Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa Claus in Oz

Alot of people aren't aware that Old St. Nick is a regular resident in the world of Oz. L. Frank Baum wrote one of the world's first full origin stories of him back in 1902 titled The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus which covered Claus' entire life from infancy to his elder years. Claus is a child who is found and raised by the immortals in the Forest of Burzee, which is one of the countries in the Nonestica realm that lies across the Deadly Desert southwest of Oz. Burzee is also used in other Baum stories like Queen Zixi Of Ix. The land is ruled by Queen Zurline, who is possibly related to Lurline, the fairy queen who created the land of Oz. Another tie into the Oz stories is that the Nome King(here pronounced "Gnome")was one of the fairy folk who assisted Claus in his toy delivery business, although it's been suggested that its actual a different character altogether. Possibly "gnomes" are a completely seperate race than nomes in the Oz universe, which would make sense since nomes were a bunch of jerks that probably wouldn't really care about children. This book has been adapted several times, including a Rankin/Bass TV special, an anime series, and a made-for-video animated movie. There was a new animated film planned about a year ago, but no new updates has appeared as of now.

Following that, Baum did a short sequal, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, where a group of demons plan to stop Santa's plans to spread joy by kidnapping him. The fairies of Burzee fight the demons back to rescue Santa. This story has been adapted into a graphic novel, as well as probably slightly incluencing The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Prior to this though, Santa had his first crossover with the folks from Oz in the series of short stories Baum did for newspapers titled Queer Visitors From The Marvelous Land Of Oz(also sometimes retitled The Visitors From Oz). In this, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Saw-Horse, Jack Pumpkinhead, and Wogglebug are on a journey through America visiting Dorothy, and seeing the sights. They decide to get into the Christmas spirit by making small toy versions of themselves to give to the children of the world. They use the Gump to catch up to Santa on his sleigh and give him the toys to deliver, but loose a race between the Gump and Santa's reindeer.

The last official time we see Santa in the same continuty of Oz is during the fifth Oz book, The Road To Oz. Santa is one of the guests at Princess Ozma's birthday party. In fact he's given the place at the other end of Ozma at the huge table where all the Emerald City heroes and guests from other Baum novels make appearances, like Queen Zixi, and representatives from Merryland.

Christmas is possibly not celebrated as much on its own in Oz, at least as far as the original Baum stories. There is a Christmas episode of the Oz Kids animated TV series, plus a similar holiday called "Lurlinemas" is a mainstay in the Wicked books by Gregory Maguire which is basically Christmas but celebrating the fairy queen Lurline. Anyway, hope you have a great holiday season, whether in or out of Oz!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Comic Review: Ozma Of Oz (Marvel Comics)

Well, Marvel's treatment of the Oz books keeps getting better with their version of the third book, Ozma Of Oz, which was released as an 8-issue mini-series. Eric Shanower adapts it to comics, and Skottie Young has returned to masterfully handle the artwork.

We finally bring Dorothy back to the fold, who falls off a ship at sea with her chicken friend Billina, and wind up in the land of Ev. They free the steampunk robot Tik-Tok, then get imprisioned by the head-changing Princess Langwidere, the acting "head" of Ev. She's then rescued by Princess Ozma, and all her old friends from Oz. Ozma has travelled across the Deadly Desert to free the royal family of Ev from the wicked Nome King. When the heroes finally arrive at the nomes' underground dominion, the Nome King tricks most of them into becoming parts of his ornament collection, but they're saved by Billina's eggs which are like Kryptonite for nomes. After seizing the Nome King's magic belt, they restore the Ev royal family, go back to Oz, and eventually send Dorothy back to her Uncle Henry in Australia.

Not much was changed from the original version of the book as far as the story or content is concerned. There are some differences in the way the characters look and seem to act. Tik Tok has kind of a Mario Bros. mustache, although I miss his helmet, but he was certainly more livelier than normal and less mechanical. Princess Langwidere has a very Grecian look to her, as if she's out of a piece of renaissance art. Billina appears more onery than normal, and Hungry Tiger is like a large plushie. The nomes are especially creepy being short little hair guys with jagged teeth, and the Nome King is a very spooky as a shorter twisted version of Santa Claus with a bad haircut. We get to see more of Ozma(especially since she's the title character)who this comic illustrates well how new to the idea of being a ruler she is, as Ozma's determination to free the Ev royal family seems to cloud what better judgement she might have. Dorothy is slightly older with a shorter and lighter haircut, but not as curly as in the original book.

Marvel did a great job promoting this, and has kept it as one of their top-selling titles. There are alternate covers to Issue #1, and a hardcover collection. A paperback graphic novel will be released sometime in 2012, just around the time when Dorothy Of And The Wizard In The Land Of Oz finishes its print run.

Emeralds: Special Edition in print & digital!

After a while, we now have a brand new Special Edition of Emeralds: Hearts In Oz in print. This is an expanded 36-page book in prestige format digest paperback at Lulu.com. We also have this same version for download at DriveThruComics.com. There will be printed comic editions available from Mini-Komix by the end of January. Please check them out now!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: Patchwork Girl Of Oz stage performance

The Los Angeles Choreographers And Dancers is a creative group of performers that recently did another season of their dancing stage version of The Patchwork Girl Of Oz. This just played in L.A., and will be in N.Y. next month. The video shows work from their prior versions of this show, as well as some other performance.

Video Review: Tom And Jerry & The Wizard Of Oz

Two of MGM's most enduring properties have been the Tom And Jerry cartoons, and the 1939 movie of The Wizard Of Oz. So it was possibly only a matter of time when it was decided to merge both of them in one production. Tom And Jerry And The Wizard Of Oz is a new title from Warner Home Video in their ongoing series of Tom And Jerry animated flicks that takes a cue from Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead where this story takes place in the context of the original movie story, but Tom and Jerry could've been seen as secondary characters who get taken along for the ride along, with a few of the other regular Tom And Jerry characters making cameos.

In this storyline Tom and Jerry are workers on the Gale farm(but not farm animals!), and promise Aunt Em to stop fighting to watch after Dorothy(apparently Toto isn't smart enough to do that!). But then, the twister carries them along with Dorothy and Toto to Oz, where Tom And Jerry are informed by a Munchkin mouse named Tuffy about Dorothy's arrival. The three of them head down the Yellow Brick Road, and get into a situation at a bridge similar to the Kalidah scene from the book. After getting hassled by some crows come, they across the Wicked Witch of the West(convincingly voiced Laraine Newman), who gets her wand broken for her troubles. After getting reunited with Dorothy and her three new friends, they go to the Emerald City. They get into the usual schpeel of touring the city while meeting the Wizard, and revieve their marching orders to go get the Witch's broom. Dorothy gets captured by the flying monkeys, so Tom and Jerry disguise themselves as Winkie guards to sneak in the Witch's castle. They discover Droopy working there as an instructor, and get chased all over the place only to find him wherever they hide at, but eventually find out the Witch's weakness to water. Tom, Jerry, and Tuffy then go through an exuberantly long routine to get a bucket of water, and then finally splash it on the Witch. They then return to the E.C. to reveal that the Wizard's a fake. He agrees to take Dorothy back home by balloon, although she misses her flight. Glinda shows up to give the deus ex machina of getting everyone back to Kansas.

I have to admit I did like this to an extent. They managed to make it a good balance between one of the numerous Tom And Jerry made-for-video animated movies and the original Wizard Of Oz. The film also gives the Oz regulars a good look, although I thought Dorothy might've looked a little too much like a Disney princess. It was directed by Spike Bradt who has done other Tom And Jerry features as well as some of the current Looney Tunes shows, and his appreciation for classic 50s-60s cartoons shows in this production. It's a good watch at least for a rental or whenever its on TV for regular Oz fans, although most modern day youngins might not totally appreciate it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: Wizard Of Oz Cut-down

Second Home Studios did this experimental production breakdown of the twister ride from Kansas to Oz in the theme of the original 1939 movie.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

All hail to the true Pumpkin King!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grimm Fairy Tales goes to Oz

Zenescope Entertainment has recently added Oz to their list of magical realms that their Grimm Fairy Tales comic series takes place in. This connects several fairy tales and childrens stories into one collected universe, although some of them exist in seperate realities. The comic primarily deals with Sela who gains the ability to travel to different fable lands, and tries to set things right in them, kinda like adult-Disney version of Quantum Leap. Sela has to deal with her evil genie sister Belinda who keeps screwing up fairy tales. Spinoff titles from this included several Wonderland series, Neverland, and an Arabian Nights comic featuring Sinbad.

A while ago, it was hinted that Oz was connected to this whole mishmash of fairy tales. Then, in issue #64 of the regular Grimm Fairy Tales comic, it was revealed that Oz was one of four other magical worlds created at the beginning of the universe, along with Wonderland and Neverland. They bring up a previous chapter featuring Thane, the "Warlord Of Oz"(no relation to that other comic!)who is an anthropomorphic version of the Cowardly Lion that teamed up with several other heroes from other worlds to stop the menace known as the Dream Eater that threatens to destroy all the fairy tale worlds.

The prequal comic of Grimm Fairy Tales: The Library shows a teenage Sela who gets trapped in a mystic library where the books in it open doors to the worlds they take place in. Sela accidently releases dinosaurs from one book, and then she is cornered by the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys. This is a 5-issue series that is more intended for all-ages, although it doesn't seem to bleed into the regular comic series much.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: HorrOz 1 & 2

Sam Milazzo has put together two fanfilms that basically take several different Oz movies into horror movie trailers. HorrOz is done as an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and HorrOz II: Hall-Oz-een is supposed to be a Wes Craven sequal. Sam has also done several other Oz fan videos worth checking out.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: Out Of Oz trailer

Sorry I'm a little late with this month's video. This just came out as an official trailer for the upcoming Out Of Oz book due this fall.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Legend Of Oz: The Wicked West comic

Big Dog Ink is going to release a new comic book series this Oct. titled The Legend Of Oz: The Wicked West. In this "weird west"(see Cowboys And Aliens!)story, Dorothy is a gunslinger in the mid-1800s Kansas who while riding on her horse Toto follows a golden brick road into a strange land of living scarecrows and other weird creatures. The comic is written by Tom Hutchinson, and drawn by Alisson Borges. There is a currently a preview comic available, with 50% of the proceeds will go towards tornado relief efforts, plus a limited edition 12 x 18 print.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Out Of Oz coming this fall

Gregory Maquire is finally releasing the fourth and final part of The Wicked Years book series, Out Of Oz, and will be released by Harper Collins on Nov. 1. This story features Glinda under arrest by Emporer Shell, Brrr on the run, Elphaba's granddaughter Rain, an Emerald City/Munckinland war, and the triumphant return of Dorothy. It's hard to say how much this will keep in context with Land Of Oz and Ozma Of Oz, although we've already seen Tip and Mombi shown briefly in Son Of A Witch, but how this will play out in the Wicked universe is yet to be seen.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ozma's Birthday

Aug. 21 is officially Ozma's birthday. Not sure how old she is exactly, but she beats out Bilbo Baggins by at least a decade if you count her premiere in The Marvelous Land Of Oz in 1904.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Comic Review: Cinderella-Fables Are Forever(conclusion)

Since I've already done some reviews of the Fables spinoff mini-series from Vertigo, Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, I'll be reviewing the conclusion to the comic which just finished up.

In this story, Cinderella is a secret agent for the Fables community, and she has been recently stalked by Dorothy, who was working for a rouge society of Fables in the "mundy" world. She's had a vendetta against Cinderella for decades, and finally decided to get her revenge on her. Using the Silver Slippers, Dorothy disguised herself as Cinderella's current love interest, Ivan Durak, and lures her across the Deadly Desert with the help of Bungle. Now, this is a little weird as its unknown where this Cinderella series fits into the regular Fables timeline, because Bungle is currently on the run with Bufkin and some other refugees trying to free Oz from the Nome King, who still rules it after the Advesary's defeat.

We learn about Dorothy's history after being cast out of Oz the first time and into the mundy world. She rejected being a part of the Fables community, and became a secret agent for the rouge Fables society. She was later on reunited with her old Oz travelling buddies after she was captured in the Jack Of Fables comic, but was freed with the other Fables there, and then ditched her friends to go and get the Silver Slippers out of the Deadly Desert that she lost at the end of the Wizard Of Oz. She ties up Cinderella, and plans on leaving her for dead in the middle of the Deadly Desert. Cindy manages to trick her into fighting, and makes off in the blimp Dorothy kidnapped her in. Dorothy uses the Slippers to teleport up into the blimp, but Cinderella defeats her, removes the slippers, and tosses Dorothy out into the Deadly Dessert. Whether Dorothy actually hit the Desert(which if you'd seen Return To Oz, you'd know would kill her)and died is unknown. This might lead into the upcoming storyline in the regular Fables comic, Inherit The Wind, which is set for Issue #108 which continues the adventures of Bufkin's revolution of Oz from the Nome King.

I personally liked this series, althought I was really disappointed with how they turned Dorothy into a cruel, vindictive sociopath. No real explanation was given to this change, or whether she was always like this in the context of the story. It'd be interesting to see this grown up Dorothy meet up with the still childlike Ozma who recently had a brief stint as the superhero, Super Witch. I loved the previous Cinderella mini-series, From Fabletown With Love, because it was a good sendup of spy movies, but this one was more of a "spygirl vs. spygirl" storyline. They could've had way more fun with this, and turned it into something where Dorothy and Cinderella had to team-up to fight a common enemy like the Wicked Stepmother or something. However, even as a mature readers comic it was more gratuitous and cliche than it needed to be. DC Comics will eventually release this 6-issue series in a trade paperback.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wicked in Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Wicked was recently voted on NPR's as part of their Top 100 Science-Fiction/Fantasy Books list as voted by fans online. Wicked is ranked at #80, although the actual Wizard Of Oz book is listed at all, possible because its considered more of a children's book than a standard fantasy like Lord Of The Rings.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: Mellow Brick Road

This catchy original music video to Pogo's Mellow Brick Road was the winner of a contest the creator was holding for artists to put together a music video to. The winner was Reed Gauthier. All the video entries can be seen here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book Review: Rainbow Connection

Hi. Sorry it's been a while, but I've had some other reviews to finish up. I picked up this from the author at a con in TN. a few months back. Rainbow Connection is a new short novel from Blackwyrm Publishing. It was written by Ian Harac who has prominmently worked on RPGs like D&D and GURPS. This is an interesting piece for anyone whose a regular goer of fan conventions, or stories involving alternate realties.

Matt Anders is a part of a special agency that deals in contraband from parallel universes. Apparently, in this continuity, travel between other dimensions is slightly common, although not totally known to the general public, and there's an underground network that traffics illegal items from other worlds to the story's main Earth, referred usually to as "Prime". But instead of being something like death rays from some robot universe, its the selling of unsolicited media to the geek market, like the missing 4th Season of Star Trek. So, basically Matt is an FBI agent tracking down bootleg copies of the Star Wars prequals from a reality where they actually didn't suck. This usually has him frequenting sci-fi cons in search of unauthorized nerd exports.


Matt tracks down a possible smuggler at a convention, but discovers a dead Munchkin in the man's apartment. This leads to him getting help from an interdimensional smuggler named Bobbi. She manages to get him and herself to Oz as her hideout is hit by the fuzz. Once there, they end up running into mad Tik-Tok knockoffs, spurned Munchkins, and cybernetic flying monkeys. They then manage to find their way to a depression-era version of Kansas in yet another reality. Matt and Bobbi eventually return to Prime where they confront the true mastermind behind the trafficking from Oz.

This was a fairly good story, which for my opinion should've played more of an emphasis on its wormholes into other worlds instead of it being an Oz-themed book. Oz fans might be a little miffed that there are none of the original characters from the books in this story, although it presents a slightly fresh take on Oz from a modern day outsiders point of view. I'd probably suggest getting the E-book edition of this as opposed to spending the extra cost of the paperback. But definatley look it up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: Land Of Oz TV special

Sorry we took a month off, but we're back now with July's installment. This was a TV special that aired in 1981 of The Marvelous Land Of Oz performed by the Children's Theatre Company and School of Minneapolis which is still in business today. They are planning their own version of The Wizard Of Oz starting this Nov.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Comic Review: Oz/Wonderland Kids

Buy Me Toys decided to open their crossover series of The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles to a wider audience by coming out this spring with an all-ages spinoff, Oz/Wonderland Kids. Written by Oz/Wonderland regular Ben Avery, and drawn by newcomer Alan Schell, this is supposed to be a 3-issue mini-series.

Taking place in a storyline seperate from the regular Oz/Wonderland comics, Dorothy is in Oz having a tea party with Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man. The White Rabbit appears and gets chased by Toto. Dorothy follows after them, and sees them passing through a mirror in the middle of the Yellow Brick Road. It leads her to Wonderland where she encounters a few of the natives like the Tweedles and card soldiers. The Wicked Witch of the West curious to as what happened to Dorothy, goes to Wonderland too, and befriends the Queen of Hearts. Dorothy later meets Alice for the first time at the Mad Hatter's shindig. Alice agrees to help Dorothy look for Toto, and they happened to bump right into him still chasing the White Rabbit. They then notice that the Witch and Queen are getting all chummy, which the Cheshire Cat manages to bust up. Dorothy finds the mirror again, and waves goodbye to Alice as she returns to Oz, however a mysterious hook-handed figure watches from the shadows...

This was a great comic for kids, considering the darker tone that the other Oz/Wonderland comics that BuyMeToys has done. Also included in the comic are some crosswords and mazes for kids, plus a coloring page of the original Oz/Wonderland Kids comic strip that appeared in Jack & Cat Tales. I'm unaware of what the future plans are for this series, but hopefully more are on the way. BuyMeToys has a habit of being a little late with their issues, so don't expect the next issue anytime real soon though.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Two TV performances of For Good

There's 2 seperate performances of For Good on TV on May 24. There's Kristin Chenowerth(Wicked's original Glinda)will be singing it on Oprah at 4:00 PM. The other is on the season finale to Glee at 9:00 PM performed by the cast. BTW, here's a quick video the official Wicked You Tube channel posted of the original cast:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Further Fables stuff in Oz

Vertigo is seriously increasing the amount of stuff they have going in Oz with their Fables titles. One is the regular Fables comic where Ozma has been put in charge of the Fables' community of magic users. She along with Pinnochio has assembled a group of protectors to defend against the powerful Mister Dark. Ozma is going under the handle "Super Witch", and now has powers of flight and optic-blasts for some reason. The Super Team story-arc will conclude in issue #106, and I could be wrong but it looks like they might be trying to start a romance between Ozma and Pinnochio in it. Issue #108 will also take us back to Oz with the flying monkey Bufkin.

Now, this is a little odd, because when last we left Bufkin, he had teamed up with Jack Pumpkinhead and Bungle to form a rebellion against the Nome King who had taken over the Emerald City. But, if you've been reading the Fables spinoff, Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, Bungle is working for Dorothy, who in this mini-series is a rival assassin. Bungle pulls Cinderella into the Deadly Desert where she and Dorothy are set to have one last roundup. How Bungle's appearance in this comic carries over to the regular Fables series is unknown.

Also, the Jack Of Fables ongoing series recently ended in Issue #50, which featured guest appearance by Tin Man and "Fiercely Lion" who take part in the final battle between the dragonfied original Jack Horner and his son, Jack Frost. Tin Man gets a rocket launcher coming out of his head, but gets beheaded by Jack Frost with a magic sword. However, he claims that he and Fiercely will meet again in Oz. This is akin to the notion that all Fables can be brough back to life if they are known enough by the Mundies who are the regular humans of Earth. So, Tin Man might show up again in a future issue of Fables.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Comic Review: Toto! The Wonderful Adventure (Part 3)

Sorry that I've been late with getting this last part of the review done, but I had a few other projects coming up lately. Here, I'll be covering Volumes #4 and #5 of the Toto! manga. Oh, and yes, this is where the series ends, despite the fact that the story remains unconcluded.

Volume #4 has Damda revealing a cybernetic arm, and calling in the Nassau airfleet on Kenbi and Kakashi. But Dorothy has mastered a secret technique that helps send the enemies flying. She gets a jet broom, and is offically proclaimed Kakashi's WITCH partner. Kenbi reveals that the accessory they were looking for was a pair of special earrings stolen years ago by someone dressed like a rabbit. They let Damda go, and head off to Garrot Town to find the mysterious rabbit-masked thief. Once there, they run across the Wonder Family, a group of rebellious mobsters lead by the rambunctious Alice that want revenge against their rivals, the Rabbit Gang. It's reveled that their leader is Clock, Alice's long-lost brother who used the magical earrings with its special teleporting holepuncher abilities to take over the mafia families. Clock wastes most of Alice's gang, and takes Noil and Dorothy hostage.

Volume #5 has the suprise return of the Man Chicken Family and Tequilla who were coming to Alice's aid. They storm Clock's clocktower, and eventually rescue their friends. Alice manages to get a hold of the earrings and defeats Clock, but at the cost of his own life. Alice joins up with Kakashi and the other on their quest, which leads them to the kingdom of Rock Tic where they team up with Paisley and Red from WITCH to find another accessory. The king of this land is having a special talent contest, where the winning duo will recieve the accessory as the grand prize. Kakashi is reluctlantly paired with Kenbi, as each member of the cast is teamed up with another to come up with an act to win the competition. Dorothy gets help from the mysterious masked Mexican wrestler Chad, who is later shown to be Kakashi's father at the last minute, and makes his escape in a balloon. The story ends with Kakashi, Noil, Dorothy, Alice, and Kenbi continuing their journey.

Toto! was the basis for what creator Yu-Ko Osado used in his next manga series Tribal 12, which also deals with a magical land dominated by the existance of twelve magical items. This series is currently available as five seperate graphic novels from Del Rey Manga, but with the given trend to do "perfect collections" of manga in huge bible-sized books, but with the current rise of Oz-related media, its possible a collected edition of the entire series could happen.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ding Dong: Bid Laden's Dead

Given the circumstances, though you'd all dig this little remix by Klaus Nomi.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: Wiccan Of Oz

Joseph Falabella was planning on doing a brand new musical titled The Wiccan Of Oz. It was first looking like a live-action project, and was then being pitched as an animated video with Sims. So far, there hasn't been anything specifically done of this in three years. But you can find this trailer as well as other material on Youtube.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: The Oz Witch Project

The sketch comedy crew from hackcomic.com did this parody of The Blair Witch Project featuring the Dorothy & Co. as they search for the mysterious Wicked Witch of the West. Also available on VHS!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dorothy Of Oz comic from IDW

IDW Publishing is releasing a special edition of their upcoming comic series of Dorothy Of Oz based on the animated movie at this year's Megacon. This will be a mini-series that will act as a bridge between the original Wizard Of Oz story(movie?), and the upcoming film coming out later this year. IDW has also released the Little Adventures In Oz by Eric Shanower.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dorothy Of Oz poster revealed

Jordan von Netzer from CW3PR recently sent me this info on the first poster for the upcoming Dorothy Of Oz animated movie set for a 2012 theatrical release. In it, Dorothy goes back to Oz to discover that the magical land has been taken over by a new enemy, the mysterious Jester. The vocal cast includes SNL regulars Martin Short, Dan Akroyd, Jim Belushi, plus Kelsey Grammer and Patrick Stewart.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mistakes In Film: The Wizard Of Oz

Molossus Films recently did this as part of his Mistakes In Film online review series featuring the The Wizard Of Oz. (Warning: mature language!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Oz card game

French game developer, Ystari Games, is planning on releasing a brand new card game based on Wizard Of Oz later this year which is intended to be learned in five minutes. It is being created by Emanuele Ornella.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...OZMA!!!

Vertigo Comics has just released Issue #102 of Fables. This is the first of a 5-part story arc titled Super Team where the Fables community decides to form their own superhero group to fight outside threats like the menacing Mister Dark, their current nemesis still being held at bay by a forcefield. Based on Pinnochio's suggestion, Ozma(the head of the Fables magic-users)dons a superhero getup, and sets out to gather other Fables with "super-powers" to join their little team. Expect to see lots of X-Men, JLA, and Avengers jokes thrown in for upcoming issues.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Comic Review: Oz Primer

Marvel Comics this week released this one-shot special, Oz Primer. It's a tie-in to the regular Wizard Of Oz comic book adaptations that Marvel is doing. They're currently in the middle of Ozma Of Oz, with plans to do Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz later this year.

Oz Primer features interviews with the series adapter Eric Shanower, artist Skottie Young, and colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu. Also included is a foreword by Marvel Comics vice president David Gabriel, and an indepth look at the characters and locations within the Land of Oz. It's unknown whether this issue will be included in the upcoming Ozma Of Oz collected graphic novel, so you might wanna pick this up while its at your local comics shop.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: Elphaba's new look

The latest British stage musical of Wizard Of Oz by Andew Lloyd Webber features a very different version of Elphaba than your used to seeing in Wicked.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Silver Slippers vs. Glass Slippers

In the second mini-series of the Fables spinoff comic, Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, Fabletown's own resident former-princess turned secret agent, Cinderella, returns in an all new case. This time, she's confronted by non-other than her old espionage rival, Dorothy Gale!

Apparently, the two of them clashed back in Russia during the better dead than red days of the mid-80s, from which Cinderella barely survived. Now in modern day(which is supposed to be in unison with the current Fables timeline)Cinderella is visited by Ivan Durak(aka: "Ivan the Idiot"). He wants her to protect him from Dorothy, who is gunning for him under orders from the Russian shadow Fabletown. Now, Dorothy has some smaller Fable creatures working for her, including a slightly cracked Glass Cat.

Its hard to say how this completely fits in to the given Fables world for several reasons. One is that in the Jack Of Fables series, Dorothy had been imprisioned for several years in the Golden Boughs Retirement Village along with Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion. There, she appeared to be the stereotypical Dorothy most people know her as. So, whether she was faking her goodytwoshows attitude that whole time, and if she's a trained spy/assassin why she couldn't just bust out of there is unknown. Also, the appearance of Glass Cat with Dorothy on Earth seems to really contradict his very recent appearance in Fables issue #101 where its shown that he had been captured by the Nome King for a long time, and had just then escaped with Jack Pumpkinhead and Sawhorse. The three of them along with Buffin the former flying monkey were going to start a rebellion against the Nome King and free Oz from his rule. How this matches up with that storyline is also very confusing. Unless there is some kind of miscommunication going on between the seperate Fables titles(which is not uncommon in the comic biz), then there are some serious continuity issues involved in this. Still, its nice to see Dorothy finally taking a more active role in the Fablesverse.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: Shadow Demon Of Oz

After Magician Of Oz, James Wallace II continues his trilogy of self-published Oz novels with Shadow Demon Of Oz. This once again deals with Jamie Diggs, Oscar Diggs' great-grandson, as he returns to Oz for a brand new adventure.

The story splits at first between Jamie's life in America, while at the same time in Oz as Dorothy encounters a strange new menace which has taken the soul away from a living boat she rides on to visit Scarecrow. The creature is called the Shadow Demon which just dropped in from a passing comet. It's really the disembodied spirit of the Wicked Witch of the East which had attached itself to this comet right after Dorothy's house smooshed her over a century ago. Jamie ends up coming to Oz via a transdimensional balloon ship piloted by Cap'n Bill, along with his friend Buddy who is in his magicians' club back in Indiana. Once in Oz, Jamie is made the official Royal Magician for Ozma, and proclaimed as Oz the Magnificent. He in turn presents Buddy to Ozma as a "gift of friendship", as Buddy has taken a serious shine to the Princess. Jamie is given control of the balloon as it used to belong to his predecessor, and head out on a trip to the Winkie River to investigate what happened to Dorothy's boat friend. After figuring out that some evil entity is loose in Oz, they head back to the Emerald City. The Shadow Demon reaches Mt. Munch, and begins to terrorize the Hyups who live there. James gets wind of this, and flies there with Buddy to confront it. After recieving a little help by Ozma teleporting Toto and Bungle to assist them, Jamie is able to defeat the Shadow Demon, mainly due to Bungle giving up one of his disposable nine lives. The spirits that the demon had consumed are set free, and the boat gets its life back. Jamie and Buddy are then sent from Mt. Munch back to Indiana by the magic balloon instead of to the Emerald City, but Jamie knows he'll return someday.

This book was in my opinion a better story than the original. The first one seemed to lack a some direction as far as what to do with the characters, as here they're given more motivation. Jamie wants to live up to his title, Buddy is glad to be along for the adventure but is trying to be worthy of being Ozma's friend, and Dorothy is given a lot more depth than normal with her concern for people(or boats)that she's just met. The story does take a little time to actually get the main characters all together, and it maybe puts more emphasis on Jamie's life in Indiana than was needed. But's a good follow-up, and the story continues in Family Of Oz.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oz Video Of The Month: Wicked does Disney

Disney animator Heidi Gilbert recently put together this original animatic based on the Wicked musical in an attempt to see about having it done as an animated movie.
video

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fables FINALLY returns to Oz

After over 100 issues, Vertigo Comics is finally taking their Fables comic back to Oz. The series deals with several fairy tale and literary characters living in modern day America, some of which are from Oz. This includes Ozma who has become the resident head of the Fable community's magic-users, plus Dorothy and her normal trio occasionally being featured in the Jack Of Fables spinoff comic. In the recent issue #101, it picks up with former winged monkey Bufkin being sent to the land of Ev where he rescues Jack Pumpkinhead, Sawhorse, and Bungle from some of the Nome King's mechanical soldiers. The Nome King had been allied with the evil Advesary who had caused the Fables to leave their own worlds and take refuge on Earth, but he has now conquered Oz. So, Bufkin and his new cohorts plan a revolution. Regular comics creator of Oz titles, Eric Shanower, did the pencils for this issue too. An upcoming story arc from issue #102-#104 titled Super Team will have Ozma coming up with the strange idea of forming an actual superhero group out of some of the Fables citizens who have powers and abilities far beyond those of normal Fables. This includes Ozma donning a Supergirl-type outfit with the Oz symbol on it. The Jack Of Fables comic is going to conclude soon, so what we can expect to see out of Oz's regular "Gang of 4" in future issues remains to be seen. With them adopting a superhero motif in Fables, this might see a return of the Oz Squad.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oz in Summer Wars

A brand new anime movie currently being shown in select theatres throughout the country, Summer Wars is film dealing with a young couple in love, while at the same time trying to stop a deadly computer virus from creating global havoc on the online community called Oz. In this virtual world, people are shown as whatever their avatars are, like bunny-fighters or samurai catgirls, though how much of it is inspired by Wizard Of Oz is unknown. The film is set for release on DVD/Blu Ray through Funimation on Feb. 15, 2011.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Book Review: Paradox In Oz

Edward Einhorn has written several Oz stories, including selections for Oz Story magazine. One of his boldest was Paradox In Oz, a time-traveling tale that for once brings Ozma in as the main character. and features some sparkling illustrations by Eric Shanower. Ringing a serious Dr. Who theme, this addresses the magic that keeps everyone in Oz perpetually young.

It starts out with Ozma being bombarded with complaints of everyone gradually showing signs of age. She goes to consult Glinda about it, who looks up in the Great Book. She discovers that the Aging Enchantment that was first cast on Oz when Ozma first took the throne was recently broken because of someone called the Man Who Lives Backwards. Glinda reveals that Ozma will at sometime in the future send her this man who is now a baby named Zoey. Zoey ages in reverse, so Ozma realizes she needs to go into the past to talk to him as an adult. In order to do this, she employs the help of a Parrot-Ox(a half-parrot/half-ox)named Tempus who has the ability to travel through time. He takes her back in time to meet her ancestor King Oz just before he was about to drink from the Forbidden Fountain that removes people's memories. However, this was an event that was supposed to happen because King Oz was originally a wicked king, and the fairy queen Lurline had enchanted Oz only after the King had lost his memory. Ozma returns to a point further in the future to find that the Aging Enchantment had never been cast, and that Oz was now ruled by an evil version of the Wizard. He has imprisioned an aging Glinda, but she and Ozma are rescued by a good version of Mombi. Ozma realizes she needs to go back and stop herself from skewing the timeline into this dark tangent. After returning to the past, she experiences numerous versions of herself trying to do the exact same thing. Ozma finally sets things right though with the timeline, and then proceeds on Tempus to Absurd City where the Man Who Lives Backwards is supposed to be. She finds him, and is suprised to find out that he is actually an alternate version of King Oz. Ozma manages to bring the information she needs from him back to the future to restart the Aging Enchantment.

This was a "thinking man's" Oz Story, at least in the factoring in of sci-fi elements with time travel and parallel universes. It can actually be a little bit of a headache if you haven't seen some of Star Trek or Back To The Future. Shanower's artwork is spectacular, especially the 2-page spread showing Ozma seeing all the multiple Ozes that are modeled after various Oz movies, cartoons, and other trade artwork. This storyline continues in Einhorn's other book, Living House Of Oz which features more of Tempus. The original print of Paradox In Oz was done through Hungry Tiger Press, but is currently out of print. It is still available used through Amazon and other dealers. A real great trip for Oz fans and sci-fi geeks!

Sunday, January 2, 2011