After all these years there is no possible way to escape this story, not that I ever wanted to. Since early childhood I love the story of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. To be honest I have only read the first and most famous of those many books by Frank L. Baum. The others are still waiting on my bedside table, along many others.
The books were very popular in he first half of the 20th century, the author himself published about 13 before he died. Even after his death the publishers asked another author to continue to write and further 21 books were published until 1942.
Apart from stage plays and musicals, somewhere in 1939, a movie was produced. This became a cinematic legend over the centuries, not only because this was the first movie in technicolor but also because it was quite a good one. They adapted the story quite well, casted some very fine actors and used amazing new special effects. It still amazes and entertains me today, and I love that they show the real world in black & white and the Land of OZ in color. An idea that was reused in the movie “OZ: The Great and Powerful” while using the 3D technology in comparison.
What still fascinates me most is that this story, the movie and its dialogues got quoted and reused in movies, shows and so many other medias. The most memorable ones for me are the one in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Zardoz and Tin Man, only to name a few.
So it was only a matter of time that the stories will be published in Comic form and in 2008 it happened that MARVEL decided to publish the first story. What a good idea that was, the team did a wonderful job to breath life into this story. Eric Shanower and Skottie Young were assigned as writer and artist. Skottie Young, the artist who was already known for some work within the MARVEL Universe, like Spider Man, Deadpool among others shows here what he is capable of bringing the images of a children’s book into life. The way he draws the scenery and the characters is amazing. After all the adaptions we’ve seen this one feels right. Honestly, after all these years I cannot imagine how this could be drawn more fitting from other artists. Different, for sure and maybe even better but never more accurate to what I imagined when I read the book. On one hand he brings a very comical style on the page on the other hand you can really feel each character being alive. He manages to bring magic into each panel. I still love the moment when Dorothy, the Tin Woodsman, the Scarecrow and the Lion meet the powerful Wizard one after another to state their wish and the Wizard appears each time in different form. Eric Shanower, the author makes the story, provides the wonderful dialogues and the scenery. He takes the original story, stays close to the book and true to the characters and makes them believable for us. Both of us show why these stories stayed timeless over the centuries, they are not only simple characters on a search for something, they are personifications of our fear and hopes.
So, in case you are a fan of the story or any fantasy children story at all, give this a try. It will make it worth your while.
Thankfully, the first limited series, which retold the first book was successful and well earned some critical acclaim, including some Eisner Awards.
So far the following stories are published by MARVEL:
The Wonderful Wizard of OZ
The Marvelous Land of OZ
Ozma of OZ
Dorothy & The Wizard in OZ
Road of OZ
The Emerald City of OZ