From the cover you can tell that ain’t your ordinary tale of Oz, as Dee Dee zips down her leather jacket and heaves her bosom, also exposing her “Surrender” tattoo above them. This is a dark, dark take, but also one that veers off from the yellow brick road greatly.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME #1 is filled with nods to the WIZARD OF OZ, but less actual connections to the plot. Quick note: I haven’t read the original book since I was a kid, so I’ll be basing my comparisons on the Judy Garland flick. The first few pages trick you into thinking that this could be the traditional twister storm from the WIZARD OF OZ, except for the slight feel of this being modern times and the characters being named Donald and Linda. But the final frame changes the trajectory of the story, revealing to the reader that there is something else brewing in Emeraldsville, Kansas.
That is when Dee Dee pops into town, returning to bury her parents, Donald and Linda. She meets up with old friends, including her best bud Lizzy. This whole plot has nothing to do with the original tale and the creators’ statement at the end of the book tells us that we won’t be going to Oz anytime soon.
Dee Dee has some similarities to Dorothy, though I could never see Judy Garland in a denim mini skirt and having a studded nose. She and Lizzy’s dog, Terry, are the only clear characters that parallel those in THE WIZARD OF OZ and I only consider Dee Dee as one because she is the protagonist.
I have studied fairy tales extensively for the past five years; I’ve even been published on the subject. So I would like to think that I have a strong grasp on them. THE WIZARD OF OZ is considered by most as a fairy tale, though one based on a newer definition. The popularity of revamping these classic stories started in the 80s and more recent examples include Maguire’s WICKED. But NO PLACE LIKE HOME is part of an even more postmodern take on fairy tales where the stories are placed in the present and use the them as a skeleton to be built on. Personally, I find this take on THE WIZARD OF OZ more interesting. We all know the story, but this comic allows us to look at it in a whole new way.
I liked the references to THE WIZARD OF OZ, but I think the choice of naming it the TWISTERS DINER was a bit too much. As for the artwork, I thought the combination of the old and the new was smart. I don’t know if the intention was to refer back to the fact that this is an updated version and that the younger characters represented this as a modern take on the film and their lack of innocence represented how dark this tale would be, but I’d like to think that Richard Jordan put such deep thought into it.
My fellow reviewer Johnny Destructo also covered this book and I have to agree with his assessment. The only exception I would make is the fact that Dee Dee’s less moral friends, like Lizzie, will die due to their morality (or lack thereof). This is not an 80s slasher flick, and already the victims have been sweet geriatrics.
I know that the retelling of fairy tales seems to have been overdone in the past five years. Johnny Destructo lists all those awful adaptations (though it’s not EVER AFTER , Johnny–it is called ONCE UPON A TIME and I happen to love it) and how he had trepidation in reading this book. If you feel like Johnny, I completely understand. Even if you’re persuaded by the boobs on the cover to pick it up, I don’t care as long as you read this great comic.
Lyzard is actually Lyz Reblin, a senior screenwriting major with an English minor at Chapman University. Along with writing for AICN, she has been published twice on the subject of vampire films.