Sunday, May 26, 2013

365 Comics... 145: The Marvelous Land of Oz HC (2010)

What is really attracting me to Marvel's Oz adaptations, particularly at this time is, foremost, consistency.  Currently writer/Oz fanatic Eric Shanower and artist Skottie Young have just wrapped up the final issue of their fifth adaptation "The Road To Oz".  That's an impressive 46 issues from the same creative team, something you don't see too much of in comics anymore, certainly not in licensed or adapted properties.  That type of creative devotion is typically reserved for creator owned work.  I don't know if Shanower and Young (or Marvel for that matter) plan to continue adapting Baum's novels but I hope they do, and together, because having a consistent storyteller and a consistent visual style really helps the series feel like a uniform whole. 

With being in the public domain anyone can take the characters and the world and tell the stories their own way, and we rarely get to see much of Oz as an expanded world, particularly in keeping with Baum's original tales.   The mid-80's feature Return To Oz is my preferred Oz movie but it builds its own tale by borrowing liberally from The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz.  The recent Oz: the Great and Powerful borrows minutely from Baum's texts opting more for an original take that dovetails (quite nicely) into the stripped-down MGM version of The Wizard of Oz.

As I've been reading these adaptations I've been keeping Oz: The Great and Powerful's contributions to Oz in mind but find that the pieces dont really fit into Baum's continuity... particularly Oz's relationship with Glinda and his actual magical ability.

l found the Marvelous Land of 0z to be quite playful and entertaining, and although General Jinjur and her army's raison d'etre for taking over the Emerald City could be perceived as sexist (acquiring gems and frocks) as farce it's actually pretty darn funny (the rallying the soldiers scene reminded me of the French Foreign Legion scene in Kyle Baker's The Cowboy Wally Show).  There's a lot of Python-esque moments in this one which makes me sad I hadn't discovered this when I was younger.

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