Sunday, May 28, 2017

Yesterday's Oz Comic

Whoops! I completely forgot to post this edition of Bizarro yesterday. Well, in my defense, it was the very first one in my feed, so I went through the rest of them to see if there were more before posting it here, but by the time I was done it had slipped my mind.

This Week's Oz Short Story

Not so much a short story, actually, as an inventory/reaction to the little miscellaneous bits from the 1978 edition of Oziana that make these early issues so much fun.

  • A cover of Glinda and friends looking through the Great Book of Records by Bill Eubank.
  • Eubank also contributes another in his series of "Oz-E-Gags" (i believe the last in the series). The panel is split in two, with the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion reading Star Wars while R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca are reading The Wizard of Oz. (Remember, this was 1978, and Star Wars had only been playing in theaters less than a year at that point—but it was still playing in many theaters even that late, that's how big it was back in the day.) The caption says, "It seems that this human meets three weirdos, and goes off to fight the forces of evil — oh, there's a wizard, too." Funnily enough, it's not explicitly stated which half of the panel the caption is referring to.
  • Edith Hollister contributes a John R. Neill word find, made up of characters introduced in the three books he wrote. This was the first I'd heard of many of these characters, but based on the pencil markings in this issue, I must have found them all.
  • Harry E. Mongold's contribution to this issue is a poem about Coo-Ee-Oh called "How Ducky!" with a very evocative illustration by Dave Billman.
  • This is the only issue I can recall of Oziana with an insert: A piece of sheet music called "Scraps, Ditty" where Clara Jean Curzon puts music to one of Scraps' songs from The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Hmm, I've had this nearly forty years but never found someone to play it for me (I'm not musical myself).
  • Another picture by Dave Billman, this time of Ozma.
  • And a back cover by Lau Shiu Fan illustrating an incident form this issue's story "The Woozy's Tricky Beginning".
This means that, yes, next week, I start looking at the 1979 issue!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today's New Political Cartoon

Wow, when cartoonists get ahold of a meme, they run with it! Here's one from Jeff Darcy of that has some similar themes to some of the cartoons I posted this morning.

Today's Oz Comic (with Special Bonus Announcement!)

I'll keep today's comment brief: Well no wonder he's called The Born Loser!

And now the special announcement: I've been toying with the idea of starting a Facebook group devoted to Oz comics. Well, with Laura's encouragement and assistance, we've taken the plunge and started it! You can visit it right here. I hope it will be a forum for both new and vintage Wizard of Oz-themed comic strips, panels, pages, books, and editorial cartoons. But don't worry, I'll still pos the new ones here as well.

This Week's Oz Political Comics

My man in Japan, Michael-sensei, has turned up a motherlode of recent Oz-themed political cartoons.

  • Tim Campbell brings new dimension to the term "flunky monkey".
  • Rob Rogers shows our soon-to-be-former current President leaving an interesting message for all of Washington to see.
  • Clay Bennett has a similarly themed comment, if not quite as spectacular.
  • But the winner here, in my opinion, is Greg Kearney, commenting on the state of hospitals in rural Kansas. (Since I live in rural eastern Washington, I can sympathize.) The great part about this one is which character he uses, as it's not one from The Movie! I'm not sure how many of Kearney's readers will get the reference, but probably enough.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Today's Oz Comic

Today in The Argyle Sweater, we see what happens with... Oh, just read the caption to find out!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

This week's tale was "Beyond the Rainbow" by Daniel K. Cox, from the 1978 issue of Oziana. Qwerty Jones is an American boy who, via a gas main explosion, manages to get to Oz. Unlike most Americans who make it to Oz, he is taken directly to the Emerald City, without getting to test his mettle through a series of adventures. With Ozma and the Wizard out of town when he arrives, Qwerty has a little time on his hands to explore the city and ponder what is to become of him. He has conversations with the Scarecrow, Dorothy, and (after coming back to town) the Wizard about just what it means to be unaging and immortal, and he spends the last night of the story thinking hard before Ozma declares his fate the next morning. What he and Ozma both decide is surprising, but not terribly out of character for either. This is a small, quiet little story told mainly through conversations and inner monologues during observations, but it does come to a satisfying, if abrupt conclusion. The conclusion is so abrupt, in fact, that I wonder if a final paragraph or two weren't cut off during production, as the final paragraph is a statement by Ozma that does not end with a quotation mark. Perhaps the missing next paragraph would continue her statement.

This is the final story of this issue, but that's not the end of this issue, as there are a cartoon, a poem, and other extra bits to talk about next week.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

Remember last year, about this time, when I said we were going to get a lot of cartoons comparing Hilary Clinton to the Wicked Witch of the West? Well, it seems that the shoe is on the other foot now, as evidenced by this cartoon by MStreeter from the Savannah Morning News.

This Week's Oz Short Story

The reading of Oziana 1978 continues with "Zimbo and the Magic Amulet" by George Van Buren. By saving the life of the local wizard, Zimbo is rewarded with an amulet that answers any question asked of it, but in a way that can't be understood. His ambitious uncle asks it, "Where ins the greatest magic in the world?" The amulet answers, "In Oz." Uncle Zimboobo asks, "And where in Oz is the greatest magic?" "In Toto," replies the amulet. So he decides to head to Oz to kidnap Dorothy's dog and become the world's greatest wizard. Zimbo comes along to try to stop him, but Uncle Zimboobo is too crafty and doesn't let Zimbo out of his sight. A chance encounter with Ojo and some quick thinking gets Zimbo arrested, howeveer, and not only away from his uncle, but close to Ozma and Dorothy to warn them. Needless to say, Toto the dog is not the greatest source of magic in Oz after all, and it takes the knowledge and wisdom of Professor Wogglebug to finally determine how the amulet is answering questions. This is a fun little story, and Zimbo is a clever and resourceful boy. All works out well in the end, naturally; even uncle Zimboobo gets off pretty lightly, but his plans were doomed from the beginning anyway.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

I think Mike Peters may have hit the nail of today's political situation a little too close today.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

The News I Think We Were All Expecting…

NBC has cancelled Emerald City. Considering the ratings and the long, tortured road to it even getting on the air, I think it's probably just as well.

This Week's Oz Short Story

A quickie this week, again from the 1978 issue of Oziana. In "The Adventure of the Missing Belt" by Vincent Ward and Jay Delkin, the Magic Belt has gone missing, and the Great Detective is given the task of retrieving it. This is such a quick story that I dare not say any more about it, lest I spoil anything, but suffice it to say that the Belt is found and justice is meted out to perpetrators. And if there were ever any doubts as to the identity of the Great Detective, the story is peppered throughout with little bits of Holmesiana (his room number is 221-B, one character asks why he isn't at the base of Ozenbach Falls, the deerstalker, little things like that).

Today's Oz Comic

A frequent question that often comes up in Oz circles is, why is the road made of yellow bricks, and not some other color? Well, we may have a simple answer in today's edition of Loose Parts: They may have just come from the lowest bidder!

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Today's Oz Comics

Well this is unusual! Today I found not one, not two, but three Oz comics in my online comics reading. That's already a record, and I haven't even read my local paper or heard from Michael-sensei yet.

  • In a PreTeena rerun, Teena shows excellent taste in music. But it appears to be a good thing we can only read what she's singing.
  • In today's Rubes, creator Leigh Rubin appears to be channeling the late lamented comic book Legends of Oz: The Wicked West.
  • And in Savage Chickens, it appears someone is helping Dorothy out by getting things ready for her encounter with the Wicked Witch.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Latest Oz Short Story

The 1978 edition of Oziana opens with "The Woozy's Tricky Beginning" by March Laumer. As one can imagine by that title, this is an origin story for the Woozy, and also deals with his fondness for honeybees. I don't want to say too much else about this story, for fear of giving it away, but I doubt it will come as much of a surprise to anyone who is already familiar with March Laumer's other Oz works. Let's just say there are some riddles, a pixie, and a magic wand involved, and Ozma, Glinda, and Lurline all get to pay a state visit to the queen of all the bees of Oz. I was a little puzzled by this story in my youth, but it all seems pretty straightforward and sensible (if a little silly, in a good way) to me now that I'm a little older.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Latest Oz Short Story

I was so busy this weekend that I almost forgot to blog my weekly short story—or in this case, poem, as the final entry in the 1977 edition of Oziana is "A Map for Ruth Plumly Thompson" by Ruth Berman, an homage to the wide-sweeping geography Thompson used in her books, both in and around Oz, and out to the oceans.

I also want to bring up some of the little extras in this issue that add to the flavor. There are several little spot illustrations, for example. Bill Eubank's "Oz-E-Gag" is about the previous year's presidential election: Kabumpo is surrounded by Carter Farms Peanuts as the Wise Donkey says, "And I told Kabumpo, 'It's not wise to change ones' political party for—peanuts!'" (For those who may not remember, or are too young to have been there, before entering politics Jimmy Carter had been a peanut farmer.) There's a Highlights for Children-style "find the objects hidden in the picture" puzzle. And a spectacular cover illustration of Oogaboo. It may hold a special place in my heart because it was my first issue, but I also like to think that this issue truly shows off what Oziana could truly achieve with the right care and contributions.

Next week, 1978!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

The third and final story of the 1977 issue of Oziana is "Two Friendships" by Stanley Worden, and it was the one I remembered the least from when I first read this issue forty years ago. The two friendships in question are Xew, leader of the Hotsnaps, and Hiram the giant hyena, who have set out to conquer Oz; and Button-Bright and Polychrome, who stumble over their plans and try to stop them. This one doesn't strike me as being quite so polished or accomplished as the other two stories in this issue, but it has its charm. The Hotsnaps and their ski-dad'l are a fun new Ozian race, if a bit disagreeable; while their adversaries, the Klunks, are basically living machines and machine parts. They all add to the lore of Oz. Button-Bright proves to be clever and resourceful, and he and Polly come up with some clever tricks to stop Hiram and Xew. And of course everyone gets their just desserts in the end.

Today's Oz Comic

In today's edition of Brevity, Dorothy temporarily forgets which movie she's in. (Hmm, that might actually make for an interesting crossover/mash-up.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Today's Other Oz Comic

Over at The Argyle Sweater, it appears to be hay fever season in the Emerald City. (And yet the Scarecrow is stuffed with straw.)

Today's Oz Comic

Today over in Rhymes with Orange, Hilary Price gives us the inevitable consequences if the airlines ever get ahold of a certain pair of magic shoes.