Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I watched the Wizard of Oz every year for its annual telecast since I was quite young. I never saw it in color until I was in my 20s because we didn't have color TV at home. I know. What 's up with that?
One year, I was combing the drugstore where I bought my comics and sometimes paperbacks (because I had some enormous amount like $5.00 in my pocket and I could get comics, buy a couple paperbacks, eat at the lunch counter in Woolworth's and buy a new shirt. Yo), and to my amazement I found a copy of the book The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
Unreal. There was a book based on my beloved movie? As it turned out the movie was based on the book but oh my, the book was so very different. Dorothy was younger, braver, smarter than the Dorothy Gale on screen.
The Land of Oz was a place of unimaginable wonders. The china doll people, the quadlings...she had so much farther to travel, so much more danger and adventure.
If I was captivated before, I was enraptured now. I'm certain that her amazing adventure is what led me to begin reading science fiction and fantasy stories (along with my comics infatuation). Once you've seen incredible places and traveled impossible places all you want is more.
Over the years I've collected countless variations on the original Oz book illustrated by various artists. No one can match the original Denslow drawings but they each offer just a bit different interpretation and a chance to revisit Oz.
What brings Oz to mind are two recent things I've come across (Aside from the dubious Oz the Great and Powerful):
Game developer American McGee (who has made very scary Alice in Wonderland games) is working on a Kickstarter campaign for Ozombie, with a glorious steampunkish Oz having problems with the munching folks.
Also I found there is a Royal Blog of Oz which is just a wonderful read all about the Oz books by a set of folks who know and love them well. They also review new anthologies and movies so it is just a ton of fun.