Dark Arts, Part Three: Return to the Dark Side

I can still feel the thrill that went through me the first time I laid eyes on a horror comic at the tender age of nine. A skeletonized hand reached from a grave toward a beautiful woman, her eyes and mouth wide in terror, as a rotting zombie looked on. There was a visceral tug of war in my soul at that moment: feverish desire to know what the story was about, battling with fear of the fright that would accompany the story and inevitably linger on to haunt many bedtimes to come. Later, writers like Poe, Bradbury and King entertained and tormented me into losing sleep, jumping at things half-seen from the corner of my eyes, and racing up the stairs in the darkness while the breath of some imagined demon whispered at my heels.

In Glinda of Oz, Baum tells a story of two young girls who go off alone to stop a war between two communities, the Flatheads and the Skeezers (no, I am not kidding.) They journey through alien territories and are imprisoned no less than three times, including once by a giant despotic arachnid. Sure, Ozma is a powerful and wise fairy, and Dorothy has a few protective items, but they are not invincible. For instance, Baum writes that although Dorothy could not be killed or suffer any great bodily pain as long as she lived in Oz, “[she] was a mortal, nevertheless, and might possibly be destroyed, or hidden where none of her friends could ever find her. She could, for instance, be cut into pieces, and the pieces, while still alive and free from pain, could be widely scattered; or she might be buried deep underground, or “destroyed’ in other ways by evil magicians. were she not properly protected.” Yikes. So Glinda gives Dorothy a ring she can use to summon her in utmost peril, presumably if Dorothy can use it before her hand is severed from her body. Remember, this is the last of the Oz books (completely written by Baum,) you can’t assume they all emerge unscathed. What would we do without wicked witches, enslaved winged monkeys, zombies and silver-eyed clowns? Just remember that in Oz as in our world, a freakish and unlovely exterior might house the heart of a hero, and the loveliest person might be gripping a knife behind her back. So stay on your toes.





5 thoughts on “Dark Arts, Part Three: Return to the Dark Side

  1. Carrie Rubin

    I used to read scary books all the time as a kid and a teen. Horror was my favorite genre. Unfortunately, now that I’m an oldie, I don’t get scared anymore, and the thrill is gone. I suppose there’s too much stuff in the real world that scares me. But I still enjoy reading King from time to time. Just finished ‘Doctor Sleep’ a couple weeks ago.

    1. lynnettedobberpuhl Post author

      Yeah, ghosts and werewolves and the occasional freaky illustration can freak me out just as much now as it did when I was a kid. I agree the real world is a scary place, but not scary fun, unfortunately. I haven’t read any King since “Under the Dome,” unless you count re-reading “Salem’s Lot.” You’re not an oldie!

      On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 3:04 PM, wordtabulous

  2. kerbear

    Yikes. And again I say, Yikes. I will probably never think of WofO the same again – all deep colors and fanciful hopes. Although I never truly understood why she wanted to leave a place that was magical and provided massages and colorful horse and buggy rides and adventure. (The concept of never seeing family again evidently didn’t enter my train of thought. Typical me, jump in excitement then scream “What was I thinking! !?”)

    I think I shall have to read the series.

    Great work!

    1. lynnettedobberpuhl Post author

      I am just sick that I can’t find the version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz I read to Tom when he was in pre-school. I can’t even find a picture of it online! That one wasn’t illustrated by Jon O’Neill. I can only hope it surfaces someday. I read a paperback version of that book recently and enjoyed that, and think you should at least read a couple of them! Thanks for checking in!

      On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 4:00 PM, wordtabulous


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