Sunday, May 27, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

The first story in the 1993 issue of Oziana may be one of the longest that they've published so far. "The Merchant of Oz" by Chuck Sabatos, with illustrations by Chris Sterling, tells a little bit about what happened in Oz between Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz and The Road to Oz, explaining the origins of the Tin Woodman's palace and Jack Pumpkinhead's farm, and why Oz has no money anymore. We also see Margolotte elope, and the Wizard starts to learn real magic. As you can probably guess from the title, this is also an Ozian take on Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Jack Pumpkinhead needs a small loan to start his farm, so the Tin Woodman helps him procure a loan from one of the Emerald City's leading moneylenders, Boldkey (if you know Shakespeare's version of the story, you can guess where this character's name comes from). All the security Boldkey wants is a pound of Nick Chopper's tin. Jack and the Tin Woodman are unable to pay him back, so while Ozma is away at a conference in Ix, the Wizard must decide what to do when Boldkey pushes forward his claim. This is all very Ozzy and there are many callbacks to events and characters in the Baum books. And if you know how Shakespeare handled things, the resolution is going to look very familiar. But if not, you'll still enjoy it.

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