Saturday, March 10, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

The 1990 issue of Oziana uses a theme that was originally intended for the previous issue before it morphed into a celebration of Oz at the movies for the fiftieth anniversary of The Movie. This issue is an all-professionals issue, with every contributor being a noted professional writer or artist. And you don't get any more professional in Oz circles than with a Royal Historian, because "Chapter Three" is by none other than Eloise Jarvis McGraw! It's an excerpt from a story that McGraw never finished (no, this did not become part of The Rundelstone of Oz). Dick Martin was originally scheduled to illustrate it, reuniting the team behind both Merry Go Round in Oz and The Forbidden Fountain of Oz, but Martin died before he could draw anything, so Bill Eubank took on the duties. I wasn't always a fan of Eubank's work, as he tended to draw things too similarly to the original illustrations, but here he does a nice job, notably with Flittermouse. Because this is very much a story about Flittermouse, from Merry Go Round in Oz. He and Fess were planning to go on a trip to the Emerald City to see Robin and Merry, but Fess has to stay behind at the last minute. He encourages Flitter to go on without him, and at first things seem to go well, despite Flitter's fear of taking such a long trip on his own. But a bird traps him and carries him away. Flitter escapes, only to not know where he is, and in the process of figuring things out he's trapped by a butterfly collector! (This is just not Flitter's day!) HE manages to escape again, but the collector's cat decides Flitter looks like a tasty morsel. All looks bad—until the timely appearance of the Hungry Tiger causes the cat to run away! And that's where this chapter ends.

I know Eloise had ideas for other Oz stories, but was never able to do anything with them all before her death in 2000. This excerpt shows she was still thinking (it mentions the kingdom of Bzzzantium, which was apparently encountered in chapters one and two). It would be great if someone could go through her papers (they're at the University of Oregon), find any other parts of this book, and publish what there is, if that's possible.

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