Comic Book Wednesday: ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’

When I heard that Disney was producing “Oz The Great and Powerful,” I was instantly transported back to my childhood.

As a young child, I loved the 1939 “The Wizard of Oz.” I had plastic, ruby red slippers, which I wore constantly. I still put my hair in pigtails sometimes (hey, don’t laugh.) I can sing Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on command, and it is Garland’s appearance in this movie that places her at the top of my list of artists. I watched that movie so many times as a child that the movie is a little ruined at the beginning from too many rewinds (yes, it was a VHS).

So, this week, I dust off my copy of Marvel Comics’ “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” just in convenient time for the movie release.

Let me burst your bubble right now: The slippers were, in fact, not ruby red. They were silver. MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) decided to make the shoes red in order to take full advantage of the new Technicolor process.

Unlike the 1939 movie, the comic book picks up very quickly, throwing us right into the path of the cyclone. In the wake of the mess, Dorothy lands right on top of the Wicked Witch of the East and the story is set in motion.

There are a few differences between my beloved movie and the comic book:

  • days actually pass and Dorothy sleeps;
  • the scarecrow, the tin woodman and the lion tell Dorothy their extended stories of peril;
  • the foursome have a hard time in their travels, needing to cross large cliff gaps and float across a river;
  • the tinman saves the queen of the field mice, who in turn helps the group escape the deadly poppy flower field;
  • they need to wear spectacles while in the Emerald City so not to go blind;
  • the Wicked Witch of the West uses devil wolves, crows, bees and the Winkies, her slaves, to try to kill Dorothy and her companions but to no victory;
  • the Wicked Witch has a golden cap, which she uses to create flying monkeys;
  • Dorothy is enslaved by the Wicked Witch for some time.

These are just some of the differences.

Writer Eric Shanower did an amazing job with his adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s stories. He mentioned in the forward how Baum’s works impacted his life, and really all of our lives. “If Toto hadn’t scrambled under the bed to escape the cyclone, there’s no telling how huge a gap would have been left — not only in Dorothy’s life, not only in L. Frank Baum’s life, not only in my life, but in the life of the entire world.” I think this quote fits the story exactly. It is engaging and all-encompassing, pulling you into the world of Oz and the many characters around him.

I absolutely love the art for this comic, done by Skottie Young. The only word I can come up with on how to describe it is whimsical. It is light and playful in some moments, and powerful and exciting in the next. Toto is so adorable, I wish I could get a little dog just like him!

This hardcover book I own also includes many additional features, such as poster drawings in the back and the making-of-the-characters tutorial from Young. There also is a softcover version. This comic is worth the investment, and makes a great gift for the Oz lover in your life.

Pick up the comic when you get a chance and see “Oz The Great and Powerful” starting Friday, for a fun-filled Oz weekend.

And don’t forget: “There is no place like home.”


Comic Book Wednesday showcases a variety of visually based books that fit into this wide category, to give a taste of this other form of reading.

About Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany Fehlinger is a journalist in the Design Center at the York Daily Record. She is a graduate of Penn State University, is a York City dweller and has been vegetarian and geek for more than five years. Twitter: @Wonder_veggie
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One Response to Comic Book Wednesday: ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’

  1. Pingback: Book Buzz | From Page to Projector: ‘The Wizard of Oz’

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