For those of you who have been following, you know that I’ve been working on a Graphic Novel adaptation of the L. Frank Baum novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I have just completed the draft of my script and await editorial comments, but I thought I’d talk some about the book—which, I’d never read before.
That’s right—I even surprised myself once I started reading it, I realized that I had only ever seen the movie. Wow. But I’d also be willing to bet that most Americans have only ever seen the movie.
For me, however, that error has been corrected. Granted I read it because I had an assignment, but I’m now glad to have done so.
While being very close to the movie in parts, there are quite a few things that the movie leaves out or just flat changes. But y’know, we have to remind ourselves (or I have to remind us for the moment) that the movie was ALSO an adaptation of the same novel I’d just read. And we all know how liberal Hollywood gets with their adaptations.
The company I’m working for is trying to stick very true to the originals—this isn’t one of those “loosely based on” ideas. The goal is to stick very close to the original and get young readers visually interested in the work so that they might actually seek the original out—or something different. Their thoughts (and generally mine, too) are that if the original is good enough to be considered a “classic,” why change it?
What are some of the differences? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The biggest difference for me was that the movie left out the second half of the book completely. After the balloon takes off sans Dorothy with the Wizard, Dorothy and crew take a whole ‘nother trip to the South where they are to see Glinda. Of course, in the movie, Glinda just magically appears.
AND—here’s the biggie, the movie treated it all as an unconscious dream for Dorothy while the book treats it as reality. In the end, when Dorothy returns home, Uncle Henry has built a new house to replace the one taken away by the tornado.
Another odd thing: When Dorothy meets the first good witch in the book, she kisses Dorothy on the forehead before sending her off on the road made of yellow brick. This red “kiss mark” is on her head throughout the entire book. In fact, it gives Dorothy protection because those who see it stay away, or decide to do her no harm.
My last thought is a funny one. Dorothy melts the Witch not to put out a fire, but because she is angry. The Wicked Witch wants the shoes, and thus devises a plan where she trips Dorothy. She succeeds in taking one of the silver shoes, and Dorothy wants it back. She gets so angry, that she grabs a pail of water and throws it on the witch. When the Witch melts, Dorothy takes another bucket of water and just sweeps her out the door—VERY funny.