Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Latest Oz Reading

Well, I've got through some of my more mundane reading, and am now back in the Oz mode. Plus, the comics order came, so I have a lot of stuff to cover. So, here we go:

  • First up was the convention program for this year's Winkie Convention. I know the convention planners want us to carry it around with us and consult it during the convention, but frankly, I'm doing so much during the convention that I don't have the time! Besides, it's a lot of fun to savor it. There were articles about our guests, Caren Marsh-Doll and Susan Morse, contemporary reviews of the 1964 television special Return to Oz (for which Morse provided the singing voice of Dorothy), Sky Island, Kabumpo in Oz, The Purple Prince of Oz (the books whose anniversaries we celebrated this year), and Ruth Plumly Thompson. It also included a story about how the paths of the Red Jinn and Buton-Bright may have crossed in an unexpected manner, Ruth Plumly Thompson's stories about Pumperdink before she incorporated it into Oz, and Robert Baum's "Dinner at the Del", about his great-grandparents' Frank and Maud having an encounter at the Hotel del Coronado that may have had far-reaching influences on Baum's writing. Peter Hanff also writes an extensive history of the Winkie Convention.
  • Also given out as a freebie to Winkie Convention attendees was L. Frank Baum's "Rainbow Chorus", a small pamphlet of some unpublished lyrics from a song in the play that would eventually become The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. This was the latest offering from Michael O. Riley's The Pamami Press, of very limited hand-pressed editions.
  • For once, I was able to buy something in the Winkie Convention auction this year, and knock another item off my bucket list. So now I have Reilly and Lee's 1961 adaptation of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, illustrated by Dick Martin, thus completing the set. Like all of these adaptations, something got cut, but I'm surprised at what it was. I thought for sure that the Braided Man or the Dragonettes would be cut, but no, they were there (although the Braided Man incident took only a little over a page). No, the excised material was just about everything in the Emerald City — ironic, considering the name of the book! Ozma wishes them there, there's a parade, and then Dorothy, Zeb, Jim, and Eureka go home (altogether this time, since Uncle Henry is still in California in this adaptation). No race between Jim and the Sawhorse (although they do meet), no trial for Eureka, just a quick stop and then it's done. Too bad this series didn't continue, but then I'd still have to get more of them then, wouldn't I?
  • The first item out of the comics order I read this time around was the All-Action Classics version of The Wizard of Oz, adapted into a graphic novel by Ben Caldwell. Caldwell stays pretty faithful to the book, although the trip to Glinda's is skipped over. But he also gives the story a saucy sense of humor that was a lot of fun to read. That, coupled with his art style, made me think of Tex Avery. My favorite running gag was the Ozians continually assuming that Toto was a short hairy human. This is a fun, colorful adaptation that's faithful but not serious, and I think a lot of people would get a kick out of it.
  • Also in the comics order was Fables #120. Goodness gracious, has this book been around for ten years already? Anyway, kids in toyland, yada yada, let's get to Oz! In chapter seven of "A Revolution in Oz", Roquat's temper grounds the flying monkeys. This does not go over well! (I've got to wonder how this will come out in the graphic novel reprints. Will the Oz storyline get its own book? Or will there not be enough material, and it has to share with some other story? Ah, we'll find out soon enough.)
  • Not part of the comics order, but something else I picked up at Winkies was Skyscrapers of Oz by Yoshino Somei and Row Takakura. As you can guess, this is manga. Fortunately, since I can't read Japanese, this is the English translation of a shot series originally titled Address Oz. This one contains a parental advisory. Pay attention to that! It's a subgenre of manga that I was not already familiar with, yaoi, involving idealized gay men. Oooooooookay, definitely not my thing, but this was at least pretty tame (although there is one scene that comes close to showing the kitchen sink, if you know what I mean). Miyuki and Yoichi are partners who call themselves "handymen", in that they will do anything a client needs them to do, from walking dogs to covert surveillance. They rescue Yu on their first mission, only to then have Yu be the target in their second one. Needless to say, complications ensue! I seem to recall Laura and I deciding not to buy it when it first came out, just because there didn't seem to be a lot of Oz in it, which is true, but there is a brief discussion of The Wizard of Oz and why they call themselves what they do as a result. It was actually an interesting little story with some fun twists, but not something I would have ever sought out if it didn't have an Oz connection. Considering the price I paid for this (nothing), I think I came out a little ahead.
  • Finally, for now, is another comic that wasn't part of our comics order. But when I heard that the third issue of Ozopolis was out, I knew I'd get it. When I then discovered that it also had a limited edition second cover, I went ahead and got them both. (I don't normally buy multiple covers of a comic, as I think it's a gimmick and totally unnecessary. But with Oz comics, I cave!) Jack's head has fallen down a ravine while he was out searching for the Magic Belt, and now he's a king! Also, it seems someone has gotten her hands on the silver shoes (or something like them), and is using them to try to take over Oz. So what's her surprising connection to Glinda? This was another winner, and I heartily recommend the entire series to any Oz fan, particularly if you're a hardcore dyed-in-the-wool lover of the books, as they are clearly based on them, although going in surprising directions. But what's that flash on the last page saying, "To be concluded"??? No, say it isn't so!
There will be more later, but maybe not as quickly as I've been able to do in the past, as my new job is taking up a lot of my time — in a good way, however!


Nathan said...

According to Wikipedia, issues 114-121 of "Fables" are due to be released in a trade paperback next year. I haven't read these issues, but I get the impression that they include both Oz and non-Oz material.

Nathan said...

According to Wikipedia, a trade paperback of Fables issues 114-121 is due to be released next year. I haven't read these issues, but I think it includes both Oz and non-Oz material.

As for Button-Bright and the Red Jinn, does their connection have anything to do with the Magic Umbrella?

williaum drew said...

Thanks for the heads up never knew that stuff any existed!burun estetigi