16 March 2011

Dorothy the Assassin?

Last month I noted how the Fables spin-off comic book Cinderella: Fables Are Forever is using the character of Dorothy Gale as the heroine’s nemesis. Or actually a grown-up Dorothy Gale who looks a lot more like Judy Garland than like John R. Neill’s blonde.

I found an interview at the Outhousers with Chris Roberson, scripter of that series, explaining how he found this take on Dorothy:

Last year my wife and I were watching The Wiz one night on DVD, and I noticed something about Dorothy Gale I'd never thought about before: namely, that she is a killer for hire.

When Dorothy goes to kill the Wicked Witch for the Wizard in exchange for a trip back home, she is agreeing to commit murder in exchange for pay, essentially. She killed the Wicked Witch of the East by accident at the beginning of the story when Dorothy's house landed on her, but when she takes out the Wicked Witch of the West it is a premeditated, conscious act. So by the end of that first Oz story, Dorothy has killed two witches and profited from it.

I figured that maybe she learned that she had a taste for it, and after the end of her story went on to become a PROFESSIONAL killer for hire. . . .
Roberson’s take on the basic Wizard of Oz plot reminded me of a summary of the MGM movie I’d once read, which the internet tells me was composed by Rick Polito of the Marin Independent Journal:
Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.
As I wrote earlier, I authored a Baum Bugle article called “Dorothy the Conqueror.” It points out that the little girl and her company subdue, depose, or put into vassalage the following rulers: the Wicked Witch of the East, the Queen of the Field Mice, the Wicked Witch of the West, the King of the Flying Monkeys, the Wizard, the China Princess, the giant spider, the Chief Wheeler, Princess Langwidere, the Nome King, the Mangaboo Princess, and the King of the Gargoyles. And that’s just her first three adventures. So I agree that Dorothy certainly develops a taste for putting things right. I wouldn’t go so far as saying she’s a contract killer, but it’s a better fit for her than for some other heroines.

In this publicity interview Roberson also said:
there is a lot more creepy stuff in the [Oz] books than we ever saw on screen. The Technicolor Oz is a pretty domesticated place, and one that audiences are very comfortable with, but the Oz of the books has all of these odd little creatures and concepts scattered around the landscape, that make good fodder for stories like this.
We could therefore see a lot more of Dorothy and Oz in Cinderella just as Bill Willingham’s version of Ozma goes superhero in Fables.

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