The 1999 Oziana has a cover sporting four pictures of Toto, challenging the reader to determine which one was from what book and what artist. The first two are actually both by John R. Neill for The Lost Princess of Oz; for some reason he drew the dog two quite different ways in that one. The others are by W.W. Denslow for Wizard and Frank Kramer for Magical Mimics. The focus on Toto relates to the first story, which takes up most of the issue, and that’s:
“Toto’s Tale,” by Ian Fink – Back in the days of the Oz Story Circle, I remember reading a story by this author that was kind of bizarre, in that it combined elements from both the books and the MGM movie without being entirely faithful to either, and it included some more modern elements as well. The part that I remember the most is that the Cowardly Lion had a nightmare about Munchkins turning giant when they got tired of waiting for him to eat first. He apparently also had another one that took place between the two with Dorothy finding an Emerald Ticket that stopped a storm from destroying Oz. This one does have Ozma and the Magic Belt, but for some reason Dorothy is living in Oz, but not in the palace. While chasing Toto through the Emerald City, the two girls arrive at a place run by a man named either Daln or Sleps. I don’t know why he needs two names, but maybe it’s related to the extended lore of Fink’s version of Oz. Dorothy receives an emerald collar from this man, and wearing it allows Toto to talk. Obviously this is contradictory to the original books, as Tik-Tok suggests that the dog could always talk in Oz but didn’t want to. Atticus Gannaway’s “Toto and the Truth” gives another explanation that doesn’t directly contradict this, that the Wicked Witch of the West used magic to scare him into not talking. Getting back to this story, Toto saves the day from some thieves who have stolen a magical ruby, and is healed by a doctor, but loses the ability to speak. I guess I’m just so used to Oziana stories filling in gaps or adding to the world developed in the original books that this alternate version feels weird to me, even though Fink has some interesting ideas.
I believe Robin Olderman illustrated this one herself, although there’s one Kramer illustration of Toto. I believe the title of the story was used for some other works about Dorothy’s canine companion. There’s a brief quiz about the dog following the tale.
“How Oz Became a Fairyland,” by Marin Elizabeth Xiques – Lurline‘s enchantment of Oz is a confusing subject that many writers and researchers have dealt with in the past, often coming up with some totally different ideas. This is a short take on this topic, telling how Lurline and her fairy band, including Ozma, travel to Oz and visit the royal family of Morrow. Ozma, who is quite fond of these rulers, decides to be reborn as one of their descendants. It makes a certain amount of sense, considering various references to Ozma being 1000 years old and/or around since the beginning of the world, which doesn’t fit so well with her being a baby when the Wizard of Oz brought her to Mombi, unless some form of reincarnation or transformation was involved. The names of the royal couple, Ozroar Boz and Ozia, are derived from a few different sources; and they and their kingdom being called Morrow (the name of Pastoria‘s old hunting lodge in Lost King) the same as in Lurline and the White Ravens, who frequently collaborated with Xiques and Chris Dulabone. I appreciate the attempts to bring some consistency to the issue, but it’s still very complicated. The only pictures for this one are one of Lurline by Kramer, and one of Ozma by Neill.
“Canis Heroicus,” by Robin Olderman – We close things out with a poem about the most famous dog in Oz, giving his view on the events of Wizard, and suggesting that his actions were more thought out than the original text suggests.
Next time, we have the return of Faleero, Ozma trying to deal with Button-Bright having a cold, and actual Ozites visiting the Centennial Convention in Indiana. Still very few illustrations, though.