Sunday, March 26, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

Yup, I missed another week, thanks to work keeping me very busy last weekend. But now things are in better shape, and I can return to reading a story a week. So this week I wrapped up the 1976 issue of Oziana with "the Lost Sawhorse" by Phyllis Karr, illustrated by Nathan Flower. It's a pretty straightforward little tale about Dorothy and the Wizard going out into the Winkie Country to find the Sawhorse, who has gone missing. But it proves to be a little more complicated when the Magic Picture can't find him, but only focuses on one particular farm. Yes, there's a bit of a mystery in this story as well, so I dare not say much more, as it would give a lot away, but s happens in most Oz stories, all turns out ell in the end. But I sure wouldn't want to go through what the Sawhorse went through, nor the Tin Woodman's part in it!

As this is the final story of this issue, I must mention one other contributor to this issue, Bill Eubank. His wonderful illuminated Oz letters, used for many years at the start of articles in TheBaum Bugle, make their first appearance here on the cover, looking nice and large. (Too bad K, L, M, and N have the cover's fold and staples down the middle.) And he also contributed another "Oz-E-Gag" cartoon with Linus and Snoopy standing outside of Jack Pumpkinhead's house, and Jack says, "Look, just tell the kid with the blanket I'm not 'The Great Pumpkin'."

Next week, it's a very special edition of Oziana, at least for me.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Extra Ozzy TV Episode of the Week

Just in case you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend this week's episode of The Flash, "Duets". It's a crossover with Supergirl, and it's a musical! No, no, don't turn away yet! Grant Gustin (who plays Barry/The Flash) and Melissa Benoist (who plays Kara/Supergirl) both got their start on Glee, so they have musical chops. Several other actors from both shows, and Arrow, also have musical backgrounds, and they make the best use of them. (My fellow Doctor Who fans will especially appreciate John Barrowman doing his thing.) So why am I writing about it here? Because it turns out Supergirl's favorite musical is The Wizard of Oz, and she makes about a half-dozen references to it. So watch, enjoy!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Today's Oz Comic

And the hits just keep coming! Today in Frazz, yet another kid gets traumatized by a certain set of winged simians.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Today's Oz Comics

When it rains, it pours! Two turned up in my local paper today:

  • One is this edition of One Big Happy where Ruthie compares a suspicious but probably innocent TV spokesperson to a couple of creepy things. I'll leave it to you to decide which one is Ozzy.
  • And Tundra sees Dorothy taking Toto to the vet. Now, Tundra helps out the papers that run it by not putting their strips up online right away, but I'm sure it will eventually show up in the March archives I've linked to above. But there's nothing wrong with me describing the strip (I hope): A wide-eyed Toto is an an examination table with the helpfully captioned "The Veterinary of Oz" on one side and Dorothy looking a little worried on the other. The vet says, "He's pretty backed up. I think we're going to have to call Toto Rooter." EWWW!

Yesterday's Oz Comic

I had a very long day yesterday, and thus didn't have time to post the latest Oz comic discovery by Michael-sensei: Wrong Hands picks up on some similar movie themes.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Today's Other Oz Comics

It seems today was an especially Ozzy day in the comics, because Michael-sensei, my man in Japan, discovered two more!

Today's Oz Comic

The kids in today's Cul de Sac are messing around with the whole "March Comes in like a lion" thing, with inevitably Ozzy results today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today's Oz Comic

Savage Chickens takes a look at how certain sayings are handled in Oz.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

Tim Campbell has made the observation that they always have a pet (never mind that the flying monkeys were slaves to the Golden Cap in the book).

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Latest Oz Short Story

Yup, as I suspected, I missed last week. Well I was busy. So this week, I dipped back into the 1976 issue of Oziana and read "The Adventure of the Cat That Did Not Meow in the Night" by Eric Shanower and Jay Delkin, illustrated by Melody Grandy. This is a significant story because it is Shanower's first contribution to Oziana, but far from his last. Surprisingly, he didn't illustrate it. (Since he was a teenager at the time, it's possible that his artistic skills hadn't quite developed and matured by that time.) It is also the first appearance in Oziana of the Great Detective, a recurring character who appears in several stories in the '70s and '80s. He is basically Sherlock Holmes in all but name, as Holmes' copyright status was a little vague at the time (and with the way the Doyle estate goes after some who use the character even today, it may still be a bit vague). As this very short story is a mystery, I don't want to give too much away. Let's just say that the seemingly unrelated disappearances of Button-Bright and many small, unremarkable items from Ozma's palace turn out to be tied together after all, and have to deal with the after effects of a well-known incident in Ozian history. The Great Detective is quite good at figuring things out and piecing the clues together, especially why Eureka, acting as a watch cat, didn't alert anyone to the thief's appearance— hence the name of this story.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Today's Oz Comic

Did you ever wonder what became of Dorothy's house after it landed in Oz? Well, here's one explanation in today's Strange Brew.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Emerald City: "No Place Like Home"

Ah, the final episode of Emerald City's first season. Will it all wrap up satisfactorily? Here are my impressions:

  • The recap makes it clear that everybody wants to deal with the Wizard!
  • Ooh, flying monkeys at last! That's a nice steampunky way to handle them.
  • This version of Ozma really knows how to make an entrance.
  • Ooh, clever Ozma! That's a nasty but humane way to deal with Eamonn!
  • It looks like Glinda knows how to make an entrance, too.
  • Wait, Jane is Dorothy's mother?
  • I think Dorothy's mad. The Wizard sure seems to realize he's dealing with a lot more than he can handle.
  • Wait, halfway through the final episode, and now they finally introduce the Beast Forever???
  • Yay, Ozma's on the throne at last! We must be nearing the end.
  • Frankly (pun only partially intended), the Wizard got what he deserved.
  • Well, Dorothy got home, but the gate is wide open for season two—if we get one.
To be honest, despite so many of the plot threads finally coming together, I'm disappointed that the Beast Forever was talked about so much all throughout, only to have a few glimpses in the final moments, and we don't see any of what it does in Oz (or Ev, for that matter). Yes, they are setting up the next season, but considering the development hell this show went through, the producers and director Tarsem Singh should have probably figured out that a second season was a long shot.

I think, in the end, the show was just a confusing mess, and despite all the trappings and names of characters, this was Oz in name only. It bore little resemblance to any other version of Oz, especially the books from which it was ostensibly adapted. This could have been told without any Oz connection and might have actually had a better chance of finding an audience. But tacking Oz onto it raised all kinds of expectations in people (depending on which version of Oz they are most familiar with), and added to the baggage.

I think I still need some time to digest this show, so I may have some more final thoughts next weekend. And because I am a completist, and want to eventually see it in high definition on a big screen, yes, I will eventually get the Blu-Ray. But I doubt I'll watch it very often.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Emerald City: "The Villain That's Become"

Again, my reactions while I watch the latest episode (which I didn't bother to watch until Sunday afternoon):

  • Yup, bad idea to try to cross the Wizard, Langwidere! (Good grief, she even sleeps in a mask?)
  • I liked Lucas a lot more before he got his memory back. I think Dorothy did, too.
  • How many times has Dorothy visited the Munchkin village now? But at least she's seeing the big picture, and is taking action. But is releasing all the prisoners of the abject a good idea?
  • As much as I may rag on this show, I have really grown to enjoy Ana Ularu's portrayal of West. She may be the best witch in the show.
  • Oh, poor Langwidere. But she did what she had to do, and I doubt I wouldn't have done the same thing. But Jack is going to be scarred!
  • Okay, when Jordan Loughran glams up, she makes a really good Ozma! Nothing like we've ever seen before (come on, would it hurt to put some poppise in her hair?), but definitely looking like a queen of Oz and a powerful witch in her own right.
  • Okay, now there's a twist on Langwidere!
  • They appeared in all te trailers, but it took an awfully long time to get the stone giants up and walking!
I'll be honest, things really dragged in the middle episodes, but now that the story threads are finally starting to come together, I think I may actually be looking forward to next week's finale. It looks like there might be a decent payoff. Too bad I'm going to miss it. Next weekend I'll be at, ironically, Emerald City Comic Con. (Even more ironically, Vincent D'Onofrio is one of the guests. The timing is not going to work for me to see his talk, unfortunately.) But I will try to post my reactions to that final episode, and the entire series, as soon as I can next week.

This Week's Oz Short Story

The 1976 issue of Oziana kicks off with "How the Wizard Came to Oz, and What He Did There", written and illustrated by Donald Abbott. Just in case you think that sounds familiar, you're right, because fifteen years later, he expanded it into a book. But this short story version works, too. It's pretty straightforward, and doesn't tell us a lot we didn't already know from the Oz books, but there are some nice filling-in of the gaps. Ever wonder how the Wicked Witch of the West acquired the Golden Cap? That's in here. Ever wonder just why Oscar Zoroaster Diggs was hailed as a wizard? It's in here (and handled much better than the whole prophecy schtick in Oz the Great and Powerful). A few events fly by pretty quickly, making me think Abbott may have been thinking of this as a novel-length story from the start. And as charming as his pictures are, there was a definite improvement and refinement in his technique in the ensuing years before the book. There was an unfortunate production error that reversed a couple of the pages, but once I figured it out I had no problems. (This is not the last time something like this would happen to Oziana, but fortunately they are few and far between.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Today's Oz Comic

In today's visit with The Wizard of Id, someone must face the harsh truth when asking for dating advice.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Latest Oz Short Story

I said I was going to take advantage of the long weekend to read a long story, and that's just what I did when I read the first story in the 1975 edition of Oziana, "The Romance of the Ruby Slippers" by Laura Jane Musser. We get some background information on the Silver Slippers, as it turns out they were made for Princess Zephyra, who controls gentle spring and summer winds. But after they fell off Dorothy's feet at the end of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, they were recovered by Sandrika, a sand witch who has a small kingdom in the Deadly Desert near Ev. She is cruel and ambitious, and has plans to use the Slippers for her own nefarious means. So Dorothy goes undercover in Sandrika's sand castle as her new servant in an attempt to regain the Silver Slippers. But things start to go very wrong when Sandrika takes Dorothy on a visit to her cousin, Princes Langwidere of Ev. Langwidere is wearing head number seventeen, which is the one she was wearing when Dorothy first visited Ev so many years ago.

It's fitting that this story, being so long, is a sweeping epic with an exotic castle in the middle of the Deadly Desert, a storm queen, and high stakes. The characters do like to talk a lot, however, explaining things in epic monologues, sometimes when people aren't even around to hear them. But Dorothy is still plucky and brave and deals with a lot of big events, and naturally all comes out well in the end. We even find out more about the Silver Slippers and what they can do.

Next week, 1976 begins!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Today's Oz Comics

A double dose of Ozzy goodness today!

  • First, in Pearls Before Swine, one of the most torturous paths to a pun I've ever seen, and PBS does a lot of those! Something tells me L. Frank Baum would approve. The "him" in that last panel is creator Stephan Pastis, who usually gets pun-ished for these gags he creates.
  • Meanwhile, over in Strange Brew, the Tin Woodman gets some new clothes.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Emerald City: "Lions in Winter"

I was busy and tired last night, so I didn't even bother trying to also watch Emerald City. So I'm going to watch it right now off the DVR and give my immediate reactions. Okay, here we go! (Beware, there may be spoilers ahead.)

  • Did I mention last week that Pastoria also got a mention?
  • I wonder if anyone is going to make and sell those flags?
  • So now West has Ozma, who has an inkling of who she actually is. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
  • What? Lucas (well, I guess we have to call him Rowan now) is Glinda's husband???
  • Ooh, flashback to Ozma as a baby! Now we see Pastoria! And finally, a Lion!!!
  • I really want to see some cosplayers try to recreate some of Langwidere's masks. That wire cage one is one of the best yet.
  • Uh, oh, don't get the new little witch angry! Have none of those girls seen Carrie? Or Matilda?
  • Is there a dictionary somewhere for that witch language? They're sure using a lot of it in this episode.
  • If Glinda doesn't trust science, why does she think Dorothy can do anything for the damaged young witches?
  • That's a pretty cool effect with the doors.
  • Yeah, definitely don't get Dorothy mad. Nor Glinda, for that matter.
  • Oh, good grief, has Eamonn been the Lion all this time?
  • Yeah, yeah, go on, Army of Ev, kill the Wizard and put us all out of our misery!
  • So what is Ozma now?
Two episodes to go. They'd better start wrapping some of these dangling plot threads up!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Time to Pass the Hat!

(I really need a cool graphic of someone holding a hat here for just this sort of occasion.)

The time has come once again to ask for your financial assistance with my website. If you are a regular reader of this blog, or visitor to my website, or both, and can spare a few dollars to keep both afloat, I would greatly appreciate whatever assistance you can give. The direct link to donate is right here. Many thanks!