It has been a very, very long time since I have posted one of these. But I have been very, very busy, and haven't had as much chance as I'd like to read. So I'm going to be playing a lot of catch-up here as I go through my latest round of Oz reading.
- And I am embarrassed to say that the first thing I read was the program book for OzCon International—last year's OzCon International! So I dove right in to see what I had done nearly a year earlier! There was an Ozzy guide to Oz sites in southern California; male emotional intelligence and the Tin Woodman; Woot the Wanderer; the bromance between the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman; thoughts on The Tin Woodman of Oz (our theme book for that weekend); a special copy of The Making of The Wizard of Oz (it's author, Aljean Harmetz, was supposed to be a guest last year, but had to cancel last minute; fortunately, she made it this year); an appreciation of the Oz books of Rachel Cosgrove Payes; an examination of the science fiction Rachel wrote under the pseudonym E. L. Arch, plus her one other pseudonymous book, by "Joanne Kaye"; a checklist (at last!) of all of Payes' published works; a short story by J. L. Bell, "Woot Meets the Kalidahs"; another short story, "The Twin Tin Woodmen of Oz" by Robert R. Pattrick; and a gallery of illustrations based on The Tin Woodman of Oz and other books celebrating anniversaries last year.
- Next up is a three-fer, because it's the first three issues of Zenescope's latest comic book trip to Oz, Oz: Heart of Magic. Dorothy has been body-swapped into a criminal, so she and Toto are on the run as someone is using her power as Queen of Oz to fulfill her own agenda, which seems to involve siphoning off all of Oz's magic! Of course, since our interloper looks like Dorothy, few question her. I've criticized Zenescope in the past for not delving into any of the Oz books at all, but this time we see a lot of characters whose names, at least, come from the books. But this being Zenescope, who have a very adult take on all of the old fairy tales they adapt to comics, that's about where the resemblance ends. Two more issues to go, and I will do my very best to report on them in more detail, and in a more timely manner, once I read them.
- The Puffin Graphics Plus edition of The Wizard of Oz. This is a clever way of introducing readers to classic literature, as it is both the 2005 graphic novel adaptation by Michael Cavallaro (which I already have) with the original text of the novel in one volume. I reread the graphic novel portion again and enjoyed it a lot. So far, Puffin has only done this with Oz and Black Beauty, but I hope there are plans for more.
- My Famous Forty reread continued with The Road to Oz. Despite the lean plot and frothy nature of this story, I've always enjoyed Road, partly for John R. Neill's stunning artwork, partly for the great new characters it introduces (I still have fond memories of Polychrome's introduction), and partly because it was one of the few Oz books my father read to me when I was a kid, before I really got into Oz in third grade and it became such a big part of my life. Unlike my very beat up first edition, this facsimile reprint is on bright, vibrant colored paper, and it was a lot of fun to read it again. Since I had it next to Road on my bookshelf, I also read A Short, Short Oz Story, a limited edition reprint from a long time ago of the dedication L. Frank Baum wrote in the copy of the book he gave to his first grandchild, Joslyn Stanton "Tik-Tok" Baum, to whom the book is dedicated. The title does not lie, as it only takes up a blank page in the book (in Baum's handwriting), telling the story of how Joslyn came to be blessed by various fairies and Glinda as the stork carried him to Earth before the Shaggy Man pressed the Love Magnet to him, resulting in a prosperous, beloved, and joyful baby.
- And finally, for now, Fables, Volume 12: The Dark Ages picks up after the end of the war against The Adversary, as everyone in both the Homelands and Fabletown figure out what happens next. Pinocchio shows Gepetto around Fabletown, but they are not greeted with open arms and kind words. Rose Red and Sinbad start a relationship and eventually get married. Boy Blue is in the hospital, where he eventually loses his right arm. Even then, that doesn't improve his condition, and he eventually succumbs to his injuries. Mercenaries release Mr. Dark from a chest. And Mowgli returns to the jungle on a mission of his own. Needless to say, a lot happens! For Oz fans, Bufkin makes a few appearances, but the big news is that we see Frau Totenkinder's coven of witches, including a young blonde girl who will later be revealed to be Ozma!