Relatively few All-Ages comic books live up to the name. Browsing the racks at a comic book store can reveal titles that are kid friendly, but are clearly written for nostalgic adults. In contrast are books that may be wildly entertaining to the younger set, but have about as much appeal to anyone over the age of twelve as a pogo stick has to a poodle. I can count on one hand the titles my nephew and niece love having read to them that I would also pick up for my own enjoyment. At the end of the day it’s clear to see that The Emerald City of Oz is of a rare breed.
The Emerald City of Oz was the sixth and final Oz book by L. Frank Baum adapted for Marvel Comics. An incredible achievement made even more amazing when you consider it retained the same creative team throughout it’s entire run. Writer Eric Shanower brings each story to life in a way that is approachable to a seven-year-old yet remains entertaining a seventy-year-old, Skottie Young’s art is as wildly original as it is beautiful, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colors breath life into the colorful world of Oz. For over half a decade the Eisner-award-winning team never stopped surprising and delighting readers of all ages. It seems to me that only some Pixar films demand as much critical and social acclaim across such broad age groups.
I can’t think of any adaptation that feels this fresh and new while retaining the charm of a classic work and it isn’t hard to believe The Emerald City of Oz and it’s predecessors will last as long as the original books on which they were based.