The South Will Oz Again

As mentioned in the introduction, the cover picture of the 1980 Oziana, as drawn by Albert Chronic, references a passage in Captain Salt in Oz, specifically when the Captain says that the Wizard of Oz is building airships that would make crossing the Deadly Desert and Nonestic Ocean much easier. The picture shows an Ozian dirigible, not quite the same as the Ozoplanes, although those do have balloon attachments. Below on the surface of the ocean is a ship sailing toward Ozamaland. Then there’s a frontispiece by G. Mohrman in a rather intricate style.

And there’s an Oz word find by Edith Hollister that it looks like I haven’t done much of. Our first story this time is:

“How the Cowardly Lion Met the Hungry Tiger,” by Judy Bieber – It’s obvious what this is about, although it’s possible that it really didn’t need its own story, as the Tiger could potentially be the one who shows up and explains the situation in the forest in Wizard. It’s not explicitly stated, though, and there are so many inconsistencies in the original books that we probably can’t even be sure L. Frank Baum realized he’d already used a tiger when the hungry one first officially appears in Ozma. In this tale, the two big cats meet in a forest in the Gillikin Country, and also meet Gugu the Leopard. If that’s the case, I’m not sure why they don’t seem to recognize each other in Magic. The cats have to defeat a magician named Ragej, who takes control of the woods and turns any animal who rebels against him into a canary. It’s a pretty good story, but it does seem like Ragej is way too willing to trust the Lion, who’s a stranger to him. An interesting bit of trivia is that a spell includes the phrase “Igga, Agga, Groo,” likely a reference to the goldsmith Agga-Groo from The Sea Fairies.

“Colonel Cotton in Oz,” by Tim Hollis – It’s a cliché at this point to say that something couldn’t be published nowadays. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case with this story, but I kind of think punning on the song “Dixie,” referencing a character called Mammy, and naming someone else after two Confederate generals might not come across as quite so harmless as it might have even forty years ago. That’s not to say that the story is racist, just that it plays on a lot of Southern stereotypes. The idea that the Quadling Country has similarities to the American South is one that’s come up before, particularly with the portrayal of Ragbad in Grampa. Pitt Falls and Birminooga are said to be located “in the southernmost point of the Quadling Country,” and I suspect that would place them near Ragbad. Everyone speaks in phonetic accents, although I think it’s weird that the text usually uses “you-all” instead of “y’all,” except a few times towards the end. The plot involves the leaders of these two communities trying to build a railroad connecting their towns, which perhaps would be the first one in Oz. There’s a mountain where it snows grits, and a brief appearance by Ozma and her friends.

“A Study in Orange,” by Melody Grandy – This is the third Great Detective story, and the first that doesn’t credit Jay Delkin as co-author, which could be why it doesn’t mention Menankypoo. Melody often addresses the theme of discrimination against women based on their appearances, and that’s a major part of this tale. A witch who’s sensitive about her own appearance enchants pretty girls to be plain and vice versa. The obvious flaw here is that it’s the men who are treating the girls differently due to their looks, and she does nothing to them. The patriarchy thrives on women fighting amongst themselves, although I suppose Oz under Ozma is much less patriarchal than a lot of places. The Detective tracks her down with help from the oranges used in the enchantment, as he states that “Oz oranges can be bluish, or greenish, but not orange.” I know there were oranges in Samandra in Yellow Knight, but those might have been more yellow in color, as that’s in the Winkie Country. I really don’t know that much about Sherlock Holmes aside from what I’ve absorbed through cultural diffusion, but I assume the villain, the orange witch Storja, is at least partially inspired by Irene Adler, a woman who was frequently able to outwit Holmes.

According to Glinda, orange magic involves a lot of math, and can be used to deceive people or change their behavior. Storja learns it in Ev. It’s worth noting that this story has Ozma use Glegg‘s Question Box from Kabumpo, which doesn’t appear all that often. I’ve suspected that the Ozites were disturbed by its suggestion to make its creator explode, although the Patchwork Girl doesn’t seem too upset by it. Ozma also temporarily turns Toto into a bloodhound so he can help the Detective track down Storja. Melody contributed the back cover of this issue, which shows Miss Cuttenclip and paper dolls she’s made of Ozian celebrities.

This entry was posted in Animals, Art, Characters, Food, Games, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Magic Items, Melody Grandy, Music, Oz, Oz Authors, Places, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The South Will Oz Again

  1. Melody Grandy says:

    At first Storja changes some beauties’ physical appearances, but then she undoes that and makes the men of Oz see beautiful women as ugly, and ugly women as beautiful. Thus tricking the beauty bigots among the men. So Storja does conclude the men deserve to have deceptive magic done to them, not the women.

  2. rocketdave says:

    Irene Adler, while a very notable character for being one of the few people to get the better of Sherlock Holmes, only appeared in one story by Doyle, so it wouldn’t really be accurate to say that she frequently outwitted him. However, since she’s sometimes been depicted in later works as basically being like the Catwoman to Holmes’ Batman, it’s understandable why one might have that impression of her.

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