By David Paggi
With scarecrow kings, undercover witches and more, this time you're definitely
not in Kansas anymore.
In 2008, Marvel found a hit on their hands with Eric Shanower and Skottie Young's adaptation of L. Frank Baum's celebrated novel, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Starting in November, team of Shanower and Young take readers back to the magical realm in THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ, an eight-issue limited series based on the second novel in Baum's legendary series.
Picking up a few years after the events in the first book, THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ introduces readers to a host of new characters and a surprising new status quo in.
"The story begins in the Gillikin Country of Oz, the northern portion of Oz where Dorothy and her friends never traveled in the first book," explains Shanower. "The main character is Tip, a boy with a mysterious past. He lives with and works for an old woman—his guardian—named Mombi. Mombi doesn't dare to call herself a witch since witches are outlawed, but she practices magic
in secret and the neighbors whisper. Tip has no idea how he ever came to live with Mombi or why she is his guardian. Conflict between Tip and Mombi soon sends the boy on his way to the Emerald City where the Scarecrow rules as King of Oz.
"I don't want to give the big surprises away; the very end of the story has a doozy of one. Meanwhile, there's a spoof of the suffragist movement that has an army of young women taking over the Emerald City. This is the Oz book that introduces Jack Pumpkinhead and the Gump. Also the Saw-Horse and Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E., first appear in THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ. Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion aren't in this story, but the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman are both back as major characters."
One of Marvel's best selling recent adaptations, WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ quickly developed a devoted fan base and issues began to sell out and roll into second printings.
"I didn't expect this kind of reception at all," says Shanower of the overwhelming praise from critics and fans alike. "I've gotten a lot of critical acclaim in my career as a cartoonist, but never had a project that's been as immediately popular as THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ. It's nice to know that lots of people are enjoying it as much as I am. Of course, I can't take complete credit, since I'm only one portion of the creative team. Skottie Young's art and Jean-Francois Beaulieu's colors are certainly major reasons why the project has gained the popularity it has. Beautiful work."
"Illustrating WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ has been one of the most enjoyable times in my career so far," says Young. "From the material to working with Eric, the editors and my long time partner in crime, Jean-Francois Beaulieu on colors. Every step has been amazing. When we were asked to do the same for the next novel, it really was an easy answer. I'll do as many Oz novels as the team wants to do."
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