Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Video Review: The Patchwork Girl Of Oz

An independent computer animated movie that came out a while ago was The Patchwork Girl Of Oz from Thundertoad Animation. This is a direct adaptation of L. Frank Baum's seventh Oz book, that was also turned into a 1914 silent film.

The story tells of the crooked-but honest magician Dr. Pipt accidently turns his wife and his friend Nunkie into statues with a magic potion. Nunkie's nephew, Ojo the Unlucky, sets out to find ingredients to the Potion of Life to cure them. He travels with Pipt's living glass cat named Bungle, and a Patchwork Girl called Scraps also brought to life by Dr. Pipt. They befriend the enigmatic Woozy creature, and runs into Shaggy Man and Scarecrow who take them to the Emerald City. Princess Ozma has them seek out the other elements for the potion, and Dorothy joins them. After averting a war between the Horners and Hoppers, they collect the rest of the items and restore Pipt's wife and Nunkie.

The animation in this is pretty basic, even more than Hash Inc.'s CGI version of Tin Woodman Of Oz. However, it's still a faithful telling of the original story, and worth a looksy by Oz-files, or anyone interested in the further Oz books. The movie now is available on DVD, which has several deleted scenes and unused audio excerpts.

A Comic Minute: Marvelous Land Of Oz #1

Just thought I'd post this quick video review of Marvel Comics' The Marvelous Land Of Oz comic book from TGWTG.com.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Lurlinemas!

Hope you all have a great holiday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Witches Of Oz movie coming in 2010

Yet another Oz-based movie on the way, The Witches Of Oz, a full-length live-action independent production by Leigh Scott through his company of Blackthorn Industries with co-producer Chris Campbell. In it, Dorothy is a modern-day children's author whose life takes a turn when characters from Oz start showing up in the real world. The movie already has actors like Chistopher Lloyd, Lance Henriksen, Billy Boyd, Eliza Swenson, and Noel Thurman signed on to it. It's started filming now in Connecticut, and plans are to have a release date in either late spring or early summer of next year. See here for an article about the current filming.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Emeralds First Look: Glinda & Trot

Here's a preview of Glinda and her pupil Trot from Emeralds.

Emeralds Character Bios: Tin Woodman

Also known as "Tin Man", Nick Chopper was originally a woodchopper who fell in love with Nimme Amee, a slave girl of the Wicked Witch of the East. The witch cast a spell on Nick's axe which began to chop off his limbs and eventually his head. Fortunately, Nick new a "tinsmith" naked Ku-Klip who managed to give him metal parts, until he was totally tin. He then became rusted while cutting down a tree, and then years later was saved by Dorothy and Scarecrow on their way to the Wizard, who he got a heart from. Going by the name of Tin Woodman, he later became the Emporer of the Winkies after the Wicked Witch of the West was melted. Eventually, he went to win the hand of Nimme Amee, but found out that she married Chopfyt, who was a man created by Ku-Klip from remaining flesh parts of both Nick Chopper and Captain Fyter. Fyter was a soldier who also tried to win Nimme's heart after Nick went missing, but was also cursed by the Wicked Witch, and given a tin body by Ku-Klip. Tin Woodman has been on many adventures with Scarecrow and the others. In Emeralds, Nick Chopper has been restored to his original form thanks to Ozma's magic, in partially the same she turned Jack Pumpkinhead into a human. This will also lead into a possible relationship of Nick with a former enemy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dorothy character in MAR

In case you didn't catch it when it was playing on Cartoon Network's old Toonami block from a few years back, there was a character based on Dorothy appeared in the anime and manga series MAR, which is an abbreviation for Marchen Awakens Romance. In it, young nerdy Ginta enters the fantasy world of MAR-Heaven, and finds all sorts of strange magical people and enchanted creatures. Most of the main characters are based off of ones from fairy tales like Snow White, Jack And The Beanstalk, Pinnochio, and more. Dorothy is one of the major characters, although in this one, she is a pink-haired teenage witch who rides on a flying broom that doubles as a magical staff. She starts out as a hunter of ARM pieces, which are like summon monsters that double as pieces of jewelry or weapons. She teams up with Ginta on and off, and eventually becomes his main love interest, mostly because she rewards him with kisses instead of ARM. One of her ARM is a giant lion(similar to the Cowardly Lion), a large cerebus called Toto, and a spinning scarecrow on a pole. It's discovered later on that Dorothy is really one of two princesses, the other has become evil and leads a rival nation. Both the anime and manga is currently in print through Viz.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Video Review: Return To Oz(Disney)

During the 80s, Disney decided to do their own followup to the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz movie, but unlike Filmation's Journey Back To Oz, this one was live-action(although it had was some killer claymation). No relation to the Rankin/Bass animated TV special of the same name, Return To Oz was done in conjuction with MGM and weirdly enough George Lucus. The movie acts as a sequal to the 30s movie, as well as a combo of Land Of Oz and Ozma Of Oz.

Taking place about 6 months after the cyclone hit, Dorothy's constant going on about Oz has her aunt and uncle worried that she's crazy, so they send her to a clinic to get lobotomized by a 19th Century pinball machine. She gets sprung by a mysterious blonde girl, and falls into the river during the middle of a rainstorm, and is swept back to Oz in a crate. Once there, she is suprised to see her hen Billina from back on the farm with her. They find Dorothy's old house near the ruins of the Yellow Brick Road, which is a little strange since the house didn't really go to Oz in the first movie as it was all a dream. She heads for what's left of the Emerald City where everyone has been turned to stone. Dorothy is then chased by some of the monsterous Wheelers(who're supposed to be in Ev!), and finds the robotic Tik-Tok in a closet. She winds him up, and he helps fend off the Wheelers. They then go to confront "Princess" Mombi, who here is more like the character of Princess Langwidere from Ozma Of Oz, where as Mombi from the books was your stereotypical wicked witch character. Princess Mombi kidnaps Dorothy so she can use her as one of her spare detachable heads, while Tik-Tok is unable to help her as he's wound down. While locked in a tower, Dorothy befriends Jack Pumpkinhead, a living wooden man with a pumpkin for a head. After winding up Tik-Tok again, they use the special Powder of Life to bring a flying creature with the head of a moose-like Gump to life and fly away. Dorothy and Co. end up on the mountain of the Nome King who they learned is responsible for totally screwing over Oz. The Nome King offers them the chance to save the Scarecrow who he's keeping as an ornament, but only at the cost of them turning into ornaments themselves. He also reveals that he managed to take over Oz thanks to the power of Dorothy's ruby slippers that fell into his desert when she went back to Kansas. After only Dorothy is left to go choose, she manages to free Scarecrow and the others, but the Nome King is a sore loser and threatens to devour all of them. Fortunately, Billina manages to lay an egg in his mouth, and eggs are poison to nomes. The Nome King kicks the bucket, and the Emerald City returns to its green glory. Dorothy is asked to become the new Queen of Oz, but says she wants to go home instead. However, Dorothy releases Princess Ozma(the true heir to the throne)from Mombi's magic mirror, who it turns out was the girl who freed her from the asylum, and uses the ruby slippers to send her back to Kansas.

The movie was a drastic turn from the cheery musical that had until then become an American standard, and drew it more into the darker tone that the original L. Frank Baum novels had. Another aspect of the books taken into the movie was the character designs and the look of Oz itself. The movie's scarier motif actually frightened alot of kids and parents from seeing it in theatres, which subsequently turned this into more of a cult film. If you were expecting this to be something you could sit your toddlers down to watch without them peeing in their pants, you might wanna wait until they're a little older. Aside from that, the film is an almost perfect homage to Baum's legacy. Most notedly are the performances by Fairuza Balk as Dorothy who is the closest to being like the fictional character as possible, while at the same time is modeled after Judy Garland, although more closer the Dorothy's actual age. The other good performance is by Jean Marsh as Mombi, who reprised her character of an evil witch in the film Willow. I greatly admired the effort put into this, and truly believe it is a worthy continuation of the classic movie. Hopefully future Oz-related movie productions will make the same attempt to capture the magic of the original books.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comic Review: Adventures In Oz

Before his bigtime stint of adapting Marvel Comics' Oz comics, Eric Shanower did five one-shot graphic novels through First Comics and later on Dark Horse Comics. These were recently released in an album-sized graphic novel titled Adventures In Oz from IDW Publishing.

The first story is Enchanted Apples Of Oz where a sorceress named Valynn comes out of a hundred year siesta to reveal a tree holding magic apples which hold all the magic in the land of Oz, and the long-hidden Wicked Witch of the South and her overenthusiastic suitor try to steal them. Next in Secret Island Of Oz, Dorothy and Scarecrow try to find a special fish for the Royal Gardener which exists only in a special part of Oz. After running into Eureka, they come across an underground island, and try to save a bratty princess and her living wooden-boy from giant reptiles. In Ice King Of Oz, Ozma is kidnapped by an icy tyrant, so Dorothy and friends head south to try and rescue her, along with their new friend Flicker, a living candlestick man that was cursed by the Wicked Witch of the West. Following that is Forgotten Forest Of Oz where the wood nymph Nelanthe is banished from the forest of Burzee by Queen Zurline, and becomes the bride of the Goblin King to lead an invasion on the forest for revenge. After realizing she's made a mistake, Nelanthe tries to steal some of the Water of Oblivion from Oz so she can forget her misdeeds, but Dorothy stops her and manages to have the goblins get entangled with some rowdy dragons instead. Finally in Blue Witch Of Oz, Dorothy's quest to find out if there ever was a "Good" Witch of the East leads to a discovery by Glinda about the tragic past of a sorceress who lost her husband and then her son.

This collection features some great storytelling and artwork by Shanower, and you can tell you how his style developed from the first one in 1986 to the last in 1992. There are two versions of this graphic novel from IDW. One is the standard paperback, while the hardcover edition has an additional material to it including the comic story General Jinjur Of Oz, alternate endings to Blue Witch and Forgotten Forest, a prelude to Ice King, and several other short Oz comics and illustrations. IDW is planning on reprinting this into a series of smaller graphic novels titled Little Adventures In Oz coming out in 2010. Definately pick up this if you love Oz or appreciate good family literature.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Emeralds First Look: Scarecrow & Scraps

Here's a first look at Scarecrow and Scraps the Patchwork Girl as they appear in our upcoming Emeralds comic.

Video Review: Journey Back To Oz

Beating out Disney's Return To Oz by over a decade, this fully-animated "sequal" to the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz movie was headed up by Filmation, the same studio that did dozens of Saturday morning cartoons from the 60s-80s. Their main claims to fame were the original DC Super Heroes cartoons, the Star Trek animated series, Fat Albert, and He-Man. The film was headed up by Fredd Ladd, who pioneered alot of the original anime TV shows that were first shown in America, including Astro Boy. During the 60s when he was producing an original movie called Pinocchio In Outer Space, Ladd tried to get an animated followup to WOZ, however it wasn't until 1974 that it was finally released in theatres.

The story is set sometime after the original movie with Dorothy and Toto being taken to Oz via tornado(again?!), and then head out to the Emerald City. Along the way, she meets Pumpkinhead(not Jack)who is a slave of the evil witch Mombi that "claims" to be the cousin of both the deceased Wicked Witches. Mombi plots to kick Scarecrow off the throne with an army of conjured-up green elephants. Dorothy and Pumpkinhead go to warn Scarecrow, and run into an abandonned merry-go-round horse named Woodenhead who is this movie's version of the Sawhorse. They ride their new friend to the Emerald City and alert Scarecrow of the threat. But Mombi and her elephants show up and take over, imprisioning Scarecrow and Toto. Dorothy and the others try to get help from Tin Man and then Lion, both of whom uncharacteristically chicken out. Glinda finally arrives, but says she can't assist Dorothy directly(how convenient!)but gives her a magic box filled with an infinite number of mice to scare the elephants away. Facing defeat, Mombi disguises herself as a flower, only to get trampled on by the panicked packyderms. So Scarecrow is made king of Oz again, Pumpkinhead and Woodenhead get swanky new jobs, and Dorothy and Toto get sent back home thanks to Glinda's magic(so much for magic slippers).

This film was basically yet another take on the second book, Land Of Oz, although once again Dorothy is added to it when she was never even in the original story at all. There were alot of famous actors who provided voices for it, including Liza Minnelli(Judy Garland's daughter)as Dorothy, Mickey Rooney as Scarecrow, Paul Lynde as Pumpkinhead, Danny Thomas as Tin Man, Milton Berle as Lion, and Ethel Merman as Mombi. The animation was signifigantly better than most Filmation productions, mainly because they hired some additional outside animators from studios like Disney, including Don Bluth. It makes for a pretty enjoyable kids movie, although there's a whole load of mostly unnecessary music numbers thrown in, which if they were left out would've made the movie about thirty minutes shorter. Fans of the Land Of Oz might not like the primary characters of Trot, Jinjur, or Wogglebug being left out, but will probably appreciate the effort made to homage the original book. It was as of recently put on DVD by the now defucnt Ink & Paint, but is still available from most retailers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Scarecrow joke movie poster


Just put this together for fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Video Review: Tin Woodman Of Oz

Hash Inc. has come out with a feature-length online computer animated movie based on the tweflth Oz book, Tin Woodman Of Oz. It adapts L. Frank Baum's novel, but is done slightly out of order from the original story.

The movie starts out with the Winkie boy Woot visiting Tin Woodman and Scarecrow in the Tin Palace. TW tells Woot his origin about how he was originally a woodchopper, but the Wicked Witch of the East's curse on his axe cut his body up, and because of it he never got to marry his love, Nimmie Amee. This causes him to reflect on leaving her, so the trio set out to find her. Along the way, they meet the strange balloon-like Loon people, and eventually make it to the tinsmith Ku-Klip who gave Tin Woodman his new body. Ku-Klip them that he took most of Tin Woodman's remaning human parts and assembled them(along with a metal arm)into a new body he called Chopfyt. Ku-Klip directs them to where Nimmie now lives. Once there, Tin Woodman is shocked to find that she is already happily married to Chopfyt, even if he is henpecked by her. Our crew leave with Tin Woodman feeling depressed, but accidently wander into the house of the evil magic-using giantess, Ms. Yoop. She turns Tin Woodman into a tin owl, Scarecrow into a teddy bear, and Woot into a green monkey. Yoop then keeps them as prisioners, but they are set free with the help of the tin girl, Nimee Aimie. She was a substitute that Ku-Klip made for the Wicked Witch in place for Nimmie Amee, but was later on enslaved herself by Yoop. Despite his new owl form, Tin Woodman takes a real shining to the tin girl, and the four escapees make their way across Munchkinland. Luckily, Ozma(who here seems alot older and looks more like Glinda)shows up and transforms them back into their normal selves. Tin Woodman and Nimee fall in love, and the two go back to the Tin Palace along with Scarecrow.

There's alot of differences in the original version of the book and this movie. For one was the absense of the Tin Soldier character, and the addition of the Tin Girl. This did make for a slightly happier ending at least for Tin Woodman, despite the fact that the Tin Girl's character wasn't in the book. Also left out were the regular Oz characters: Dorothy, Jinjur, and Polychrome. Plus, Ms. Yoop gave off the appearance of a large dragon-woman as opposed to a human giantess. The sequential order was shifted around too, like Tin Woodman reuniting with Nimmie being near the beginning where as in the original it was more at the end. The animation is pretty good for a totally independent production, although not up on the Pixar level, and it makes for a good flick for the kids. The movie is currently online(check out this playlist for the proper order)along with some out-takes and deleted scenes. Hash Inc. is planning on releasing it on DVD soon, as well as doing a sequal to it adapted from the ninth Oz novel, Scarecrow Of Oz(see some test videos), to come out in 2010-2011.

Oz Wars! Nothing but Oz Wars!

According to Variety, a movie production from Vanguard Films(Space Chimps/Happily N'ever After)is coming out based on the unreleased The Oz Wars graphic novel. John H. Williams marked the title at this year's San Diego Comic-Con by spotting it in the con's gallery and acquired it from the author who goes by the handle "Dorothy Gale". The story takes place in the Emerald City where the Witches(whether these are just the Wicked ones or not is unknown)are trying to take it over, and the resistance fighters lead by the Wizard are trying to ward them off. It seems like its more of a take on Lord Of The Rings starring the regular Oz cast. This film will probably be animated as opposed to live-action since that's Vanguard's main dish.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Baum's Kidnapped Santa Claus becomes a comic

Harper Collins recently released a small hardcover graphic novel based on L. Frank Baum's original book, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, adapted by Alex Robinson(Box Office Poison). The book was a followup to Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus which told Santa's origins. In this story, Santa gets captured by some evil demons, so a bunch his elves and fairy friends(including Zurline)mount a rescue. This actually turned out to be a great comic for young readers, and I highly recommend it as a holiday gift. You can find copies of it here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Comic Review: Land Of Oz-The Manga

The sequal to Antarctic Press' series of Oz-The Manga was this comic broken up into two parts, Land Of Oz-The Manga. This is another adaptation of the 2nd Oz book by L. Frank Baum. The first half is just called Land Of Oz-The Manga, while the other is Land Of Oz-The Manga: Return To The Emerald City. I'm unaware as to why it was decided to have it run this way instead of simply doing a strait run of eight issues, but it was possibly done as some kind of marketing stragedy to differentiate is from the Marvel Comics version of Wonderful Wizard Of Oz which was being released at the time.

The story was very much the same from the original Marvelous Land Of Oz novel, although for some reason instead of the regular guardian of the Emerald City gate it has Tik-Tok(who is called "Tick-Tock")who doesn't even show up until the third novel. The character designs are also slightly redone in traditional manga-style. Tip looks like he/she's out of a steampunk anime, Jinjur is at first wearing a proper military uniform and then later on she's gussied up like a Disney Princess, Mombi appears more like a Munchkin considering she's from Gillikin, Jellia is even shorter than average, and Wogglebug is very distinguished. Tin Man is back with shiny nickel-plating, and Scarecrow is very sharp in his new royal duds.

There's currently two Pocket Manga graphic novels, although the comic issues are very much worth a look, especially the cool variant cover to the first issue, and a cool wraparound cover to the first issue of the second chapter. There hasn't been any news if there'll be a comic about Ozma Of Oz, but if David Hutchison's work on the previous manga satisfied you, then you'll love this one too.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New photo covers to Wicked

Harper Collins has recently released new photo covers to the first two volumes of The Wicked Years books by Gregory Maguire. This includes Wicked and Son Of A Witch, although the third book, A Lion Amoung Men, has not been redone with a photo cover at this time. You can find copies of these at bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble.

Emeralds Character Bios: Mombi

Here's a character whose probably been reinvented more times than any other Oz character outside the original books. Mombi was a not-so-talented witch who first appeared in Marvelous Land Of Oz. She raised Princess Ozma, although to hide her from anyone seeking to put her back on the throne, Mombi disguised her as a boy named Tip. When Ozma is later on turned back into a girl and made ruler of Oz, Mombi apparently had all her powers and knowledge of magic taken away by Glinda. Ozma later on reveals that her grandfather, and then later on her father King Pastoria were originally prisioners of Mombi, and Ozma was born in Mombi's captivity. How exactly Ozma's grandfather and father had "mated" with someone imprisioned by Mombi is unknown, which asks the question if whether or not Mombi is possibly Ozma's mother or grandmother. Mombi is never shown again in the rest of the Oz books that L. Frank Baum did, although she was melted in Ruth Plumly Thompson's Lost King In Oz. Mombi was portrayed as Princess Mombi in Return To Oz who was really more like Princess Langwidere from Ozma Of Oz, plus in Journey Back To Oz she was supposed to be the sister of the other Wicked Witches. For the Emeralds comic, Mombi has reformed herself, and Ozma has taken her on as a Jack Pumpkinhead's nanny. She also acts as an Ozma's advisor, and one her heads of staff. Whether or not Mombi's intentions are good remain to be seen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Comic Review: Oz-The Manga

Antarctic Press came out with a mini-series by David Hutchison(check out his Deviantart page!)which is a manga adaptation of the original Wizard Of Oz book titled Oz-The Manga.

It was an 8-issue series that covered most of the first novel, although there was a special Oz-The Manga: Epilogue issue that came out afterwards shows part of the journey from Emerald City to Glinda's palace that wasn't included in the series print run, possibly because they were running short of space in the story to include it before the conclusion.

Anyway, Hutchison did a very excellent interpretation of WOZ, although he did include a few scenes that have never shown before. Some of which were Dorothy mustering up her bravery to pass by the now abandonned castle of the Wicked Witch of the East, plus a little more interaction of her with the Munchkins. Another is the introduction of the Wicked Witch of the West's manservant Nestred who looks like an evil butler. The character designs are very "mangafied". Tin Man more resembles a steam-powered Tik-Tok, Scarecrow is tall and gangly, the Good Witch of the North seems more like a Munchkin even though she's from Gillikin, the Wizard looks like a shorter Mark Twain, the flying monkeys are really winged apes, and the Wicked Witch of the West is very similar to the version of her from OZF5. This series is collected(with the Epilogue special)in a large Pocket Manga, which is AP's manga-sized graphic novels. It also spawned off an adaption of Land Of Oz that was split up into two series. It makes for a great take on the whole Oz storyline, and is guaranteed to satisfy any otaku!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

EMERALDS CALENDARS FOR SALE!

We've recently created a 2010 wall calendar. These are 8 1/2 x 11 on cardstock for only $2 + S&H:


They're also available laminated for $5 + S&H:


These will be around only for a limited time, so please help support Emeralds!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Comic Review: The Red Brick Road Of Oz

Meant to act as kind of a followup to both the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz movie and the Wicked book/play, Jake Shandy created this webcomic titled The Red Brick Road Of Oz(also available on PaperDemon.com).

In it, Terry Gale is the great nephew of Dorothy Gale who is visiting Kansas along with his successful author father and primadonna actress stepmother. They arrive at the old Gale farm where they meet Hank, the elderly caretaker. Hank tells Terry about how Dorothy was missing for five years from the place she called Oz, and went on to be a tragic actress in Hollywood. Terry is then swept up by a tornado, and is taken to Oz. Once there, he comes upon the old house that originally brought Dorothy, and finds an old book inside(supposedly the Grimmerie). He then runs into some friendly winged monkeys who tell him he has to take the book to Glinda in Gilliken.

Shandy has had an on-and-off hiatus with the webcomic for nearly a year now, but usually makes some kind of update every so often.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Andrew Lloyd Webber to do Oz musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber(Cats/Phantom Of The Opera)has been in production for doing a new British stage adaptation of Wizard Of Oz, which was sparky partially due to the success that Wicked has had in the U.K. This is reported to be a new version of the original 1939 movie, however Webber is said to be making writing at least six new songs for this version. He has been planning this project since fall of 2008, although he decided to give it up this summer, but went back into it this fall. Webber has been very particular in looking for a newcomer to play the part of Dorothy, as well as a highly-trained dog for Toto, although a contender has yet to be chosen. Recently, Webber had surgery for prostate cancer of which he was just hospitalized, but he still claims to be willing to produce the musical.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Review: Glass Cat Of Oz

Another original book from Books Of Wonder's line of Emerald City Press titles is Glass Cat Of Oz. Written by David Hulan and drawn by George O'Conner, this book highlights Bungle, the glass cat that first appeared in Patchwork Girl Of Oz.

The story involves a twin brother and sister who find a genie that grants them the ability to transform using the magic word "Pryzqxgl"(from Magic Of Oz)and then sends them to Oz. There, they become involved in a plot to save Queen Ann from a bunch of punks called the Bad Lads who use the gun tree to take over the land of Oogaboo. Along with Glass Cat, Trot, Cap'n Bill, and Hungry Tiger, they manage to save Ann in the others just in time for Betsy Bobbin's anniversary.

This was a good book with references to most of the original 14 Baum books, although it might seem a little too much like author wish-fullfilment. But it's a good read for your average Oz-phile.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Scarecrow Of Oz animated movie coming soon

Hash Inc. is creating a sequal to their computer animated movie, Tin Woodman Of Oz. Their next film will be Scarecrow Of Oz based on the book of the same name, although this is within the continuity of the Tin Woodman movie, aside from the fact that the Scarecrow book takes place about four novels before it. It will feature the regular characters of Trot and Cap'n Bill, with the addition of Tin Woodman, but apparently leaves out Button Bright who was in the original book. The movie is set for release sometime in 2010. You can see some test videos of it here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Jellia Jamb

One of the more underrated regulars of the Oz cast is Jellia Jamb. She first appeared briefly in Wizard Of Oz, and then had a more prominent part in Land Of Oz. Afterwards she was a recurring character in most of the ongoing series. Jellia is the head maid at the royal palace originally occupied by the Wizard, and when Ozma came to power she becomes her personal servant. Even though she's a native of Gillikin, she usually is shown having green hair, and seems slightly short despite not being a Munchkin. In Emeralds, Jellia is still working at the palace, but becomes the love interest of the now "humanized" Jack Pumpkinhead, who takes a liking to her because of his new human emotions. Jellia and Jack are seen as a major coupling in the first issue, much to the delight of Ozma and Dorothy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Comic Review: Dorothy Of Oz

No relation to the novel(and upcoming movie) by Roger S. Baum, Dorothy Of Oz is a manhwa(Korean comic)from Udon Entertainment, and a modern day retelling of the original Oz books.

The story first opens up with the entire cast already assembled and on their quest to the mysterious Wizard while dodging the Oz military as they're seen as fugitives. Although after the first few chapters in Volume #1, the plot then cuts to the beginning where we meet Mara Shin, a normal girl from Korea who on her way home from school one day follows her dog Toto down a mysterious road that she never noticed before. She wanders into the enchanted land of Oz, and encounters Serruliah, a scientist referred to as the Witch of the East that believes Mara is the legendary saviour known as Dorothy who can find the fabled Yellow Brick Road. Oz is broken up into four countries, each one ruled by a female scientist called a "witch" who at one point tried to conquer the land, but the mighty Wizard who had actual magical powers defeated them. Serruliah discovers that a strange glove that Mara found when she was a kid(supposedly in Oz)has actual magic properties. Unfortunately, Serruliah is killed by a clone assassin of the Witch of the West, but not before she reveals to Mara how to utilize the special powers lying within her magic boots which allow her to transform into a blonde mature version of herself. Mara is however mistaken for the assassin, and goes on the run. She later frees one of the West Witch's failed clones that she names Abee(which is Korean for Scarecrow), and he uses his psychic powers to protect her from other clone soldiers. The two of them later on run across the cyborg Namu, who has the codename of Tin Woodsman. He teams up with them, and fights the powerful female android Tick Tock who works for the Witch of the South. Our heroes eventually befriend the chimera catboy Tail created by the North Witch.

The plot hasn't gone beyond the point where Tail is first introduced, as it is currently in hiatus since the release of Volume #4. Whether this is a lapse in production by creator Song Hee-Joon in Korea, or something delaying the American release is unknown. If you're a fan of anime and manga, you'll probably enjoy this as a great adventure/fantasy with some decent comedy. The story offers a fresh take on the Oz novels, but holds its own as an interesting comic.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A review of Wicked: Act 1

This recent online review of the musical Wicked has been posted by anime reviewer "Vixen" on The Desu2 Brigade. It's worth watching at least for a coherent rundown of the first act, and the p.o.v. of a fangirl on the play.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Book Review: The Patchwork Bride Of Oz

A book that came out a while ago from Books Of Wonder was this short illustrated story under their Emerald City Press label. This was written by Gilbert M. Sprague, and illustrated by Dennis McFarling.

Taking place within in the generic Oz universe, on Christmas Eve in the Emerald City, Scraps the Patchwork Girl is struck by the power of the Shaggy Man's Love Magnet which has been placed on the city entrance, and declares she her love for Scarecrow. He too falls for her, and they announce their engagement. Cut to June where they have their wedding in Gillikin Country at the castle of the Good Witch of the North, where Santa Claus(a regular friend of the Ozians)presides over it.

It's a cute little story, and worth reading out for the holidays. There's an inexpensive paperback version, and a limited edition hardcover print of it too. If you're interested, Gilbert M. Spraque also wrote another book from Books Of Wonder titled The Nome King's Shadow In Oz.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Betsy Bobbin

The first member of the new Order of the Witches in Emeralds is Betsy Bobbin. Betsy was the second girl from "Earth" to end up living in Oz. She first appeared in Tik-Tok Of Oz where she was an orphan that was in a storm with her mule Hank, and washed up in Winkie Country. She eventually made her way to the Emerald City and lived with Dorothy, Ozma, and Trot in the royal palace. Betsy is about a year older than Dorothy. Now, she has become the new Western Witch for the Winkie Country. She was taught magic by Glinda, and now resides in the Tin Castle formally ruled by Tin Man, and formally the home of the Wicked Witch of the West. You won't see much of her until issue #2 of Emeralds, but she plays an important part in the upcoming storyline.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Comic Review: The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles-Jack & Cat

A spinoff to The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles are two one-shot specials, Jack & Cat Special #1, and Jack & Cat Tales #1.

BuyMeToys.com has this taking place about ten months after J-Day(which is when the Jabberwock attacked). Jack Pumpkinhead is touring Chicago and meets up with the Cheshire Cat, who run into the curvy Mae, an author of children's fantasy and a friend of Dorothy's roommate Dee. Jack and C.C. go off with Mae on the road, but are confronted by Cap'n Bill who is with some originization that is trying to return beings from Oz and Wonderland back to their worlds. Meanwhile, Scraps heads to Earth in search of Jack, and befriends a street performer. Later on, Mae and her strange friends try to free White Knight from an asylum, while the Red Knight and Bill are trying to take him back to Wonderland.

Each issue has two Foot Notes shorts. The ones from Special show Capn' Bill being recruited by Glinda to help Oz, and a prequal about Dorothy leaving Oz for Earth. The Foot Notes from Tales are both about the White Night, one about him taking on the Jabberwock in Chicago, and him fighting the Red Knight for the love of the Red Queen. There is probably going to be at least one more Jack & Cat comic to continue this storyline.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Comic Review: The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles

A series headed by online comics dealer, BuyMeToys.com, crosses over Oz with Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland titled The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles.

It's set in modern day where a teenage Dorothy shares an apartment in Chicago with Alice, plus three other girls who just happen to have also visited fantasy worlds as kids but never reveal that to the others. Dorothy has forgotten her times in Oz, and Alice experience in Wonderland only comes in her dreams which she uses for song lyrics. Meanwhile, a new Wicked Witch(which witch?)uses the Magic Belt to form an alliance with the current and former Nome Kings to crossover to Wonderland with plans to bring the Jabberwock to Oz. However, it has to pass through Earth to get to there. Dorothy and Alice start to notice beings from both worlds invading Chicago, and get attacked by Wheelers, but are saved by the pistol-packing Wizard. The three of them along with Jack Pumpkinhead trek back to Dorothy's farm, and from there to Oz where Dorothy is reverted back to a little girl. She and Alice unite with the Resistance against the Witch who has taken over most of Oz. Dorothy uses the Book of Records to find a secret way into the Emerald City and confront the Witch. She uses her silver shoes against the Witch with the Belt, and the magic blacklash sends her and Alice to Wonderland, where Dorothy is a teenager again. They find that the Jabberwock has been going on a rampage on its way to Earth. Dorothy heads out with the Red King and his army to stop the monster, while Alice goes off with the Cheshire Cat to get the Vorpal Sword which is the only thing capable of killing it.

The series is now about four issues long, ranging from Issues #0-3, with the last issue due out in 2010. There are several alternate covers to every issue, mostly by artist Casey Hasing, plus a special Preview issue as well. Issue #2 also features a backup story called Foot Notes with Capn' Bill helping Dorothy's other roommates. A spinoff series of one-shots titled Jack & Cat taking place after Issue #4 of the regular comic where Jack Pumpkinhead and Cheshire Cat go on a road trip. This is a great comic worth owning for both Ozians and Wonderlanders!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Video Review: Dorothy In The Land Of Oz

One of the more obscure ''sequals'' that were done to the original 1939 movie was this animated TV special shown as a Thanksgiving special. Since the live-action movie was traditionally shown at or around Thanksgiving, this special was aired under the title Thanksgiving In The Land Of Oz, which is a slight fusion of Land Of Oz, Ozma Of Oz, and Emerald City Of Oz.

Here, Dorothy is getting ready for Thanksgiving with her aunt and uncle, even though they have to move off their farm. She then runs into the Wizard(voiced by Sid Ceasar)who has made a giant turkey-shaped balloon for a Thanksgiving parade, but she ends up getting caught in one of its ropes and flies away to Oz. Once there, she meets Jack Pumpkinhead. He is holding onto the Powder of Life, but the wicked Tyrone the Terrible Toy Tinker(this show's version of the Gnome King)uses it to bring the turkey balloon to life so he can take over Oz. Dorothy and Jack head out to stop him, and along the way run into Hungry Tiger and Tik-Tok, plus accidently give life to Dorothy's mince pie. They find Tyrone and convince him to be good. Dorothy is then reunited with her old friends, and meets Ozma who brings her family and farmhouse from Kansas to Oz.

This special has been rebroadcasted under the title Christmas In Oz, and has been put on VHS as Dorothy In The Land Of Oz. It is currently on DVD as part of a double feature by Liberation Entertainment which also has another special done by the animation studio of Peter And The Magic Egg. You can find the DVD for sale from several online dealers like Amazon.

Marvelous Land Of Oz is now in

Marvel Comics has just released the first issue of their new spinoff of their hit The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz mini-series, The Marvelous Land Of Oz. This will be another 8-issue series. Issue #1 has a regular cover by Skottie Young(the regular artist on the comic), another by Eric Shanower(who also adapted the series for comics), and by Ed McGuinness. Its pretty much a strait-up adaptation of the second Oz book. Be sure to check out your local comic store for copies!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Trot

One of the few Oz characters that got their start in a totally different series of books by L. Frank Baum, Trot originally appeared in two other novels: The Sea Fairies and Sky Island. Although she did have a connection with Oz in Sky Island when first meeting Button Bright who first appeared in The Road To Oz. Trot made the move to Oz in The Scarecrow Of Oz, and then became a regular character in the books. She lived in the Emerald City along with Dorothy and Betsy Boppin, the only other girls from America in Oz. She's also watched over by her godfather, Cap'n Bill. In Emeralds, Trot is in training to be the new Northern Witch for Gillikin, the position originally held by the first witch Dorothy met when she came to Oz. Since Trot is younger than the other new Witches, she is being taught magic by both Glinda and Scarecrow, where as Glinda first taught Betsy Boppin and Scarecrow taught Dorothy exclusively. Instead of a traditional pointy witch's hat, Trot wears a hat similar to a jester, and uses a baton for a magic wand. Her look here is modeled slightly after Harle from Chrono Crusade.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Comic Review: Emerald City Blues

Karl Altstaetter recently released the first issue of his Emerald City Blues comic. It started as a 24 hour comic project, and later developed into an ongoing webcomic.

This is an alternate tale of the original Wizard Of Oz story set in modern day where Dorothy along with her living stuff doll Toto has come to the metrolopolis called the Emerald City. Once there, she is attacked by large mutant monkeys, but is saved by Tin, the sword-swinging master at arms for the city. He makes short ninja work of the monkeys, and leaves Dorothy with his ally, the grandmaster rapper Lion(who's not an actual feline). Tin then goes to consult Glinda who he was originally supposed to deliver Dorothy to, but uncovers that she is in league with her sister, the "wicked" one of the War Witches who run the Emerald City. Tin turns against Glinda, and heads off with Dorothy to see his other ally Scarecrow, which is apparently a gigantic computer that can create virtual realities. Meanwhile, Glinda sends the monkeys out to find Dorothy so she can seemingly become the most powerful witch there is.

E.C.B. is currently two chapters long. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 can be seen at Altstaetter's page on Deviantart. There are also printed copies of Chapters 1 & 2 available in print with regular and alternate covers.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Wicked Day!

Oct. 30th is Wicked Day, which is a worldwide celebration in conjunction with the Wicked musical to help promote an enviromental-friendly event. It's extremely big in the U.K., which this year is on Nov. 1. There are official parties going on all over the world, while private parties and events are also listed on the main website.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Scraps the Patchwork Girl

Scraps is one of my fave underdog characters from the original Oz books, mostly because she appears to be clueless and flighty, but actually very sharp and affectionate. In Emeralds, the Patchwork Girl is Scarecrow's bodyguard. As he's the new acting Wizard, she does her best to protect him. It's been long established that Scraps and Scarecrow have feelings for each other, so I really wanted to establish them as lovers in this series. Plus, they're just so dark cute together! Scraps now has the appearance of a female clown or mime with long dark pigtails, plus a more skintight patchwork outfit which was modeled largely after Catwoman's from Batman Returns.

Emerald City Confidential PC game

A PC adventure game that recently came out from Wadjet Eye Games is Emerald City Confidential.

This is a direct followup to the original L. Frank Baum Oz books taking place about 40 years in the future. Dorothy is now called Dee, and hires the daring female detective Petra to find her missing fiance. Petra is a P.I. that has been secretly looking for her missing brother, while trying to expose the criminal activities of Lion who is now a cunning attourney. Dee's fiance was apparently involved in a plot with a mysterious wand which the evil Phanfasms are planning to use, although Queen Ozma wants it to bring the original four witches of Oz back to life.

The game features several of the regular characters, as well as some of secondary ones like Wogglebug, Jinjur, and Captain Bill, The game goes through many levels, mostly in Emerald City, but others like Quadling Country where magic tournaments are held by the former Wizard, and Winkie Country where Frogman is a gangster boss. There is some good gameplay, and clever dialogue. It's published by
Play First, but is also available for download through other licensed online dealers like Big Fish Games, and Game House. There's also a decent fan site about it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Comic Review: OZF5-Gale Force

Back when Alias Enterprises(now called Lamp Post Inc.)did non-Christian comics, one of the titles they did a one-shot graphic novel called OZF5-Gale Force.

This alternate version of the original Wizard Of Oz opens up with Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Woodman as might warriors fighting off the mechanical Winkie army of the Wicked Witch of the East(who's dressed like she's out of Aladdin!), and gets squashed by Dorothy's house. A modern-day Dorothy then emerges and helps them defeat the rest of the Winkies. The West Witch(who appears like she was modeled alot after Wicked)then sends her squadron of monkeys with jetpacks after them while Dorothy and the Oz warriors head to see the Wizard to send her back to Kansas. But, Dorothy confronts the Witch and defeats her. She's then declared the new Witch of the West by the monkeys.

This supposed to be the first of a series involving some "Witch Wars" in Oz, but currently only this one volume was made. The comic is available from regular dealers like Amazon. You can also now download it at Itunes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Scarecrow

In Emeralds, our old friend Scarecrow is the new resident Wizard of Oz. The original title character retired and left Oz, apparently around the same time as the original Northern Witch. Scarecrow was taught magic by the Wizard, and has passed on what he knows to Betsy Boppin who is now the new Western Witch, and partially taught Trot who is still in training to be the new Northern Witch. Scarecrow has developed a long-lasting relationship with his true live, Scraps the Patchwork Girl. Scraps acts as his personal bodyguard, and accompanies him everywhere. Scarecrow has become more of a wanderer along with Scraps, and never settling down to one place for too long, except for when his duties as the Wizard are needed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Comic Review: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz(Image Comics)

About two years before Marvel Comics came out with its adaptation of
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Image Comics released an English-language version of the Spanish comic mini-series by Enrique Fernandez. This was adapted by David Chauvel, and released in America as a single graphic novel.

It's a very strait-forward interpetation of the original book, although Fernandez's artwork makes for a fantastic new take on it. He has a style that's totally different than most American artists, which is very reminicent of the old 2-D Rankin/Bass animated features(Thundercats, Last Unicorn).

Image formatted this in it's original album-size, and at an affordable price. Oz fans should love this collectors item.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Wizard Of Oz: Beyond The Yellow Brick Road video game

Another recent video game that just came out here is The Wizard Of Oz: Beyond The Yellow Brick Road for the Nintendo DS. Originally released in Japan late yast year under the title Riz-Zoawd, this is an RPG where you can shift between the regular Oz "Gang of 4". In it, Dorothy tries to find her way home with the help of Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Woodman. There are a few differences between this and the original book, like the Emerald City being called Oz Castle. Another is instead of there being two wicked and two good witches, there's an elemental witch for every country in Oz, each of which controls a different element. Three of them are sisters, while the Glinda-type character of the south is their mother. Also, instead of Munchkins, there a little cat people, and there a bunch of random monsters roaming around like in most RPGs. This game was released in the U.S. in conjuction with the 70th anniversary of the 1939 movie.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Comic Review: Oz Of Halloween

A rather cute but short webcomic was done not long ago by "Lily-pily" of a crossover between Oz and The Nightmare Before Christmas titled Oz Of Halloween.

The story takes place a year before the original Nightmare movie where Scraps the Patchwork Girl wanders into Halloween Town, while Sally is mistaken for being her by Scarecrow and Jack Pumpkinhead. They are then both abducted by Princess Mombi(the version of Mombi from the Return To Oz Disney movie), who are ultimately rescued by Jack and Scarecrow, plus Ozma. Jack Skellington then arrives and is inspired by Jack Pumpkinhead to dress up like him for the next Halloween.

It's a nice comic, and worth checking out before you go trick-r-treating!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dorothy in A Witch's Tale video game

A new game for the Nintendo DS is A Witch's Tale where you play Liddell(as in Alice from Wonderland), a young witch-in-traning who goes on a quest to stop the evil Eld Witch who she accidently releases from an old book. Liddell gets some help from the other young witches in her school, including ones modeled after Hansel & Gretel, Baba Yaga, Princess Kaguya, Princess Jasmine, the little Mermaid, and various other Wonderland characters. One of the other supporting characters is Dorothy who is a take on the one from Oz, accept here she is a very independent princess who just happens to have a lion's tail. The game will be out this October.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: Halloween In Oz

A 554-page paperback novel that came out in 2007 was Halloween In Oz: Dorothy Returns. This is the first of the Alpimar Books Oz series by Leo Moser and Carol Nelson, and published by Whitfield & Dodd Publications. It is a direct followup to the original Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, although it is technically an extended retake on Marvelous Land Of Oz.

Taking place about a year after Dorothy first went to Oz, she tries to convince her friends that Oz is real, but at the same time she keeps having dreams about her dead parents speaking to her through a photo of them she believes she left in Oz. After finding some magic ribbons, she ends up in Oz(a second time)where she learns that its Halloween which lasts 13 days there. At this point, it basically becomes Land Of Oz, but all the new characters' names are changed. Tip is Mitt(who also resembles a boy Dorothy knew from Kansas), Jack Pumkpinhead is Punk N. Head, Mombi is Salmanta, Jinjur is Ginger, and Sawhorse is Stubs. A few other characters who weren't in Land Of Oz show up here too, like "Fearless" Lion and the Good Witch of the North.

The book tacks on a slighty different ending to that of Land Of Oz as to who turns to be Princess Ozma(or "Esmera" here). But, if you really enjoyed Land Of Oz then you might enjoy this version of it, even if its not around Halloween.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Jack Pumpkinhead

In Emeralds, Jack Pumpkinhead has changed alot. Originally, Jack was created as a scarecrow-type character created by Ozma(then known as Tip)to scare Mombi, who instead used the Powder of Life to bring him to life. From that point on, Jack considered Tip to be his father, although when he was finally turned back into Ozma, Jack sometimes referred to her as his mother. The comic takes place a few years later where Jack has been turned into a human boy after asking Ozma to do so with her magic. He did this for two reasons. One is that he got tired of having to change his head every couple of days for a new pumpkin, which to him seemed like a waste of good agriculture. The other was that he wanted to be a good son to his "father", Ozma. Since then, Ozma has asked the seemingly redeemed Mombi to live in the royal castle as his nanny. At the same time, Jack has become smitten with Jellia Jamb, the royal maid.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Comic Review: Dorothy

A while ago, Illusive Arts Entertainment released a comic series titled Dorothy. This is a modern-day dark retelling of the original Wizard Of Oz book. As a fumetti(photo comic), it features actual actors and models matted in with CGI backgrounds.

In it, Dorothy Gale is a goth-looking teenager in Kansas who decides to run away from her aunt and uncle's farm. When taking off on in a pickup truck, she is carried away by a hurricane to Oz. Once there, runs into a small robot dog she names Toto, and a dying old woman who gives her a magic necklace with a green jewel in it. She is told to head to the Munchkins who will help her. Although along the way, she runs into a giant dragon underground(a wink to the Time Dragon from Wicked?), and sidetracks by freeing a living Scarecrow from his perch. Once finally at Munchkinland, Dorothy is told that Oz is ruled by the Witch Queen who has taken over all of Oz except for the Emerald City where the powerful Wizard is hold up as the Witch's forces continue to try and breach it. The Witch wants Dorothy's necklace, so she sends out a brutal beast after her. Dorothy then treks for the Emerald City, but she and Scarecrow uncover a robot which she manages to reactivate and join her. They then run into the China Country where the beast tries to attack them, but Dorothy reveals his cowardly nature. The beast then joins them in their quest.

This comic went on for seven issues, the first four of which were collected into a graphic novel, although the series is currently unfinished. For more info on this, you can check out Illusive Arts' Comicspace page.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Comic Review: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz(Marvel Comics)

Marvel Comics recently released a collected hardcover edition of their The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. This collects issue #1-8 of the original mini-series. It was written by longtime Oz author and artist Eric Shanower, and the art was done by Skottie Young. Shanower has created several Ozcomics through his own company of Hungry Tiger Press, including Oz Story and Adventures In Oz, as well as illustrating other Oz books like Runaway In Oz. Young has done art for Spider-Man and X-Men.

On its own, the series was a bestseller. In fact most of the earlier issues had a second printing, as well as variant covers which also sold out. There was also a special sketchbook preview that came out prior to the series. The hardcover book includes all eight issues, plus a cover gallery and sketchbook.

The comic itself is a very faithful adaptation of the original L. Frank Baum novel, so nothing much new in the story. However, the main selling point to this is the fresh take on the characters. Dorothy appears slightly more like her Judy Garland counterpart, but the rest are very updateds. Scarecrow appears like a large ragdoll, Lion is a like a giant plushie, and Tin Man is strangely modeled after L. Frank Baum. The Wizard's giant head form is truly menacing, and the Wicked Witch of the West appears like something out of a Universal Monster movie. Even if you've already gotten all the original comics, you need to get the graphic novel for prosperity. Oh, and Marvel is working with the same crew to do another comic series of The Marvelous Land Of Oz.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Glinda

For Emeralds, Glinda is still the Southern Witch in the Quadling Country. Despite what the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz movie said, Glinda is not the "Good Witch of the North", but of the South. The original Northern Witch in Emeralds has in fact moved on to another realm. Glinda was instrumental in the training of Betsy Bobbin into the new Northern Witch, and as the story opens with her teaching young Trot in magic so she can be the new Western Witch. Glinda first proposed the idea to Ozma of re-establishing the Order of the Witches in to bring a balance in use of magic in Oz, although it seems that she has some kind of hidden agenda for doing this as well. Here, Glinda is adorned entirely in red, which is the national color of Quadling. She traditionally uses a long staff as her magic wand. She is also the keeper of the Oznibus which tells the history of the world as it has or is happening.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wizard Of Oz Pez Collector's Set

A brand new limited edition Wizard Of Oz Pez Collector's Set is now available through select stores and dealers. This is in celebration of the 1939 movie's 70th Anniversary. It features Pez dispensers of Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Glinda, Wicked Witch, and Oz. Comes with Pez candy as well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Comic Review: Oz Squad

Oz Squad was a comic book series from the 90s written by Steve Ahlquist, and slightly inspired by superhero comics like Doom Patrol and spy series like Mission Impossible.

Happening in modern day 1990s, Earth and Oz have been connected via magical portals since before WWII. An adult Dorothy is the ambassador from Oz to Earth, and head of a special task force called the Gale Force made of herself, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion who has the ability to change into a fully human form. Dorothy is a crackshot, plus she has the magic belt which gives her nearly omnipotent powers accept on Earth where they're limited. The Gale Force has to deal with a runaway Tik-Tok whose "morality spring" has run down causing him to turn evil. He's later brought back, but then goes on another rampage as a crime boss apparently after becoming accustomed to being evil. Meanwhile, the Wicked Witch of the East who somehow survived having a house dropped on her tries selling the plans to Tik-Tok's mechanics to foreign countries, but Dorothy & Co. stop her. The next story arc becomes one involving time travel where Dorothy, Ozma(who is now Dorothy's wife!), Scarecrow, and Tin Man are all sent back in time to just before the great Witches Rebellion where the witches of all four nations try to stand up to the mad King Pastoria(Ozma's father). Scarecrow is sent further back in time to the Renaissance Period to help Leonardo Da Vinci create the Philosopher's Stone, before eventually making his way back to be reunited with Dorothy and Ozma in late 1800s Oz. Tin Man ends up in a different part of Oz at about the same time, only to see himself as Nick Chopper transformed into a metal man.

This series went on for 10 regular issues, the first 4 by Brave New Words, and then the last 6 were self-published by Patchwork Press. There were also 2 one-shot specials, one of which was Little Oz Squad also by Patchwork Press which had the generic cast as kids in a Little Archie motif. The other was the Oz Squad Special that was printed by Millenium Publications, and was the original concept of what the entire time travel story arc from issues #5-#10 was supposed to be about, but doesn't take place in the regular continuity after that point. The comic featured artwork by Andrew Murphy, Terry Loh, and Mike Sagara. The series was recently reprinted into two annotated graphic novels which are available from Lulu.com in paperback and download, as well as other book dealers like Tumble Tap. Steve Alhlquist has plans to continue this with artist Sean Casey. Oh, and you can find some great original Oz Squad artwork by David Lee Ingersoll who did the cover art for the graphic novels.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book Review: Dark Oz-Book 1

Recently, there have been plans to do a live-action movie(or possibly evan a series of movies)based on the original Oz comic book series from Caliber Comics and Arrow Comics written by Stuart Kerr & Ralph Griffith with art by Bill Bryan. The film is being planned by Perry Tao under the name Dark Oz. Aaron Deneberg has written the first of a trilogy of books which is supposed to act as the established storyline for the movie. The book is titled, Dark Oz: Book One- Of Courage And Witchcraft.

This takes place in modern day where Dorothy is an adult pilots her own plane. After flying through a heavy storm, she ends up in Oz which has been taken over by the Nome King. He has kidnapped Ozma, and turned Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man evil. Dorothy comes across the Freedom Fighters who are a group of rebels trying to free Oz from the Nome King. Since this book acts as a direct sequal to the original Wizard Of Oz, it has Dorothy running into post-WOO characters for the first time. So, the majority of the Freedom Fighters is made of characters like Jack Pumpkinhead and Hungry Tiger who Dorothy has never met. Meanwhile, Scraps betrays Jinjur to leave for the possessed Scarecrow whom she is in love with. This leads to an all-out animal attack lead by Lion on the Quadling Country where the Freedom Fighters battle their former ally, some to the death!

This is a fresh take on the comic, even though there are some differences, like Dorothy being the one to return to Oz instead of a trio of newbies from Earth, plus Dorothy is more of the central character in this version as apposed to the comic where she was left out of the majority of it due to being in a trance for ten years. There are some suprising twists from the original story too which make for a truly darker tale. Overall, this is worth getting a copy of. It's in paperback form through Createspace or Amazon, and also available for download at Scribd.