So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Marvelous Land of Oz

Eric Shanower and Skottie Young's graphic novel is a retelling of L. Frank Baum's 2nd book about the Land of Oz written in 1904. Shanower does a wonderful job of taking the original novel and turning it into a comic, and Young's drawings give the characters new life. The book is the story of what happens after Dorothy and the Wizard leave Oz. So neither of them are in this story.

Baum used the first book's publishing success to turn it into a successful musical that made stars of the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. This second book was written with the idea of a second musical using these two characters but starring a giant talking bug called The Wogglebug. While the second musical was not a success, Shanower was able to use some of the added dialog of the musical to enhance this comic.

The story is about a young boy named Tip who is living with a mean witch named Mombi and runs away with her most prized magic, the Powder of Life, that can give life to inanimate objects. He creates a pumpkin headed wooden man and a living sawhorse, and they travel to the city of Oz to see the Scarecrow who is its ruler.

A story element that was timely over 100 years ago about a revolt of the women of Oz under the leadership of General Jinjur is a bit dated today. Jinjur loses a bit of her spicy independence to be just self-centered. Over all though, this is a delightful second collaboration between Shanower and Young to bring the Baum Oz books to life for a new audience.