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.