When I first heard about this series a couple years ago (WizardWorld Chicago 2006?), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. My kids enjoyed the movie, so they were bound to love this comic. For anyone who hasn’t read any of this comic, it’s not a retelling, reimagining, nor retcon of the movie. The source material here is the original L. Frank Baum book. Under this consideration, Skottie Young’s drawings are the thematic descendants of William Wallace Denslow. The art may not be as cutting edge as Denslow’s was at the time, but Young’s style is vivacious and gives the characters all an essence of cuddlliness and a degree of spunk.
In many instances, the story is directly — word for word — duplicated from the original text, but in the format of a comic book, text takes the supporting role to the image. Shanower’s experience as an artist and his familiarity with this material make him the ideal collaborator for Skottie Young. This series, once collected, will serve as the ideal vehicle to introduce readers to the world beyond the movie.
The story here doesn’t end with Dorothy clicking her ruby-red-slipper-clad heels, as the public consciousness has come to expect from decades of exposure to the MGM film. Additionally, other citizens of the magical realm are revealed, including a miniature China city and a menacing spider (who poses as the measuring stick for the Lion’s courage) in the forest.
Clocking in at eight issues, this installment of the adventures of the denizens of Oz (and the gal pal, Dorothy) just doesn’t seem like enough. The $3.99 price tag isn’t accompanied by additional pages of story, text, or sketches, which might justify the asking price. That said, I found myself disappointed to close the cover. Thankfully, on my way out of the book, I discovered that Shanower and Young are hard at work on the sequel. While I am hesitant to pay $3.99 per copy, Marvel has solicited this volume as a $29.99 hardcover, so I may just wait and purchase “The Marvelous Land of Oz” in hardcover and save some coin on each issue.