Monday, August 31, 2009

Emeralds Sketches: Betsy, Glinda & Jellia

Here's some of the latest character sketches. Betsy Bobbin is the new Witch of the Winkie Country, so her outfit is yellow to match the country's national color. Glinda is still the Witch of the Quadling Country. Jellia Jamb is a reoccuring character in the Oz books, and is the head maid for Ozma's royal palace. She also plays an important part in the development in one of the other characters.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Video Review: Postcards From Oz

Postcards From Oz is a series of illustrated videos by Ryan Bourret, which he also narrates. This is an ever-changing storyline which has Dorothy as someone who has been dead for about a century, and befriends the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion to free Oz from the two Wicked Witches. The plot keep shifting around though, like parts of it have Dorothy already being dead from before, and others have her apparently going through her whole journey again as if it were a form of eternal cycle. There are drawings and further narratives for this on the Postcards From Oz website. It has a very dark but intriguing plot, and is possibly going to be an illustrated novel someday.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Comic Review: The Wizard Of Oz-The Graphic Novel

While there have been several comic books(series or otherwise)based on Oz, there have only a few direct graphic novels of it. Usually, a graphic novel is either a book collecting either a comic mini-series or a volume of an ongoing series, while other times it is an original publishig made specifically for that print.

Penguin Group recently printed a manga-styled version of The Wizard Of Oz, adapted and drawn by Michael Cavallarao whose worked on DC Comics, Valiant, and Cartoon Network. Not much is different from the original story, aside from the fact it more or less has been moved to the 21st Century. Dorothy seems more like a young teenager than around ten years old, plus Tin Man is very much modeled after the Iron Giant.

There's some pretty good designs and artwork in it, even though it might seem not up to specs of that from Oz: The Manga. It's a very good pick for younger readers, or for parents who want their kids to be comic nerds.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wizard Of Oz 70th Anniversary Hi-Def Screening

Fathom Events is having a special one-night screening of The Wizard Of Oz on Sep. 23 at 7:00 PM. This is in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the 1939 musical. The showing will be at several theatres across the country, and will feature an intro by Turner Classic Movies' Robert Osborne, and a special behind-the-scenes documentary of the movie.

Comic Review: Peter Pan And The Warlords Of Oz

Oz has been the focus of several crossovers in comics over the years, but usually with Wonderland. However, Hand Of Doom Publications printed out an on-again/off-again series(s) titled Peter Pan And The Warlords Of Oz.

Created by Rob Hand, this comic dealt with Peter Pan and the last two remaining Lost Boys, along with Tinkerbell and Tick-Tock(the crocodile who ate Capt. Hook)heading from Neverland to Oz via boat, which is weird since its surrounded by desert. Once there, they rescue the Lion who has been left out to die by Nazis that have taken over Oz. Peter & Co. team up with Lion, and then later Tinman who all plan to stop the Nazis. For some reason, Scarecrow, Hungy Tiger, Nome King, and Tik-Tok(the mechanical one) are working for the Nazis, whether they're under a spell or not is unknown. Meanwhile, Peter and his colleagues ally themselves with Ozma and one of the Wicked Witches who has an axe to grind with the Nazis, and together they manage to stop an evil golem. The Lost Boys along with Tick-Tock decide to leave, but Peter stays behind with Tinkerbell to liberate Oz.

This franchise was followed by Issue #1 to "Volume 2", then two one-shots: Dead Head Water and Wonderland Purgatory. The series is currently out of print, and very hard to find. I've only read the first issue, but you can find a more detailed review of some of this and some of the other issues here. There was a crossover with another Hand Of Doom series, Hammer Of Thor, where the Wicked Witch is sent from Midgard to Oz by Jesus(no kidding!).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Video Review: Lost In Oz

Lost In Oz was originally going to be a live-action movie by Tim Burton in 2000. This was later rewritten as a pitch for a TV series written by Trey Callaway(W.I.T.C.H., Supernatural), and some scenes were actually shot for a pilot, but nothing ever became of the project due to budget constraints. However, around 2002, David Hayter picked up the idea to do a similar TV series of the same name, if not based on Burton's idea that at least inspired by it. Hayter has written screenplays for X-Men, Watchmen, and The Scorpion King, as well as being an accomplished voice actor for anime like Fushigi Yuugi and Lupin, plus the voice of Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid. Joel Smith, the producer of the Tim Burton's Lost In Oz(and apparently was involved with another failed TV project titled Trouble In Oz), acted as executive producer on David Hayter's version. A 1-hour unaired pilot was made for it.

In the pilot, a modern day girl named Alex(Melissa George)who ends up in Oz after being chased by a cyclone in her pickup. Once there, she encounters Scarecrow(Colin Egglesfield)who is really an American WWII pilot. Both of them recall that Oz was a movie starring Judy Garland, but find out that it's real. The Good Witch of the South(Lynn Whitfield)tells them they have to free Princess Ozma from the new Wicked Witch of the West(Mia Sara). They're aided by the Patchwork Girl(Sandra Allen)who knew the wicked witch before she became possessed by some evil force. Apparently the Wicked Witch of the West is chosen by some unkown force, and if one is killed another girl is picked to take her place, as Alex finds out when she nearly becomes the Witch herself. In the end, Ozma is freed, while the Witch is banished from Oz by a cyclone, leaving Alex for the moment stranded away from home.

It's worth mentioning that Mia Sara who played the Witch is the mother of Brian Henson's daughter, Brian of whom played Jack Pumpkinhead in Return To Oz. The pilot episode is possibly floating around the net illegally somewhere, or you might be able to find a bootleg DVD at some fan conventions. You can see some screencaptures of it on Melissa George's website.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oz Movie News

Big news on an Oz movie coming up. According to Star Pulse, Dakota Fanning is being casted in an upcoming live-action movie sequal to the original Wizard Of Oz movie. Fanning is supposed to Dorothy's modern day granddaughter. This is being produced by Todd McFarlane(creator of Spawn), but whether this has any relation to his Twisted Land Of Oz line of action figures from a few years ago is unknown.

This would make for the 4th movie in planning that is inspired by the Oz books. One is Dark Oz based on the comic book series from the 90s. Another is Dorothy Of Oz based on the book by Roger S. Baum(great-grandson of the original author). The other is an all CGI-animated movie by Action Synthese which is a present day remake of Wizard Of Oz.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Dorothy Gale

For the Emeralds comic, I decided to stick with the original concepts for alot of the characters. Dorothy Gale was in the first book slightly similar to the one most people know from the 1939 musical as portrayed by Judy Garland, like
but later on was shown with brown hair and wearing a checkered dress. But later on, she was normally shown as a blonde girl in a light sundress, and regularly with a wide-brimmed bonnet. In my version, Dorothy, is now the new Eastern Witch for the Munchkin Country, and dressed in a light blue outfitoots. She has a wand that can be transformed into a staff that can be used for flying on, the idea for which is slightly inspired by Sakura's wand from Cardcaptor Sakura. Dorothy has spent the last year learning magic from the new Wizard of Oz, and as the story opens is on her way back to the Emerald City to be reunited with Ozma.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: Dorothy Of Oz

A book for young readers that came out a few years ago called Dorothy Of Oz written by Roger S. Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum. This was published by Toto Too, Inc., who have printed also printed several of his other Oz books, one of which was Lion Of Oz that was also turned into a made-for-DVD animated movie. Dorothy Of Oz, is a semi-direct sequal to the first few Ozbooks.

In it, Dorothy is called back to Oz by Glinda to stop a Jester who has been possessed by the power of the wand of the Wicked Witch of the West, and using it to turn people in to china dolls. Dorothy sets out with Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man to find Glinda and Ozma for help. Along the way, they befriend the princess of the China Country, Wiser the owl, and the living tugboat Tugg.

It's a good story for kids, and the book has some wonderful illustrations by Elizabeth Miles. The great thing is though that a full-length CGI movie is in the works which is set for a 2011 release.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Emeralds: Story concept

The idea for Emeralds had been an idea I had been kicking around for while. At first, it was going to be a crossover between Peter Pan and Alice In Wonderland called Never/Wonder. From that came the concept of having the Queen Of Hearts and Captain Hook starring in their own romantic adventure called The Queen And The Captain. But eventually the story found its way to being an Oz tale. After going over the original 14-ish Baum books, I realized that there was serious potential in doing a series that focused primarily on the relationships between most of the characters, or ones that might possibly occur as they mature. One of the most obvious ones was that of Dorothy and Ozma. They had been good friends for the entire series, and Ozma had even proclaimed her as an official princess, that and neither had a regular alternate love interest. This coupled with the fact that Ozma used to be a boy has made alot of Oz fans speculate about them being romantically involved, which is a concept known as "Dorzma" in some circles. Anyway, I decided to have this project be about not only them, but the other characters finding true love in their on way. Whether it always works out for them though remains to be seen.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Review: Half-Human

A paperback anthology that I recently looked into was Half-Human compiled by Bruce Coville. This is a collection of short stories dealing with beings and creatures who are part human and part something else, like mermaids, gorgons, and centaurs.

One of these tales is titled Scarecrow by Gregory Maquire who wrote the Wicked trilogy. This takes place sometime just prior to The Wizard Of Ozwhere the Scarecrow is a normal scarecrow which suddenly realizes that it is alive in some way. It's a pretty good read, even though the story is only 20 pages long. Whether or not this directly ties into the Oz storyline shown in Wicked is unknown, but it makes for a decent side-story to the series.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Emeralds: A new Oz comic!

Emeralds: Hearts In Oz is a brand new comic book series from Mini-Komix in early 2010. It will be written by Jer Alford whose work includes Purrsia, Jankenpon, Ninja High School, Neo Kyoto, Gold Digger, Senshi Vs. Sentai, Jesi The Genie, Equinox, Kitty Honey, Din & The Magic Milk Bottle, Gaijin Hi, and more. It is being drawn by Erin Ptah who has also provided art for And Heaven Shine Now. The series is planned to be 4 issues long, and will be a continuation of the original Oz book series by L. Frank Baum. Taking place sometime in the future after Glinda Of Oz, Dorothy has become the new Eastern Witch, while Ozma longs for her return to the Emerald City. This comic is done in the style of a shojo manga. Keep looking here for more info on the comic, and other Oz-related stuff.