Writer: Tom Hutchison
Art: Alisson Borges
Colors: Kate Finnegan
Cover Art: Nei Ruffino
Publisher: Big Dog Ink
Ozophile that I am, I’m always on the lookout for new interpretations of L. Frank Baum’s classic works. This one is very different from most other tales of the Land of Oz, but it’s the strangeness of it that brings out its strength.
Rather than taking the first story of The Wizard of Oz as its canon, Tom Hutchison instead uses it as a sort of loose framework. In this book, we meet a hard-riding cowgirl named Gale, who has been stranded in a strange land for three years now, ever since she and her horse Toto were taken there by a cyclone. Armed with a pair of ruby-gripped pistols, Gale is making a long journey to the Emerald City in the hopes of finding someone who can help her get home.
Although the elements are obviously based on the Baum work, the execution feels a lot more like Stephen King’s Dark Tower cycle. The scenes with Gale in the bar, throwing back drinks and describing her journey are very evocative of the first book in that series, with a flavor that mixes in a gritty western with a healthy dose of fantasy and just a dash of horror. It’s a really unusual take on the well-worn property, but it works surprisingly well.
Alisson Borges’s artwork is pretty solid here. Her monsters and animals aren’t quite as good as her people, but she has the feel of the dark, dusty town down perfectly, and her Dorothy looks like she’s been hardened just enough to make it all believable.
It’s a nice start, and I look forward to seeing where this goes.