Sunday, January 10, 2010

The latest Oz reading

I just finished two more books over the weekend.

First was The Widow of Oz by Kathryn Lasky Knight. Other than the name, there is very little Oz content to it, and I won't recommend it to most Oz fans. But I did enjoy it as a different kind of book than what I usually read. Dorothy Silver (guess what literary heroine she was named after?) has just become a widow, and the book is about the aftermath, and how she copes and manages to get on with her life. She's very resilient and resourceful, and I couldn't help thinking as I read it that it might make for an interesting little slice-of-life television series. My only real gripe is that it just seems to end, there's no real resolution of any sort.

Then last night, I also got to read the latest graphic novel retelling of The Wizard of Oz. First off, it's based on the book! The shoes are silver, there are two good witches, and a lot of incidents come straight from the novel. However, because this book is aimed at a younger audience, and they compressed the whole story into fifty-some pages, a lot of it was abbreviated. There were some clever ways of doing this, however, such as the Winged Monkeys taking Dorothy and friends straight from the Emerald City to Glinda. I was completely won over by Jorge Break's art. It's original without being too avant-garde, with a definite manga influence, but it all still looks very Ozzy. This is also one of the most colorful Oz adaptations I've seen in a while. And a big plus for those of us used to John R. Neill's version of Dorothy from the books: she's blonde! I gather this is Break's first major American publication (he's already well established in Mexico), and I hope we get to see more.


Jer Alford said...

I recently reviewed that book as well. I thought it weird that the Witch was really a cyclops instead of just having one eye poked out. Plus the story just seemed rushed. If you wanna check out a better anime-influenced version, then check out Oz: The Manga.

Eric said...

I've read Oz: The Manga, and I agree, it's a stronger, more faithful telling. But this is apples and oranges, if you ask me. This adaptation is aimed at younger students, and tries to tell the basic story in a small number of pages. Oz: The Manga has a lot higher page count and was aiming for an older audience, so it could tell more of the story (and, I might add, in black and white). For what they were trying to do and for whom they were aiming their versions at, I think both versions did fine. Of course, the most faithful version of them all is the Shanower/Young adaptation from Marvel.