Saturday, January 30, 2010

Emeraids Influences: Jellia Jamb

The official Royal Maid of the Emerald City is the original cute maid character! Jellia is first described in The Wizard Of Oz as a short girl with green hair and glasses. Despite the nearly infinite amount of maids in anime, there are a few that played a part in developing the Emeralds version of her. One is Lettuce Midorikawa from Tokyo Mew Mew, or as she was known in the American version(Mew Mew Power), Bridget Verdant. She's one of the Mew Mews, a group of Sailor Scout-ish magical girls who fight evil aliens. Lettuce can transform into a superhero with water powers. She appears to be your stereotypical anime girl with glasses(or "meganekko")who is shy but smart, however she has alot more to her than just being another Sailor Mercury clone. Another character that went into Jellia's development was Eina(or "Ena")from the mecha series Gravion/Gravion Zwei. She is part of a team of mecha pilots that form the giant robot, Gravion, although her cover is as a clutzy maid at a mansion with most of the other pilots. Similar to Jellia, she has short green hair and glasses. Later on she apparently dies, which turns out was an artificial body while her mind remained on the moon. Eina returns in her original form, but with pink hair and no glasses. Like Jellia, Eina is sweet and innocent, although she sometimes lets her naiveity get the better of her.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wonders Of Oz online documentary

Wonders Of Oz is an online series by Royal Kido Of Oz documenting the Oz legacy and its impact on America. The series is as of now completed.

Emeralds First Look: Dorothy

Here's the first shot of Princess Dorothy as she appears in Emeralds. She's just come back from her training as the new Eastern Witch under Scarecrow, and "yes", she's still a princess.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Comic Review: The Wonderland Of Oz

Walt Spouse created a comic strip from 1932-1933 titled The Wonderland Of Oz(which had nothing to do with Alice In Wonderland)that ran in syndicated newspapers, and was later reprinted in The Funnies and Hi-Spot Comics. This was recently redone in black and white in three seperate graphic novels from Hungry Tiger Press. The story is a pretty accurate adaptation of the second, third, and sixth Oz books. It starts out with The Land Of Oz, followed by Ozma Of Oz, and then for some reason skips ahead to The Emerald Of Oz. I really liked Spouse's art style, which is remincient of the earlier Winsoe McCay's works like Little Nemo. I'd highly recommend picking these books up not only for Ozians, but those who appreciate the aesthetics of classic comic strips.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Little Adventures In Oz now out

Eric Shanower's new comic, Little Adventures Of Oz is now out from IDW Publishing. This collects two of the stories Shanower had previously printed in seperate volumes, then recently collected in the Adventures Of Oz novel. The new affordable manga-sized graphic novel contains The Enchanted Apples Of Oz and The Ice King Of Oz, along with bonus material previously only available in the hardcover edition of Adventures In Oz, plus a new original cover.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Emeralds Character Bios: Queen of the Field Mice

First seen in the original Wizard Of Oz, the Queen of the Field Mice is one of the rare group of animal royalty in Oz. She and her subjects helped drag Lion out of the poppies when he was to heavy for his friends to carry. She also assisted in Scarecrow's semi-failed attempt to retake the Emerald City from General Jinjur's army. In Emeralds, Queen Meadow has been granted the power to change into a human form at will by Ozma, and she has recently mated with Lion who has also gained the same ability. Meadow will be a very active member of the cast.

Monday, January 18, 2010

News on Todd McFarlane's Oz movie

About two years ago, Todd McFarlane(creator of Spawn)was working out a deal with Warner Bros. to do a movie based on his line of action figures, Twisted Land Of Oz. Lately, it was rumored that Dakota Fanning might be up for the role as Dorothy in it. The film was supposed to be in development with Warner and Thunder Road Pictures with Josh Olson who wrote the script for A History Of Violence to handle the screenplay. Although recently its been reported that Olsen was doing his own version for Warner titled Oz: The Return To The Emerald City where Dorothy's modern day granddaughter is sent to Oz to take on a new wicked witch. Whether this will meet up with what McFarlane had pitched with his darker version about a female arctic explorer that ends up in the magical realm of Oz is currently unknown.

Marvel to do Ozma Of Oz

Comic Shop News recently noted that Eric Shanower is adapting the upcoming Marvel Comics run of Ozma Of Oz. This will follow the series of Whe Wonderful Wizard Of Oz(now available in a collected hardcover)and The Marvelous Land Of Oz as drawn by Scottie Young. Ozma Of Oz is the third book in the Oz series written by L. Frank Baum where Dorothy finally returns to Oz to help her friends defeat the wicked Nome King. Expect the new series to be out later this year. This would be a first as the last time Marvel did their adaptations of the Oz books back in the 80s when they did the first two books as comics, but would've had to pay the licensing fees from the Baum Trust as the book wasn't in the public domain at the time.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Emeralds Influences: Ozma

When it came to making Emeralds, I've modeled or based some of the reimagining of certain Oz characters from various sources. For Ozma, who is now a little older than her usually girlish image, I was largely inspired by the character of Princess Rune Venus from the anime, El Hazard. In it, Rune is the princess of the kingdom of Roshtaria on the world of El-Hazard, in which people from Earth are sent there via a magic vortex(similar to Dorothy being sent to Oz). Rune is a very responsible ruler, but deeply cares for her friends and family. There are actually two different versions of this character. One is from the original OVA series, El Hazard: The Magnificent World, who is the head of an alliance of kingdoms, and user of an ancient weapon. She resembles Ozma in her regal appearance, as well as her garb, including her crown with ornamental flowers on the ends, although her outfit is more Arabesque. The other version of Rune is in the TV series remake of the OVA titled El Hazard: The Wanderers. In this one, Rune is the only heir to the throne, and slightly younger. She's a little more insecure than her OVA counterpart, and with curlier hair. She develops a relationship with the Earthling, Makoto, and goes on many adventures with him and their friends. This Rune is adorned in similar Arabic garments with a flowery headress. I was influenced by both Runes, both in the characters' nature and appearance. Another such character that has been Mera from DC Comics. She is the wife of Aquaman and the Queen of Atlantis. I more was inspired by the version of her that has appeared on the Justice League animated TV series where she wears a more elegant midriff-revealing outfit, even though she's still the warrior queen that's shown in the comics. In fact, Mera has become a central character in the Blackest Night crossover. Mera's strength and determination played a great part in what I have in mind for Ozma in the future.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dorothy Of Oz movie news

The upcoming full-length CGI-animated movie, Dorothy Of Oz, is set for a 2011 release. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Roger S. Baum(L. Frank Baum's great-grandson)which was a direct sequal to the original Wizard Of Oz novel. In the book, Dorothy is sent back to Oz to team up with her old friends to stop the wicked Jester who has taken over. It will feature the voices of Dan Aykroyd as Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammer as Tin Man, Jim Belushi as Lion, and Martin Short as the Jester. The production is being handled by Alpine Pictures and Box Office Productions III. Also the movie website has recently been given a new makeover.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oz characters in Fables

Vertigo Comics comic book series of Fables is about several fairy tale characters from an enchanted world where all of them lived together, and have secretly moved to New York City because an evil monarch called the Adversary had taken over their dimension. Oz is one of the lands in this world, and in it the Nome King allied himself with the Advesary to take over Oz. Also, flying monkeys are employed into the secret society that the fairy tale characters have set up in our world known as the Mundane, one such monkey is Bufkin who works for the adminstrator Snow White along with Boy Blue. Meanwhile, Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion were imprisioned in a fake retirement village, but later freed by Jack Horner. Ozma has recently taken center stage as a major player in the comic. She's one of a group of witches first led by the witch Frau Totenkinder, and is chosen to lead the magic-users of the Fables world after Totenkinder goes missing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Emeralds First Look: The Emerald City

Here's a quick look at the Emerald City in Emeralds. Not alot has changed here over the years as Oz has had an age of peace for some time. BTW, that's the Sawhorse that someone is riding on.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Video Review: Lion Of Oz

Roger S. Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, created a prequal to the original Wizard Of Oz book titled Lion Of Oz And The Badge Of Courage. In 2000, Sony Wonder did a full-length animated made-for-video movie based on it, Lion Of Oz, which was animated in Canada by Cinescope. The story takes place sometime prior to WOZ where the not so-Cowardly Lion is a circus animal, and his best friend there is Oscar Diggs, the circus' balloonist. Oscar takes Lion up for a ride(seems safe to take a Panthera leo up in balloon!), and gives him one of his obligatory medals that he gives to all of his riders, but they end up going to Oz. Lion falls safely out of the balloon while Oscar flies off uncontrollably. After rescuing a talking tree from being attacked by winged monkeys, he realizes that he himself can talk. But the Wicked Witch of the East(not West)shows up, and tells him that she has Oscar. In exchange for his release, the Witch tells Lion to find the fabled "Flower Of Oz", which apparently only someone who is brave of heart can find. Along the way, Lion helps out the strange cloiled bear Silly, who leads him to a castle where the enigmatic young girl Wimzik lives. She along with her living toys, the ballerina doll Caroline and the toy soldier Capt. Fitzgerald, decide to help Lion with his quest. They encounter Gloom, a living shadow who is working for the Witch, and she shows up to take Fitzgerald hostage in order motivate Lion more. The crew makes their way to a village of mini-Munchkins who are under a spell by the Witch, but Wimzik uses some hidden magic powers to restore them to their natural size(which is still kinda short). Lion and the others finally reach the end of the trail that's supposed to lead to the Flower, but Lion realizes that Wimzik herself is the "Flower" as she has healing powers and the ability to control flowers. The Witch shows up with Fitzgerald who tells them that she never had Oscar in the first place. This angers the Witch to the point that she attacks Lion, and throws away his medal, but Wimzik uses her magic to ward off the Witch. This leaves Lion believing that all his real courage came from his medal, and he leaves his friends to find Oscar on his own. He eventually carries on to where he first meets up with Dorothy and friends. This movie was fairly well animated for an early-2000s OVA, although some of the character designs are strange. Lion seems like he might be in The Lion King, Oscar(aka: the Wizard)is a little off from some of his other incarnations. It's refreshing to see characters like the Witch of the East getting more airtime in a story for once, although there's the big question as to who Wimzik might be in context to the rest of the Oz apocrypha, as if she might be Ozga from Tik-Tok Of Oz who is supposed to be Ozma's cousin from the Rose Kingdom. The film has a great list of voice actors, including Lynn Redgrave as the Witch, Dom DeLuise as Oscar, plus Tim Curry, Kathy Griffin, Bob Goldthwait, and Jane Horrocks. Although I kinda think that Jason Priestley as Lion was not appropriate casting. It's available on VHS and DVD from most sellers like Amazon. Another animated film based on Roger S. Baum's other book, Dorothy Of Oz, is currently in production.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Comic Review: Dorothy Gale-Journey To Oz

Freefall Entertainment has been puting out a new series of mini-comic books titled Dorothy Gale-Journey To Oz by Shane Kirshenblatt. Acting as a modern day retake of the original Oz books, this starts out with young orphan Dorothy Gale living on a farm in Kansas with her adopted aunt and uncle. She keeps having strange dreams of another world and keeps a journal with drawings she's taken from them. Her best friend Thomas(aka: "Toto")takes her out for a walk where they run across a peddler named Edward who tries to sell them some used items. Toto makes off with what he thinks is a towel as a birthday present for Dorothy, but it turns out to be a map, and Edward comes after the two of them for stealing it. They all end up going down into a cellar which somehow leads them to the other world of Oz. Once there, they befriend some of the rowdy Munchkins who are under attack by the an army of zombie Scarecrows that work for the evil Wizard. Edward had apparently gotten the special map that the Wizard wants, and he sends his evil cronies, the pumpkinheaded Jack and the mechanical Tik-Tok to get it. Dorothy grabs a sword and helps free some of the Munchkins from the Scarecrows, but is suprised to see one of them looks exactly like herself. After the doppleganger goes missing, Dorothy, Toto, and Edward are ambushed by giant snakes, but a giant Tin Man chops them down. The axe-wielding metal man then seems to come after them, but they are saved by the Dorothy double, who is really her twin sister, Ozma. She believes Edward made off with Dorothy to our world when she was a baby, is responsible for what happened to their mother. Ozma is about to lay some revenge on him, but Dorothy convinces her to stop. Elsewhere, the Tin Man tracks them down, all while the evil Wizard sends more forces out to get the stolen map. This comic has some deep overtones to it, so its not really for the kiddies. But the gothic backgrounds and grim atmosphere in this even darker than normal view of Oz make for an interesting spinn on the story. The series was originally printed as two seperate volumes(#2 is actually twice the length of #1), and then both put online along with Volume #3. Copies of the first two books are still available for sale, with future issues in the works.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Comic Review: The Wizard Of Oz (Stone Arch Books)

Stone Arch Books recently released a line of classic fiction in colored graphic novels, all of which seem to be done in anime-style. One of which was an abbreviated version of The Wizard Of Oz. It was adapted by Martin Powell whose written for Marvel, DC, and Disney, and illustrated by Jorge Break whose work includes the Mexican edition of the manga series Captain Tsubasa, and his own original comic of Meteorix 5.9. The book itself is pretty much a faithful adaptation of the original story, although it skips through it pretty fast like it was just some kind of half-hour TV special. They barely even show the Wicked Witch of the West in it, who in this is a cyclops instead of a woman with a patch over one eye. Break's artwork is quite nice though, even including the classical blonde Dorothy, and having Scarecrow seem like a large Raggedy Andy doll. There is an inexpensive paperback of it and a slightly pricier hardcover edition. Worth looking into at least for the decent artwork, and it might be nice for young comic book fans who would like a Cliff Notes version of the book.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Emeralds Sketches: Lion, Meadow, and Jinjur

Here are some more sketches of the extended characters. Lion is now the King of the Forest, and has the ability to take on a human form, along with most of the other animal lords of Oz. He has taken Meadow, Queen of the Field Mice, as his mate, who can also take on a human form. Jinjur, the former women's lib general and ex-ruler of Oz is now a content farmer, who has taken a liking to a now humanized Oz resident.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Review: Jellia Jamb, Maid Of Oz

David "Dave" Hardenbrook also recently came with a sequal to The Unknown Witches Of Oz titled Jellia Jamb, Maid Of Oz from This is the second of his Dan In Oz series taking place a few years after Unknown Witches which focuses the secondary character of Jellia Jamb, who is usually just someone in the background of the regular Oz books. She was featured prominently in Ozoplaning With The Wizard Of Oz, but usually isn't one of the main cast. Jellia is the head maid at Ozma's palace, and in this story has to deal with a crotchedy new head cook, Deb Horrid, who is really a wicked witch working for the evil Lord Reggie, a magic industialist from another universe that gets a stern parallel version of Ozma to take over Oz. Jellia gets sent out of the Emerald City by Horrid, but suddenly realizes that she herself can use magic because she bathes in liquid candy. Meanwhile, Ozma's boyfriend Dan from Earth is helping to set up a magic school in the land of Op run by Ozma's cousin Gyma. They have to overcome the spiteful Queen Zurline who is in league with Reggie because she believes fairies shouldn't have relations with mortals. After winning Zurline over, Jellia heads to the universe Reggie comes from and gets help from a trio of space mermaids who are its versions of Jellia, Gyma, and Zurline. With their combine efforts, they manage to restore the true Ozma back to the throne, and she and Dan get engaged. The book was a pretty good upgrade from Unknown Witches which came out about seven years prior to this. This is supposedly going to lead to a spinoff with the space mermaids from this in a new title called The Shining Chalice Universe. Hardenbrook also created this original animated trailer for the book too:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Book Review: The Unknown Witches Of Oz

David "Dave" Hardenbrook has so far written two books of a trilogy he's planning called Dan In Oz. The first is The Unknown Witches Of Oz from Galde Press, which is a modern day follow up to the original Famous 40 Oz books. It retcons alot of the original Oz history, like having the Three Adepts which appeared in Glinda Of Oz are renamed Zsuzsu, Judit, and Sofia, and are the granddaughters of Locasta, the Good Witch of the North, who has been missing from Oz for sometime. After trying to find her, the Adepts are lost in a time warp for nearly a century, and come out to find out that Ozma has matured physically into a teenager. Locasta has really been on Earth for the last hundred years, and meets up with a young teenage orphan named Dan, who she brings back with her to Oz to court Ozma. However, Ruggedo(the former Nome King)has regained his memory, and become the master of the genie Taarna, a former witch who is actually the mother of both the Wicked Witches. They've teamed up with Forg, the evil leader of a group of demons and other monsters intent on taking over Oz. Taarna transforms the Wizard, Ozma, Glinda, Locasta, and the Adepts into light, and they shoot out into space. Polychrome rescues them, and gives them back their physical forms, which provides Glinda with nearly infinite power, enough in fact to defeat Taarna, and get rid of Forg and his army. Ruggedo reforms and is welcome back in Oz, Taarna is turned into a human, and Dan becomes an official Prince. In all, the story is pretty good, being influenced by sci-fi writers like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, and implements the concept of magic as if it were a universal science that could by applied to computer progamming. The only downside is it might seem like more of a fan wish-fulfillment about someone who is an Oz fan actually being sent to Oz and getting to date one of the characters. This book lead to a sequal, Jellia Jamb, Maid Of Oz, and a third one is supposedly in the works titled, That Ozzy Feeling, either this or a spinoff involving Oz characters in another reality called The Shining Chalice Universe is also planned. Oh, check out this original animation of the "Nonestica" continent Oz is set in by Hardenbrook.

Emeralds Character Bios: Lion

The not-so-cowardly Lion comes back in Emeralds in an all new way. Originally, Lion(or "Cowardly Lion)was an outcast suffering from serious self-esteem, and believed he didn't have any courage. He teamed up with Dorothy as she was off to see the Wizard, and he apparently gains courage thanks to a "magic potion". He later becomes King of the Forest in Quadling Country after killing a giant spider that had been terrorizing the animals there, and also where Lion befriends Hungry Tiger. Lion also becomes a regular member of Ozma's court and sometimes acts has her bodyguard. In Emeralds, Lion has the ability to take on a human form, which is a gift that Ozma has granted to all the animal rulers in Oz. Lion has also recently been mated to a certain long-standing Queen in Oz.