Monday, May 20, 2019

This week's Oz Short Story

The third tale in the 2001 edition of Oziana is "The Great Jinjin" by Melody Grandy, in which ZimGreenleaf, the Flying Sorcerer of Oz, is summoned before the title character. (And if you're not already familiar with Zim, you really need to be. You can find out more about him here, here, and here.) Zim is naturally reluctant, because he know just what Tititi-Hoochoo is capable of, and fears that the Private Citizen may take away Zim's powers, or worse. But Kaliko eventually convinces Zim to go. All the Jinjin wants to do is meet Zim and find out more about him and his motivations, but in the course of the interview it turns out that the Jinjin has a problem that Zim offers to fix. It takes a lot of work, but in the end Zim cures the Great Jinjin and gives him a whole new perspective on life.

Zim Greenleaf may be one of the best Oz characters ever created, and Grandy uses him very well to deal with all kinds of issues in the Oz books, always to the betterment of the characters involved. This is a beautiful, heartfelt story, with a lot of compassion and empathy for everyone. I am so glad my current spate of Oz reading includes the Seven Blue Mountains trilogy.

Today's Continuing Oz Comic

Heart of the City is back to our Oz story, but she's not ready to share it with the public just yet. Which probably means more to come, at least this week!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Today's Continuing Oz Comic

In today's Heart of the City, things are starting to look grim for Leexa, princess of the Winged Monkeys—until Heart gets called away on other business. I suspect we'll pick this up again Monday.

And in a bonus probably not Oz comic, there's a pig flying around in Bliss. He looks enough like Pigasus that I'm going to count it as Ozzy anyway.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Today's Continuing Oz Comic

The saga of Leexa the Ambitious Flying Monkey Princess continues in today's edition of Heart of the City.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Today's Non-Continuing Oz Comic

While Heart's telling her story, today Harley also had a close encounter of the Ozzy kind.

Today's Continuing Oz Comic

In today's edition of Heart of the City, Leexa the Winged Monkey's story takes a probably inevitable twist!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Today's Continuing Oz Comic

In today's edition of Heart of the City, Heart continues her saga of Leexa, the ambitious princess of the winged monkeys.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

In recent editions of Heart of the City, Heart and Dean have embarked on a bet to write a book. Well, Heart has now started on hers, and it looks like this is going to give me material to write about on this blog for a little while to come! I'm curious to see where this story goes!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

This Week's Oz Political Cartoons

Two cartoonists both used similar Oz imagery to comment on the revelations of Donald Trump's earlier tax returns. John Darkow was first, on Thursday, followed by Jeff Darcy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I suspect, as Congress investigates further, we'll see a lot more cartoons in this vein.

Friday, May 10, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

The 2001 edition of Oziana was the product of several crises. The journal had not been selling well, it had had few original illusrations for some time, there were those in the Oz Club who wanted to discontinue it—and then editor Robin Olderman had a computer crash, losing everything he had planned for the issue! So the Club approached Joel Harris, then head of Special Publications, about temporarily taking over, and putting out both a 2001 and 2002 issue in time for the Club's summer conventions in 2002. (Yes, the 2001 issue came out a year late.) He wrote to a few people, asking for help, and they came through like nobody's business. It proved to be a new lease on life for Oziana, as these two issues were larger than it had been for a long time, and both issues even had color covers for the first time.

There is a good reason I am skipping the first story in this issue, which I'll tell you about when the time comes. I will instead start with the second story, "The Many Trees" by Kieran F. Miller, with illustrations by Marcus Mébès. Visiting her friend Pethri the Tree Fairy in the Forest of Burzee, Polychrome learns about an enchanted tree that Pethri is not allowed to care for. It is a human who has been punished for crimes against the forest. This troubles Polly, so the next time she is in the Emerald City she brings the matter to Ozma's attention. Ozma, too, is disturbed by some of the ethical questions this enchantment raises, so she and Polly meet with Queen Zurline and Pethri in Burzee, where they learn that many years ago, a woodcutter tried to chop down an oak. While this violated the Law of the Forest, the oak is now healed, and the woodman's brother turns out to have been caring for the enchanted tree all this time. Zurline now sees that her punishment may have gone too far, and had unforeseen consequences for others. She disenchants the woodcutter, and he and his brother are happily reunited. Polychrome is disappointed, however, that she didn't have a bigger adventure.

It's a charming story, even if it doesn't have a lot of action. Zurline, last seen in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, has some terrific character growth, and Pethri is a fun new character whom it would be great to see having an adventure of her own.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

In response to the question in today's edition of Nest Heads, Boris Karloff comes to mind…

Sunday, May 05, 2019

This Week's Oz Poems

There are no more short stories to report on from the 2000 edition of Oziana, but there are two poems!

  • The first, a collaboration between Percy Vere and Robin Olderman, is "Oz, the First 100 Years", celebrating just that. Of course, since Percy Vere is the forgetful poet from Grampa in Oz, there are a few blanks that the reader needs to fill in.
  • The second is an epic, "The Marvelous Menagerie: A Centennial Oz Story in 100 Haikus" by Atticus Gannaway. It tells the tale of Toto and Pigasus making a brief visit to the Great Outside World—to the Wizard of Oz centennial convention! (I was there, I can attest that every word is true!) It's really fun when Gannaway starts sneaking in rhymes, to make things even more poetically convoluted.
Next week, we officially enter the twenty-first century with the 2001 issue!

Today's Oz Comics

We have another two-fer today:

  • Today in The Argyle Sweater, witches deal with maintenance around the house. (And can I just say that the name given to that one witch is highly appropriate, since it means something Ozzy in Spanish.)
  • And in political cartoons, Tom Toles has another take on an old trope, but he put a nice twist on it.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

The second and final story in the 2000 edition of Oziana is "Ozma Fights the Sniffles" by J. L. Bell. When Button-Bright catches a cold, it's the first time Ozma has ever been faced with anyone catching a disease. Everything that Dorothy, the Shaggy Man, and others from the Great Outside World tell Ozma about the sniffles or other diseases just alarms her more and more, and she eventually quarantines Button-Bright. He doesn't take well to that and is quickly bored, but Ozma makes sure he stays in bed until the Wizard can return and cure him. Finally, the Wizard comes back and uses some of his old tricks from Omaha to "cure" Button-bright and, more importantly, put Ozma at ease.

This was a fun one, with Ozma's increasing alarm and stricter measures giving her a rare comic turn. Thankfully, all worked out well in the end!

A couple more items from the 2000 issue next week, and then Oziana will enter the twenty-first century!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Yesterday's Oz Political Comics

A two-fer yesterday:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Yesterday's Oz Comic

I will be even more brief than usual in regards to yesterday's edition of Macanudo: Horror movies for witches!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

The first story from the 2000 issue of Oziana, celebrating Oz's first century, was "The Invisible Fairy of Oz" by Frederick E. Otto. Fred was one of the greatest Oz storytellers of all time, having previously made many contributions to Oziana, as well as the research tables at all three of the big Oz conventions of the twentieth century. He had passed on by this time, but Oziana still had a few of his unpublished stories, including this one. It is definitely a love letter to Thompson's Oz, as events and characters from several of her books are recalled, notably Faleero, Kabumpo, and Pumperdink from Kabumpo in Oz, and Pastoria, Humpy, Pajuka, and Snip from The Lost King of Oz. The invisibility cloak from The Gnome King of Oz also makes an appearance. And it is said cloak that starts things off, as Jellia Jamb discovers it and decides to get it repaired (if you know The Gnome King of Oz, you know why!) After being rebuffed by Jenny Jump (so even the Neill books get into this), she takes it to Pastoria's tailor shop. Absentmindedly, he takes the cloak out for a test run, and, while invisible, stumbles across the now-disenchanted Faleero, plotting to do something unpleasant in Pumperdink and taking it over at last. But he is soon discovered, and immobilized and put in a storeroom. Pastoria has no way of warning anyone—until he remembers his flying ears! While the ears go off in search of Ozma, in Pumperdink Faleero uses the invisibility cloak to kidnap Princess Pajonia and hold her for ransom until Pompus turns rule of Pumperdink over to her. He reluctantly agrees, and is about to abdicate, when Ozma and a rescue party arrive in the nick of time. Faleero is captured, forced to drink water from the Fountain of Oblivion, and exiled to the Forest of Burzee, where they hope she will become a proper, good fairy.

Fred really knew Oz, and everyone is absolutely spot on and true to their characters. And it was a lot of fun seeing characters meet up who hadn't in the books. It all feels a little light and frothy, yet at the same time the stakes are big, much like the best of Thompson's work. I really enjoyed this one.

Today's Oz Comic

Music and Medicine. Who knew they could go together? Well, today in Frank and Ernest we see the connection, and it turns out there's even a not-so-surprising link to Oz.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Today's Oz Comics

We got a whole mess of them today!

  • First, from last week (before yesterday's release of the redacted version of the Mueller report), Michael P. Ramirez of the Las Vegas Review Journal, has a few things to say about the FBI.
  • Next, it's baseball season at last, and Six Chix has a timely joke about it. (If my research is correct, this particular comic is by Maritsa Patrinos. Six Chix, you see, is a collective, with each day's cartoon done by one of the six, and they all rotate through Sundays.)
  • And finally, over in Cow Town, the third panel may or may not be a reference to Margaret Hamilton's final scene in The Movie. I'm playing it safe, saying it is, and including it here.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

The 1999 edition of Oziana was not completely taken up by "Toto's Tale", it also included a very brief retelling of "How Oz Became a Fairyland" by Marin Elizabeth Xiques. A lot of the details will be known to those who have read many of the books, but this does reconcile the sticky question of how Ozma can be both a member of Queen Lurlinés fairy band and the daughter of the King of Oz. Yes, it makes sense.

There are also a few other parts to this issue:

  • The cover challenges the reader to name the artist who drew each portrait of Toto, and from which books.
  • There is a "Toto Quizlet", three questions about Dorothy's canine friend.
  • The anonymous poem "Canis Heroicus" is a first-person account of Toto's role in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, where he makes the case that he is the hero of the book. And he is very convincing!
So, yes, this is a nearly all-Toto issue. This was a time when Oziana had a particularly difficult time finding artists, so much of the art is reprinted from the book, especially Frank Kramer's work from The Magical Mimics in Oz. (Since that was a particularly Toto heavy book, that makes sense.)

Next week, I delve into the issue from 2000, celebrating the Oz Centennial.