Wednesday, March 18, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

The next story in the 2011 issue of Oziana is "Jenny Everywhere in Oz" by Kass Stone, with illustrations by Alejandro Garcia. This is a fun one, since Jenny Everywhere is a public domain character, created specifically so that anyone can use her in any story. She appears primarily in web comics and online stories, and I gather this is one of her rare appearances in print. Two things that make Jenny special is that there are many different versions of her (there would have to be, since so many people have written about her, and they're not all identical), and she is in touch with the memories and perceptions of all of her other selves. The other is that she can shift between dimensions, visiting various worlds at will. She starts off this story briefly visiting a couple of familiar-looking worlds before shifting to one she is excited to learn is Oz. She decides she can spend some time there, but before too long she runs afoul of Lady Mogo, the former apprentice to the Wicked Witch of the East. Mogo's plans for revenge against Dorothy are coming to fruition, and she doesn't want Jenny to spoil things. Being the kickin' action heroine that she is, however, Jenny escapes and meets up with Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse (whom she fangirls over), who take her to see Glinda. Sure enough, Glinda is able to easily take care of Mogo—and then things get weird! It turns out Jenny Everywhere is not the only character in the story in touch with her parallel-universe counterparts! There is a Legion of Glindas that meet, when needed, to deal with interdimensional issues between different versions of Oz. And some of those Glindas are very different, in that they are not all humanoid, or even organic. Not all of them are even Glinda, although they serve that function in their respective Ozes. (Ozzes? Hmm.) One of those non-Glinda members has an elegant, Ozzy offer for Mogo, who accepts, and so she is no longer a danger to the main Oz (whichever one that is.) Jenny then goes on to spend a happy month in Oz before shifting out of there and into another famed literary land.

Well that was a trip! Jenny's a great character, and by her very nature she can probably fit into just about any story you'd care to write. But it's the Legion of Glindas that raises all kinds of fascinating questions. Between this and Edward Einhorn's novel Paradox in Oz, anyone can explain away any inconsistencies in any version of Oz. Garcia's two-page spread of many of the Legion members is fascinating, and I would love to see a version in color. And Mogo is a credible threat to Oz, but she is handled in such an Ozzy way that she ends up happy in the end.

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