Saturday, January 04, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

The final story from Oziana 38 is "The Bashful Baker's Honeymoon" by Marcus Mébès, with illustrations by Alejandro Garcia (yeah, he was really busy in this issue). It's a follow-up to a story from a few issues earlier, as Maria and Derek, after successfully combining their individual passions into a new business, finally have time to go on a long-delayed honeymoon. And what a honeymoon it is, as it's a cruise on the Crescent Moon! Yes, Captain Samuel Salt, head chef King Ato, and Roger the Read Bird all make appearances. They are all supporting characters, however, as the focus is on Maria and Derek and their experiences. The big set piece is a stop at a new island being created by the mermaids and mermen (a different kind of underwater dweller than the Sea Fairies, although with some similarities, and the latter appear as well) from sea wreckage and some coral buds provided by the Red Jinn. Trot, Cap'n Bill, and Tandy are also on hand to help, and they come aboard as the project wraps up. The Crescent Moon also has an encounter with Prince Bobo on his trip around the Continent of Imagination, and he recounts a few of his adventures, including his recent disastrous meeting with Queen Zixi. It all ends up with the happy couple back in Crafton, ready to get on with their lives, but a surprise is just around the corner.

This is not a story with a lot of big events that will change the fate of the world. It's just a nice little slice-of-life story about a bunch of characters we've met before going out and doing things. But there's nothing wrong with that, and everything is handled very well here. I really like how seamlessly several stories are woven together, and characters meet each other and tell each other their tales. (I gather this is something Mébès, Jay Davis, and a few other authors have been working on together, and they are doing well with it.) The thought that goes into making the coral island are also interesting, and it's a great excuse for a bunch of characters to gather and actually do something—although it does culminate in a banquet on the main deck of the Crescent Moon. In case it isn't already clear, I enjoyed this story, too (but I will be the first to admit that I'm pretty easy to please).


Marcus said...

Thanks, Eric. I'm humbled and grateful for your kind words.

This story was actually a catalytic part (along with a suggestion and blog post from Nathan DeHoff about Captain Salt's claim of Oz territorialship on Nonestic Islands) that prompted the production of the Royal Explorers of Oz quadrology. In fact, "Honeymoon" became a chapter in book 1!

But more than anything else, I need to point out the gorgeous artwork of Alex Garcia. The man is an artistic genius. Even though this was some of his beginning work, and thus the characters are a bit stiff and pose-y in many ways, it's still excellent art! And he's gotten better over the years!

Thanks again! :)

Eric said...

I've already enthused about Garcia's artwork in this issue in earlier posts, but yeah, he does terrific work here, too.

Hey, what are the books of this quadrology (tetralogy?), so that I can add them to my books-to-get-when-I-have-some-money list?