Written By: David Pepose
Illustrated By: Ruben Rojas
Colored By: Whitney Cogar
Lettered By: DC Hopkins
Publisher: Them Folks What Made It
Launching on Kickstarter: Today!
Launching TODAY on Kickstarter is the latest offering from the master of the mashup, David Pepose (Spencer & Locke; Going to the Chapel): Project Saffron. Ok, so not really (that was the tongue-in-cheek code name of the project up until launch). What we actually have is the eagerly-awaited The O.Z.!
A generation ago, the despot Wicket Witches of the West and East were slain, their conqueror a ruby-shoe’d farmgirl from another land. All should well in Oz, right? Well…not so much. Dorothy Gale, would-be heir apparent to the throne of Oz, took her little doggie home to Kansas—and what’s left in merry Oz is a power vacuum. One that has thrown the kingdom into a decades-long, brutal civil war. The Oz of today is now an O.Z.—an Occupied Zone.
And what of Dorothy Gale?
She’s an Iraqi war spec op’s veteran doing her best to adjust back to civilian life with her increasingly senile gram in rural Kansas. A gram who tends to obsess over her now long-dead pet and mutters about magical places, gold-paved roads and flying monkeys. And while she served with distinction overseas navigating her way through hell, young Dorothy Gale (named for her grandmother) is finding that the transition to “normal” life is in its own way a far more bleak hell than any she witnessed in Fallujah.
Truth is, she’s had just about enough of this world.
But has Oz had enough of Dorothy Gale?
David Pepose, for the eight or nine of you left who haven’t read him and missed our previous reviews of his work here at the Pullbox, is a guy who loves to play with tropes. And by play with tropes, I mean flip them on their backsides, then pound them into to dust with a jackhammer. Spencer & Locke is a Dashiell Hammett-esque noir spin on an adult Calvin & Hobbes, as much an homage to Frank Miller’s Sin City as it is to Bill Watterson’s magnum opus (which I know fer certain, because as chance had it, I stood with Pepose in line to get Frank Miller to sign his then-unpublished book at C2E2 a few years back). Going to the Chapel is a double-reverse Oceans Eleven-esque caper cum love story with more twists than a 50’s sock-hop.
The O.Z. looks to be no different. “What if Mad Max: Fury Road took place in The Wizard of Oz?” is how Pepose sells it, and what I’ve seen of the first issue is exactly that. As did Spencer & Locke, The O.Z. has a heap of darkness, what with seriously gritty war (don’t think for a second those flying monkeys aren’t right bastards!), apparent Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and dementia as early plot points, and instantly-relatable characters that may once have been L. Frank Baum’s, but are now decidedly David Pepose’s.
Add to that Ruben Rojas’ (Gargantuan) spectacular lines (reminiscent of Franco Francavilla’s powerful and heavily shaded strokes), capturing both frantic action and intense emotion with equal grace, Whitney Cogar’s (Steven Universe) evocative colors (her palette ranging from war-torn browns, reds and oranges to quasi-peaceful blues and violets, and always expressive of the panel’s mood and action) and DC Hopkin’s letters (and man, does he have his work cut out for him in the opening of issue one), and you’ve got the makings of an awesome book. One that I’ll definitely be a first-day backer for.
So, take my and Paul’s words for it—get thineself over to Kickstarter (you can follow this link) and get this one backed, folks: it’s looking to be another Pepose-ian classic!
Preview by Andy Patch
Contributing Editor, thePullbox.com