Yup, time for another post to catch you up on all the Oz stuff I've been reading lately. It's mostly comics this time. I hope you don't mind.
- The Road to Oz #6 by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young. Yup, it's over. This one starts with the Scarecrow's arrival (abbreviated a bit from the book) to, well, the end of the book, of course. Dorothy gets the honor of greeting the guests, and yet again, Skottie Young doesn't disappoint. He gets the chance to illustrate such characters as John Dough, Chick the Cherub, Para Bruin, the Queen of Merryland and the Candy Man, Queen Zixi (looking very exotic), King Bud and Princess Fluff, and Santa Claus, of course. (I'll be interested to see if there's an afterword in the trade collection explaining who all these people are!) Naturally, he goes to town. Because of the shortened page run for this book, Ozma's birthday parade and the appearance of the Good Witch of the North are cut out. This does not bode well for The Emerald City of Oz, which will be limited to only five issues! Yikes!
- Fables #127 by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, and Andrew Pepoy. Snow white is still under a nasty spell, so of course the rest of the Fables are trying to save her. This includes all of the most powerful magic users in town. This includes Ozma! She hasn't appeared for a while. Sadly, she isn't able to help much.
- The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West ongoing #5 by Tom Hutchison, Alisson Borges, and Kate Finnegan. We now know who the guy is with the hatchet and the orange face mask: It's Jack Pumpkinhead, of course. He shows up at Glinda's mansion, demanding to have an audience with her or he'll start breaking off Tip's fingers. But he won't do that, as he and Tip are old accomplices; it was all a ruse so that he could see her quickly. It turns out he has some information for her — which we won't hear about until the next issue, of course! Also, we get some flashbacks to Jinjur's life, and how events helped to make her the woman she is today. I'm still enjoying this series, and I'm interested in seeing where it goes. And I'm already thinking about the possibility of cosplaying Jack some day.
- Not part of the regular comics order, but a comic nevertheless, is the large Treasury edition of The Forgotten Forest of Oz by Eric Shanower. This was reprinted a few years ago by IDW in a nice, large edition. When Hungry Tiger Books announced they were sold out, I figured I'd better jump on it, and get it elsewhere. Sadly, IDW was also sold out, but I did manage to find a single used copy online, and snagged it even though money's a bit tight right now. Yup, this is still as good a story as it was when it was first published back in the '80s, but the larger size and clearer images suits it well. I would hope IDW would go back and reprint the rest of Eric's Oz graphic novels in this format, but I have a sneaking suspicion that that won't happen.
- My one non-comic reading was my reread for this cycle, Was by Geoff Ryman. I was not happy when I first read this book, over twenty years ago. It seemed to take all the fun and joy out of Oz and made it dark and twisted, and it really, really tuned me off. However, in the ensuing years, I've heard so much praise heaped on this book that I wondered what was going on. Finally, the folks over at the SF Squeecast (two of whom I now know personally) started talking about it, and so I decided to give it another shot. Could twenty years of maturation give me new insights to this book? Well, I read it, and I don't think I can say that I hate this book any more. However, I'm still not sure that I can say I like it, either. The premise, of the connections from Dorothy growing up in Kansas, meeting L. Frank Baum who wrote a story about her, to Dorothy dying in a Kansas sanitarium, to one of the attendants there becoming the doctor of an AIDS patient in the '80s, is actually pretty good, and well put together. It all comes full-circle when Jonathan, the AIDS patient, decides to find just where Dorothy lived. The scenes of young Jonathan dreaming himself into the first television broadcast of The Wizard of Oz are still the best thing about the book, but now on this read I'm more confused by the inclusion of vignettes with Judy Garland during production of the movie, and her mother's death, as they are not really connected to much else in the book. I think I can better admire what Ryman was trying to do in this story, and it's a much better book if you don't think of it as an Oz book. But I still can't accept Uncle Henry, in any manifestation, being a child molester.