The 2009 and 2010 issues of Oziana were printed in a single volume, but they each have their own themes. The 2009 part is devoted to parodies and humorous takes on Oz, while the 2010 contains stories regarding governing in Oz. In the 2009 section, Brianna Landon’s “Toto Reveals” tells the story of Dorothy’s first trip to Oz from Toto’s point of view. Eleanor Kennedy’s “Barry Porter and the Sorceress of Oz” has a rather familiar boy wizard pay a visit to Glinda. While billed as a parody and containing silly names (in addition to Barry himself, there are mentions of Alvin Grumblebore and Lord Vol-au-vent), the tone actually isn’t all that silly, instead offering a rather sincere look at how the two fantasy characters might interact. “The Ransom of Button-Bright” is a story in comic form, written by J.L. Bell and drawn by Shawn Maldonado. As the title suggests, it plays on “The Ransom of Red Chief,” with Button-Bright aptly taking the role of the kidnap victim who drives his captors crazy. There’s also an appearance by High Boy. Finally, Steve Teller’s “The Trouble with the Magic Belt” is sort of a meta-story, with its protagonist getting rid of the Magic Belt to make Oz stories more interesting. The protagonist’s name, Sterl Nephel, is obviously a play on Teller’s own, and other characters are obvious parodies of other Oz fans who attended conventions back in the day. This issue is not the first to include Oz stories that parody other works. Phyllis Ann Karr‘s “The Eldritch Horror of Oz” brought a warped version of Lovecraft’s universe into Oz, and “The Merchant of Oz” riffed on The Merchant of Venice while still coming across as a valid Oz story that tied up several loose ends that L. Frank Baum left. I’ve always kind of wanted to try writing something like that, but I’m not sure what I’d parody.
The 2010 part opens with “Celebrating Ozma: The Silver Jubilee Issue,” about a series of stamps depicting the highlights of Ozma’s reign, some of them drawn by illustrator Tim Art-McLaughlin. It also contains some amusing information on the postal system in Oz, which is something I’ve wondered about before, especially after Terry Pratchett wrote a book about the postal system in Ankh-Morpork. According to the story, the Postmaster General of Oz is the Post Man from The Purple Prince of Oz, with some wooden Gargoyles serving as his staff. Speaking of Purple Prince, that book had Glinda celebrating her hundredth anniversary as Ruler of the South, while authors Andrew and Rachel Heller make a reference to “five centuries of Glinda’s rule.” Oh, Glinda, why must information about you be so contradictory? What is it you have to hide? “Fiddle’s Revenge,” by high school student Arianna Brown, has the son of the giant spider the Cowardly Lion killed seeking revenge, and the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman helping the Winged Monkeys to trick him. Finally, J.L. Bell’s “Invisible Fence” is about the investigation and trial of a boy and a cat involved in an illegal magic ring. The Tin Soldier, the Iffin, Pastoria, and Snip all play parts in the tale, and it’s good to see them again. I always liked Ruth Plumly Thompson’s portrayal in Lost King of Ozma’s father as a kindly, absent-minded man; and his appearance here picks up on that characterization.