polychrome_pen: (EAH Hunter & Daring)
[personal profile] polychrome_pen
I think I'm a weird Oz fan.  Just throwing that out there to start with.  For most people who like Oz, the love starts (and often ends) with the 1939 "Wizard of Oz" MGM musical.  And while I certainly enjoy that film, it's not what caught me and made me fall in love with the original American Fairy Tale.

It all started innocently enough.  After seeing "Wicked" a few months ago (such an awesome, awesome musical!), I picked up the book "Dorothy Must Die" from the library, interested in how the current trend of going back to classic stories and making everything gritty/grimdark would work on "the merry old land of Oz."  Arguably the poster child for Technicolor. And it really was a fun read - it re-imagines an Oz where Dorothy went back after her original visit and seized control of the Emerald City.  Another Kansas girl is brought to Oz by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to try and take Dorothy and her cronies (Glinda, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion) down.  The book is the first of a trilogy, and it definitely had me interested in reading more!

But it was the little snippets of things in the book that AREN'T related to the movie that had me really interested.  The Good Witch of the North, Jellia Jamb, Mombi, Ozma.  It made me interested in going back to the original stories.  Especially stuff dealing with Ozma, a character that I discovered is central to Oz mythology, but hardly known in the wider sphere.

So I checked out The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz from the library.

Let's start with Marvelous Land.  Dorothy is noticeably absent from this sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was originally written as a follow-up due to the success of the 1902 Broadway musical.  The book follows the story of Tip, a young boy in servitude to the witch Mombi, who escapes with his pal Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse.  They hook up with the Scarecrow and Tin Man, go on lots of adventures...and in the end discover that Tip was actually Ozma, transformed into a boy by Mombi after the Wizard took over the Emerald City.  WUT.  Glinda transforms Tip back into Ozma, and she resumes her rule over Oz.

This might be the single thing I find most fascinating about Oz - the Tip/Ozma character.  There is so much possibility for interesting story there, but I don't think it's well-tapped even in the later Baum works.  Perhaps it's really only something a modern audience can look at with a more critical eye?

Ozma of Oz, despite being titled after the princess, is actually the story of Dorothy's return to the land of Oz (well, really, the land of Ev - one of Oz's neighbors).  It introduces some really neat characters into the mix: the head-switching Princess Langwidere, Tik-Tok (literature's first robot?), the Hungry Tiger, Billina the Chicken, the Nome King.  The group has to rescue the royal family of Ev from the Nome King, who has transformed them into adornments in his underground palace.  The book also introduces an interesting concept in the Magic Belt, a magical tool at least as powerful as the Silver Shoes.

Marvelous Land and Ozma were jointly adapted into the 1985 "sequel" to the Wizard of Oz called "Return to Oz."  It featured a young Fairuza Balk as Dorothy, and even has Ozma appear in the end!  I remember watching this movie many years ago and thinking it was really bizarre, but upon revisiting it after reading the books it's based on, I can say it's a delight to see Baum's world brought to life the way it's supposed to look.  It has really great 80s special effects.  The puppetry and animatronic characters are absolutely fantastic.

The last Oz thing I've been checking out lately are the new(ish) Marvel Comics adaptations.  Featuring adorable artwork by Skottie Young and featuring scripts that hew closer to the original source material, these have been delightful reading.  I just finished Wonderful Wizard and am getting ready to start Marvelous Land.  Definitely check your library for these!

Finally, what really gets me with Oz is the deep richness of the world.  There are tons of "official" Oz books by various sanctioned authors, and so many fan-created works one doesn't even know where to begin!  The Baum books are in the public domain at this point, which makes it nice for adaptations if one wants to do something with all the iconic characters.  I really want to write some Oz stuff now...I'm debating trying a genderbent version that blends the first three books (at least?) together.  It's really been rattling around in my head, and even if I don't write the full novel-length version I'd at least like to try a few short pieces.

So my next question...does anyone have any good Oz recommendations?

Date: 2014-08-18 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
Patchwork Girl of Oz is one I started when I was younger but just couldn't get into [too dry for my taste]

there's a Zenoscape comic "Warlord of Oz" [filled with cheesecake - I picked up an issue because I was curious. Bad idea] - then there's a comic set in a Wild West version of Oz [I have a couple of issues floating about]

and for the biggest 'Wut' - you have to find "Thanksgiving in the Land of Oz'. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081293/ [or because I'm nice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4mWrgnVvNo - part one]

edit: and one more thing:
Edited Date: 2014-08-18 03:43 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-08-19 08:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ry-sabir.livejournal.com
Definitely agree I would have had trouble reading the books as a kid. I think the most fun I have reading them is thinking of ways to adapt them. XD

I watched a few minutes of that special! WUT is definitely the right reaction! I don't think I would have ever thought of the Wizard stealing a mince pie from Aunt Em. Or them going to live in the old folks home!

Date: 2014-08-19 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
I know ::laughs:: That was part of the Thanksgiving cartoon tape my father made for my brother and I when we were little [the tape also had "Berenstein Bears meet Bigpaw", "It's Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown", and this adorable little cartoon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruaRLw5Gf5Q - "Mouse on the Mayflower"]

Date: 2014-08-18 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovelykitta.livejournal.com
Have you read the book 'Wicked' yet? It's really good and is the start of the 'The Wicked Years' series. I haven't gotten my hands on the rest of the books yet, but I loved Wicked for it's version of the origin tale of the Wicked Witch of the West and how it opens up the world of Oz to us.

The other three books in 'The Wicked Years' series:
Son of a Witch
A Lion Among Men
Out of Oz

And yeah, I know what you mean about wanting to write Oz stuff.

Date: 2014-08-18 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
::nods:: I wrote my first piece of Oz fic recently as part of a challenge from Ry. Surprised even myself with how it came out ::nods::

Date: 2014-08-18 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
::nods:: hang on :D [I have the entry it's in behind lock, merely because I wanted Ry to get dibs on some of the colors]

Sepia - Dorothy Gale [Hunk/Scarecrow, OCs: Cassia, Peter]
AN: set many years post movie [the original - never saw Return to Oz]

"Grandma?" Cassia called as she and her twin brother entered the farmhouse. "Grandma?"

"In here," came the warm voice of her grandmother.

Peter lead his twin sister into the living room, spotting their grandmother settled in her favorite rocking chair, working on yet another knitted blanket. "Hello, Grandmother," he said, lightly kissing her left temple.

"Peter, Cassia, welcome home," she said, smiling warmly at her only two grandchildren. "So, what brings you all this way out here? Don't tell me your mother's worrying about me being on my own again. I've managed all right all these years."

"When isn't Mother?" Cassia asked as she made her way over to the lintel above the fireplace and examined the sepia tinted photo of her grandmother and late grandfather. She set it back down, smiling softly at the happy pair in the image.

Her grandmother gave a wry chuckle. "Good point, Cassia. Now, what is the real reason?" she asked, setting aside her knitting.

Peter and Cassia exchanged looks, unsure of how to explain the real reason. "Well, Grandmother, it's like this..." Peter began before gesturing to Cassia to go get the reason. "Well, I suppose it's a good thing that you're sitting down.."

Their grandmother arched an eyebrow and kept it arched until she saw her granddaughter walking back in with someone.. someone she never thought she'd see again. "Scarecrow," she whispered, her voice catching in her throat.

"Hello, Dorothy," he said, walking over to her and taking her aged hands in his cloth ones. "It's time to come home."

Dorothy looked at her grandchildren, who were nodding.

"Peter and I can run the farm, Grandma," Cassia said. "So, go. Be with him."

Dorothy looked at the Scarecrow, her Scarecrow, and wordlessly nodded. "All right," she whispered, letting the tears that she had been trying so hard to suppress flow down her cheeks. "Let's go home, Scarecrow, let's go home."

Date: 2014-08-18 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
thank you :D

ironically, I had forgotten that there had been a potential subplot where Hunk and Dorothy had feelings for each other which got transferred over to the Scarecrow - here it is: "There was an extra scene back in Kansas at the end of the film which got cut. In it, Hunk (the 'real-life' counterpart to the Scarecrow) was going away to agricultural college and Dorothy was promising to write to him. It basically indicated that the slight romantic vibe some viewers picked up between Dorothy and the Scarecrow had a factual basis." http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/trivia?item=tr2220619

and then there's this interesting trivia fact that has me intrigued and the bunnies mulling over a possible sequel fic: "Early on, the Cowardly Lion was in fact the cursed form of a handsome prince named Florizel (which is the name of the Prince in the Sleeping Beauty fairytale), who would battle the Witch in midair and kill her by cutting apart her broom while Dorothy watched from the sidelines." - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/trivia?item=tr2220617

Date: 2014-08-18 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovelykitta.livejournal.com
...I knew the Scarecrow one, but not the Cowardly Lion one.

.....How would that even work.....

Date: 2014-08-18 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
well, I'm thinking that one of the Wicked Witches did the curse or even Mombi [since we know she's a witch and she is able to change appearances like she did to Ozma/Tip] but right now, the bunnies are trying to figure out how the logistics of the how/when/why of the curse [how did the curse happen - motive; when did it happen - obviously, pre-Dorothy's arrival, but how long before her arrival; if WWoW cast it, why didn't it break when she died; since the curse hasn't broken yet, what has to be done in order for the curse to break]

Date: 2014-08-18 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovelykitta.livejournal.com
Mombi? The evil landlady in the beginning?

I can't even touch half of that, to be honest.

Date: 2014-08-18 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
I think so - it's been ages since I've read any of Oz [I tried to read Patchwork Girl of Oz but I couldn't get into it]

::nods:: hence why the bunnies are mulling it over - they can't figure out anything yet right now they're annoyed that I can't seem to get a cap of something I'm working on ::shifty eyes::

Date: 2014-08-18 07:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovelykitta.livejournal.com
Oooooh? *slithers closer*

Well, if it helps any, in the book Wicked, Elphaba (the name given for the Wicked Witch of the West) ultimately becomes the victim of unfortunate political circumstances and overall bad luck [but don't take my word for it, read the book. It's amazing.]. So, maybe the bunnies could work with that?

Date: 2014-08-18 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
And I got it! I had to go to the forum for the program to find out why I was having a devil of a time taking a screenshot from the program. The size of the window was wrong for me to take pictures. I'll be sharing the image as soon as I upload it to Photobucket ::so can't wait for this game! The demo is such a horrible tease::

and that does help ::nods:: ::pets bunnies:: soon, you fluffy demons, soon

Date: 2014-08-18 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
Sims4 - it's due out soonish [I reserved myself a copy :D]

Date: 2014-08-19 08:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ry-sabir.livejournal.com
That Cowardly Lion bit is fascinating.

...And so much more gruesome than what it ended up being!

Date: 2014-08-19 12:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
I know - now I have the bunnies and they're just sitting there sweetly, staring at me..

It would have been interesting to have seen one of those little trivia facts show [especially that Dorothy/Hunk one]

Date: 2014-08-19 08:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ry-sabir.livejournal.com
I've had a copy of Wicked for a few years now (bought it after seeing the play the first time). It's definitely moved up my to-be-read pile now, though! Thanks for the recs!

Everything about Oz is so eminently ficcable. There's just enough left out to get your imagination going. XD

Date: 2014-08-19 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovelykitta.livejournal.com
Hehehehe, yep! I really loved the book and spent months trying to write fic for it.

Date: 2014-08-19 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ry-sabir.livejournal.com
I'd love to see some of that fic. :)

Date: 2014-08-19 07:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovelykitta.livejournal.com
Hehehe, key word is 'trying'. I never really managed to get anything written but a badly done Oz-inspired DF fic that I lost....

Date: 2014-08-19 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
.... thank you for giving the Fryte muse a new song to sing ::claps hands over ears as he starts singing "If I only had a brain" for the umpteenth time::

Date: 2014-08-19 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovelykitta.livejournal.com
*cackles from atop her throne of crossover bunnies*

Date: 2014-08-19 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
I'm trying very hard to keep the Oz rabbits away from the general population of plot rabbits - that did not help matters

Date: 2014-08-20 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
Everything about Oz is so eminently ficcable.

::nods:: of course, the rabbits it spawns makes life interesting. ::points up towards the Lion discussion:: care to join in? [anything would help in dealing with that rabbit]

Date: 2014-08-22 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stormyserenity.livejournal.com
I utterly loved Ozma-- mainly because the books I had from the library featured gorgeous art nouveau illustrations and Ozma is lovely and wears this crown with ginormous flowers on it. Like this.

The whole boy-to-girl thing with Ozma is indeed very WUT and very ficbait. Baum could've given her so much interesting characterization with that, if he'd lived in less cisgender times. I guess it wouldn't have occured to him that after being a boy Ozma might still kind of feel like one, or even if she didn't she might see the point of wearing pants and running around and taking a break from being a perfect princess sometimes, or the whole sudden genderbend might be a little traumatic coming with no warning or foreshadowing.

Date: 2014-08-23 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ry-sabir.livejournal.com
That is absolutely gorgeous! The lady making those headdresses says they remind her of Alphonse Mucha too, one of my favorite art nouveau artists. :)

Yeah, sadly Ozma's characterization falls a bit flat in the books despite her status as the ruler of Oz (and all that lovely artwork of her!)

Thinking about Tip and Ozma...I find it really sad that Tip grows up his whole life being unwanted by Mombi, finally finds friends, and then they want him to change into Ozma. I think I'd like to explore the idea of Tip never changing back into Ozma. XD

But lordy, I love this picture of Ozma.

Edited Date: 2014-08-23 06:09 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-08-25 05:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stormyserenity.livejournal.com
Then you'd have either prince Tip, or Tip on the run because everyone he meets wants him to be the Chosen One and usher in a new golden age... by turning into a girl, which is a dang weird thing and not something anyone should have to do against their will.

Though upon reflection, the training ground of cursed springs would fit right in in Oz. They could all jump in and genderflip whenever they want!

It's been ages since I read the books, but I remember feeling like Baum thought of the "he's a transformed princess!" thing at the last moment and didn't foreshadow it at all.

Date: 2014-08-25 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
ooh, I like that picture of Ozma

[I think there's non-canonical books that go into the Tip/Ozma thing - like Tip being an entirely separate character (so Ozma could have a love interest!!?) - I'll locate the wiki pages later for that]

edit: much delayed locating..
specifically: Grandy made the characters totally unrelated through the use of a "Switcheroo Spell", with Ozma unrelated to Tippetarius and therefore suitable as a possible love interest.
Edited Date: 2015-04-01 03:12 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-03-28 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
oh, Ry, look what I found!

[that's next on my pre-order list. I just pre-ordered the Beauty and the Beast one by that artist]

Date: 2016-03-29 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ry-sabir.livejournal.com
Oh my, are those illustrations lovely! I'm definitely adding it to my Wish List!

Date: 2016-03-29 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strongheartmaid.livejournal.com
The artist also has a gorgeous version of the Snow Queen coming out as well. So much pretty!

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