According to the introduction to the 2002 Oziana, both health and technical issues prevented Robin Olderman from continuing as editor of the magazine, so Joel Harris in Special Publications temporarily took over the job. The issue wasn’t released until 2002, but I don’t think it was the first one not to come out on schedule, just the first one where it’s openly admitted. There are more illustrations this time than in the last few issues, and I believe this was the first Oziana to be released with a color cover, although I have a rerelease of the 1971 issue that was printed in color. Marcus Mebes provided the cover illustration, and included one of his original characters, a Skeezique, holding Jack Pumpkinhead’s leg. Marcus also colored in the back cover picture from The Silver Princess in Oz, drawn by John R. Neill and showing Kabumpo, Randy, and Planetty in the Box Wood.
“An Oz Cliffhanger, Part 1,” by Gina Wickwar – The author of The Hidden Prince of Oz contributes this story where Cap’n Bill and Trot are once again sucked into a whirlpool, as they were at the beginning of Scarecrow; but here they end up in a ring of mountains in the Quadling Country, where they meet a rather wacky Clockadial and Cuckoo. Both animals are clocks who chime at various intervals, but aren’t always accurate. When the clocks accidentally wake up a baby bear and get the mother mad at them, the characters end up literally hanging from a cliff. This story has two illustrations, one being a Neill picture of a bear with the Cap’n added in.
I think the bear is originally from Pirates.
Another has all the characters drawn by Gina herself.
Following the story is a Melody Grandy illustration of dancing people from the Emerald City.
“The Many Trees,” by Kieran F. Miller – Marcus actually both wrote and illustrated this one. Kieran Miller is a pseudonym that he used at the time, but the story was later incorporated into the revised edition of Lurline and the White Ravens under his own name. In the tale, Polychrome visits the Forest of Burzee, and a tree fairy named Pethri shows her a tree that’s really an enchanted woodcutter named Vanden Coll. With help from Ozma, Polly and Pethri tell Queen Zurline about Vanden’s brother Gendon’s devotion to the tree, and the Wood-Nymph decides to break the enchantment. One of the illustrations shows the four fairy women together.
“The Great Jinjin,” by Melody Grandy – Melody continues the adventures of the Flying Sorcerer Zim and his apprentice Tip from the Seven Blue Mountains books, this time having the two of them meet up with the just but heartless Tititi-Hoochoo. With his skills as a healer, Zim manages to provide the Jinjin a heart, and is granted the Private Citizen’s protection.
There’s some nice interaction between the two characters. This story was incorporated into the third SBM book, Zim Greenleaf of Oz. Melody also wrote an epilogue that isn’t in that volume, but can be found online. One of the supporting characters in this tale, the Queen of Gardens, was introduced in Phyllis Ann Karr’s Gardener’s Boy, which Melody illustrated.
“Dearest Mother, the Last Letters of the Slave of the Magic Dinner Bell,” by J.L. Bell – The Red Jinn is one of Ruth Plumly Thompson’s most popular creations, but he’s also someone with some problematic aspects, most notably his keeping of Black slaves. Thompson herself softy retconned this in Yankee by no longer referring to Jinnicky’s staff as enslaved, but it remains the case that the Jinn has a bit of a sinister side. John addresses this here through Ginger, the servant of his magic dinner bell as introduced in Jack Pumpkinhead. It’s presented as a series of letters written by Ginger to his mother, showing his point of view as well as expanding a bit on the character, who’s said to have been an ore-crusher before serving the bell. Ginger is able to negotiate a slightly better deal for himself when Jinnicky traps himself in his jar while trying a new magic trick, but not until after the bellboy is stuck inside the jar with his master for a little while. Addie, the adding adder from Purple Prince, also plays a role. Since the story ends with a mention that the Wizard of Oz is coming to visit Jinnicky’s castle, I suspect there’s some overlap with “Ozma Fights the Sniffles.” John contributed a few simple but serviceable illustrations for the story, which I believe are drawn by Ginger within the context of the fiction.
Finally, the issue ends with some of Robin’s cryptograms.
Next time, the cliffhanger is resolved, the Patchwork Girl rides Pigasus, a cat and mouse make friends, and Woot the Wanderer encouters Mr. Yoop.