Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Unfinished Pathways: The Black brick road of Oz

There have been numerous wizard of oz remakes since the series was written at the begining of the twentieth century. I particularly recall the forced edginess of the tinman miniseries with some wry relish. This envisioning here is fey and cute. It resets the relationships the average reader is aware of in Oz and makes them more adult, but in a sheeny skin. There's a lot of new characters on top of the old standards. So, this certainly isn't a strip that falls into retelling the standard wizard of Oz cycle, it's willing and able to use the source material to create a treacly-sweet fantasy world.

The Black Brick Road of oz is a dreamlike attempt at delving into the wider Oz universe.
Xamag created this work and overall her stylizations are pretty tumblr, if that makes sense. She uses a joyous sheen across this work. The characters aren't fully fleshed out and seem to dwell with the strip's child-like logic.

This is a training wheels webcomic and for all that it looks utterly gorgeous. It's a glistening child-like wonderment of luminescence that was clearly designed for an LCD monitor, not the abrasions of a paper page. Indeed, the collected version is designed for Amazon Fire. The interactive parts of this work, like gifs and point and click sectons, easily blur the line between static comic and video games.

Overall, there's a charming fleeting playfulness present here, Everything in this strip is uber cute, to the point of sugary sweetness. This may be a deal-breaker for some readers but the level of background detail alone sells it.

Now, I'll admit that the strip is currently on infinite hiatus with its creator stating it was a training wheels kind of deal. Seeing how dense the artwork is I can respect that decision. I decided to show this strip as an example of sheer verve showcasing what a webcomic can be and the burnout that can occur. It's a reminder that webcartoonists barely break even. This truncated experience is worth a look just to see what the Oz fandom is able to create.

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