Monday, March 03, 2014

The Latest Oz Reading

Did you think that, just because I'd finished the last book of Oz short stories, that I was done reading Oz short stories? Not even close! Yesterday, I finally started the second new anthology in my collection, Oz Reimagined, edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen. I can tell already that this is going to be a lot of fun, because the premise is that the original Oz books of L. Frank Baum are what's being reimagined here. No movies, no Wicked (even with an introduction by Gregory Maguire), just pure Baum, but in new ways. (I just hope they don't go too far off the model, if you know what I mean.) And the first story starts at the beginning, with "The Great Zeppelin Heist of Oz" by Rae Carson and C. C. Finlay. This is an alternate version of what the Wizard did after arriving in Oz, using his skills as a balloonist to gather intelligence on the Wicked Witch of the West. He then approaches her with an interesting bargain. This is definitely a mirror universe kind of story, as Dorothy will find a very different Oz when she arrives (but I doubt we'll ever see that story, sad to say). I do have a couple of gripes, in that Scraps is in it (long before she was ever created in the "real" Oz), and in a different form, and the Emerald City is already there when the Wizard arrives. (This is, admittedly, also one of my biggest gripes with Oz the Great and Powerful, which I really need to review some time soon!) But the character of the Wizard is painted very well, in an original way that is still very much in character. If W. C. Fields had played the Wizard in The Movie, I could see him originating with this version. The collection as a whole is off to a good start, but there are still fourteen to go.

I also found a few more Oz comics in our order:

  • Fables #137. (Good grief, have I really been collecting this one for over three years now?) Rose Red's attempt to revive Camelot are continuing, but the important arc for us is the twist in the fate of teh Big Bad Wolf. Yes, that means Ozma turns up again, since she's been leading the magic users who are attempting to revive him. It's not much, but after no Oz at all for the last few issues, it's good to see her again.
  • They haven't even finished the original miniseries yet, but Zenescope has put out the first issue of Tales from Oz, which looks like a series of prequel one-shots. This one is about the Tin Man and how he got that way. If the writers of this ever read Baum's version of the origin of the Tin Woodman, they've chosen to ignore most of it, as this is a new take. True, he's named Nick (but his last name isn't Chopper), and he falls in love with a pretty young woman, but that's about where the similarities end. She suffers and accident, and so he takes her to the Wicked Witch of the West for help. The witch saves her, but then makes her an apprentice witch. Years pass, and she still loves Nick, but the Wicked Witch doesn't want her to leave her studies. Needless to say, complications ensue. I won't say any more, to give you something to look forward to if you're inclined to read this. As usual in Zenescope's Oz, the women wear a lot less clothing than they would just about anywhere else.

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