Shanower became an official Oz fan when he read L. Frank Baum's fifth Oz book The Road to Oz as a child after being a fan of the classic MGM musical movie. Though he says he still watches it from time to time and still enjoys it, to him, the 1939 film is not Oz.
Shanower served as assistant editor of Oz-story Magazine during that annual's six-year duration (1995–2000); he also supplied much of the artwork for each volume. His novel The Giant Garden of Oz, which he both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1993, and his collection of Oz fiction and verse, The Salt Sorcerer of Oz and Other Stories, appeared in 2002.
His story "Abby," published in Oz-story Magazine No. 2 in 1996, has a strong relationship with The Shaggy Man of Oz, and is almost an homage to Jack Snow's book. Trot of Oz, his collaboration with Glenn Ingersoll, appeared in the final issue of Oz-story in 2000.
Shanower also produced The Oz Toy Book Volume 2 in 1994.
Most significantly, he illustrated The Wicked Witch of Oz, written by Royal Historian Rachel Cosgrove Payes. This book is considered canonical by many fans, not unlike the other Oz material that Shanower has been associated with.
- The Enchanted Apples of Oz (1986). A mediocre magician named Bortag steals some of the enchanted apples of Oz to awaken the Wicked Witch of the South. Oz begins to lose its magic through the Witch's actions, until Bortag has a change of heart and undoes what he's done. A talking flying swordfish named Drox plays a supporting role. (Harlan Ellison provided an Introduction.)
- The Secret Island of Oz (1986). Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and Eureka the kitten travel to a Mysterious Mountain. Drawn up into a whirlpool, they reach a hidden land with a cranky princess and a living wooden toy called Knotboy; they triumph in a confrontation with a giant snake and toad.
- The Ice King of Oz (1987). Ozma is kidnapped by the Ice King of Antarctica, and turned into his ice princess. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and Flicker, a living human candle with flaming hair, all go to rescue her. After travails, Flicker manages to thaw the Ice King's heart (almost consuming himself in the process). The Ice King repents and releases Ozma.
- The Forgotten Forest of Oz (1988). The nymph Nelanthe is exiled from the Forest of Burzee for kissing a human male. She becomes the consort of the king of the trolls; she rides a giant talking bat. She provokes a revenge attack on Burzee by the trolls and their fire-dragon allies. Dorothy and Toto, the Scarecrow and Sawhorse are drawn into the action. A repentant Nelanthe foils the invasion by sowing dissension between trolls and dragons; Queen Zurline forgives her and welcomes her back to Burzee.
- The Blue Witch of Oz (1992). Dorothy and the Scarecrow go in search of the Good Witch of the East, long missing. They find her in the Great Gray Gillikin Swamp; the Glass Cat breaks the enchantment afflicting the witch. She is restored to a constructive role in Oz society.
The five graphic novels were later reprinted in a single collected edition, Adventures in Oz (2006).