eBook (PDF), 272 Pages
Another unique retelling of the Oz tale, this time as a stop-motion film noir in the format of a graphic novel. Dorothy “Dot” O’Connor, a down-on-her-luck chorus girl, takes the YellowTrail Express to meet the mysterious father she has never known, Winthorne Owen Zolarde. On the train, she befriends a young porter, Terry “Totes” Aberdeen; a very intellectual stage star, Stephen Hayes; a sensitive young waiter, Todd Silver, and a not-so-ruthless robber and stowaway, Lionel King. The four men soon become fast friends with Dot…but will they be able to save her from the clutches of her wicked witch of a stepmother, Irene West, who wants her eliminated so that she can inherit her estranged husband’s fortune?
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Jun 1, 2011PLEASE NOTE--While the author posted the following review, he did NOT write it. There’s Noir Place Like Home By Joe Bongiorno, Reviews Editor for The Baum Bugle, International Wizard of Oz Club Magazine The Wizard of Oz has been successfully reworked as a playful Hitchcockian mystery. In one of the more unusual takes on Baum’s original novel, author Craig May not only re-envisions the characters and settings in a ‘30s noir style, but fills his book with a myriad of digital photographs of mini-sculptures he created of the cast and its world. The images run across every page in a uniform style intended to capture an authentic noir mood. Yet the character sculpts aren’t photorealistic, but stylized. Stylization is a more inventive approach but a far riskier one, as audience subjectivity increases the further away from realism art moves. It’s a bold endeavor. If the images aren’t appealing, the work as a whole will suffer. And, of course, if the writing isn’t done well, the images won’t... More > much matter. May succeeds in both areas. His character designs are amusing but endearing grotesques. In addition, a lot of time appears to have been spent creating light and shadow, appropriate to the genre and the story’s setting. The narrative itself revolves around Dot, a down-on-her-luck young woman who receives a written invitation from a dying, wealthy benefactor claiming to be the father she never knew. At the same time, an unknown adversary is trying to kill her. Deciding to meet with the man claims to be her father, Dorothy boards a train to his large estate. Along the way, she encounters a cadre of unusual characters. But which of them can she trust? And what fate really awaits her at the spooky Zolarde Estate? Immersed in the story, I’d initially missed several references to The Wizard of Oz throughout the first third of the book, until I caught one or two. Then, thinking back, I realized that, apart from telling a tale of a woman’s escape from a bad life to a potentially even greater danger, the author is also retelling Dorothy Gale’s story in a wholly new way. Often, the author takes well-known tropes from Baum’s book and places them in a different context and situation. They seem familiar, but are not automatically recognizable. For example, as Dot struggles with a would-be assassin, she accidentally knocks out of the window a heavy dollhouse that falls onto the villain’s partner, killing her. This analogue to Dorothy’s house dropping on the Wicked Witch of the East is the kind of amusing echo of Baum strewn throughout the narrative. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, in part because the narrative is witty, engaging, and written in the fast-paced, unadorned style of vintage detective dime novels. Despite the noir aspects, Dot’s Journey is suitable for all ages. As in the films it emulates, the seediest elements of life are only ever implied, and never explicitly shown. Most importantly, this is a fun tale with comical, unique images, and that doesn’t involve a tremendous investment of time. I’d love to see how the author, utilizing this cast, might interpret some of Baum’s later Oz books.< Less
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- Craig R. May (Standard Copyright License)
- Craig R. May
- September 29, 2011
- File Format
- File Size
- 161.29 MB
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