Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallozween!

Halloween 2008 is here, and despite my plans for four Halloween videos, it went down to three, and then down to one... Ah, well, there's next year... The one I did make is in my previous blog entry.

Anyways... Here's an Ozzy comic panel for the holiday... I just thought the concept of the image was funny.

I didn't take the time to draw it by hand, and just whipped it up on MS Paint.

Anyways, have a great Halloween, Oz fans!

By the way, if you or some kids in your care are going trick-or-treating, be sure to stay safe at night, and keep an eye out for tricks! (Gotta keep those future adventurers on the Yellow Brick Road safe!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Horrible Land of Oz on Halloween

Heheh... Yeah, this was fun, and made pretty quickly! I had the idea from the line from Glinda at the end of The Wonderful Land of Oz that what if Tip is considered a malicious spirit who possesses kids, making them tuck in their shirts at inopportune moments and speaking mush-mouthed! Heheh... Hollywood would eat that up with a spoon!

I did the mix of the audio sometime back, I slowed down the audio from the song "I Don't Want To Be A Statue" and then brought the pitch back to it's normal level, creating a hollow-sounding vocal. SO, the voice there IS Channy Mahon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oz: Not Your Average Fairy Tale

Once again, I look at common themes in stories and find them in Oz...

Recently, I thought of your archetype fairy tale, like the classics of Andersen, Perrault, and Grimm.

Most of these stories feature a lead female character, like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Little Mermaid. Some of these characters are active and move the plot, like the Little Mermaid going to seek her desire for humanity in the Sea Witch. Others have the plot move around them, like how Sleeping Beauty and Snow White get cursed, fall for the curse, then are eventually rescued by the prince, or some other male figure, who steals the role of protagonist from the title character.

Other stories feature the protagonist seeking their fortune. In these stories, it is usually a male character. Usually, they defeat a monster or some foe, then get rich and/or get a princess or fair maiden. (These archetypes even made it into other forms of folklore.)

There are exceptions to these archetypes, but these are your two basic fairy tales.

In many of his Oz books, Baum played with these archetypes in his characters and plots. We have characters like the Shaggy Man, Woot the Wanderer, Bungle the Glass Cat, and Button-Bright who just wander Oz seeking their fortunes. However, they never stop, they keep going: the adventure is the reward in itself.

Not many of Baum's leading females fit the "Damsel in distress" model, nor do they fall into the category of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty as I mentioned above. Dorothy and the other girls from America often spark events, take decisive action, and scarcely need to be rescued. In fact, in Rinkitink in Oz, Baum turned the "Prince saving the girl" archetype on it's head by having Zella bring Inga his shoes, and then having Dorothy help Inga out of his predicament with Kaliko.

Ozma doesn't quite match your regular fairy tale princess. First off, she's actually ruling a country, so it would seem that the term "Queen" would suit Ozma better, though she is often called "Princess Ozma" because of her apparent age. (Baum ignored this in Queen Zixi of Ix when young Bud becomes King of Noland.) In The Lost Princess of Oz, Ozma is kidnapped, but it wasn't the original intent of the kidnapper to do so, and Ozma comes upon him, though she just scolds him for his wicked action instead of taking real action. (Guess she left her fairy wand in the other room...)

Instead of having the characters being rewarded by riches or power at the end of the story, Baum would often change this. Sure enough, the Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion, and Ozma all are rulers by the end of the second book, but it wasn't a theme Baum chose to pursue later on. He even made money worthless in Oz and jewels and precious metals and stones so common that they are used in buildings and usually left in their settings.

So, really, Oz is not your average, old-fashioned fairy tale. Rather, Baum defied the archetype of traditional fairy tales and created his own style.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

They Always Come Out This Time Of Year...

I was shopping around today, and having too much time on my hands, I decided to look around for some supplies for the costume I want to make for the 31st. (My job lets us wear costumes that day, and later, I'm going to a party!)

Finding the Halloween section, I noted some Ozzy costumes. There were a few Dorothys, and a generic Scarecrow costume had a big MGM feeling to it.

Oz really seems to fit for any time of year, but for some reason, fall especially. Maybe the Scarecrow reminds us of harvest time. Maybe Dorothy's farm (immortalized by both Denslow and MGM in brownish tones) looks like it's in autumn. And let's not forget that a beloved Oz character has a Jack-O-Lantern for a head. (Though, he wasn't in MGM's movie, though the movie he's famous for does note that "It's Halloween soon.") Maybe it's that Wicked Witch...

In 2005 and 2006, MGM's movie and "Journey Back to Oz" (featuring an adaptation of Jack Pumpkinhead) were both treated to October DVD releases. The musical "Wicked" had an October 30th debut, with it's iconic image of a witch on a broom. Coincidence?

Still, I couldn't find a suitable sword and shield for my Link costume... (Who says I gotta be an Oz fan in everything?)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rumor Has It...

Friday night, I got an e-mail about several Oz rumors. I decided to answer them. I then decided to share them on my blog.

Tim Burton's doing a CGI animated Oz project?
Tim Burton is a big Oz fan. He did an admirable adaptation of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and is now working on "Alice in Wonderland." This has been rumored for years. Anyways, with Burton's rate, I'd bet he'll get around to Oz someday, it's just not happening yet.

What's up with Willard Carroll's Bollywood project?
There has been no update in years, but I hear that's how Bollywood is.

Why haven't we heard anything about that Todd McFarlane Oz movie recently? Has it been canceled?
Josh Olson turned in his script for that Oz movie. You can bet that it gets development hell like Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and Disney's "Enchanted," though... I doubt the projected 2010 release is going to happen, as it hasn't even begun production yet.

What's that Dark Oz movie?
"Dark Oz" got a budget and a director. It looks like it'll get made. Being released is another matter entirely...

American McGee's Oz? What happened?
It took them several years to announce that the video game had been shelved, but they claimed there was a movie version in the works. You can actually bet that it's not likely to happen. There's a movie based on their "Alice" game in the works, but that had been a big selling game. The Oz game was never even finished.

What's The Sword of Oz?
It was a digital "Which Way" book about a knight named Arthur Gale (yeah...) who winds up in Oz and helps the Munchkins seal away what seems to be the Wicked Witch of the East. Not much to it. The site is , but it's been pulled and getting a "Special Edition" in September 2009.

Why hasn't that Nintendo DS game come out?
So far, that DS game, called "Riz-zoawd," was only for a foreign market. It's yet to get an English version, and may never. Well, that is until the ROM gets on the internet and a DS ROM hacker with too much time on their hands make a hack/translation of it. (It's lack of availability in the US is why I wasn't too interested when I heard about it.) Anyways, we're still waiting on the Wii game based on the MGM movie.

So, behind all of these so-called "rumors," there's some fact. It's just that some facts have been obscured and exaggerated by over-hype by fans and, maybe, the press and the people who announced them...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Thought...

You know, I was thinking about L. Frank Baum's death and how he left his wife Maud.

Thinking over his life, you have to admit that likely being under Baum's care was no picnic. He was out of money often, most of his business ventures failed, and the family was constantly moving.

When he finally broke into writing children's books with Father Goose: His Book (and later, the Oz series), some stability finally came into the Baum family's life with a home in Chicago and a cottage by Lake Michigan.

However, the family went through one more crisis when Baum invested in the Fairylogue & Radio-Plays, a business venture that eventually led to Baum declaring bankruptcy. (Though, in truth, Maud was directly receiving the royalties from Baum's books.)

That was really Baum's last financial disaster. The Oz Film Manufacturing Company did not involve any of Baum's own money, though it did ultimately fail.

When Baum died, he told his wife that she hoped she would stay at his home at Ozcot, where they had "been so happy."

And she did! Until her death in the 1950's, Maud stayed at her husband's home in Hollywood, thanks to the royalties from her husband's books. She never had to worry about money again.

It's a little creepy but still romantic to think that Baum was able to care for his wife after his death, even better than he had in life.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lack of bloggage?

(Huh... Bloggage... Nice term... Better put that on the same list as "linkage.")

Yeah, I generally try to do 1-3 blogs a week, but this week, I haven't had a lot of Oz in mind... Sorry...

That being said, last I heard, today I may be meeting someone in the Oz community, and I borrowed my sister's digital camera (we actually bought it together, but when she moved out, I decided to let her and her fiance have it, and I haven't been able to buy a new one), so hopefully, if everything works out, there will be some fun photos (and maybe a video) up...

And as for Wonders 11's re-make, I DID do it, but when I put it on YouTube, it got removed for using music from Wicked's OCR, which I thought was odd, since the poorer quality original version used it, too... And that's still up...