Saturday, December 05, 2009

The latest Oz reading

I've finally gotten to reading some of the stuff I picked up at the Winkie Convention back in July, so I'm going to share them over the next few weeks. First up is Oziana #37. Now, here's an interesting story about the issue number. For its first thirty-six issues, Oziana was an annual, and the number was the year of issue. So the first issue was numbered 1971, the next one 1972, and so on until 2006. But as has often happened with publications in the International Wizard of Oz Club, the schedule didn't always fit the reality of when they actually came out, and several issues didn't come out the year on the cover. The next issue was scheduled to come out in 2007, but finally came out this past summer. So I gather the Club has just given up trying to keep up an annual schedule and will just number them form now on. And that may not be a bad thing.

So what's in the issue? Polychrome reveals some of her family's history to a rain sprite in "As the Rainbow Follows the Rain" by Jeff Rester, with illustrations by Melody Grandy (who I really wish would do more Oz illustrations, as she's terrific). "The Magic Door to Oz" by Paul Ritz and Johanna Buchner, illustrated by Kay Baumann, is the story of a magic door to Oz (of course) and the adventures that the narrator found there. And this story didn't involve just Oz, as characters from Mary Poppins, Dr. Doolittle, and Narnia appear. And the big epic story is "Bastinda and the Winged Lion" by Sergei Sukhinov, translated by Peter Blystone, and illustrated by Dennis Anfuso. This is a short story about the Russian version of Oz, Magic Land, and its early history. Bastinda, the Wicked Witch of the West, conquers the Winkies and tries to consolidate her hold on power, but is opposed by the last of the Griffins. Yes, there's an epic battle and the like. There were a few details that differed from the original Magic Land books by Aleksandr Volkov (as also translated by Blystone), but in general it fits in pretty easily, and adds a lot more to the background of Magic Land. It's all wrapped up in a cover by Kevenn T. Smith.

There were also some Oz references in the comics this week. First off, the cover of Super Friends #21 has Superman in an Ozzy makeover. No, we don't actually see him take on that role in the book, but anytime you deal with the Queen of Fables there are bound to be all kinds of storybook references. Sure enough, at one point, Batman actually says, "—but I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"

In the main DC Universe, Justice League of America 80-Page Giant #1 features a lot of my favorite heroine, Cyclone. She's a wind witch, but when we first met her a few years ago she was babbling on about Wicked, and she has a definite Oz motif about her costume. That I've mentioned before. But I keep forgetting to mention her pet monkey, who wears a little red hat and has wings that appear to allow him to fly. And the monkey's name? Frank!

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