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 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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Emeralds Character Bios: Ozma

In the world of Emeralds, Ozma is now the reigns as the ruler of Oz. In the original book series, Oz was first run by the King Pastoria, but the country was soon thrown into civil war because of the Wicked Witches. The Wizard then seized control(despite not being a real wizard), and had the rightful heir whisked away for "safe keeping" to the witch Mombi. There, he grew up under the name Tip, but it was later revealed to be Princess Ozma, and a girl! Ozma became monarch over the now slightly more witch-free land. This origin is a little skewed as it was later retconned by L. Frank Baum that Pastoria was already in Mombi's custody and Ozma was born somehow while in captivity. Emeralds has Ozma still as queen, and she and Dorothy are the best of friends, while the two of them are finally realizing their feelings for each other. This version has her wearing Arabian Nights-styled attire which is slightly modeled after Mera from Aquaman, but she is a little older in apperance. The story has Ozma longing for Dorothy to return from her training as the new Eastern Witch.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oz: Collectible Card Game

Orion's Bell has a new collectible card game based on the first two Oz books. This features about a hundred artists of 309 cards. There is also a two-player demo kit with two different decks of 54 cards each, plus an instruction sheet, and an exclusive poster. The cards are regularly available in 12-card booster packs, and 61-card starter kits.

Emeralds Sketches: Scarecrow, Scraps, & Mombi

Here's some of the latest sketches. Scarecrow is a little more human looking in his appearance. Scraps is modeled after Harley Quinn and the Michell Pfieffer's version of Catwoman. Mombi is now reformed and working under Ozma, while seeing to Jack Pumpkinhead's tutoring.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fairies Of Oz Collection

Artist Jasmine Beckett-Griffith has a new line of figurines she's designed through Collectibles Today called the Fairies Of Oz collection. This is available as four seperately sold figurines of Dorothy with Toto, plus female versions of Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion, plus an Emerald City display.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Comic Review: Midnight Kiss

A British comic series that came out not long ago was Midnight Kiss by Markosia Enterprises. This was supposed to be an ongoing series, but only 5 issues were ever produced, of which the first 4 were printed in comic book format. However, all 5 issues were reprinted in a collected graphic novel. Written by Tony Lee(Dr. Who comics), and drawn by Ryan Stegman(Grimm Fairy Tales), this series took the concept of alternative fantasy realms to a different level.

The comic is about Matt Sable is a "nexus", who is someone that is able to travel between alternative realities. Along with his sexy succubus partner Nightmare De'Lacy, they try to protect the young William who keeps the last of the dragon race within his dreams, while a mysterious enemy hunts him down. The Oz aspect in this is that Oz is an actual world amoung the multiverse that Matt can travel through. Here, Dorothy is a young woman and now the President of Oz, while Scarecrow is waging a civil war against her with an army of rocket-powered cyborg apes. Apparently, the brains that the Wizard gave Scarecrow were those of the Wicked Witch of the East, so her mind is in control of his body. Dorothy along with a Gigantor-version of Tin Man team up with Matt to stop Scarecrow, and rescue the Lion, who is never shown in the comic.

This was a good comic, although brutally violent with some suggestive material(if you have a problem with that). You shouldn't have trouble finding the 4 printed issues from used comic dealers, although if you want the complete original story arc you'd want to get the trade paperback with Issue #5 in it. The first two issues are also available for download at Drive Thru Comics.