Sunday, December 03, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

The final story in the 1986 edition of Oziana is still waiting in the wings, so let's jump into 1987 with the first story, "The Woggle-Bug's New Clothes" by Frederick E. Otto, with illustrations by Bill Eubank. Stitchwell is a young man from the Gillikin city of Overhill goes into the tailoring profession, where through a series of unfortunate events he dies eight times. Luckily, he has one life left, and so goes to Blankenburg as an apprentice to Tora, the town's tailor. Meanwhile, a certain wogglebig ends up becoming highly magnified, but while fleeing a frightened mob, he stumbles into Blankenburg, where he meets Tora and Stitchwell. Hijinks ensue, the wogglebug saves Stitchwell's life, and in gratitude Stitchwell makes a suit for the wogglebug, who then helps Stitchwell to escape the repressive city. It's not much more than a stitching together of a throwaway line from The Marvelous Land of Oz and incidents and characters from The Lost King of Oz, but it is still a well-tailored piece. The characters are realized effectively, those created by Baum and Thompson are true to their original depictions, and it has the usual Otto sense of fun. Eubanks' illustrations are also a revelation, in that he uses much more of his own style and doesn't just copy Neill, which he was able to do well when called for. He could have done the same here, but instead his Wogglebug looks a lot more like a giant bug than a human with antennae.

No comments: