It’s a curious irony that Charles Dodgson is an extremely difficult writer to follow, and yet writers and artists of all kinds are constantly attempting to do just that.
Alice in Wonderland adaptations, parodies, reimaginings, homages, allusions and riffs are as common as can be, yet relatively few of them end up being worthwhile. That’s part of what makes Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew’s Wonderland (Disney Press) graphic novel such a joy to read.
As difficult as following Dodgson may be, Kovac and Liew actually had an even more difficult task still. Their Wonderland was originally published as a six-part comic book series from SLG, part of the publisher’s 2005 licensing agreement with Disney (along with Haunted Mansion, Gargoyles and Tron), so not only were they doing a comic based on the original Wonderland books, but they were doing a comic based on a beloved, classic animated adaptation of those beloved, classic books.
That can’t have been an easy balancing act to strike, and yet if the creators were sweating at all during the creation of the work, it sure doesn’t come through in the finished product: They’ve produced a comic book that should amuse rather than insult fans of the original prose books, a comic that continues elements of the Dinsey movie without coming across as a cheap cash-in along the lines of the company’s direct-to-DVD sequels and prequels, and, perhaps most remarkably, a comic book that is recognizably theirs.