For a while now I’ve been looking for a good comic to recommend to younger readers, but unfortunately, much of the time kid comics have second rate art or contain stories that are too preachy or boring. Up until today, the only comics I could whole-heartedly recommend for children are Calvin and Hobbes, Bone, and Carl Barks’ work with Disney. Today I’m happy to add something else to that list: Marvel’s Wizard of Oz series.
The series has been going on for a couple years now. Basically, Marvel is adapting every L. Frank Baum Oz book into a comic. Ozma of Oz is the third installment, and issue #1 was the first I’ve read. Now I’m an adult, and even I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
This isn’t a cheap or poorly drawn kids’ book. It’s the opposite. This is a high-end comic, and a very smart one at that. I do a little bit of sketching and illustrating in my free time, and I was incredibly envious of the artwork in this comic. When you’re entering into an Oz comic, everything is stylized, almost like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, but better if you ask me.
The story is strong as well. A lot happens in the first issue. Dorothy Gale, while on a cruise to Australia with her uncle from the farm, is blown off into the ocean during a storm, where she stays afloat on a wooden crate and befriends a talking chicken. That’s only the first half of the issue.
Ozma of Oz had more actual text than most current adult comics. It took me about twice as long to read as the average superhero book, but I wasn’t bored. This is the sort of comic that can entertain children while getting them to read. For that reason and many more, I recommend Marvel’s Oz series to kids and to adults with active imaginations.
*Note: there’s another company putting out Oz books too right now, so make sure to pick up the Marvel version. I’ve leafed through the other one and it’s not as impressive.
To see the cover of Ozma of Oz #1 on the Marvel site plus read a short preview, click here.