The Free Comic Book Day issue from Arcana was in the pile my friends from Royal Collectibles held for my perusal. They know me there, maybe a little too well.
Steampunk? A new angle on classic literature? I don’t think there’s a better way to get me to read a book. Bring me somewhere I think will be familiar but show me something new. Needless to say I dove right in.
I wasn’t disappointed. Steam Engines of Oz, created by Sean Patrick O’Reilly and Erik W Hendrix, immediately brings us to a different Emerald City, not the shiny beacon of sleek green we remember from the film, no this city feels like miles of dirt and grime and machinery. We know right away that this is a different place then we’ve come to expect. And you get that from the first panel. Yannis Roumboulias’ art is unique, he couples the gritty machine textures seamlessly with the soft featured expressive people and creatures who populate this book, this isn’t H.R. Giger or Ken Garing’s Planetoid (both wonderful in their own right). This is an art style that plays well with the creators wish for “something family friendly, fun, epic, and beautiful”.
Well what about the story! I’m so happy you asked.
We’re introduced straight away to Victoria , “deep beneath the Emerald City”. She’s an engineer, one of the people who keep the Emerald City running. She’s also a pseudo prisoner, a “guest” of the great city who knows no other life except living in relative captivity and keeping the machines running. It’s a pleasant enough life for her, one that she’d never think of changing. That is until some flying monkeys break into the city to find her, and start her on her quest to speak to the Tin Man. A quest to convince him to halt the progress of the ever-expanding Emerald City. Before it destroys all of Oz…
What if those wonderful gifts the Wizard bestowed upon The Lion, The Scarecrow, and The Tin Man weren’t gifts after all, what if they were curses. It’s 100 years after that fateful day and we’re along to see just what those “gifts” have given their recipients and how Oz was changed forever by them.
So the FCBD issue was an issue zero and there are three more to come! I have some pages from the FCBD issue, check them out.
Ok so the art is good, the story is interesting. It was a strong FCBD issue, I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. Where’s the usual here’s how to get it info? Well it’s a little different this time. While I’m assured these books will come out through normal channels sooner or later, you can get all 4 books (FCBD and issues 1, 2, and 3) through the kickstarter.
Yea yea I know, c’mon Chuck another kickstarter (stop it you sound like my wife!) but let’s be honest people, we all complain that the “big” companies don’t listen, they keep giving us the same stuff over and over. Well these kickstarters are a great way to show that there are books out there we want to buy.
Besides you get the whole story. Before it comes out anywhere else. In a nice clean digital format. No little monthly floppies, no bag or board needed…
Check out the covers for the next three issues:
The fine folks over at Arcana were nice enough to send me issue one to read for this article. And issue one really opens up the story, bringing us the soul of the piece. Steampunk is rarely punk anymore, this book is. The feeling of the industrial destroying the beauty of Oz comes through loud and clear. I can’t wait to see how they explore those themes. I’m also excited to see the rest of Oz, the depictions in issue 1 were lush and beautiful (go to the kickstarter to see some of it) I wonder what the rest of the series holds?
Well, you can be sure I’ll keep you in the loop with info on the publication of these books, but I hope you stop by and throw a few bucks into the pot at kickstarter, show the comic book industry we will buy books, if they’re worth buying.
Created by Sean Patrick O’Reilly (CLOCKWORK GIRL, KADE, EZRA, PIXIES) and Erik W Hendrix (DEADLY HARVEST, THE EVIL TREE, THE BOOK, CHAMPIONS OF THE WILD WEIRD WEST), with art from Yannis Roumboulias (DEADLY HARVEST) and colors from Chandran (INTRINSIC)