally, I decided not to make the same mistake I made last year, and so I started reading this year's OzCon International program book before the convention even ended! This was the usual mix of writings tying into this year's convention (celebrating The Magic of Oz on its centennial), but it seems to be a little thinner than usual, sadly. Besides a couple of essays on the book itself and a picture gallery, there is one on the animal society in the Forest of Gugu; how Oz has fostered friendship for at least one fan; the influence of Theosophy on the writings of L. Frank Baum; and the surprising Oz connections to the 1906 musical review Mam'zelle Champagne.
And that is all for now. But I'll get on a big Oz kick again at some point before long, and I'll tell you what I'm reading then, too.

Monday, August 05, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

Since the second item in the 2004 edition of Oziana is short and I have a busy weekend coming up, I decided to skip ahead to the third item, the story "Evrob and the Nomes" by this year's Winkie Award winner J. L. Bell. This one is set some time between The Emerald City of Oz and Tik-Tok of Oz, as it deals in part with the Nome King's lack of memory from his first drink of the Fountain of Oblivion and how things changed in the Nome Kingdom before the Shaggy Man came along to recover his brother. There's actually an amusing explanation as to how his name changed from Roquat to Ruggedo. But our main character is Evrob, the second-youngest of the Princes of Ev. The whole Royal Family of Ev is on an outing at the beach, and all Evrob wants to do is dig in the sand. But when you have four brothers (one of whom is the king) and five sisters, you're likely to have to deal with other people's demands, especially when your sisters want your bucket. Evrob is feeling a little put-upon, so when his digging reveals a tunnel into the Nome Kingdom, he decides to go in and see if he can do some quiet digging there. The nomes even give him his own mining uniform, and Evrob is perfectly content to be with them for the day. Of course, when word gets to the Emerald City that Evrob is in the Nome Kingdom, and Dorothy takes matters into her own hands to "save" him. She's a little surprised to find out that he's there of his own volition, of course.

I really like this story because it explores a corner of the Oz books nobody would normally think about, namely the royal family of Ev. And Bell is able to inject some personality and individuality into at least some of the princes and princesses, something they never had the chance to get in Ozma of Oz (except maybe Evring). One thing that bugged me, though, is that Evrob is referred to as "the fourth prince of Ev." But once Evardo became king, Evrob would now be the third prince of Ev. Oh, well, it's a tiny thing, best not to worry about it!

Saturday, August 03, 2019

The Latest Oz Reading

Here's the second wave of my most recent Oz readings:

  • A Very Grimm Guide by Michael Buckley. I collected, read, and thoroughly enjoyed Buckley's Sisters Grimm series, about a bunch of classic old fairy tale characters living in seclusion in upstate New York. (Yes, a similar premise to the Fables comic book series, but handled very differently.) So when I came into some money and was able to buy a bunch of books, this was one of the first ones I put in my cart! It's a behind-the-scenes look at the series, with information about the characters, Ferryport Landing and its history, the Grimm family history, and lots of other great stuff (with editorial comments penciled in by Puck). It also looks at many of the stories that were mined for this series and their creators, so naturally there are a few pages on Oz and a profile of L. Frank Baum. And now I can brag that my Sisters Grimm collection is complete, although not all of them (including this one) have been autographed by Buckley yet.
  • My non-Oz Royal Historian reread this time around was Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. This was Eloise's first book set in ancient Egypt, but not her last! I remember almost nothing about my first reading of this, so reading it again was quite a revelation. Mara is a slave, but she is clever and ambitious and yearns for freedom. Her abilities to read, write, and speak Babylonian gets her placed at the court of the pharaoh, Queen Hatshupsut. The only trouble is, she is recruited by both those who want to keep Hatshepsut on the throne and those who want to replace her with Prince Thutmose! Mara does the best she can to keep both sides informed and stay at court, but as usually happens in these sorts of stories things unravel and she is brutally interrogated. However, all turns out well in the end, as usually also happens in these types of stories. One thing I really appreciate about Eloise's historical fiction is that her characters are really immersed in their own cultures, and therefore so are the readers. What may be odd or unusual for us is absolutely normal for them, so we are completely embedded in their world, encountering it as they see it. Mara has a rare slip-up when Mara refers to the sea the Nile empties into as the Mediterranean Sea, and not Uat-Ur. But that was about it!
  • The Ruby Slippers of Oz: Thirty Years Later by Rhys Thomas. With last year's surprise recovery of the pair of Ruby Slippers stolen in 2005, I knew I had to get this book. Sure enough, it has been significantly updated since the first edition in 1989, and the real-life saga of all known sets of ruby slippers is still fascinating. And it turns out that Thomas was in the middle of the recovery of the stolen slippers, as the FBI contacted him to lend his expertise. He also has information about the conservation of the pair at the Smithsonian Institution, which recently went back on display. My one complaint is that Thomas devotes an entire chapter to the socio-economic symbolism of the silver shoes in the original book, and how that symbolism was lost in making the shoes ruby for The Movie. Thomas then brings the point up again at further points in the book. This was already a suspect interpretation in 1989, but further research and examinations since then should have pretty much put this to rest. But even if this interpretation of The Wizard of Oz had any sort of validity, it's really not at all part of the story Thomas is trying to tell.
  • Namesake, Book 3 by Isabelle Melançon and Megan Havey-Heaton. This is the third collected edition of the online comic. Let's just say things get more complicated for everyone. I really enjoy Namesake's take on Oz and other old stories, and how it's all a lot more involved and complex than anyone may think, and just how much is happening behind the scenes.
  • And finally (for now), my reread of Oz books from outside of the Famous Forty brought me to The Seven Blue Mountains of Oz, Book II: Tippetarius in Oz by Melody Grandy. I think Melody Grandy may be one of the best Oz authors ever. Her version of Oz is rich and layered, but still very much evokes what L. Frank Baum wrote over a hundred years ago. In this book, after the events of the first book, Zim Greenleaf's profile in Oz has grown, and by the end of the book he has come into contact with Glinda the Good and the denizens of the Emerald City. It at least goes better than he ever anticipated. He also helps out Tititi-Hoochoo, which raises his profile with the magic community outside of Oz. But Tippetarius is the title character, and now that he is on his own he has adventures as well. Tip eventually comes into contact with his brothers, the Princes of Lostland, when they're on their way to the Emerald City to kidnap Ozma, thinking she's their sister. (Well they're not entirely incorrect, but there are extenuating circumstances.) We also get an extension of the story of Aleta and Orlando, first published in an issue of Oziana some years earlier, and their story ends up becoming intertwined with all the others. There is a lot going on here, but it all fits together well and it is all very, very Ozzy. I cannot recommend these books enough to Oz fans, and I am really looking forward to the third book in my next wave of reading.
That's it for now, but I read a few more things, which I will probably report on tomorrow!

Friday, August 02, 2019

The Latest Oz Reading

It has been a very, very long time since I have posted one of these. But I have been very, very busy, and haven't had as much chance as I'd like to read. So I'm going to be playing a lot of catch-up here as I go through my latest round of Oz reading.

  • And I am embarrassed to say that the first thing I read was the program book for OzCon Internationallast year's OzCon International! So I dove right in to see what I had done nearly a year earlier! There was an Ozzy guide to Oz sites in southern California; male emotional intelligence and the Tin Woodman; Woot the Wanderer; the bromance between the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman; thoughts on The Tin Woodman of Oz (our theme book for that weekend); a special copy of The Making of The Wizard of Oz (it's author, Aljean Harmetz, was supposed to be a guest last year, but had to cancel last minute; fortunately, she made it this year); an appreciation of the Oz books of Rachel Cosgrove Payes; an examination of the science fiction Rachel wrote under the pseudonym E. L. Arch, plus her one other pseudonymous book, by "Joanne Kaye"; a checklist (at last!) of all of Payes' published works; a short story by J. L. Bell, "Woot Meets the Kalidahs"; another short story, "The Twin Tin Woodmen of Oz" by Robert R. Pattrick; and a gallery of illustrations based on The Tin Woodman of Oz and other books celebrating anniversaries last year.
  • Next up is a three-fer, because it's the first three issues of Zenescope's latest comic book trip to Oz, Oz: Heart of Magic. Dorothy has been body-swapped into a criminal, so she and Toto are on the run as someone is using her power as Queen of Oz to fulfill her own agenda, which seems to involve siphoning off all of Oz's magic! Of course, since our interloper looks like Dorothy, few question her. I've criticized Zenescope in the past for not delving into any of the Oz books at all, but this time we see a lot of characters whose names, at least, come from the books. But this being Zenescope, who have a very adult take on all of the old fairy tales they adapt to comics, that's about where the resemblance ends. Two more issues to go, and I will do my very best to report on them in more detail, and in a more timely manner, once I read them.
  • The Puffin Graphics Plus edition of The Wizard of Oz. This is a clever way of introducing readers to classic literature, as it is both the 2005 graphic novel adaptation by Michael Cavallaro (which I already have) with the original text of the novel in one volume. I reread the graphic novel portion again and enjoyed it a lot. So far, Puffin has only done this with Oz and Black Beauty, but I hope there are plans for more.
  • My Famous Forty reread continued with The Road to Oz. Despite the lean plot and frothy nature of this story, I've always enjoyed Road, partly for John R. Neill's stunning artwork, partly for the great new characters it introduces (I still have fond memories of Polychrome's introduction), and partly because it was one of the few Oz books my father read to me when I was a kid, before I really got into Oz in third grade and it became such a big part of my life. Unlike my very beat up first edition, this facsimile reprint is on bright, vibrant colored paper, and it was a lot of fun to read it again. Since I had it next to Road on my bookshelf, I also read A Short, Short Oz Story, a limited edition reprint from a long time ago of the dedication L. Frank Baum wrote in the copy of the book he gave to his first grandchild, Joslyn Stanton "Tik-Tok" Baum, to whom the book is dedicated. The title does not lie, as it only takes up a blank page in the book (in Baum's handwriting), telling the story of how Joslyn came to be blessed by various fairies and Glinda as the stork carried him to Earth before the Shaggy Man pressed the Love Magnet to him, resulting in a prosperous, beloved, and joyful baby.
  • And finally, for now, Fables, Volume 12: The Dark Ages picks up after the end of the war against The Adversary, as everyone in both the Homelands and Fabletown figure out what happens next. Pinocchio shows Gepetto around Fabletown, but they are not greeted with open arms and kind words. Rose Red and Sinbad start a relationship and eventually get married. Boy Blue is in the hospital, where he eventually loses his right arm. Even then, that doesn't improve his condition, and he eventually succumbs to his injuries. Mercenaries release Mr. Dark from a chest. And Mowgli returns to the jungle on a mission of his own. Needless to say, a lot happens! For Oz fans, Bufkin makes a few appearances, but the big news is that we see Frau Totenkinder's coven of witches, including a young blonde girl who will later be revealed to be Ozma!
I read a lot more than this (most of which weren't comics or graphic novels), but I'll have to tell you more about them later!

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Yesterday's Other Oz Comic

I didn't catch this one until this morning (thanks, Michael-sensei!!), but over in AnderToons, Michael Anderson seems to have found a new friend for one of our old Oz friends.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

And they Just! Keep! Coming! In this one, from today's Pop Culture Shock Therapy, Dorothy gets an interesting proposition from a less-than-ethical businessman. (I wasn't sure what was happening myself, so I asked around, and I think Dorothy is being asked to become an assassin! Don't do it, Dorothy!)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Oh, dear. It was probably inevitable, and today's Pop Culture Shock Therapy shows what just might happen if the Lollipop Guild were to meet another band of sweets-based characters. I doubt this would turn out well fro anyone. (CAUTION: Some slightly naughty language you might not expect to hear in either movie.)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

You will need to be patient, but The Wizard of Oz does indeed get a (brief) mention in today's One Big Happy. And yes, I can do it.