Whimsical. That's the word that came to mind as I made my way through this adaptation of L. Frank Baum's Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, a 184-page trade paperback available from Marvel Comics.
Everyone knows the film version of Baum's Oz starring Judy Garland, but I've come across few who are familiar with the original 14 books, plus all the other books that came after (something like 14 at last count). I haven't even read all of them, but when I saw that Marvel had started to adapt these works, I wanted to take a look—especially with the new movie, Oz: The Great and Powerful, coming to movie theaters soon.
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
The fourth of the Land of Oz books, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz begins when Dorothy and her cousin Zeb, his horse Jim, and her kitten Eureka, fall through a crack in the ground caused by an earthquake. Much to Zeb's surprise, Jim begins to talk once they reach the bottom of the hole (their carriage top acting as a parachute to see them safely down). So does Eureka. Here they meet the Mangaboos, who live in glass houses and are quite upset with Dororthy and Zeb for causing stones to rain down on them. Next, Oz appears in his hot air balloon. The Prince of the Mangaboos decides to keep Oz as his Wizard, but intends to destroy Dorothy and her friends, who are rescued by the new Princess of the Mangaboos. Unfortunately, this rescue is only a brief respite, as all the Mangaboos distrust Dorothy and her friends, and still wish to see them destroyed. It's up to Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz to come up with a plan to save them all and return them to the surface world once again.
I mentioned 'whimsical' above, and this book's art can only be described as such. If you know Marvel comics, you've probably heard the phrase 'Marvel style' in terms of the over-muscled superheroes who fill those comics. There is none of that here. Skottie Young (X-Men, New Warriors), does a phenomenal job of capturing these characters and setting a mood and tone that immediately makes you smile. With exaggerated features, super-thin arms and legs, and lush color from Jean-Francois Beaulieu (G.I. Joe, NYX), the entire book feels like it pops off the pages.
Eric Shanower (The Road to Oz, Age of Bronze) wrote the adaptation and along with Skottie Young won the Eisner award in 2010 for their adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz will appeal to longtime fans of the books and characters, and is perfect for a family looking to read something together.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and Hugo-nominated Podcast producer/host who lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast was nominated for a 2012 Hugo Award. He writes for atfmb.com, SF Signal and Functional Nerds.