David Maxine at Hungry Tiger Press alerted me to a new Oz comic book called Ozopolis, written by Kirk Kushin and illustrated by Gonzalo Martinez. The first issue is on sale now, and four preview pages (which include the panel above) are visible on the Ozopolis website.
Generally recent Oz comics have fallen into two categories:
- adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, starting with the first and most famous, such as the Eisner-winning volumes that Marvel is commissioning from Eric Shanower and Skottie Young, and the manga-tinged work of David Hutchison and Michael Cavallaro.
- radical reinventions of those stories in various ways, including Karl Altstaetter’s Emerald City Blues, Tommy Kovac and Andy Hirsch Royal Historian of Oz, Viper Comics’s Nightmares in Oz, and manga that allude to the originals in the vaguest ways.
Ozopolis appears to be doing what Shanower did in his 1980s comics now collected in (Little) Adventures in Oz: creating sequels to the Oz series that happen to be in comics form, fitting into the novels’ “continuity” without making great changes to it, and trying to replicate the tone of the originals.
I think the Ozopolis art style also follows in Shanower’s footsteps: character designs based largely on the art of John R. Neill, modern dress for Dorothy (and Ozma), realistic renderings of people created with clear and flowing outlines. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with more Oz stories in a Shanoverian style.
(Yet another recent Oz comic book is Jer Alford and Erin Ptah’s Emeralds: Hearts in Oz. That strikes me as falling in between the reinventions and the sequels, with Dorothy taking on magical responsibilities and character redesigns for the Scarecrow and Patchwork Girl.)