Saturday, April 07, 2012


I got three comics this week.
  • Dorothy of Oz: The Prequel #1
 The Jester arrives at the Wicked Witch of the West's castle and takes control of the flying monkeys. And then sends them to capture the mayor of Munchkinland, who he turns into a puppet. And the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Lion begin planning their defense.

I had assumed the prequel comic at Wondercon was the beginning of this, but this is a new comic entirely, and has even less story in more pages. I hope they do something interesting in the remaining three issues, or it looks like a case of lather, rinse, repeat. The art's pretty nice, though.

Eric Shanower does the covers, and as much as I love his art, I am not a fan of the character designs. So, surprisingly, I now have least-favorite Shanower Oz art... (I guess it had to happen.)

Overall, if this series is supposed to get me excited about the movie, it's not doing it.
  • The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles: Book One
Here's one that might have been worth waiting for in this form. This miniseries was released on an irregular annual basis. Thus, keeping track of the story was pretty difficult.

The artwork is amazing, though, using an extremely realistic look to reinterpret the original illustrations of John R. Neill and John Tenniel. Dorothy, however, definitely owes a bit of a nod to Judy Garland.

For some reason, everyone who has come to Oz to live from America has decided to return. Somehow, an adult Dorothy meets an adult Alice and are roommates with other girls. (One of them being based on Susan from The Chronicles of Narnia.)

A new Wicked Witch has arisen in Oz and is taking all the magic and using the Nomes in a plot to ... resurrect Uncle Henry? The Witch takes over the Emerald City and throws Ozma in a dungeon. Ruggedo goes to Wonderland to summon the Jabberwock and take it to Oz, which will briefly take it through America as well.

So, Dorothy and Alice are led by the Wizard to Oz (in a nod to Thompson, Dorothy becomes a little girl in Oz) and have to discover how to foil the witch's scheme once and for all.

I'm not a huge fan of Oz and Wonderland crossovers. To me, Oz is a fairy kingdom, while Wonderland is a little girl's dream. Keep these fantasies separate. Besides, why do you need the Jabberwock when Baum already gave us the Rak? The characters are nicely kept in character, though, and it's an interesting enough story to keep you reading, but I cannot accept it as Oz canon in any terms.

Book Two will be coming out next month, collecting the spin-off series The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles: Jack and Cat Tales, which I wish I'd known earlier as I bought some of the issues but couldn't find the first one for sale. Guess I got more fodder for the Winkie Swap Meet...
  • Betty and Veronica Storybook
I remember when we heard that the Betty and Veronica Digest #188 would feature the story "There's No Place Like Riverdale!", an Archie Comics take off on The Wizard of Oz. However, I couldn't find a copy for sale anywhere. But recently, someone brought this graphic novel to my attention that featured it as the third of four stories, all taking off of fantasy tales.

Although the book is featured in the beginning and the graphic novel mentions the original Baum book, this story is clearly influenced by the MGM movie.

Betty, looking for things to put in a yard sale, gets hit on the head after beginning to re-read the book. Her house is then carried off by a tornado to Oz, where a Munchkin greets her (the rest are on strike) as does the Good Witch of the North. After she gives Betty the Ruby Sneakers, the Wicked Witch of the East arrives and demands them, but the Good Witch (and several other witches) drive her away.

Betty sets off to the Emerald City, being joined by a Scarecrow who wants a brain (Archie), a Tin Man who wants a new stomach (Jughead) and a Lion who wants a new mirror (Reggie). They wind up going to the Wicked Witch's castle, except here the story takes some very fun—and very Archie—twists.

Their takes on Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella are very humorous as well, but their take on Alice is very unlike the original story, but still fun. Overall, if you missed the original version, this would be a good second chance to get "There's No Place Like Riverdale!" along with some other stories I'm sure Oz fans would enjoy as well.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

I like the Oz-Wonderland Chronicles, but it's true that the Rak would likely be more deadly than the Jabberwock. After all, the Jabberwock died when it was beheaded, while the Rak can't be killed.