Last month, Marvel Comics release a hardcover collection of the recently completed Wonderful Wizard of Oz adaptation by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young. I was lucky enough to snag a copy at my local comic book shop and would like to share my thoughts on this beautiful collection with y’all. As a longtime fan of all things Oz, I was immediately drawn to the eye-catching artwork and the faithfulness of the adaption, though I’ve got loads of other reasons why this book is essential reading for all comic fans and is one of the strongest releases of 2009. Hit the jump to find out exactly why I’m offering up so much praise for the book!
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Written by L. Frank Baum
Adapted by Eric Shanower
Marvel’s adaptation of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz closely follows the original children’s novel by L. Frank Baum, which isn’t terribly surprising considering that the writer of the comic is Eric Shanower, who has written and illustrated a number of Oz books and graphic novels. Shanower’s reverence for the source material is clear from the beginning and is something that should be taken into consideration by readers from the very beginning, especially if their only exposure to the Land of Oz is the classic 1939 MGM film.
While Young’s designs are clearly amazing and are worth checking out the book for alone, he still backs it up with strong storytelling throughout the book. Young keeps his layouts simple with a strong conformity to a grid-style, rarely layering panels. This keeps the storytelling clear and makes the book that much more accessible to new readers who may be drawn to the book not because it is a comic, but just because it is a fun adaptation of the original story. He keeps things fresh, though, by using a variety of layouts within the grid mentality and by mixing up his perspectives.