Exploring the Marvelous Land of Oz

Writer Eric Shanower gives a guided tour to the key people and places in the second Oz epic from Marvel



THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ #1 preview art by Skottie Young
By Kevin Mahadeo

Pack your bags and get ready for a return trip to a wonderful land filled with amazing adventure and fantastic creatures courtesy of writer Eric Shanower and artist Skottie Young with the upcoming limited series THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ. However, this time around, Dorothy and her silver slippers get some rest and a new cast makes the journey down the Yellow Brick Road.

"It's hard for me to put into words why I like the Oz books," says Shanower. "I first started reading them when I was six years old. I liked the stories because they were about a kid, usually Dorothy, who went off on these marvelous adventures and often had companions who were adults or at least quasi-adults. But the kid was always the person in charge making all the decisions and that's just a really attractive idea for kids, to be the one leading the way."

Following on the heels of Shanower and Young's WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, the eight-issue MARVELOUS LAND limited series adapts the second title in author L. Frank Baum's famous Oz line of books. To prepare readers for the latest twists and turns in the magical realm, Shanower spoke with Marvel.com about some of the people and places new and old making their way into the MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ this November.

"I can't say too much about him because he's got a mysterious past, which you don't find out about until the end of the book. He's a pretty funny, loving kid living with an old witch named Mombi. He has a

THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ #1 preview art by Skottie Young
mischievous streak. He likes to play practical jokes. The whole book starts with him playing a practical joke on Mombi. He builds a pumpkin-headed man to scare Mombi, but Mombi actually has a magic powder that brings him to life."

"He's not too bright, but he's pretty lovable. He's not very well constructed and his head falls of several times. He has to be really careful his head doesn't get smashed. They're all concerned about Jack and if he's going to survive. Jack's pretty concerned about that himself. Skottie's design [of Jack] is one of the treats of the new series."

"One of the strategies that they develop to help Jack survive is to bring the Saw-Horse to life so that Jack can ride on him as Jack's leg joints aren't very sturdy and they do a lot of travelling. The Saw-Horse is actually really helpful because he doesn't ever tire as he's made of wood and he can run really, really fast, which is a definite plus on the good guys' side in the major climax of the book."

"General Jinjur is this young woman who decides that she's tired of the men ruling Oz and wants a woman to rule Oz. So, she gets all her friends into what they call the Army of Revolt. They don't want to hurt anybody, so their only weapons are knitting needles and their pretty faces. But they manage to intimidate their way into the Emerald City and take over pretty

THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ #1 preview art by Skottie Young
easily because no one wants to hurt them, but everyone is too scared to get jabbed by a knitting needle."

"He's this pompous guy who thinks he's better educated than everybody else and starts pontificating all over the place. He's actually kind of annoying, but he gets deflated when somebody tells him to shut up [and] it's pretty funny. Skottie's design for him is hilarious. It's this giant man-sized bug. You just got to see it."

"The real villain of the book. She has this big hat and when she takes [it] off, her hair is the exact same shape of the hat. Mombi is actually pretty creepy and is the darkest element in MARVELOUS LAND. She turns out to be behind everything and as to why Tip's past is so mysterious. I loved writing the scenes with Mombi in them."

"He has a brain now, given to him by the Wizard of Oz, so that's different. He's also the ruler of Oz and while he's happy, it's not the sort of thing he's cut out for. In fact, throughout the course of the story, there is a

THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ #1 preview art by Skottie Young
rebellion and he gets kicked off the throne. While he does want to get back on the throne, if it doesn't happen, he'll be alright with that. He's an easy-going guy all around."

"When Dorothy and her friends killed the Wicked Witch, the Winkies-the people the Witch had enslaved-asked the Tin Woodsman to rule them. So, that's what he did at the end of [WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ]. In the MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ, when the Scarecrow gets booted off the throne, he and some new characters journey to the Tin Woodsman's castle to get help. He's pretty soft-hearted. He doesn't want to hurt anything, but when the going gets tough he's in there with his axe ready to defend his friends. But he would rather just threaten than hurt anybody."

"All the characters have to appeal to her for help with getting the Scarecrow reinstated back on the throne. She takes things in hand and is actually a pretty big hard ass, which is fun. The Glinda in the ['Wizard of Oz'] movie is [actually] the Good Witch of the North, just with Glinda's name. In the books, Glinda is much more in charge of things and is sort of the matriarchal mother goddess of Oz."

THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ #1 preview art by Skottie Young
"At one point they have [to] fly across the Deadly Desert that surrounds Oz, and they crash land in the Jackdaws nest, which are these big birds that collect and steal objects. I'm looking forward to seeing what Skottie is going to do with that scene."

"We're going to be seeing a lot more of the Emerald City, obviously, with the takeover. They're still wearing the green goggles. Everything is still green. I can't say too much."

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