Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tradio #23 - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Welcome back to all-ages month on Tradio!  This week we have the loving adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young and published by Marvel Comics.
What can truly be said about the Wizard of Oz that hasn’t been said before? Few people over the age of twelve haven’t seen Judy Garland sing about traveling over the rainbow, skip down that yellow brick road, and confront the great and powerful Oz.  Who hasn’t looked for the person being hanged in the trees (if you have no clue what I am referring to, Google that). That said, probably very few of us have actually read the books that the movie itself was based on and delved into just how unique and at times, dark that world the Baum created truly was.  One of the very first great American fairy tales, it set the stage for a whole series of works set in a fantasy land that wasn’t all about the very European tropes of fairies and trolls.  Yes the Wicked Witch was scary and the flying monkeys were terrifying, but there was so much more to it than that.  We get to see more of the interesting adventures that were documented in that first book.  Things that no movie could ever include in such a lavish and loving way as this work.
Lavish and loving are very apt.  The book is simply a thing of beauty and the faithful adaptation by Shanower and Young is nothing short of spectacular.  Visually rich and verbally intelligent, it sets about recreating the world that Baum envisioned over a century ago.  You get to see how a young woman and her faithful companion grow and mature through her caring for others and wanting to do the right thing.  Truly an amazing work that should be on pretty much any child’s book shelf as a gateway drug to the original work.  Give it a try and maybe take some time and read it with your kids.

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