Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy X-Mas from Oz!

Here's to having a great holiday season. Stay Emerald!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Video Review: The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus (Rankin-Bass)

In 1902, L. Frank Baum decided to put together one of the first comprehensive origin stories about Mr. Kringle with The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus. This actually tied into the world of Oz, as most of the story takes place in or near the forest of Burzee which is located across the Deadly Desert/Shifting Sands from the southwestern point of Oz(or "southeastern" depending on what map you're using). Burzee was also the setting for other Baum stories such as Queen Xixi Of Ix and Nelebel's Fairyland, plus the Santa from this story appears in The Road To Oz, so there's a regular connection between this and Baum's library. The book spawned a short story sequal titled A Kidnapped Santa Claus which probably had more than a little influence on a certain Tim Burton movie. There has been more than one animated adaptation of the original book, including a one in 2000 by Mike Young, an anime TV series that ran in the mid-90s, and an upcoming fully CGI movie which was supposed to be out this year. Before them all though was the 1985 TV special by Rankin-Bass, who also created several other memorable Christmas specials including Frosty The Snowman and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. This was a little strange considering they had already done a previous original narrative of Santa's history in Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town from 1970, but they thought they'd give another shot at a Baum title as they also produced Tales Of The Wizard Of Oz in the early 60s, as well its sequal special Return To Oz(no relation to Disney's one!). They put this together as their last holiday special one as they were diverting more attention toward doing TV series like their hit Thundercats.

The special opens up with a council of Immortals debating about whether or not to give an aging Santa Claus the Mantle of Immorality. The story then goes back about sixty years where a young baby is found by Ak, head of the Immortals and master of woods. He takes the child to be protected by the lioness Shiegra, but the wood nymph Necile accepts the role as his mother and names him Claus. Claus grows up in the forest learning how to communicate with the animals. When he reaches of age, Ak flies him around the world Superman-style to show him the world of mortals, and the cruelties of mankind. Claus decides to then move to Laughing Valley to be closer to humans, and takes Shiegra and the sound imp Tingler with him. Tingler speaks in nearly every concievable language and sound, but usually in strange synthesizer chords. Some of the fairies and wood nyphs help set up a house for Claus, where he eventually starts creating what he refers to as "toys" for the children in the village near him. This would be all nice, except that an evil tribe of monsterous Agwaws called dibs on the kids to influence them, so they use their invisibility powers to cause all kind of problems for Claus' toy delivery. Ak finally steps in and declares war against the Agwaws. So in a battle scene not totally rivaling Peter Jackson, the Immortals beat the Agwaws, and Claus continues his toy givaways. With help one of the Knooks(a fairy in charge of animals), Claus is allowed to use special flying reindeer once a year on Christmas Eve. As time goes on though, Claus nears the end of days, so the Immortals grant him eternal life so he can continue to do his work bringing joy to the world. Granted, it would've been a little more convenient if they could've turned him into a Highlander when he was a little younger, but anyway...

Unlike most of the other Rankin/Bass holiday TV specials, this one didn't have a beloved old guy doing the narration like Jimmy Durante. There's also only one music number in the entire special, which isn't all that memorable. However, this is a very faithful adaptation of the original story, and there is a real effort to bring in the mythology of Baum's fictional universe in its portrayal of magical beings and the mortal world surrounding them. The special was available on VHS, but is currently on DVD from Warner Bros as a double feature with Rankin/Bass' Nestor special.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Comic Review: Toto! The Wonderful Adventure (Part 2)

I'll be covering Volume #2 & #3 for this review. BTW, I forgot to mention that this series is available from Del Rey. They currently have the entire run in five graphic novels.

Vol. #2 starts out with Kakashi and Dorothy being rescued by the now magically-transformed Toto who has turned into a large dragon-like beast. Toto then merges with Kakashi's left hand, and he now wears the dog bracelet of which Toto's can emerge from in his monster form. He can also eat anything inorganic and reproduce it again like a canon or shield(sorta like Eat-Man). Lt. Vio and is troops are totally overwhelmed by Kakashi's newfound powers, but the sinister Corporal Chopin arrives seemingly to give them backup. He instead uses his own special abilities to kill Vio for his failure. Chopin leaves since he didn't have order to get the collar, and Vio relays Kakashi what he knows about the collar. Its one of twelve accessories that each have their own power, and whichever country can gain the most of them will rule over the rest. Kakashi and Dorothy make their way to Dego City which is a central junction for railroads, althought the Nassau army is tearing down the trains to use for military salvage. Kakashi nearly gets in trouble with some officers, but is rescued Millicia, a local bar owner who claims he's her brother. They then meet Noil, a flaky officer who runs the scrapyard and is a struggling comedian/magician who suffers from stage fright. He takes Kakashi on as his apprentice since he thinks his dog-hand is a magic trick. The military eventually find out Kakashi has the collar, and capture Dorothy to lure him out. Things look bad until a small train engine busts out of Noil's shack.

Vol. 3 opens with the train being run by Noil, that he made it on his own in the scrapyard to one day skip town. He rescues Kakashi and Dorothy as they go down the line called the Yellow Brick Road. They travel through an area called the Witch Forest, and actually encounter a young witch flying in on a broom. She is Paisley, a "good witch", and part of an originization called World Institute of the Twelve Creators' Heritage(or "WITCH" for short)whose main purpose is to locate all the magical accessories. Then the Nassau army shows up with Chopin to collect the collar. Chopin himself has some special rings which are some the accessories(whether they count as seperate accessories or a single one isn't mentioned)which spring out as snakes that turn people to stone. Nassau defeats him, but Noil's train is destroyed by Red, another WITCH agent guarding Paisley. Our heroes head to the local WITCH headquarters where they discover that the one who unintentionally released the accessories out into the world in the first place was Kakashi's father, Nick Q. Kakashi realizes that in order to find his missing father, he must become an agent of WITCH and search for the remaining accessories. In order to join of WITCH, Dorothy must finish her martial arts training to be his partner. She goes to study under the karate master, Kenbi Sow. Kakashi later reveals that Kenbi secretly uses one of the mystical accessories, and team up with one his students to expose this. However, this student is really Major Damda with the Nassau army.

I like how the story is progressing so far. Yuko Osada's style develops as the series goes along. It seems like its one of those shonen titles like Dragonball which hinges on a quest for several magical items, although it doesn't appear they need to find all twelve of the accessories, because that would make for a much longer series.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas In Oz video review

Stumbled upon this review of the Oz Kids Christmas Special by PopArena. There's actually crossovers with a few other animated shows in it!

Book Review: How The Wizard Saved Oz

Donald Abbott followed up his first prequal to the The Wizard Of Oz, How The Wizard Came To Oz, with this second book that also has ties to Land Of Oz and the original 1902 WOZ musical. How The Wizard Saved Oz carries on during the time after Oscar Diggs became established as "the Great and Powerful Oz", but before Dorothy shows up.

In the story, the Wizard takes off with the Queen of the Field Mice to find out what happened to her subjects that have gone missing. They go through the underground passage underneath the Emerald City which was originally the throne room of the former King Pastoria's, and then head through the lands of the Whozis and the Whatzis. The Wizard then happens across the strange pumpkin-shaped house of the witch Mombi, where he makes a hasty retreat after realizing her wicked intents. They finally make it to the city of Lanvendoria, and encounter a rather sizable Wogglebug. However, the Wizard becomes concerned when he spies the evil General Riskitt, who is the evil brother of Pastoria, and rival to the throne of Oz. Riskitt goes to see Mombi who has created a special machine powered by the field mice to give him all the magic in Oz. Mombi betrays him, and uses the machine for herself, but it backfires when the Wizard uses some growth powder to temporarily turn all the field mice larger. The magic returns, and Mombi flees to her cottage in the north(where she is keeping Tip). The mice go back to normal size, and the Mouse Queen helps the Wizard in a final battle with General Riskitt who falls down a crack in the Earth.

I thought this was a little more lighthearted story from the previous chapter Abbott did, although How The Wizard Came To Oz told a slighty better story. The main difference is that the first one skimmed alot through the Wizard's ascension in Oz, while as this one was more of a complete stand-alone story of the Wizard's early days. The book continues some great illustrations by Abbott done in the style of W.W. Denslow. General Riskitt is not shown in the regular Oz books, but was an original character from the first stage play created by Baum himself, although the idea of Riskitt being Pastoria's brother was done exclusively for this book. Check out this and other great Oz books at Books Of Wonder, along with more of Abbott's works.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oz Video Of The Month: Sims In Oz

Since Sims 3 recently came out, I though it would be fitting to showcase this 2-part short from Sims In Oz.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: How The Wizard Came To Oz

David Abbott is a writer and illustrator who has worked on several Oz titles, including doing the artwork for the reprint of L. Frank Baum's original story of Dot And Tot In Merryland for which the original illustrations had been lost a century ago. Abbott has created several Oz books on his own of which have been printed by Books Of Wonder including: The Amber Flute Of Oz, Father Goose In Oz, and The Speckled Rose Of Oz. He even decided to do his own prequal to the original Wizard Of Oz, a few years before Gregory Maquire had started his Wicked series. Abbott started what was essentially a two-part prequal with How The Wizard Came To Oz.

The Wizard's secret origins are a little similar to most of what was referred to in Oz books. Oscar Diggs is a circus performer who learns various tricks of the trade, and one day takes the circus' balloon for a joyride, but ends up in Oz. He is confronted by the Wicked Witch of the West who runs the Winkie Country. She summons up her allies: the wolves, the bees, and the crow, but Oscar uses his ventriloquism skills to scare them all off. The Winkies proclaim him to be the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the Witch heads east to seek help from her sister. The Witch of the East tells her sister of the magical Golden Cap which she can use to control the flying monkeys. The Wicked Witch eventually claims the cap, and forces the monkeys to drive the Wizard out of the west by balloon. After landing in the north of Oz, the Wizard manages to defeat a group of Kalidahs. The grateful citizens then help him begin constuction on the Emerald City, to which the Wizard uses the trick of the green spectacles to make it seem greener than it was. The Witches then join forces to launch attacks on the Emerald City. The East Witch employs the silver shoes' magic to create a yellow brick road straight to the city for her troops, as well as a giant spider(the one the Lion later fights). The Wizard manages to ward them off with more of his circus tricks, and saves the Emerald City...for now.

This book leads into the sequal(but still prequal)How The Wizard Saved Oz. It acts as a pretty good prelude for the Oz legacy, although it seems to skip through alot of the more specific details of the Wizard's early years. There's even some lead in to the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman's origins. Donald Abbott has some slightly impressive illustrations too as he modeled his work after W.W. Denslow. If you want to see a comprehensive and enjoyable view at the Young Oscar Diggs Chronicles, then give this one a look.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving From Oz

Hope you have a great holiday and get stuffed(just not with straw).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Comic Review: Toto! The Wonderful Adventure (Part 1)

Another manga inspired by Oz to be brought over to the States was Toto! The Wonderful Adventure by Yu-Ko Osada. This came out in Japan in 2005 and ran for five volumes, although it was apparently the remake of a series Osada did back in 2002 simply titled Toto which ran for two volumes. There was a spinoff of somekind called Tribal 12 which followed for three volumes, although what its connection it is to this one is unknown other than it maybe takes place in the same fictional universe.

The story takes place in a standard shonen-styled manga story similar to ones like Rave Master and Fullmetal Alchemist where technology and magic are integrated together. Kakashi(which is Japanese for "scarecrow")is a rebellous youth who wishes to see the world that his deceased father told him about, so he stowsaway on a public blimp. This turns out bad as it gets hijacked by the Man Chicken Family, a group of bandits who look like their straight out of the Turks from Final Fantasy VII. Kakashi discovers a stray puppy on board with wearing a strange collar, and takes him in as his own friend. He is found out by the Man Chicken Family and their leader Teqilla who forces Kakashi to be their lackey on the blimp while they fly it to their hideout. The blimp gets attacked by the military, and Tequilla sacrifices the last parachute to Kakashi as he escapes with the puppy. They wake up battered in a field, and are very hungry. Luckily, they find a seemingly abandoned picnic basket which they immediatley empty, but are found out by its owner, a young girl named Dorothy. She first thinks that just the puppy ate her food, but takes a liking to him, and names him Toto. Kakashi pops up from behind a cornstalk, and gets into an argument with Dorothy who first confuses him for a scarecrow. However, the military shows up, and it turns out they're after Toto's collar. Kakashi, Dorothy, and Toto make off on a stolen motorcycle towards the city of Emerald where Dorothy's family lives. On the way, they stop at a farmhouse and are taken in by what seems like a kindly old man, but he's really the sinister Lt. Vio in disguise. He leaves Kakashi and Dorothy inside while the place is burns down, but Toto's collar transforms him into a giant creature due to the collar's magical powers.

I've liked how this series seems to be going so far, although some of the danger presented in this "Rated T" manga is very real with the heroes facing imminent death at every corner. This manga is one of several Oz titles that crosses over with Alice In Wonderland with characters from that book showing up in this storyline. I liked Yuko Osada's art style, and look forward to it progress in the future volumes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Review: The Rundelstone Of Oz

This, the final Oz novel to be written by Eloise McGraw, was published a year after her death in 2001. McGraw also wrote Merry Go Round Of Oz, the last of the official "Famous Forty" line of Oz books stemming from the orignal series by L. Frank Baum and Rudy Thompson, as well as The Forbidden Fountain Of Oz which wasn't counted as canon in the Famous Forty. The Rundelstone Of Oz was put together by her daughter, Lauren Lynn McGraw. This was illustrated Eric Shanower, and printed by his company of Hungry Tiger Press. The story is independent from any of Elioise McGraw's previous books, although it was first concieved as a segment from Forbidden Fountain.

It opens up with a group of living marionettes called Troopadours traveling around with their human leader, Maestroissimo Furioso, who tour Oz and entertain its citizens. They enter a small village in Gillikin, and after puting on a successful show, they all go missing, except for Poco. Poco takes up being the major domo for a local "witherd", the crafty Slyddwyn. He tells Poco that his friends left him, but Poco doesn't believe him, and he starts to search Slyddwyn's castle for clues on their wherabouts. Poco befriends the local orphan boy Rolly, and frequently encounter the very perturbed Shmodda who claims that Slyddwyn stole one of seven mystic rocks called the Rundelstones. With Rolly's help, Poco manages discovers that Slyddwyn had transformed his friends into various objects, which Poco believes he was able to do with the magic of the Rundelstone. Poco eventually discovers the stone, and restores his marrionette friends to their natural forms. Along with Shmodda, they finally confront Slyddwyn who locks himself in a special room magically sealed from the inside. However, Ozma, Dorothy, the Wizard, and Lion arrive to help them. They find that a stray dog is really Furioso changed by the Rundelstone, and is actually Rolly's father. All is restored as the Troopadours head out for more fun.

This was a pretty good story, one that was focused more on original characters in the land of Oz instead of the regular cast. Eloise McGraw told a compelling tale about an uncertain fellow looking for his lost commrades. Eric Shanower offers alot of great illustrations for this, and did a great job publishing it. This makes for a fine addition to anyone's Oz collection, but also stands alone a wonderful children's book.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oz Video Of The Month: After Oz

Percy Kiyabu created this original animated short featuring the Tin Man in his quest for love.

Ozma Of Oz in stores

Marvel Comics has released its first of an 8-issue series of Ozma Of Oz. This is continuing its series of Oz books that its done adapted by Eric Shanower and drawn by Scottie Young. Issue #1 has a regular cover by Young, a variant one by Shanower, plus one by Adrian Alphona and Christina Straina. This will be a monthly series, with a collected novel set for next year.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Wicked Day

Wicked Day is Oct. 30. It celebrates the anniversary of the Wicked musical, but it also acts as a sponsor for several charities, including Bully Bust and enviromental agencies like Woodlawn Trust. Hope you follow its message of acceptence and trust.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Comic Review: The Marvelous Land Of Oz (Marvel Comics)

Eric Shanower and Scottie Young recently completed their run on Marvel Comics' series of The Marvelous Land Of Oz which is an adaptation of the second Oz book. This acts as a direct sequal to the first series they did of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz using the same style and artwork.

The book is pretty much a straight up retelling of the story, which thankfully didn't fall into the what I call DITLOOS, which is "Dorothy In The Land Of Oz Syndrome" where they do a version of Land Of Oz and for no explained reason add Dorothy into the mix. This is apparent in movies like Return To Oz and Journey Back To Oz. Although there seems to be some filling-in-the-blanks of some missing material from the book like more of General Jinjur's dealing with her troops, and Mombi's going to Jinjur for assistance. The treatment of how the characters behaved and moved with the story was also refreshing.

On the art itself, Scottie Young once again outdoes himself. He's brought the layouts and backgrounds of Oz to a much more livelier level, possibly to illustrate that the land is now a little happier since the Wicked Witches got offed. The characters designs for the new characters are fine too, although slightly different. Tip is a young redhead boy with freckles in a standard purple Gillikin outfit. Mombi is also in purple, and looks a little less evil than usual, like a disgruntled Mother Goose. Jack Pumpkinhead has slightly shorter legs and clothes. Jinjur is blonde here, when she's normally shown as a redhead. The Gump's head gives off the appearance of a dog-like creature instead of a moose. Plus, the Wogglebug is a four-legged well-dressed bug that could be easily mistaken for Jiminy Cricket. Ozma looks mostly the same, although she has her more common attire from the rest of the Oz books and not that shown at the end of Land Of Oz. Marvel released this as 8 issues, with 4 covers for issue #1 and 2 for issue #8. It was also recently collected in a single hardcover graphic novel with a cover gallery and character sketches. There will probably be a paperback edition sometime late next year similar to the one they did of WOZ. I'd extremely recommend getting the hardcover though for collector's value, and because its memories will last alot longer.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Emeralds Prints For Sale

We're now offering these very cool 8.5 x 11 color prints of Emeralds characters for $2.00 each. Each one is laser printed on cardstock. These are available for a limited time though! Please indicate which one you want.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oz Video Of The Month: For Good

Since Wicked Day is this month, we're featuring this special performance of For Good by Soshana Bean and Megan Hilty that was done for TV a few years ago.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Emeralds 2011 calendars now in!

We now have a brand new wall calendar for 2011. This is 8 x 11 and laminated at $2.00 each. Supplies are limited, so please order soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Comic Review: Gizmo

An indy comic from the mid-80s was Gizmo by Michael Dooney, and was published by Mirage Studios, who not only printed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but Gizmo was in the same universe as the Turtles. The series went on for 6 issues, and had a team-up 2-part crossover with Fujitoid. The comic dealt with the hip android, Gizmo Sprocket, and his anthropomorphic dog buddy, Fluffy Brockleton, who travel the universe around in their intergalactic tractor trailer fitted with an A.I. named Soto.

Issue #5 of the series had Gizmo and Fluffy watching the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz while cruising in Soto. They accidently crash into a space bus carrying an all-girl rock band who closely resemble Josie and The Pussycats, and both ships crashland on an artificial planet which is still in its development stages(kinda like what the Magratheans did in Hitchhiker's Guide). The planet has now been terraformed in an Oz motif because Soto's playing of the movie somehow interfered with the planet's formational matrix. Gizmo takes on the roll of the Tin Man, Fluffy becomes the Lion, the Josie character is dressed like Dorothy, and the Valerie character is made-over like Scarecrow. They are attacked by the Alexandra character who is here the Wicked Witch and her army of flying mutant turtles. Its revealed that the two ships crashed into each other because "a wizard did it", but a sexy space agent(who is a dead ringer for Power Girl)fixes reality for them, and Gizmo and Co. go back to seeking out new life and new civilizations.

I recently came upon an old graphic novel collection of the original Gizmo comic book series, but still remembered it as a funny sci-fi comedy with shades of Heavy Metal. There's other tropes it spoofs as it goes along, like Gizmo runs across a retired Space Ghost. I'd very much recommend looking up at least this one issue, and the series as a whole for Futurama fans.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marvel Comics Oz series now in paperback

Marvel Comics has re-released its original mini-series of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz in a collected paperback. The series was previously released in a hardcover graphic novel. This was adapted by Eric Shanower and drawn by Skottie Young. They've just recently completed The Marvelous Land Of Oz which is also scheduled for a collected book release. Their latest series of Ozma Of Oz will begin with issue #1 on Nov. 3, 2010.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Comic Review: Woe Is Oz

This indy series has been in print beginning in 2009. Woe Is Oz is a new comic written by Ethan Tarshish and drawn by Kelley Brown(from Comic Volt). It is an ongoing title set as a somewhat modern day continuation of the original L. Frank Baum Oz books.

The story starts out with Lion looking over a wartorn landscape in Oz after some large battle. Shoot to three years earlier where Tik-Tok's creators Smith and Tinker(who somehow made it back from the moon and the water painting)come across General Jinjur leading Ozma's army. Cut again to Winkie Country a year before that where the Winkies are tired of their subjugation by Queen Ozma, who holds them responsible for the Wicked Witch of the West's rise to power. Considering this all happened a while before Ozma even assumed the throne, it seems more than a little suspect. But the Winkie couple, Umb and Ra, lead a revolution against the Munchkins who they've been forced to make up for their accused crimes. After murdering a few Munchkins, the Winkies take over the Tin Man's palace, and hold their former emporer captive. They make a deal with Smith and Tinker to create an army of clockwork soldiers, plus send one of Oz's apparently several "Crooked Magicians"(Pipt and Nikidik included)to form an alliance with the new Nome King, Guph. Go back a further year to Kansas where Dorothy finds Em cheating on Henry. Dorothy also begins to believe that her entire experience in Oz was just a delusion, and starts to take medication for it, although she keeps seeing images in a magic mirror Ozma gave her(shades of Return To Oz?)that they keep asking for her help from.

Woe Is Oz makes for a decent comic book, although it gets very dark and grim at points. For some reason, the concept of immortality in Oz is negated with Munchkin murders. Also, Ozma would more than likely not hold the Winkies accountable for the actions of the Wicked Witch of the West. If that's the case, then why didn't she punish the Munchkins for the Wicked Witch of the East? The story seems to be developing well, but my main problem with it is how it keeps skipping back and forth 3-5 years from the opening shot with the Lion. I'd say that the comic is not so much for Oz traditionialists, but for someone who was looking for a something alot more adult in an Oz story. The first two issues are currently out on the comic's webstore, and is also available for download on Itunes.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Review: A Refugee In Oz

Kim McFarland recently came out with this followup to the Oz novels by L. Frank Baum. It's an original story, but actually features a different version of the Trollans from He-Man And The Master Of The Universe, who most 80s nostalgia fans would know as "Orko's people"(see Kim's Negapage for her love of Trollans). Although, there is no direct reference made to He-Man in it.

The story stars off in the middle of the Deadly Desert with a nomadic tribe called the Madou, who are short blue-skinned people with pointy ears that all wear long white robes. All the Madou can use basic magic, and have the ability to levitate. Their village gets attacked by the Nome army, and the Madou get captured by them, except for one young refugee named Koroko who goes to Oz looking for help to save his people. Koroko goes to the Tin Man as he's the Winkie Emporer, and brings Scarecrow and Dorothy along with him. Koroko flies them over the desert, which would if someone were to touch it would cause them to turn to dust. They spend the night at a small glass oasis Koroko makes with his magic, where he is suprised to learn about Oz ban on sorcery. They finally make it to the underground realm of the Nome Kingdom, and are shocked to discover that Ruggedo has been reinstated as the Nome King. His subordinate Kaliko was left in charge of the Nomes after Ruggedo was exiled in Tik-Tok Of Oz, but Ruggedo staged a coo with nomes still loyal to him. Ruggedo threatens to harm Scarecrow and Tin Man unless Dorothy hands over his old Magic Belt. He destroys Tin Man's heart, and causes Scarecrow to get completely burned. Thanks to a rescue by Billina and her chicken army, they manage to stop Ruggedo, and restore Kaliko to the throne, but leave with the freed Trollans sorrowful over the loss of their friend. The Trollans are given sanctuary in Oz by Ozma. Tin Man returns to his kingdom without any emotions because he believes he no longer has any feelings since his heart is gone, plus he mourns the death of Scarecrow. However, he managed to save a scrap of the Scarecrow's head, that Glinda and the Wizard are able to recreate the Scarecrow from, but minus his given brains. Scarecrow now believes he no longer has a mind, so Scraps tries to shake him and Tin Man out of their funk, despite the fact that they've been reunited. Under the advisement of the Wizard, Dorothy uses the Magic Belt to wish for Scarecrow and Tin Man to be restored their physical state prior to being assaulted by Ruggedo. Scraps is a little skeptical of the Wizard's motives since he let their friends believe got their thoughts or emotions due to the gifts he originally gave them. The Wizard concludes that it is sometimes more important for someone to have faith in something else in order to believe in themselves.

I personally really liked this book. It provided a nice charming adventure for the Oz crew, while at the same time providing a deeper look into the characters, even it is does take a dark turn halfway through the story. McFarland had this printed on her own through Lulu both for download and in paperback. It's designed by Marcus Mebes from the Oz book publishers at Pumpernickle Pickle Press, and features a great cover illustration by Lar DeSouza(of Looking For Group fame). McFarland also did the enchanting interior artwork(check out her Deviantart page!).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Oz Video Of The Month: Dark Oz fan trailer

Dan Oles did this fake trailer for the possible Dark Oz film being planned based on the Oz/Dark Oz/Land Of Oz comic book series. He first did a trailer called Revenge Of Oz which was done with a similar audio track and footage(it was done for a series he was planning that you can see drawings for at Deviantart). Check out his You Tube page for more original fan trailers.

Witches Of Oz poster unveiled

A new movie poster for the upcoming film, The Witches Of Oz, has been released. The movie by Leigh Scott is being produced by Blackthorn Industries, and is set for a 2011 release.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy B-Day, Ozma!

Aug. 21 is officially the birthday of Oz's resident monarch. Her birthday was first revealed in the 5th Oz book, The Road To Oz, as Dorothy and her new friends headed to the Emerald City for her party. To celebrate, here's some fan music videos that came out last year...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Comic Review: Ozopolis

A new comic that just came out recently was Ozopolis which is a continuation of the original Oz books. Being published by former Alias Enterprises partner, Forcewerks Productions, this first issue(which is supposedly the beginning of an ongoing series)is written by Kirk Kushin who also wrote B.A.B.E. Force and Super Teen-Topia, and illustrated by Gonzalo Martinez who also worked on Super Teen-Topia. It also features cool cover art by Sylwia Smerl.

Set sometime after the Baum books, Ozma recieves the Queen of the Field Mice as a guest who comes to her for help against some phantom wildcats that are rampaging her subjects. Ozma sends Tik-Tok, Sawhorse, and Bungle the Glass Cat to investigate because they are immune to the effects of the sleep-incuding poppies. They encounter the wildcats, which are revealed to be mechanical creatures(or "clockwork" as they say in Oz). Our heroes trail the cat-bots to a cave where they are suprised to see Mr. Tinker, one of the two creators who made Tik-Tok, and went missing years ago after making a ladder that went all the way to the moon and got stuck there. Tinker explains that he was brought back to Oz by unknown circumstances, and forced to create these clockwork cats under the order of a magical slate which issued out demands to him under the threat of destroying Ozma and her allies. The rescue mission succeeds, although it leaves Ozma and Dorothy wondering if there is connection to the evil slate and the one that the Good Witch of the North used to use. The comic ends with the revelation that the mastermind behind it is the enigmatic "Witch of Nowhere".

I personally liked this comic, as both an Oz fan and comics collector. It is a great all-ages title, and very family friendly. It follows the tradition of Dorothy being a blonde, although she and Ozma are apparently wearing more trendier fashions. Granted, it helps if you're a little more than familiar with the generic Oz stories to enjoy it. You can currently order this from the comic store, and some Ozopolis shirts from their store at Cafepress.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Emeralds magnets for sale

We now have a set of 4 different magnets of the Emeralds characters. Each one is sized 2 x 2.5 inches with one of the original "Gang of 4" with their own personal motto. Each one is $1.00. When ordering, please indicate which one(s) you want. These are available only for a limited time, so order some now!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oz Video Of The Month: Quentin Tarantino's Wizard Of Oz parody

Funny Or Die recently did this original animated parody of what it would be like if Quentin Tarantino of Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction fame held auditions for a WOO remake.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

What is the Oznibus?

I've been asked by a few people recently about what the actual "Oznibus" is from our new Emeralds comic. This was essentially the name I gave for Glinda's Great Book Of Records from the Oz books. The GBOC was first officially introduced in The Scarecrow Of Oz(Book #9)and is a large book that tells whatever is going on in the world as its happening, sorta like having someone sending you an instant text message. It's also one of the items that Ugu the Shoemaker makes off with in Lost Princess Of Oz, which is usually why Glinda keeps it chained down. Its been speculated that the GBOC might be the inspiration for the Grimmerie from Wicked which was a slightly indecipherable spellbook. For Emeralds though, I had it that the Oznibus acts as an accumilation of knowledge and history since the dawn of time, with some insight on current happenings, and what possibilities they might lead to. This becomes a key device for the upcoming story arc we have planned for Issue #2.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: Wicked-The Grimmerie

Meant to be a companion to the musical based on the original novel of Wicked by Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Grimmerie is a comprehensive behind-the-scenes view of the musical from the book to Broadway. It's titled The Grimmerie after the magical book from both the novel and musical that Elphaba(the Wicked Witch of the West)uses.

The book covers the timeline leading from the original Wizard Of Oz novel to Wicked, plus how it went from being a screenplay for a proposed movie(before the one they're planning on doing now)to instead a musical extravaganza. Also included is the history of the choosing of the staff and cast, the music by Stephan Schwartz, taking the show on the road, plus a breakdown of the music numbers and some of their lyrics. The best is the detail that goes into describing the characters and how the actors perform them, how the sets and costumes are designed, and a look at the entire story as a whole(warning: spoilers included!).

There's a really distinct feel given to this large hardcover. It's modeled to look slightly like the actual Grimmerie from the book on the outside, and the interior gives the impression of an ancient tome mixed in with a turn-of-the-century publication. There's some wonderful art by W.W. Denslow and John R. Neil from the original Oz books, along with great photograps from the show and its production. I'd recommend this as a collectors item or gift mainly for anyone who has already seen the musical. There are copies still available on Amazon, Barnes And Noble, and other book dealers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Royal Historian Of Oz now out

The first issue of Tommy Kovac's new comic series, The Royal Historian Of Oz is now out from Slave Labor Graphics. Issue #1 goes for only $1.00, and deals with an Oz writer in the mid-21st Century who finds away to the land of Oz via Dorothy's silver shoes. Check out this interview Kovac did with Comic Book Resources.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Comic Review: Avengers-Fairy Tales

One of a long line of Fairy Tale mini-series that Marvel Comics has done, Avengers-Fairy Tales was a 4-issue series that for each issue had the "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" starring in a storybook or a piece of folklore. The last issue(#4)went with The Wizard Of Oz for its story.

Whirlwind attacks the Avengers' Mansion, and She-Hulk takes him head on, but gets knocked out by his wind powers. She ends up dreaming she's in Oz as Jennifer Walter(her non-Hulk self), and finds out her falling mansion killed the "witch" of the East, which it turns out to be female version of Quicksilver. The witch of the North(Agatha Harkness)give Jennifer the dead witch's shoes, which is helpful because they protect her from Scarlet Witch(the Wicked Witch of the West)from winking the Munchkins out of existance just like she did the mutants in Decimation. Jennifer heads for the Emerald City to get help from the Wizard. Along the way, she befriends the Scarecrow(Thor), Tin Man(Iron Man), and the Cowardly Lion(Captain America). Once at the the Emerald City, they find that the Wizard is Magneto, and Scarlet Witch is his daughter(someone's been reading Wicked!). He tells them to convince her to turn good, but in the end the Witch prooves too powerful for them. Jennifer finally morphs back into She-Hulk, and forces the Witch to restore her friends and the Munchkins. She-Hulk then wakes up and takes out Whirlwind with Wasp's help.

This issue was written by C.B. Cebulski and drawn by Ricardo Tercio, who also did some work on Spider Man-Fairy Tales. I'd recommend seeking out this pretty fair spin on WOO, although it would've been cooler to have Jennifer be She-Hulk as Dorothy through the whole thing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oz Video Of The Month: Dorothy Meets Alice play

We're starting a new feature here where we'll showcase a certain video we find. The one for July is from deathnotedistaster of a youth theatre production of Dorothy Meets Alice(known here as "The Wizard Of Wonderland") where the cast of Wizard Of Oz meets up with the cast of Alice In Wonderland who are brought together by a young man who has to do a book report on them. The video is split up into 8 parts, and worth checking out in its entirety.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What's in store for Emeralds issue #2?

Now that Issue #1 of Emeralds is finally out, we're working on Issue #2, which is scheduled for release early next year. The next chapter actually takes place several years after Issue #1. This might seem like a stretch of time in some ways, but as no one ages much in Oz, you won't see Dorothy looking like somebody's granny. In this of what is a 3-part story arc, all three of the new East, West, and North Witches have completed their training as witches. Glinda sets them and their friends on a quest to try and reactivate an ancient source of magic long thought extinguished in Oz. However, Glinda has a secret agenda of her own to keep, that will make the new Order of Witches question their mentor. All this while Ozma and Dorothy continue their newfound love. We're really looking to hearing input on this from the fans, so please leave us your comments. Thanx.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book Review: The Undead World Of Oz

In keeping with the recent trends of adding monsters to classic literature like Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, Ryan C. Thomas decided to add some of the walking dead to the original Wizard Of Oz novel in The Undead World Of Oz. This is published by Coscom Entertainment, which specializes in other zombiefied literature like Alice In Zombieland.

The book is essentially a retelling of Dorothy going to Oz, although once there, she finds out that the Wicked Witch of the West casted a spell that makes the dead Munchkins rise from their graves and eating the brains of the living. Dorothy gets a magic gun from a Munchkin with unlimited ammo that shoots out bullets which always hit their intended targets. Toto gets temporarily infected with the zombie virus too, but is conveniently cured by a transfusion by the only Munchkin who is apparently immune to zombie bites, but gets devoured by hungry zombies. The story goes with Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion joining her, although Dorothy accidently kills the Tin Man's zombified ex-girlfriend. They then get sent to the Wicked Witch, who ends up as a zombie buffet. However, her death doesn't stop the curse, so our heroes trek to Glinda for help. Her plan is to create a giant floating brain to lure all the zombies out. This leads into a large Army Of Darkness-type battle, where Dorothy emerges as "Buffy the Zombie Slayer". Also because of all her fighting the undead, her silver shoes turn ruby.

This rewritten adaptation is fair, although alot of it is just a direct copy of the original book. There's not much of a horror element to it, more just zombie gore and violence. Not even very fun in a Sean Of The Dead kind of way. Mainly check it out only if you're a total zombie junkie.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Video Review: The Wheeler Of Oz

I recenlty got a hold of William Wall's original short film, The Wheeler Of Oz. This is a slightly original take on the characters of the Wheelers, who first appeared in the third Oz novel, Ozma Of Oz. Although they gained more popularity in the Disney movie, Return To Oz. This came into a little effect in the movie as Pons Maar, the head Wheeler from Return To Oz was consulted by Wall on how to create the look of the Wheeler. This movie was produced by Metro City Films, although it's referred to as Steam Powered Films.

Without giving away too much of the story, this is a prequal to the original Wizard Of Oz where a lone wheeler named Maliphet is outcasted by the other wheelers in the land of Ev for being kind-hearted. So, Maliphet decides to head to Oz across the Deadly Desert. He supposedly doesn't get killed from coming in touch with the desert(like one in Return To Oz did)possibly because the wheels on his hands and feet aren't organic. Anyway, once in Oz, he finds he is rejected by the citizens of the Emerald City too. The advent of a strange but inviting button labeled "Acceptance" takes the story in a somewhat tragic direction.

There's the appearance pf at least two recognizable Oz characters in this, plus a prominent one you'll recognize from their apparent lack of one eye. The movie is slighty on the same page as the Heartless movie with some heavy steampunk influence. There's even some regular steampunk costumers and performers as the Emerald City folk. The movie might be available for download later on, but you can currently get in on DVD from their store. It's a dark fairy tale, with a happy ending to it, that leads into a major part of Oz history.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Video Review: The Muppets' Wizard Of Oz

After seeing nearly every other movie verion of Wizard Of Oz, I figured I might as well get around to doing the Muppets one too. Since Kermit and friends already knocked over A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island, it was probably going to be this or an Alice In Wonderland adaptation. Originally meant to be a made-for-TV movie, this was released on DVD as an extended feature with some material not used in the original broadcast, which included some rather mature stuff for an intended "family" film.

For this time around, Dorothy Gale(played by Ashanti)is a young waitress(did Tin Man steal this?)who wants to be a pop singer. After failing to get it to an audition for the Muppets, Dorothy heads back home to her trailer park, which gets swept off to Oz by a tornado. Once there, her pet prawn Toto(yep, prawn)has evolved into a larger talking prawn. The Munchkins are actually rats, although they're called Munchkins here, who are watched over by the Good Witch of the North(i.e. Miss Piggy). BTW, Piggy plays all the Witches in this. She sends Dorothy off to see the Wizard with her dead sisters' shoes. Along the way, Dorothy befriends Scarecrow(Kermit), Tin Man(Gonzo), and the Lion(Fozzie). They manage to get past the heckling Kalidahs(Statler and Waldorf), and the Poppyfield nightclub where the Electric Mayhem jam. After finally arriving at the Emerald City, each of our heroes go in to see the Wizard which takes on a different form for each one. The big Wiz tells them to get the Wicked Witch of the West's magic eye. The Witch has Piggy looking like Cher in biker gear, and uses her magic cap to command the flying monkeys(here a biker gang)to get Dorothy. Dorothy manages to push the Witch into a bathtub which was supposed to be filled with bottled water, but instead melts her. Dorothy and the others take the eye back to the Wizard, who is revealed to be a special effects expert from Hollywood and not really a wizard. He however makes it possible for Dorothy to be a celebrity in Oz, and gives the others their own hearts' desires. Dorothy realizes that she really wants to go back home though, so they head back to Munchkinland to get help from Glinda(also Piggy). She then uses her magic footwear to go back to Kansas, where the Muppets hire her on their Star Search ripoff show.

This was ultimately a decent movie, although it seemed to be a bit lacking in both style and substance from most Muppet productions. There was just too many pop culture parodies thrown in, like it was trying too much to be like Shrek. Plus, there was some stuff in this that was definately not for kids, like the phrase "bitchslap", or Kermit bringing up The Passion while being nailed up on the pole as a scarecrow. Ashanti wasn't bad as Dorothy, which apparently helped her later on to get in a recent production of The Wiz. I was mostly impressed though that the movie actually followed the original novel a little more than most adaptations did, like the East Witch being called Tattypoo which didn't even come up until the Ruth Thompson novels, as well as the West Witch only having one eye. I'd recommend this one at least as a rental or legal download.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Raimi & Downey on Disney's new "Wizard" origin

Sam Raimi(Spider-Man, Evil Dead, Drag Me To Hell)has been confirmed for directing Disney's upcoming Oz, The Great And Powerful movie which will tell the origins of the actual Wizard of Oz on his journey from America to Oz and how he became the title character. Raimi has said that the movie will go over various elements of the Wizard's story from the L. Frank Baum books, to which he will add some of his own creativity to for the movie. Robert Downey Jr.(Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes)has stated that he's interested in playing the Wizard in the movie, although nothing solid at this time.

Book Review: The Bashful Baker Of Oz

I recently looked this up on Lulu. It was written by Marcus Mebus from Pumpernickel Pickel Press, which prints original several Oz titles. This short book has some fine illustrations by Luciano Vecchio(although there's one picture with a way too thin Ozma), whose works include Oziana, as well as some other Oz titles for Buckethead Enterprises. The story for this is set in the regular Oz continuity, but centers around some original characters.

In it, the shy cook Maria lives in the city of Crafton where she feels unappreciated, even though everyone seems to love her bakeries. However, she is being courted by the mysterious Emerald City citizen Luka, even though no one in Crafton believes her. Maria decides to go to the Emerald City and find Luka. After hitching a ride on a polite cow, she makes her way to Ozma's palace to ask for help in locating Luka. Jellia Jamb uses Ozma's magic mirror and sees that the one known as Luka is at a boutique which is busy getting ready for a large ball. Jellia and Maria go to the shop where Luka is at, but its revealed that he's really a clothes designer named Derek who pretended to be this important person in order to woo Maria. After Ozma councils Derek on his actions, he confesses his love for Maria, and she gains new confidence in herself. The two of them eventually get married, and live happily ever after in Crafton.

This was a slightly refreshing change of pace involving some irregular but still original additions to the Oz cast, and makes for a decent read. You can order it online here for download and hardcover.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gender Ninja Of Oz

Emeralds artist Erin Ptah recently did an original Oz story titled The Gender Ninja Of Oz which shows Ozma transforming herself into Tip to see how Dorothy would react to it. You can also see some artwork for it at Erin's page at Deviantart.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Book Review: The Road To Oz (Little Golden Book)

Random House recently came out with this Little Golden Book edition The Road To Oz, the fifth Oz book. It was adapted by Peter Archer, and illustrated by Harry McNaught. This is so far the only title in the Little Golden Book Line adapted from one of L. Frank Baum's Oz series, although its presented like a follow-up to the original Wizard Of Oz story.

In it, Dorothy is back in Kansas runs across the Shaggy Man. They then go to the strange fox-ruled land of Foxville and meet the Fox King who sends them on their way to Oz. They then encounter a slightly plainer version of the rainbow fairy Polychrome who joins them. Once they come to a river, Shaggy Man summons the interdimensional contractor Johnny Dooit to build them a boat to get across it. The party finally reaches Oz, and the regular gang celebrates Dorothy's return. Shaggy Man stayed in Oz, while Dorothy is sent back home in a magic bubble.

This was a pretty decent adaption of an Oz book, even though it was done over for kids. A few changes like the complete removal of Button Bright from the story as well as Ozma's birthday, plus the Lion wearing glasses, and Ozma appearing around the same as a Glinda. I'd definately recommend it as a children's book, and a pretty fair collectible for fans.

Oz film news

Well, there's alot of upcoming Oz movie projects coming up. Warner Bros. is working on one titled Oz being produced by Temple Hill and written by Darren Lemke, plus another un-named darker film written by Josh Olsen that deals with Dorothy's granddaughter going to Oz to take on an evil force. The Dorothy Of Oz animated movie(set for 2012 release)has recently added Megan Hilty as the voice of China Princess, Hugh Dancy as Marshal Mallow of the Candy Country, Oliver Platt as the owl Wiser, and Patrick Stewart as Tugg the living tugboat. Disney is also looking over directors for its movie of Oz, The Great And Powerful which tells of the Wizard's origins and how he came to Oz. Adam Shankman and Sam Mendes were thought to be up for the job, although recently its been stated that Sam Raimi has been offered it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Emeralds issue #1 finally in!

Emeralds: Hearts In Oz issue #1 is now finally completed. It is written by Jer Alford and drawn by Erin Ptah. Emeralds is a comic book series continuation of the original Oz books created by L. Frank Baum. It has Dorothy as one of the new Order the Witches which was formed to protect Oz. She is also a Princess of Oz, underneath Ozma, the rightful heir to the throne. Much has happened with the regular characters, many of whom have evolved over the years. Their relationships with each other have also gone through changes too. Issue #1 is now available. We're planning 4 issues altogether, so please keep up the support!

Emeralds: Hearts In Oz issue #1=$4.00
(32 pages long)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Review: Visitors From Oz

I was about halfway through reading this fine book for the first time, when I was shocked to hear that the author Martin Gardner had recently passed away. He was a mathmetictian and author, but most noted for his work on Alice In Wonderland titled The Annotated Alice. He was also a big fan of L. Frank Baum, to which he did a retrospective in his book The Wizard Of Oz And Who He Was. Gardner later wrote this book for the 100th anniversary of the original Wizard Of Oz.

Set in modern day(when it came out it was 1999), movie director Samuel Gold wants to do a film based on The Emerald City Of Oz, so of course he tries getting Dorothy to help make it. He manages to email Glinda(who apparently was set up with AOL)and arranges for her to come to America, although Glinda had Oz sealed away from the rest of the world at the end of The Emerald City Of Oz, so she arranges for Ku-Klip(Tin Man's old tinsmith)to create a Klein Bottle to bridge the gap between to Oz and Earth. A "Klein Bottle" is like an inter-dimensional Mobius strip. They find that they have to install the bottle in the town of Ballville in order to be able to make it to America, so Dorothy along with Scarecrow and Tin Man head out to Ballville with the bottle. Along the way, they discover a doorway leading to Wonderland(yes, that Wonderland)and decide to give it a look. Once there, they find out the inhabitants there aren't as mad as Lewis Carroll advertised. After they come back from there, they have a run in with a pushy giant, but manage to finally make it to New York which is where the Klein Bottle leads to. They befriend Samuel Gold, however soon learn that he is not the most loved movie producer in town. His rival, Buffalo Boggs, is planning his own sketchy production of Peter Pan, so he sends two goons to try and snuff out Dorothy and Co. After a few failed attempts, Dorothy uses the Water of Oblivion to erase the goons and Boggs' memories. So, Dorothy goes back to Oz, Gold makes his movie, and Martin Gardner breaks the fourth wall by being called in to write a book about the whole thing.

I'd say that this was a pretty good Oz story, at least taking into account the history of the original books, although its seems a little convenient that a portal to Wonderland is located in Oz. But its a nice use of the characters, and puting them in present day America. I'd very much recommend this for hardcore Ozians.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Tin Woodman trailer

Hash Inc. recently posted this new trailer for their completed CGI-animates version of Tin Woodman Of Oz.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wizard Of Oz in 4-D

Madame Tuessaunds in NewYork is going to have a special Wizard Of Oz exhibition called The Wizard Of Oz: 4-D Experience this summer to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the 1939 movie.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wicked book review

The crew from Spine Breakers recently did this review of the Wicked book by Gregory Maquire.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Emeralds Influences: Dorothy

The concept of a young girl being taken from her own world and thrown into a realm of fantasy and adventure is hardly a new idea, least of all in anime. If its not magical girls coming to Earth from Heaven or somewhere, then its the reverse of having girls from modern day Earth being sent to someplace like Wonderland. Once they're there, they usually do quite alot of growing up by becoming more responsible, usually because they were the key figure in some epic struggle of good vs. evil. Alot of these characters were influential to me when I was shaping my version of Dorothy, who is kinda the original "girl lost in space and time". One of the main ones was Hitomi from Vision Of Escaflowne. Hitomi is a highschool girl with the power to see people's fortune with tarot cards, and sometimes gets visions that warn her of impending danger(kinda like Spider-Sense). She gets sent to the world of Gaea which is a missing moon from Earth, and helps the handsome young prince Van in his struggle to liberate Gaea from the ruthless Zaibach empire. Hitomi uses her clairvoyant abilities to help Van and his friends, while dueling with her feelings for Van and the handsome knight Allen. The TV series has alot in common with Oz, including an enigmatic wizard/ruler, a lion man, and a young maiden who was unknowingly transformed into a boy. There was a movie remake too titled Escaflowne that remade Hitomi into a suicidal girl who comes to terms with her existence after her trip ot Gaea, where she's seen as a goddess.Another one worth mentioning(and that most Americans are familiar with)is Kagome from Inu-Yasha. Kagome is the modern day reincarnation of a priestess from fuedal Japan, of which she ends up going back to the past via a time-travelling well that only works for her, and meets up with a half-demon dogboy. On her frequent trips to the past, Kagome becomes psychically aware of the magical energies alive during this time, particularly from the ancient Shikon Jewel. This series went on for over 100 episodes, and was recently brought back under the new title, Inu-Yasha: The Final Act, which concludes the story. A final contender is Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth who is one of three girls who are transported to the world of Cephiro, and have to become the Magic Knights in order to save the Princess Emeraude from a supposedly evil priest. Along the way, Hitomi with her friends Umi and Fuu mature as characters, and become great friends despite never knowing each other before. Once their original journey ends(without giving away any spoilers!), Hikari and Co. get sent back to Tokyo, but return for the second season where they protect Cephiro from a new threat. This is a little where I came up with the idea of Dorothy, Trot, and Betsy Bobbin becoming witches to protect Oz. There is a darker OVA remake of this anime titled simply Rayearth about a slightly older Hikaru trying to stop the forces of Cephiro from invading Earth. I could name a few other anime characters similar to Dorothy, like Chihiro from Spirited Away, but these particular three really made a big influence in my ideas for Dorothy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Video Review: Heartless-The Story Of The Tin Man

Whitestone Motion Pictures has completed their independent movie of Heartless-The Story Of The Tin Man. This short film deals with the origins of the Tin Woodman, or as he's original known, Nick Chopper.

In the movie he's simply called the woodsman. He is courting a maiden(who is revealed to be Nimmee Amee in The Tin Woodman Of Oz), and plans to marry her. The maiden's mother wants her daughter to marry a man of wealth, so she makes a deal with the Wicked Witch of the East to stop their affair. The Witch puts a curse on the axe to cut into its user. When the woodsman injures his arm, he has a master craftsmen(Ku-Klip)fit him with a new metallic arm. The woodsman eventually looses his other arm, his legs, and then his head. But when the axe finally cuts into his chest, his heart is destroyed, and the craftsman then gives him a psuedo-heart. Even though from this point, the Tin Man begins to nothing but continue chopping down trees for the house he was originally planning on building for himself and the maiden. However, he completely forgets his reasons for doing so, and ultimately rejects the maiden who pours her heart out to him. The Tin Man then rusts after getting caught out in the rain, but is released years later by Dorothy and the Scarecrow.

The movie is very well put together, and is delivered as a tragic fairy tale. A serious effort was made to make this seem like a steampunk-inspired production, with a fine set of actors and haunting soundtrack. The movie is currently available for download, with plans to put it in DVD too. The soundtrack is also available for download.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Emeralds ID tags now available

We now have a limited edition line of Emeralds ID tags in. Each one is sized 3x4 inches in plastic with a clip and features one of the original "Gang of 4" with their own personal motto. Each one is $2.00. When ordering, please indicate which one(s) you want. These are available only for a short time, so get yours now!