The first noticeable thing about the 1995 Oziana is that the cover has a picture by the late Rob Roy MacVeigh of the main characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There’s also inside cover art by editor Robin Olderman, showing her dreaming of the Yellow Brick Road and Emerald City while preparing the issue.
It’s also noticeable that the font used throughout is larger than usual, which is kind of annoying to read, although maybe I’ll be glad of it if my close-up vision deteriorates.
“Pigmentation,” by Gili Bar-Hillel – This is the second issue in a row with a story about the Nine Tiny Piglets, or in this case mostly one particular piglet, Percival. The only others given names in this story are Ozma’s pet Peggy and another called Peter, who’s briefly mentioned at the end. Anyway, Percival is tired of being one of a largely interchangeable group, constantly being praised or blamed for things his siblings do. When he runs into his old enemy (frenemy?) Eureka, she teaches him how to manipulate the light to change his color. It’s not explained exactly how he does this, but it’s probably better left unexplained. It’s a fun tale that gives some personality to a character who was never distinguished from the others in the original books. It has a clever title, too. Eric Shanower illustrated this one, and Gili pointed out before that her other Oziana story, “The Woozy’s Tale,” was illustrated by his partner David Maxine.
“A Princess of Oz,” by David Hulan – David’s stories tend to be carefully planned out and full of explanations of things. Granted, sometimes the explanation is just “magic,” but it addresses such issues as how a lamp that had been unused for years still works just fine. The Wizard of Oz has invented transportation pills that can send the swallower anywhere in the land, which seems a little too easy, but it’s hardly the only case of instant transportation that’s never really used to its full advantage. Trot finds that her close friends are all away visiting other parts of the country, so she decides to explore the cave under the palace and the tunnels that Ruggedo and Wag dug while hiding out there. She runs into Queen Delva and her subjects, the Delves, silver-obsessed people who made a brief appearance in Purple Prince. They plan to make the Emerald City collapse and gather as much silver as they can, and force Trot into helping them mine. With some help from a friendly woodchuck, she manages to escape. Ozma transports the Delves to the Nome Kingdom, and makes Trot a Princess of Oz. Ruth Plumly Thompson casually refers to Trot and Betsy Bobbin as princesses in her later Oz books, but how they got that title isn’t entirely clear. James Vincent III was the illustrator on this one.
It’s followed by a game that’s part word find and part identifying which character was transformed into what. It looks like I didn’t quite finish with it.
“The Dollmaker of Oz,” by Karyl Carlson – Karyl, who also co-wrote Queen Ann in Oz, actually makes dolls of Oz characters. I don’t have any of them myself, but I’ve seen some of them, and they’re very impressive.
Her doll-making hobby features into the story, with Glinda visiting to inform her that her dolls have disenchanted the actual inhabitants of Oz, with the Patchwork Girl, the Scarecrow, and Jack Pumpkinhead made lifeless, and Nick Chopper turned back to his human form. It’s all due to a ring that Karyl bought in a thrift shop, which Glinda claims is related to the Magic Belt. Maybe its jewels were also made by Bel-Sor-t from K. Kline’s Kaliko. Anyway, she has to unmake the dolls in reverse, and everything turns out all right in the end. Destré Xan Childs drew the pictures for this one.
Next time, Speedy finally makes his long-awaited return to Umbrella Island.