The 2002 Oziana brings back some of the same authors as the last issue, but with less original art. Melissa Bay Mathis supplied the cover art, a picture of the Patchwork Girl riding Pigasus, which is relevant to one of the stories. On the back cover is a John R. Neill illustration of Woot the Wanderer from The Tin Woodman of Oz, colored in by Marcus Mebes.
“An Oz Cliffhanger, Part 2,” by Gina Wickwar – Continuing right where the last part left off, our heroes are saved from danger when falling due to the parasol Boo-Koo the Cuckoo Clock had given Cap’n Bill. I wonder if Boo-Koo’s production of gifts every fifteen minutes was inspired by Clocker in Pirates, who did the same with his written notes. It occurs to me that I used a similar idea with the Prize Pig in “The Other Searches for the Lost Princess.” They run into another new friend, Flora Rosabunda, a decorative fiberglass cow from a flower shop in Manhattan. Exactly how she came to life and Oz isn’t entirely clear, but it involved a magical poppy. The party encounters weeping willows, a live crossword puzzle, and a swamp full of alligators on their way back to the Emerald City, where Ozma allows the newcomers to stay. I’m tempted to link the Crossword Puzzle Man with Cross Town from Lin Carter’s Merry Mountaineer, which is also in the Quadling Country. Gina’s own illustrations again accompany the story, but they seem a little more polished than in the last part.
I think I’ve heard that the collection of Gina’s short stories has different pictures for this one, which might be a reason to buy it even though I’m pretty sure I already have all of the stories in some form or other.
“Vice Versa,” by J.L. Bell – This one describes the situation depicted on the cover, where the frequently rhyming Scraps decides to try riding Pigasus, who makes all his passengers speak in verse. It turns out that it makes her speak in free verse, which she finds annoying, a very clever take.
“Cat and Mouse in Oz,” by Margaret Koontz – The author has said this was based on her son and his cat. The cat, Sky, chases a mouse into a copy of Wizard, and they briefly encounter Dorothy and the Scarecrow, who don’t even notice them. As the two animal visitors can talk in Oz, the cat Sky defends her predatory nature. With the help of a crow, the two learn that the other known cat in the area drinks milk, and Sky is quite satisfied with that. I don’t know that cats in Oz drinking nothing but milk would be very healthy, at least not for the fully-grown ones; but it is the main diet in the Valley of Pussycats in Merryland. The inhabitants of Catty Corners in Lost King, on the other hand, are much more carnivorous. But it’s common in the Oz series to raise questions about meat and predators without fully answering them. This particular cat and mouse, however, learn to get along, and find their way back home. Margie Deemer contributed illustrations of the three main characters, and Sky looks very pretty.
After this story is an invitation for more contributions, accompanied by a picture of the Scarecrow by Melody Grandy, which also appears in her Tippetarius.
“Woot Meets Yoop,” by J.L. Bell – When Woot discovers Mr. Yoop‘s cage, he enlists the help of a rabbit, an armadillo, and a hawk in tricking the giant into believing he’s actually Mrs. Yoop.
One particularly amusing moment comes when Mr. Yoop starts to think he’s been transformed into a pink orangutan, only to realize that his hands were ALREADY pink and hairy.
Based on some comments by Joe Bongiorno, I also decided to reread The Lost Emeralds of Oz, by Frederick E. Otto. I’d first read this in college, I think in my sophomore year, and I’m not sure I’ve reread it since then. The story takes place during the beginning of Ozma’s reign, between the events of Land and Ozma. The newly crowned ruler is accompanied by the Sawhorse, the Cowardly Lion, and the Hungry Tiger in hunting down the emeralds that the Wizard of Oz had given as a bribe to the Wicked Witch of the West. The book has it that he replaced the jewels with glass, which is why everyone in the Emerald City had to wear green glasses, so they wouldn’t notice the change. The emeralds ended up in the hands of a syndicate of evil magicians, who have magical machines to turn people into toy soldiers and milkmaid dolls to serve them. The story also gives a backstory to Opodock, the giant bird who briefly appears in Ojo, saying that he was a roc who was made to come to a silver whistle by a king. Ozma is given the whistle, but loses it to a jackdaw. The narrative covers some of the same territory as Onyx Madden’s Mysterious Chronicles and Edward Einhorn’s “Ozma Sees Herself,” with the ruler meeting the Lion and Tiger for the first time. (Well, technically, in Einhorn’s story, she already knows the Lion.) It also has Ozma already working magic, and Glinda, who is opposed to transformations in Land, having no problem with the evil magicians being turned into stone gargoyles. The Lion bathes in the Truth Pond, which is given as the reason why he’s back to always talking about how afraid of everything he is in Ozma, when he was recklessly brave at the end of Wizard. Apocryphal stories have a lot of characters bathing in the pond, which makes it difficult to reconcile with accounts where these same characters lie. But then, L. Frank Baum himself had Button-Bright lying in Sky Island after bathing in the pond in Road. And there’s a different origin for the Magic Picture than the one Madden gives, although I guess there’s no reason it couldn’t have been from Tititi-Hoochoo but stolen by the Syndicate. Perhaps some of these potential contradictions can be blamed on the Wogglebug, who narrates the tale as a flashback. While it ties in with threads from several Oz books, it does come across as a rather light and silly book overall. This is exacerbated by Derek Sullivan’s illustrations, which, while lively and detailed, are also quite goofy and cartoonish.
According to Chris Dulabone, he had originally lined up a different illustrator, but they lost touch and he died before he could even read the manuscript. I wonder if the black river that Glinda says runs from the southwest corner of the Quadling Country and along the Winkie border to the Winkie River, is the same as the one in the Black Forest in Wishing Horse. It’s also interesting that, in Tippetarius, Zim mentions a place called Gandovar, “where they turn little girls into dolls and little boys into tin soldiers,” which is what the Syndicate was doing. Oh, and speaking of Fred Otto, I remember seeing a story of his about how the Mermaid Queen came to give the magic pearls to Pingaree on the research table at a convention back in the nineties, and I’m not sure that one has ever been published.
It looks like I’ve already written about the 2003 Oziana, but since it’s only a brief overview (and it spans two posts), it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to revisit it. I also might want to take a look at some other apocryphal Oz books I haven’t reread in a long time, if anyone is interested in reading them. Or maybe I’ll do it even if no one is interested.