Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books with LGBT themes (LGBT standing for “Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender”), based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here is an archive of the comics featured so far!
The month continues with Friend of Dorothy #1, a rather unique Oz-themed superhero by Brian Anderson and Neftali Centeno.
Friend of Dorothy is about a gay teenager who thinks that his life is devoid of meaning (seemingly from a failed relationship). Just when he thinks it is about time to give up on life, he is visited by a mystical creature…
As it turns out, there is something very special about young Scott-John, and the magic man is none other than the Good Witch of Oz himself!!
As the Friend of Dorothy, Scott-John is given some magical items as well as a sidekick – the grandson (or is great-grandson? I forget) of THE Toto! You see, when Toto was in Oz, he sired some kids. So now years later, his descendants are allies of Oz – they look like human dogs but can talk like the animals of Oz.
Often, Brian Anderson’s greatest asset can also be his greatest weakness. You see, his stories are always filled with verve and dynamism – they’re filled to the brim with an energetic enthusiasm that makes you just want to smile. However, quite often, when you are overflowing with energy, it can end up being on the manic side and the story itself can end up a bit unfocused. So I was very pleased to see him reign things in with Friend of Dorothy – you still get the enthusiasm and the energy, but it is somewhat tempered and focused.
The artwork by Centeno is not my particular cup of tea, but he does not get in the way of Anderson’s story – his storytelling skills are solid enough – his problems come more in his figure work. But storytelling is a lot harder to develop than figure work, so hopefully he can grow with his figure work while remaining a solid storyteller (his page layouts are good).
Friend of Dorothy is a unique tale, steeped just enough in the Oz tradition to appeal to Oz fans while being unattached enough that you can enjoy the book without knowing anything about the Wizard of Oz (or having any interest in Oz).
The banter between Scott-John and the dog (Dodo) is handled very well by Anderson – he uses the dialogue to deliver a lot of personality traits of Scott-John. It was a very effective way of letting us get to know our hero.
This was an enjoyable comic book.
The back-up story, I Am Moxie Marvel (a rejected Zuda pitch by Anderson and Jon Macy) is even stronger than the main story in the book. It is even more focused of a plot and the art by Macy is quite good. It’d be very interested in an I Am Moxie Marvel series (it is about a gay teenager who becomes the new Moxie Marvel – well, not Moxie Marvel, exactly – but a male version of Moxie Marvel). I really liked the commentary about the perils of well-meaning teachers trying to protect kids from being called cruel names because of their sexual identity.
You can buy a copy of Friend of Dorothy #1 here.
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