Wednesday, July 08, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

The second story in the 2013 issue of Oziana is "The Harvest Ball" by Gina Wickwar, with illustrations by Luciano Vecchio and Marcus Mébès. (The front cover of this issue is an illustration from this story, but rendered in gorgeous colors.) It's pretty much what the title says, the story of a harvest ball hosted by the Scarecrow one Halloween. As a joke, however, Jack Pumpkinhead decides to set the corn maze up so that nobody can get out! The only problem is, all the magic workers who can help him do this are all out of the country. He leaves a message about it with Tomzia, one of Glinda's servants who has ambitions to become a magic worker, too, and, well, one thing leads to another and Tomzia tries to enchant the maze herself! The harvest ball itself is a huge success, until everyone starts heading into the corn maze with extremely unexpected results. Complicating matters is Glinda heading straight to the ball when she gets back into the country, so she never gets to her castle to get the message (and maybe find out what is going to happen). Fortunately, she and the Wizard are finally able to straighten things out, and ultimately no harm is done, but Tomzia may have some problems when she gets back to work.

This is not a story where a lot is at stake, even when it turns out that the spell (that very few people know about in the first place) has gone wrong. But that just allows the characters to shine. Tomzia is especially well drawn, but Wickwar does terrific work with all the standard celebrities, and manages to bring a lot of obscure, one-off characters to the party at the end, which is nice to see.

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