Oz in the News 12.25.11

Eric Shanower (photo courtesy of hungrytigerpress.blogspot.com)

Eric Shanower’s Road To Oz   Travel down the Yellow Brick Road with award-winning cartoonist Eric Shanower as he presents words and images from his many Oz projects through the years. Laugh as Shanower discloses his childhood efforts to channel the magic of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. Cheer as Shanower details his struggles to find a publisher for his early Oz comics. Sigh with relief as Shanower extolls his collaboration with Skottie Young on their New York Times best selling series of Oz graphic novels. Don’t miss this unique peek behind the curtain of today’s Oz comics and illustration.  Please join us at the Cartoon Art Museum on Thursday, January 19, 2012 from 7:00-9:00pm for this special presentation.

The Santa Claus of Two Worlds  Life & Adventures, based on a book by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, was released in 1985 and was the last of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion specials. Oddly enough, it’s one of the more obscure specials, too. It’s only available in one of those print-on-demand Warner Archive discs as a double-feature with Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. That said, it is awesome. And it definitely tells you a lot about Santa Claus, like how he was weaned on the milk of a lioness, raised by immortals who taught him to speak the language of birds, and learned of man’s inhumanity to man by being astrally projected to Japan to watch children train to kill each other as samurai. For some reason, none of that stuff got a mention in “Comin’ to Town”. One thing they do have in common, though — and just about the only thing — is that Santa Claus enters the story as a foundling. In Life & Adventures, he just shows up one morning in the Forest of Burzee, and Comin’ to Town implies that he has parents that we never see. Personally, I believe that Thomas and Martha Claus were walking down Crime Alley one night when a mugger stepped out of the shadows and demanded money to buy toys, but that’s probably just me.

L-W North Varsity Phoenix Firebirds headed to state competition The Lincoln-Way North High School Varsity Phoenix Firebirds are headed to state after capturing 1st place at the Wheaton Warrenville South competition this past weekend (Dec. 17). The 17-member squad delivered a high-powered, crowd-pleasing poms routine with a Wizard of Oz theme. The squad will head to Peoria in March for the state competition.

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