Tuesday, July 15, 2008
A Book You Should Read
I reviewed the first trade paper collection for the comic Dorothy two years ago for Bookslut and I'm still loving this comic. This is no Judy Garland candy-cane colored fantasy (although if we are all honest those flying monkeys were damn scary) but a 21st century rendition of the classic with a whole way of not only reading the story but visualizing it as well. From my review:
This Dorothy has hair streaked a brilliant red, a piercing under her lip and a need for “the best shit” her pal Jason can provide. She’s on the road in her Uncle Henry’s truck because she is bored out of her mind, lost somewhere deep in her head, and desperate for someone or something to save her. The sad thing is, it’s only Jason and his bag of goodies that she thinks will do the job. (Maybe this Dorothy has more in common with Judy Garland than I first realized!)
Basically, Dorothy is a teenager in trouble and the tornado that takes her away is just one more step on the road to hell she’s already walking. Anything, anything at all, is better than where she is, because anyplace else is at least someplace. “My name is Dorothy Gale,” she thinks, “I don’t belong here.” And on the road trying to drive away from a storm, trying to drive to a place that will give her oblivion, Dorothy is only certain of where she should not be, who she will never be. She is only certain it has been five years and she misses them still. “My name is Dorothy Gale, and I swear now that I will never die in Kansas.” And so she jumps out the door of the truck as it flies into the air, she jumps out because at least that is something, that is something she can do. She jumps, and then she flies.
So, of course, Dorothy wakes up in Oz, but not in Munchkinland, not in any part of Oz that readers will recognize. And while she looks up at a very unfamiliar sky and wonders if maybe, hopefully, “it’s Colorado,” the text shifts and leaves her behind and takes the reader into another part of Baum’s world, a far more unfamiliar part. At the end of the first comic we meet the thin gray man who floats on a beam of light and has no legs. A man who remembers all the history of Oz and while he fears not “the kalidah, nor the foursquare ones, nor the nomes”; still, as the thin gray man enters the Great Hall he “knows he is a slave. Every time. He knows he is closer to death. The cold and the gray speak to his bones.” Okay, clearly no green paint and high pitched cackling are going to be needed to ratchet up the tension here.
This is awesomely creative fantasy - you do not want to pass it up.