Sunday, April 17, 2016

This Week's Oz Short Stories

No, that's not a typo, I have two to report on. This is to make up for my not writing a report last week. (I did read one, but I was otherwise so busy at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle that I didn't get a chance to tell you all about it.) Both are from the second issue of Oziana, from 1972:

  • The first story was "It's Tuesday, This Must Be Oz" by Mary Reynolds, with illustrations by Tony Moses. A New York subway car with five very different passengers on it ends up being diverted to Oz, so the passengers must all find their way to the Emerald City to get back to New York. A lot is made in this story about how these are not the typical Americans who get to Oz, in that they're not children. The hippies Bubba and Porsche have to deal with Pigots, who don't take kindly to strangers. The fact that Bubba may be the first recorded African-American to visit Oz doesn't help! Mr. and Mrs. Withers, who are on the subway because their Rolls broke down, meet the Tin Woodman, whom Mr. Withers mistakes for the tin castle's doorman! And Dora Fuson, frustrated with her dead-end job in the typing pool, ends up having an adventure with the dashing Prince Roy. They all eventually get to the Emerald City — or at least rescued by Ozma — and, none of them feeling very comfortable in Oz, are sent home. But Oz has a way of staying with you! I liked how much characterization and story Reynolds managed to cram into only fourteen pages, and how the story raised some issues about full-fledged adults, with already established lives and habits, would take to visiting Oz. And Bubba and Porsche definitely make this story an artifact of its times, as I doubt they would have worked so well in another era.
  • This weekend's story was "Scraps and the Kruel Kalidah" by Brian Baker, illustrated by Damon Ralph. This is a very short tale, taking up less than two pages, but it is a satisfying little read. Scraps encounters a rogue Kalidah who has trapped a little boy up in a tree and wants to eat the boy. Scraps offers to find something else for the Kalidah to eat. The people of the next village she comes to are only too happy to help, but it doesn't quite work out so well for the Kalidah!
Thankfully, I have few weekends away from home planned for the next few months, so I doubt I will have another two-fer like this anytime soon.

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