Sunday, February 26, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

The 1976 issue of Oziana kicks off with "How the Wizard Came to Oz, and What He Did There", written and illustrated by Donald Abbott. Just in case you think that sounds familiar, you're right, because fifteen years later, he expanded it into a book. But this short story version works, too. It's pretty straightforward, and doesn't tell us a lot we didn't already know from the Oz books, but there are some nice filling-in of the gaps. Ever wonder how the Wicked Witch of the West acquired the Golden Cap? That's in here. Ever wonder just why Oscar Zoroaster Diggs was hailed as a wizard? It's in here (and handled much better than the whole prophecy schtick in Oz the Great and Powerful). A few events fly by pretty quickly, making me think Abbott may have been thinking of this as a novel-length story from the start. And as charming as his pictures are, there was a definite improvement and refinement in his technique in the ensuing years before the book. There was an unfortunate production error that reversed a couple of the pages, but once I figured it out I had no problems. (This is not the last time something like this would happen to Oziana, but fortunately they are few and far between.)

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