Friday, February 4, 2011

Cat Fight in Oz

Issue No. 4 of Eric Shanower and Skottie Young's comics adaptation of Ozma of Oz hit the stores on Wednesday. It's very grand! Our beloved Princess has so much personality! You can see how the Shanower/Young Tip became this Ozma.

What has been consistently fascinating (and wonderful) in these Marvel Comics adaptations is that everything looks so different from John R. Neill's original depictions but still feels absolutely correct. Consider this aggressive ultra-zaftig Princess Langwidere going at it with our beloved Princess Ozma. The characterizations are spot-on - yet so very different from what I've seen in my head when I've read Baum's original book.

So far, Ozma of Oz is my favorite of the Marvel adaptations. But I must admit I can hardly wait to start reading Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (which is already in the works!), due to hit the stands this Fall!


Ozaline said...

The thing that really stuck out about this issue is the replacement of the line

"I am Ruler of the Land of Oz, and I am powerful enough to destroy all your kingdom, if I so wish."

Which in the book is directed at Princess Langwirde after she balks at Ozma's demands but in the comic is said to the servant as she first arrives, which really serves to highten Ozma's cowboy, gunboat diplomacy attitude she held in this book.

One thing I've really struggled with in the series is how she goes from being ready to threaten destruction and invasion in this book to being unwilling to fight, "even to save my own kingdom" in book 6.

In my own take it's something I've devoted quite a bit of time to exploring (and for such a radical shift I had to come up with a major event which puts my book directly at odds with the Thompson books, although it was already), but if you or Eric has a theory in canon I'd love to hear it.

Anyway this issue is what I was waiting for, Ozma of Oz is my favorite book and of course my favorite parts are the bits with Ozma.

David Maxine said...

I think it's pretty easy to justify Ozma's character development in the first half dozen Baum books. She has only been a ruler (and a girl) for a short time. Her slightly boyish bullying of Langwidere/Nanda makes sense if you think of it coming from Tip or at least a newbie ruler.

She clearly moves from the gun-boat diplomacy of OZMA to her pacificity in EMERALD CITY in much the same way she moves from her views on punishment threatening to execute Eureka in DOT & WIZ to the very progressive prison system in PATCHWORK GIRL.

Alas, making sense of her idiotic and malevolent behavior in the Thompson books is almost impossible to justify.

Ozaline said...

Well I never read the Thompson books but my book is at odds because I make her do something a bit malovelent that happens much latter in the famous forty and have a conscience attack... which makes her go all pacivive in time for the Nome King invasion and leveling off to being a bit more in the middle there-after.

The Prison system is something I try to explore in my book aswell.

Thanks for sharing your views.

But as a transwoman I don't buy much into the idea that she somehow became more passive because her masculine side was receeding... In my experience that's not how it works. Yes things change but it's rarely that dramatic, I think other factors are in play.

A Power rush to the head leading to rash decisions? More likely.

David Maxine said...

I didn't mean it as literally as you took it about gender. But overall, Oz is clearly moving from a patriarchal system to a matriarchal system. I think there's a pretty clear lien of development symbolically here - not the least of which is that EGGS are the solution at the end of the book and wins the day over an all-male species the Nomes.

ericshanower said...

I think the previous comment should have had a spoiler alert.

I moved the line Ozaline refers to because 1) it's part of a very long speech by Ozma--very long in terms of comics' word balloons, not necessarily prose--which in turn is a part of a very long exchange between Ozma and Langwidere; for these comics adaptations of the Oz books the demands of pacing and movement are different than for prose, so it worked better to eliminate this line from it's place in Baum; 2) Nanda's response to Ozma in the comics adaptation works better if it's prompted by this line of Ozma's rather than simply the appearance of Ozma with her friends and army; and 3) in writing these adaptations I try to retain as much of Baum's original book as I possibly can, so instead of just eliminating the line, I moved it to a place where it worked in favor of the story as a whole.

Ozaline said...


Oh okay, sorry, for the misunderstanding.

Well there's also symbolism in the eggs as a symbol of life and the Nome King ruling the underworld which if you read the story as a reintepretation of folktale and classical themes would make him akin to Hades.

I really need to spruce up my Ozma as Theseus essay and submit it to the Bugle.


Yeah, I got that. And I've noticed where you've done it elsewhere but I think it works exceptionally well in this case.

There's the humor from the servent running away after hearing such a grim greating.

And again it just makes Ozma seem that much like a maverick. I just really liked how it came off.

One thing I was wondering about recently. Out of all the designs only Ozma is solidly rooted in Neil's art, did you ask Skottie to draw her based on Niel or did he decide too?

Again it's something I'm really greatful to her, because to me Ozma is Oz.

F. Douglas Wall said...

It's definitely interesting to see Ozma with these very broad, anime-esque facial expressions.

Miles said...

Excited to hear about "Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz" being in the works! Thanks for the tip!