Monday, July 25, 2011

The latest Oz reading

Hi, everybody. Well, guess what? I have a major update of my Oz reading to tell you about, even though it's not one of my regular Oz reading cycles right now. But the perfect storm of a comics order arriving while we were at the Winkie Convention means a lot of little things all popped up at once, and I've been trying to get through them as quick as possible in the days since our return. Some of these are very short, and so will my report on them. So, let's jump in!

  • First off, I managed to snag the first five issues of the comic book miniseries Cinderella: Fables are Forever. This is a Fables spinoff, and thankfully, we were able to add the sixth and final issue to our regular comics order, so that should come soon. I picked this up because I knew who else was in it. Cinderella is Fabletown's greatest spy, you see, and she often heads out to missions around the world to see what fables in other countries are up to. Back in the '80s, undercover behind the Iron Curtain, she had a run in with Dorothy, who has her own agenda. Well, now their paths have crossed again, and Dorothy is not happy. Bungle and some spoon soldiers from Utensia also show up in this one.
  • The Marvelous Land of Oz collection from Marvel comics. Yes, I collected and read the single issues, but of course I was also going to get the hardback collection. Extras include a new introduction by Eric Shanower, a covers gallery, and some sketches.
  • A bunch of stuff that was in the goodies bag for Winkies! There was a program for the Toronto Civic Light-Opera Company's 2010 production of their stage version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (very appropriate, since Joe Cascone and David Haines of the company were there entertaining us over the weekend — gee, maybe I should have gotten this autographed!), and programs for the 2010 and 2011 Oz-Stravaganza celebrations in Chittenango, New York. In case you don't already know, Oz-Stravaganza is Baum's home town's annual celebration of their favoite native son. I'd love to make it out there some year, and these program books give a taste of what happens there.
  • Blow, Winds, Blow! by L. Frank Baum. This is a slim little souvenir from the convention, a poem Baum wrote back in his Dakota prairie days editing the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer. It's also the first Pamami Press production Michael O. Riley has produced in some time.
  • The 2011 Winkie Convention Program Book! This has become a tradition now, and this one is the biggest of them all (so far). Besides the convention schedule, information about Asilomar, and interviews with the guests, it has all kinds of writings about the convention themes, which means lots about The Sea Fairies, Pirates in Oz, and related topics. There's also an appropriate story by Ruth Plumly Thompson, and pirate art by W. W. Denslow and John R. Neill.
  • The Big Little Times for November/December 1991, a journal of the Big Little Book Collector's Club of America. Someone slipped this into the swap meet, and I picked it up. With a big old picture of The Laughing Dragon of Oz on the cover, and a feature article on The Laughing Dragon of Oz, I couldn't resist.
  • Dinosaurs Across California by Phil Yeh. I gather that this comic is part of an educational series about the various states, and this one is packed with all kinds of information about California — including a mention of Eric Shanower (who I got this from in the swap meet) and an actual visit with L. Frank Baum.
  • Thanks to Kirk Kushin being there, I finally got my mitts on not only a copy of Ozopolis #1, but also the just-then-making-its-debit issue #2. This is a great Oz comic, and unlike some comics, Kushin has a very traditional approach to Oz. All of the characters were written just right. Gonzalo Martinez has a little different take on some of the characters in his art, but it still worked for me. You bet I'll do my best to get more issues when they come out!
  • The Oz Club is trying to fill some of the gaps in their publications, so of course I had to pick up the double flip issue of Oziana, which was for both 2009 and 2010. Good thing, too, as I gather the entire run was at the convention — and it sold out! One half was devoted to humorous takes and parodies (including a visit from some kid named Barry Porter), while the other is devoted to stories about the difficulties of governing a fairyland. As always, it was a great read, and I just wish more people knew about this magazine, and that the Club could nurture and fuel the audience for it.
  • In our regular comics order, Fables #106 appeared. No major Oz in this one, just Ozma retiring as a superheroine.
  • And finally, Laura managed to snag a copy of the fifth and final issue of The Royal Historian of Oz. It was easy, because the only way SLG is distributing this one is electronically. Why they don't put it out on paper for those of us who already have the first four issues that way I don't understand, but it's their company. I finally figured out how to read it on my computer, and at least the whole thing comes to a satisfying and Ozzy, if somewhat surprising, conclusion. Oh, yeah, and that officious Official Oz Society has been defanged now as well, but I won't tell you how so that you can read about it in the forthcoming collected graphic novel.

That should do it for a while — again — but I have some interesting developments coming up in my Oz reading that may lead to filling in some gaps in Ozian scholarship!

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