Thursday, June 30, 2005

Oz: The Manga #2

Much to my surprise, my wife got issue #2 of this terrific comic yesterday when she made her daily comic book run, even though it's apparently not due for another month! It looks really good, again, and I'm certainly glad that someone is taking the time and effort to do a proper adaptation of the L. Frank Baum book. But already there have been some changes, so I suspect we're not going to get a lot of the journey to Glinda's by the time issue eight rolls around. The big changes here? Nothing serious. The Yellow Brick Road goes by the castle of the Wicked Witch of the East (whoa, how come nobody's done anything with that before?), and the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman's origins are skipped over.

So in this issue, Dorothy meets two of the friends who will become famous on this journey, and they look a little different. Instead of being the same height as Dorothy as shown in the (first) book, the Scarecrow is tall and gangly, and towers over her. It appears that his limbs are sticks, which explains how his straw could hold him up, I guess. The Tin Woodman is also a lot bigger than I'd have expected, and he is powerfully built and has a moustache! Not only that, his dialogue is delivered in word balloons that look and awful lot like gears, and he appears to be more mechanical than in other incarnations. Maybe he's more like Tik-Tok, then. As for the Lion -- well, let's just say that the issue ends on a cliffhanger, and that we haven't been properly introduced to him yet. (I am really looking forward to how David Hutchison, the writer/artist, depicts the revelation that he's a coward!)

To wrap this up, I just want to say that this may be one of my favorite depictions of Dorothy ever. She doesn't look at all like the versions by Denslow, Neill, or any of the other classic Oz illustrators, yet she just seems so totally appropriate. This is probably going to go down in history as the definitive comic book depiction of Oz, it's just so good.

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