The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower, Skottie Young
I read this on Do Nothing But Read Day- June 27, 2010.
I have loved the Oz stories ever since I was a kid. I found them fun, magical, and clever. And while I love the movie, there's nothing that compares to the original story, IMHO. Or, at least, nothing compared until now. This graphic novelization was spectacular. The art is imaginative, quirky, and breathtaking. I found myself pausing many times during my reading just to soak up the spectacular visuals of the setting, the characters, the arrangements. I especially loved Toto; he was my favorite by far! This is the graphic novel genre at its best, and I'm quite relieved by that because the first time I saw the comic cover I wasn't sure I was going to like it (the scarecrow's face is unsettling, for example). But all its weirdness is actually its charm. This really is the story of unlikely friends helping each other realize their potential and overcoming great obstacles in their adventures.
I loved how much of the original story was preserved. It's got all the classic moments--silver shoes, the bar, winged monkey cap, the good witch's kiss, emerald city glasses, pins & needles, field mice, etc. I imagined the cap a little different (pointier and more bright gold) but I hadn't remembered the incantation to summon the flying monkeys until the witch started saying it and then it came flooding back to me. SO much came flooding back to me. The wolves/crows/bees! The way the yellow brick road breaks up during parts of the journey! The china town (I definitely pictured the young maid much differently, though)! The hammerheads! I used to build that scene in my sandbox over and over again when I was young (my sister says she doesn't remember, but she was very young at the time for literary recreations/references). The only thing I found really lacking that I wanted was one of my favorite moments when they're waiting to see Oz and the Scarecrow stands in a corner and watches a spider spin a web over the course of several days. I don't know why, I just love that bit and was sad it wasn't in here. And little things like the grass changing color in the different lands or the way Dorothy notices her dress changes color once outside the Emerald City would have been nice, but not necessary. I LOVED the Emerald City, though--SO CLEVERLY DONE! heehee All my other favorite moments were there, however. It was just what I wanted--completely faithful to the book, nicely adapted, and beautifully drawn/arranged.
I also ate up every word of the introduction (it really IS all Toto's fault. lol) and the ending, along with all the comic book covers and preliminary sketches/stages. When I got to the end of the story, I didn't want it to be over so I was glad for all those extra goodies there at the end :-)
This was a pleasure to read and I'm SO glad I broke down and bought it in hardcover finally. Now I can't wait to read the Marvelous Land of Oz (also a Marvel creation), which is actually my favorite book in the series!