Monday, August 05, 2013

Shanowerthon! Eric in Oziana

After Shanower's Oziana debut in 1976, he didn't appear again in the magazine for six years. In Oziana 1983, he provided the front cover and illustrations for the final story. In 1984 and 85, he provided illustrations for one story each (including Fredrick Otto's fine story, Mombi's Pink Polkadot Vest), and also 85's cover.
It was in 1987 that another story by Eric (working on his Oz graphic novel series at the time) appeared in Oziana. Titled "The Two Peters," it features a little boy named Peter being read the end of Pirates in Oz as a bedtime story by his grandfather. The boy wonders if it's a coincidence that the boy in Pirates and himself are both named Peter, and he wonders how he came to have the name. Shanower doesn't say it, but I think that the grandfather might be Peter Brown himself. It's a very short and sweet story.

Eric continued contributing illustrations for stories in 1989, 1992, and 1994. He also contributed covers for 1990 and 1992.
The 1990 issue also contained a new Shanower story: "The Final Fate of the Frogman." In this story, Woot the Wanderer comes across the Truth Pond but is met by the Frogman who has shed his clothes and, retelling the story of his life since The Lost Princess of Oz, reveals that he now guards the Truth Pond so that others may not share his sad fate of being honest all the time. While it's a rather somber story, there is quite a bit of humor in it as well.

Shanower provided a partial story in 1993: "The Silver Jug." The story tells of a servant of Glinda's named Amanda who isn't the best at her job by a long shot. While Glinda is away, she tests Amanda by tasking her to care for a wax-sealed silver jug. If it is opened, it must be sealed again by the time Glinda returns.

The following year found two conclusions to the story being printed in Oziana: one by M.A. Berg and the other by Fredrick Otto. Both involved the jug being opened and Amanda having to get help to take care of the result.

In 2003, "The Final Fate of the Frogman" and "The Silver Jug" were among stories and poems by Shanower collected into the book The Salt Sorcerer of Oz and Other Stories. "Frogman" differed a little from its Oziana publication. In Oziana, the Frogman confronts the Wizard about how he lobotomized Jenny Jump in The Wonder City of Oz. In the collected edition, in regards to copyright, it has been changed to the Glass Cat's change of brains. (Oziana stories are allowed to use anything from the Famous Forty Oz books.)

"The Silver Jug" did not use either Oziana ending, but instead, Eric wrote his own ending. Amanda frees baby dragons from the Jug and they fly across the Deadly Desert, Amanda pursuing in Glinda's swan chariot. However, they are eaten by a much larger dragon and Amanda decides that she has to take the dragon back to Glinda so she can explain what happened. However, the dragon needs to save a friend of hers, and Amanda winds up being the surprising key to the dilemma. Although Berg and Otto's endings to "Jug" were fine, Eric's is excellent!

The Salt Sorcerer of Oz and Other Stories is still available from Hungry Tiger Press, and several issues of Oziana are available from the International Wizard of Oz Club. (If you can't find the issue you want there, check used book sellers' sites.)

For anyone wondering, "The Two Peters" was reprinted in the 2011 Winkie Convention program book as part of the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Pirates in Oz. If you want a copy, contact David Maxine to see if he still has any copies left.

3 comments:

ericshanower said...

"The Two Peters" pre-dates my first Oz graphic novel series by several years. I wrote it for the 1982 Winkie Con when the con chair asked me to submit something for the Winkie Research Table. Then the Con chair was disappointed that it was so slight, which it is. Editor Robin Olderman asked to print it several years later in Oziana, and I myself was afraid it was too amateurish, especially the illustration, which is integral to the story. But she persuaded me to let it appear. It's okay, I suppose, but far from my strongest material.

Sam A M said...

Ever since the 70th Anniversary included the artwork in "Because of the Wonderful Things It Does", I've always wondered curiously where those pictures came from ... and now that I have "Living House" AND have read this, now I know!

Thanks!

Nathan said...

While replacing the Jenny Jump reference with one to the Glass Cat was clever, I still consider the former to be the more accurate version. The Glass Cat's brains were removed BEFORE the Frogman's arrival in the Emerald City, after all.