Today's sketch is particularly appropriate, for a number of reasons. It's by Eric Shanower, whom many Oz fans know for his Oz illustrations and comics. But I've known Eric for a lot longer than that. We both attended our first Winkie Convention the same year, before Eric had even started working in comics professionally. But we knew back then that he was incredibly talented and would go far. So far, so good! And as I type this, I'm on my way home from this year's Winkie Convention. Sadly, however, Eric couldn't be there, as this is also the same weekend as Comic Con International, also known as the San Diego Comic Convention (and Nerd Prom, but that's a lot more informal). Needless to say, that's where Eric and his partner David make a lot of money every year.
Anyway, back in 2001, the one time I went to San Diego, Laura and I stayed at Eric and David's for a few days, before the convention, and got to sleep in Eric's studio. That was fun. But when it came time to ask Eric for a sketch, I decided to really do something wild. This was the first, and one of the very few, times I ever asked for anything specific. "Eric," I said, "draw me the Green Lantern of Oz." Needless to say, he came through with this spectacular sketch.
Another really good reason to include this sketch is to commemorate Eric's good news at this year's Comic Con. He and Skottie Young won two Eisner Awards, the top prize in the comic book field, for their adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz published by Marvel Comics. The awards were for Best Miniseries or Story Arc and Best Publication for Children. And with The Marvelous Land of Oz just having wrapped up and Ozma of Oz about to start, they're likely to win a few more in the coming years.