04 August 2010

Visiting Ozopolis

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:

The former gain their power from closely following the originals while creating new visuals, the latter from upending people’s understanding of Baum’s fairyland (or its cinematic adaptation).

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.)


CLM said...

I was reading my 7-year-old nephew Glinda over the weekend (it is a first edition that belonged to my grandmother; sadly in very poor condition due to much love over the years) and wondering what to read next when the series is done. Maybe he would like an Oz comic!

J. L. Bell said...

L. Frank Baum wrote a number of fantasy novels that he linked to his Oz series by saying they took place in nearby fairylands. Of those, I think Queen Zixi of Ix, Sky Island, The Enchanted Island of Yew, and John Dough and the Cherub are most enjoyable.

Eric Shanower’s Little Adventures in Oz comics recently reprinted are excellent, and fit nicely with Baum’s books. Comics are harder to read aloud than prose books, so they have to be shared in another way.