I've picked up a few things recently, and thought I'd share:
- First, the comics order came. The only Oz comic was Fables #108 — and this time it really is an Oz comic, at least in part. There are a whole bunch of storylines going on right now, but for this overview, I'll skip the ones about Rose Red returning to the Farm to see what's been happening there (not much, yet), the death of the North Wind and the attempt to find a successor, and Mrs. Spratt's warrior training. In the Restored Pan-Ozian Empire (ruled over with an iron fist by Roquat the Red), Blufkin the No-Longer-Flying Monkey is trying to get Jack Pumpkinhead, the Sawhorse, and Bugle across the desert and back into Oz. The good news is that there are now roads across the desert. The bad news is that they are heavily guarded, and travelers need passes. It's going to take all of Blufkin's wiles to handle this!
- The Witches of Oz. Thanks to my latest bit of credit from Amazon.co.uk and owning a multi-format region-free DVD player, I snagged the DVD of the miniseries version of this story (I gather there will be an American movie release of this in the not-too-distant future). So far, I'm impressed with the background of this version of Oz, as I think the producers tapped into the rest of the books. Hey, when the first character mentioned is Bini Aru, you know someone's paying attention. I hope to get a chance to sit down and really watch this before too long.
- And finally, there's a story behind my latest acquisition. I found out about The Uplift of Lucifer from reading The Book Collector's Guide to L. Frank Baum and Oz by Paul Bienvenue (I talked about that book in a recent post). This was a privately printed publication of one of L. Frank Baum's skits for the Uplifters Club, which he belonged to when he was living in Hollywood. From what I gather, Manuel Weltman published only five hundred copies, and gave them to any Oz or Baum enthusiasts who were interested. I'd heard of the story, but hadn't realized it had been published until I read Paul's book. So I idly poked around on the web to see if any copies were available — and more importantly, affordable. Sure enough, they are both. But one copy in particular caught my attention. It wasn't the cheapest out there, but it was still not too bad, considering it was the personal copy of one of my heroes, Martin Gardner. Gardner was one of the sixteen founding members of the International Wizard of Oz Club, wrote many essays and introductions about Oz, wrote The Annotated Alice, and his mathematics column in Scientific American helped to popularize mathematics for everybody. This edition has a postcard from Weltman to Gardner, and Gardner's own annotations. I hemmed and hawed and talked to Laura, and she said, "I'm surprised you haven't bought it already." So I punched a bunch of buttons on my computer, and a few days later it arrived. So now I not only have a rare piece of Baumiana, it also has a history in Oz fandom. And yes, I'll actually read it soon, too.