Sunday, July 26, 2020

This Week's Oz Short Story

The next story from the 2013 issue of Oziana is "The Love-Bug of Oz", written and illustrated by Ed McCray. The Nome King raids the Wicked Witch of the West's castle, and while it's been well picked over, he does find a love bug, which causes anyone it stings to instantly fall in love with the first person of the opposite the victim sees. Well, thinks the nome, I can at least use this as a distraction to slip in and get my Magic Belt. So he lets it loose during a croquet match, and before you know it, the Wizard and Prof. Wogglebug are arguing over who loves Glinda! This results in a battle of wits between them, while Glinda tries to calm them both down (assisted by the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman) and Ozma and Dorothy investigate. Of course, all gets successfully resolved, but not before many hijinks ensue. And the Nome King gets his comeuppance in the end, too.

Let's just say this is the Ozian equivalent to a Jeeves and Wooster farce, with both the Wizard and the Wogglebug in the role of Bertie Wooster. McCray is clearly having fun with this, and he milks the premise for all the absurdity he can. Yet it's also very true to the characters and their interactions, including how everyone feels about the Wogglebug. And in this version of Oz, at least, we know that some adventures outside of the Famous Forty actually happened, as the Wogglebug mentions his adventures in America, and that there was even a play produced about them. In fact, one aspect of these adventures actually leads to the resolution of the story!

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