Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Comic Review: The Royal Historian Of Oz

Slave Labor Graphics finished up its run of The Royal Hostorian Of Oz by Tommy Kovac, although not all 5 issues were done in print as seperate releases. Because of low sales, only the first 4 were done in regular comic format, but all 5 were available online, as well as the recent trade paperback which collects the whole series. Since his somewhat successful turn on Disney's Wonderand comic, Kovac thought he'd tackle the other fairyland of Oz. With Andy Hirsch doing the art for it, this turned out to be a great look at what it would be like for an Oz fan to discover that their favorite literary world actually existed.

Set sometime in the mid-21st Century, Jasper Fizzle is a struggling independent author who keeps trying to have one of his books about Oz published. The Official Oz Society keeps turning him down though, and are threatening to sue him because of their eternal copyright on all Oz printed material. Jasper's teenage son Frank keeps defending him, even though he just about gives up on him when Jasper brings home what he believes is the genuine Silver Slippers that Dorothy first used return to Kansas. After nicking them from an estate sale, Jasper discovers that they do in fact take him to the land of Oz. He returns back home after taking several magical items from there, and opens up his own Oz museum. Frank is skeptical at first, but comes to realize that all this is real, including the flying monkey Zik that he befriends. After Ozma finds out about some of the missing magical items, she sends Scarecrow, Lion, Tin Man, and Scraps to Earth to find them. They kidnap Frank, and take him back to Oz to exchange for the stolen items, but Scraps breaks away from the group, and gets lost in the big city. While in Oz, Tin Man becomes his caretaker, and Frank begins to develop a friendship with him. However, one of the items Jasper took from Oz was the liquified remains of the Wicked Witch of the West, which escapes his collection and takes over Scraps body. With the help of the Wizard, Jasper is reunited with Frank, and they manage to squeeze the Witch's spirit out of Scraps. Franks is then given free sanction to go to Oz anytime, while Ozma clears up things with the Oz Society's "eternal copyright".

Tommy Kovac managed to pull together a fine comic that non-Oz fans could appreciate. Andy Hirsch's artwork is very endearing, and you should totally check out his Varmints webcomic. His take on some of the Oz characters is very fresh, especially the Patchwork Girl with her stringy arms and legs. Do yourself a favor and pick up the full graphic novel as opposed to the single issues, mostly because it features some interviews, additional artwork, plus an introduction by Eric Shanower.

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