24 February 2011

To Ozopolis and Back

Ozopolis is a new Oz comic, written and published by Kirk Kushin and illustrated in black and white by Gonzalo Martinez. It’s firmly based in the Oz that L. Frank Baum left us, without severe reinventions for the sake of novelty or shock.

I also discern the influence of Eric Shanower’s older Oz comics, lately collected in Adventures in Oz. Martinez’s characterization of Dorothy, for example, looks a lot like Shanower’s, with strong chin, blonde hair, and dark Ann-Margret eyebrows. As in Shanower’s drawings (and John R. Neill’s before him), Dorothy dresses in contemporary style. Unlike in Adventures in Oz, however, Ozma has also updated her fashion, making her look a little more like General Jinjur.

If you understood that allusion, then you’re well positioned to appreciate the story in Ozopolis, #1. It really requires having read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz (the series’ first three volumes), and The Patchwork Girl of Oz (the 1913 relaunch). Fortunately, those are among Baum’s most enjoyable and widely available titles.

On the other hand, if you don’t know that the Woozy can shoot fire from his eyes, and what prompts him to do that, then the end of this episode will seem like a Woozy ex machina. Along with that cubical creature, the story’s stars are Tik-Tok, the Sawhorse, and the Glass Cat, with appearances from several more favorites. The result is a funny, action-filled adventure with the promise of a big conflict to come.

Ozopolis is available by mail through its website, which also offers a few preview pages. (I picked up one panel back here.) Delivery was swift, and I hope there will be more issues to come.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind review. The seccond volume will be released this summer. For updates visit our website: www.ozopolis.com or seacg "OZopolis" on Facebook.

J. L. Bell said...

Thanks, Kirk! I look forward to the next issue, and to meeting you at the Winkie Convention this summer.