Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Forgotten Forest of Oz - Treasury Edition

And IDW releases The Forgotten Forest of Oz once more! Let's see... if we count all versions of Adventures of Oz as one printing, and then Little Adventures in Oz as another, this would be the third time.

From what it sounds like, they were reissuing graphic novels in an oversize "Treasury Edition" format. By oversize, I mean a little over 13 inches tall. That's a big book!

When Shanower was approached to have one of his Oz graphic novels reprinted in this format, he chose The Forgotten Forest of Oz, his favorite of his five graphic novels.

We've talked about Forgotten Forest before, in full spoilery detail, here. But for those who haven't read it before and don't want to be spoiled, but are interested, here's a shorter summary from my little review of the Little Adventures in Oz collections:
  • Wood Nymph Nelanthe is banished from the Forest of Burzee for kissing a mortal man. The King of the Trolls befriends her and makes her his queen, and she helps him plan an attack on Burzee. However, she wishes she could just forget and has her giant bat Nightshade steal some of the Water of Oblivion. When Nightshade accidentally brings back Dorothy and Toto, can our friends from Oz (including the Scarecrow and the Sawhorse) escape to warn the Forest of Burzee in time?
 I really enjoy this one, though while Shanower may find it his favorite, I think The Ice King of Oz rivals it as my favorite of his five. But, no matter. The story is well-done with some excellently developed characters and the artwork is superb as ever.

Of course, the oversize format allows you to enjoy the details of Shanower's artwork even more than before, though the large size might make you think twice before you take it to read somewhere other than home. (Particularly if you have the Little Adventures in Oz books.)

As for additional material, all the pictures that appeared for the story in the now out of print Adventures in Oz collection are reproduced here and then some. The front cover is completely new to this edition, while on the back is the cover representing the story first used for Little Adventures in Oz Vol. 2. The original edition's front cover is reproduced right after the story, so all three covers the story has had are present. The inside front cover shows the Scarecrow on the Yellow Brick Road, while the inside back cover is a biography of Shanower and a couple photos.

There are more character designs and preliminary art not found in Adventures in Oz and Shanower wrote a completely new appendix to go along with it. Also, when we get to the original ending, there is a third page that was not included in the original version. I won't spoil what happens on it, but it does answer a question I had about the story, though I did consider it an insignificant detail.

Just about the only negative thing to say is that there's a picture of Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow and the Sawhorse by the Forbidden Fountain after the story, and the picture quality is extremely soft. This is most noticeable on the writing on the fountain. Not sure what happened there, but that's a really minor niggle.

Overall, it's a nice new edition. There are likely Oz fans who already have three versions (original, Adventures, and Little Adventures) and they might balk at buying the same story yet again. Part of what hooked me was the price of only $10. That and Hungry Tiger Press was offering a limited bookplate with it for the first 100 customers, so why not?

Here's mine. I'm a little proud of ordering early in the morning two weeks ago now. Plus, Eric Shanower sketched a knotty-looking Sawhorse in my copy for me.

Get your copy from Hungry Tiger Press.

No comments: