Thursday, July 08, 2010

The latest Oz reading

The comics order came yesterday. And you know by now what that means, don't you? A new Oz comic! And this one really is new, as it was issue #1 of the new series The Royal Historian of Oz. This is not, as one might guess, a comic book biography of L. Frank Baum (which could also be cool), but a totally fictional story of Jasper Drizzle, a not-terribly-good writer who wants to be the next Royal Historian of Oz. He's obsessed with Oz, to the point of naming his son Frank. (Frank, of course, being a typical teenager, hates his name. Could be worse, kid, he could have named you Lyman — or Button-Bright or Ojo!) What's more, Jasper keeps getting cease-and-desist orders from the Official Oz Society to stop writing his books, they're so bad. But when Jasper discovers that Oz is real, he starts stealing artifacts and creatures so that he can interview them and write new, authentic books. This, of course, gets Ozma mad, so she sends a covert group to our world to deal with the situation. And poor Frank is about to get caught up in the middle...

This is, to be honest, one of the wildest and freshest ideas I've seen for an Oz comic, and I love it. The whole story is primarily told from Frank's point of view, and he is definitely suffering for his father's art. And creators Tommy Kovac and Andy Hirsch really know their Oz, as Dorothy's shoes are silver, and among the characters we meet are a Scoodler, some buns from Bunbury, one of Jack Pumpkinhead's rotting heads (??!!), and a properly saucy Patchwork Girl. The art is bright, clear, and original (even if it's in black and white), and I am really looking forward to seeing how this one plays out. Too bad the next issue won't be out for a couple of months still.

I will warn you that some Oz fans may be put off by the characterizations of Jasper and/or the Official Oz Society, as they may cut a little too close to the bone, if you know what I mean. (And I wish there really was an Official Oz Society with the legal power to stop some of the dreck that gets published these days.) But I suspect most Oz fans have a healthy enough ego and sense of humor that they'll enjoy this book.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

I'm not sure it would be too much of an improvement if he'd named his son after Button-Bright's real name, Saladin, either.