Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Review: Lost In Oz

So let's say that somehow you ended up going back in time and screwed up history(like in Back To The Future: Part II). That's more or less the premise for Lost In Oz, a trilogy by Joshua Dudley. While having no relation to the Lost In Oz TV pilot by David Hayter, or the original movie idea by Tim Burton, this book was concieved as an original idea, but still catering to fans of the original Oz book series.

First set in modern day, Joshua(named after the author), his twin sister Tamara, along with their schoolfriends Tommy and Laura are suprised to find themselves hurled to Oz. Once there, they run into Dorothy who has just befriended Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. They are all on their way to see the Wizard, so Jousha and his crew have not only travelled to another realm, but gone back in time to when Dorothy first arrived in Oz in 1899. Plus, their initlal encounter with her has caused a whole new timeline to occur. Joshua and Tamara have an arguement, which causes the two girls to go stalking after Dorothy so they can find a way home, while Joshua and Tommy get left behind. Joshua can keep up with them though because his copy of the actual Wizard Of Oz book is now narrating what is going in Oz similar to Glinda's Great Book of Records. After encountering some flesh-eating merfolk(in Oz?), Joshua and Tommy meet Jack Pumpkinhead who was apparently sent back in time from some point of the original timeline that still exists, and tells Joshua he is part of some cryptic prophecy. Tamara and Laura get kidnapped by Bastinda, the Wicked Witch of the West, who Joshua and Tommy find out has been fronting as the actual Wizard as well. They learn of the girls' abduction and head out to the Witch's castle, only to run into another time-displaced character, Scraps, who is unfortunately torn apart by the flying monkeys. They are also captured while trying to save the girls, where Joshua meets Oscar Diggs(the actual Wizard). He reveals to Joshua that Bastinda was his wife from America who came to Oz with him, and she gained magical powers along with her sister to become the Wicked Witches. This isn't even more shocking as the fact that Joshua is their son, who was sent to America as a child, and his "sister" Tamara with her family were enchanted to thinking he was her twin. Oscar then just disitegragtes, leaving Joshua to reconsider Jack's prophecy. Tamara frees Joshua after Dorothy melts Bastinda. The foursome then decide to just tail Dorothy and her friends to Glinda's palace and try to catch a ride home from her when she "clicks her heels three times". However, they end up in their time about two years after they first left and have been presumed missing. They end up getting admitted into a asylum, where they meet a young girl named Alice chasing a rabbit. Now in case your wondering, yes this is the Alice from Wonderland, which crosses-over in the next volume of the series, Rise Of The Dark Wizard.

The second book is now out, with the third one, Temple Of The Deadly Desert, due out early next year. Currently, there are copies for sale through most regular sellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It's also available on Lulu along with a Special Edition available only for download. The book itself is in a regular paperback edition as well as a deluxe paperback.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I am Iron Man, the Great and Powerful!

According to First Showing, Robert Downey Jr. might star in an upcoming Sam Mendes movie titled Oz The Great And Powerful. Mendes was originally going to do the next James Bond film, although that's been put on hiatus because of MGM's financial problems. This new project was first slated under the title Brick which was written by Mitchell Kapner who did The Whole Nine Yards, and is being produced by Joe Roth. Downey has been offered the role of the Wizard, which in this movie is supposed to be a prequal to the original Wizard Of Oz story that tells of the title character's life prior to coming to Oz and how he became the "man behind the curtain".

Monday, April 19, 2010

Behind-the-scenes of Heartless

Whitestone Motion Pictures recently posted this behind-the-scenes footage from their upcoming movie, Heartless, based on the Tin Woodman's origin.

They also posted some info on the movie sountrack, and you can download a track from it here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Limited edition Dorothy/Ozma posters!

Hi. We recently came up with some Emeralds promo posters for a convention appearance. We're now offering these Dorothy/Ozma prints for a limited time for $3.00 each. They are 8 X 10 and laminated. You can order them directly through Paypal.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Oz Film Manufacturing Company trilogy

During the mid-1910s, L. Frank Baum took it upon himself to make independent live-action silent movies based on his Oz books. He set up the Oz Film Manufacturing Company in California. Three movies that were made back then have survived today.

The first one was The Patchwork Girl Of Oz which was based on the book of the same name. It only skewes a little from the original story by making Jinjur an antogonist in it, plus creating characters like Dr. Pipt's daughter Jesseva and her fiance Danx. Two other original characters who actually appear in a few of the other OFMC movies are the mule Mewel, and the strange creature called the Zoop who resembles a monkey mixed with a Chinese dragon. Following this was The Magic Cloak Of Oz which was inspired by Baum's novel, Queen Zizi Of Ix. It has was no direct connection to Oz, even though the country of Ix that it takes place in borders Oz. The only regular Oz character in it is the Woozy returning from the last movie, along with Mewel and Zoop. The last one was His Majesty, The Scarecrow Of Oz, which later became the basis for Baum's book, The Scarecrow Of Oz. It originally combined elements of Wizard Of Oz and Land Of Oz. It introduces Button Bright as an original character, plus Dorothy's first appearance in the OFMC trilogy, but this time she's profiled as being a girl from Kansas who is enslaved to the witch Mombi(how she got to Oz is never explained). Tin Man plays a significant part in the story too. The movie was originally retitled The New Wizard Of Oz in order to attract a larger audience.

On their own, these films manage to capture alot of the whimsy of the Ozbooks that alot of other movies haven't. There's several versions of these films on DVD, usually along with the 1925 The Wizard Of Oz movie. One is Wizard Of Oz: The Lost L. Frank Baum Versions, The Wizard Of Oz Collection, and The World Of Oz. I'd highly recommend that you check these out sometime, either DVD or online.

Wicked: Year 4

According to recent reports, Gregory Maguire is currently working on the 4th installment of the Wicked Years series. This originally started in 1995 with Wicked, followed by Son Of A Witch, and A Lion Amoung Men. The working title for the next book will be Out Of Oz, which will apparently start with the character of Glinda under house arrest by the Emporer Apostle(aka: the Wicked Witch's younger brother). The book is planned for an Oct. 2010 release.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stitchpunks in Oz

Since the movie 9 came out, there's been a surge of the term "stitchpunk". This basically refers to any kind of sewn-together creation brought to life by some means. The actual word comes mainly from the Stitchpunk characters from 9 who are small robots with a body made of fabric resembling gloves, sacks, and other materials. Other examples would be the original stitch-monster Frankenstein, Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, plus Sally and Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas. It could be argued that living doll characters like Raggedy Ann or Chucky from Child's Toy could also count.

In the case of Oz, the accounting of characters like Jack Pumpkinhead and Sawhorse who were inanimate objects brought to life is slightly along the lines of stitchpunk, but mainly Scarecrow and Scraps the Patchwork Girl are Oz's resident "stitchies".

Scarecrow was an ordinary scarecrow who was somehow given life, even though he didn't have a brain. In some versions of the story, it turned out his essense was really the displaced spirit of either a dead farmer or the ruler of an underground kingdom, while in some others he was animated magically by Dorothy's will. Scraps on the other hand was created by Dr. Pipt using the Powder of Life(which was also used for Jack Pumpkinhead and Sawhorse), and meant to be a servant for his wife, but some added brains by Ojo made her alot more independent. While its been hinted that both Scarecrow and Scraps are a little sweet on each other, its nice to think that these two might get together and raise a future generation of stitchpunks someday.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Voice actors wanted for Oz fan film

Wicked12396 is holding auditions for voice actors in their upcoming original Sim movie of Oz which will apparently incoroporate some aspects of Wicked too.

Comic Review: The Oz-Wonderland War

Since a certain bunny-themed holiday is just around the corner, figured I'd do a review of the very first comic book crossover with Wizard Of Oz and Alice In Wonderland. This was done by DC Comics in the mid-80s featuring Captain Carrot and his amazing Zoo Crew. It was originally going to be a 6-issue series, but was instead made into three double-length issues.

The Captain and Co. are "funny animal" superheroes from universe parallel to the regular DC Universe where Superman hangs. In their world, Captain Carrot in his secret identity is the creator of a comic that is basically a furry version of the Justice League, which is later revealed to exist in another reality. He and the other Zoo Crewers are recruited by Cheshire Cat to come to Wonderland which is being threatened by Roquat, the Nome King. He has taken over Oz with his Magic Belt, and turned all of its heroes into ornaments that he's hidden throughout Oz. Once in Wonderland, they team up with some of their mad posse, including their Lion and Unicorn, plus Wogglebug and Hungry Tiger to rescue Cowardly Lion. The Zoo Crew's resident magic user, Abra-Kat-Abra, sends them to Gillikei to find that its under attack from two of the monsters from The Magical Monarch Of Mo, the Purple Dragon and Gigiboo. After taking care of those maruaders, they search for Lion as an ornament in a field of catnip, which makes all the feline heroes go a little nutty. But Lion is saved, and gang heads back to Wonderland. After recieving news from Jellia Jamb who is enslaved by Roquat, General Jinjur lets them know that Scarecrow hidden in the Poppy Fields. Along with Dorothy, they go to search for him, but have to take down some Kalidahs first. Thanks to some help from the Mouse Queen(who falls for the Zoo Crew's hero, Little Cheese)they restore Scarecrow. Tin Man is reported to be in the Wicked Witch's old castle, so the Crew and some Ozians head there to find its overrun with flying monkeys. They find Nick Chopper and turn him back to normal, but the Nome King transports his iron giant from Ev to finish them off. Fortunately, Tik-Tok and the White Knight help bring the colossus down. Next, Captain Carrot tries to sneak into the Emerald City as a regular rabbit-person-thingie, so he has Abra-Kat-Abra siphon off the power of his "cosmic carrots" to turn him back to his secret identity. Once there, he finds out Roquat had summoned rabbits from other neighboring dimensions in order to weed out Carrot, including White Rabbit, March Hare, and the Easter Bunny. Two other super-bunnies are Hoppy the Marvel Bunny(of the Shazam Family)and Wonder Wabbit who is from the Just'a Lotta Animals, that is the basis for the comic Carrot does. They all team up to fight the Nome King's super-powered Frenetic Five team of nomes, but in the end Roquat accidently wishes that everything just before Carrot snuck into Emerald City. Thanks to the Red Queen's magic, the team then goes to the Quadling Country to rescue the North and South Witches, only to have to contend with the mighty Jabberwock. Glinda sends it back to Looking-Glass Land, and the Crew returns to Wonderland. Planning for a final assault, Little Cheese sneaks into Emerald City and gets the Golden Cap of the flying monkies from the Nome King. Tin Man uses it to round up the monkies and have them take all the other nomes out of the city while Roquat is busy being a couch potato with the Magic Mirror watching Captain Carrot looking for the ornament-ized Wizard of Oz in the middle of the Deadly Desert. Once the Wizard is back on their side, the entire Oz gang along with the Zoo Crew go to confront Roquat direclty, and use their secret weapon of Humpty Dumpty from Wonderland to scare him out of the Magic Belt(because nomes are allergic to eggs!). Ozma is restored, and the Nome King is sent packing. Glinda then sends the Zoo Crew back to their dimension, where Carrot still needs to finish his comic book deadline.

I personally think that this made for a pretty good series altogether, and you don't need to have been really familiar with the Zoo Crew too much to enjoy it. Although it seemed to focus more on the Ozcharacters than the Wonderland ones, even to the point that Alice herself is not even in it, much less even mentioned. It was more like it was a Oz-based story which borrowed a little from the Wonderland universe. Despite a recent comeback by the funny animal heroes in the pages of DC Comics, the original series has as yet to be put into a collected edition or trade paperback of some kind. The series is over 25 years old, but still not too hard to find all 3 issues of from various comics dealers. I'd say its major selling point was the artwork by Carol Lay was very close to the way that the illustrations in the Oz and Wonderland books appeared. As I'm a huge fan of furry heroes like TMNT and Hong Kong Phooey, I really dug this somewhat original superhero group, and its clashing with fairy tale characters. I doubt we'll ever see a Teen Titans/Peter Pan crossover though.