Anyone who is a fan of Marvel knows that the company is owned by Disney, but did you know that Marvel has actually produced some comic books featuring various Disney theme park attractions and characters?
I learned about the existence of the Disney Kingdoms series of comic books earlier this year, and was really excited to check out one of these comic book collections for myself. While there are currently a few titles available in this series, the book I was most interested in reading was The Haunted Mansion, which focuses on one of my all-time favorite Disney rides. I had originally planned to save the book until October, but I just couldn’t wait…and I ended up reading it in July as one of my Beat the Backlist titles.
Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion is a collection of two original comic book stories; “Haunted Mansion,” by Joshua Williamson, and “Seekers of the Weird,” by Brandon Seifert.
The first story, “Haunted Mansion,” follows the adventures of a teenage boy named Danny, who is summoned to the mansion by Madam Leota. The mansion has been placed under a curse by the ghost of a pirate captain, who has sealed the ghosts in the mansion until he can find his missing treasure. According to the spirit medium, only a living person can break the curse…but it won’t be easy.
In his quest to free the mansion’s spirits from their imprisonment, Danny finds himself making friends with the Hatbox Ghost, partying with some of the mansion’s “Happy Haunts,” and facing off against monstrous paintings, a murderous bride, and the greedy captain himself.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Haunted Mansion,” and I have to admit that it was my favorite of the two comic book stories. I thought it was a nice tribute to the Disneyland ride, especially since it included a lot of familiar moments and characters. I also liked the plot, and thought the inclusion of the pirate captain (who was originally developed for the ride, but was later scrapped) was a great addition.
While the setting and characters of “Haunted Mansion” will be fairly familiar to anyone who’s visited the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland (or at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom), the second story, “Seekers of the Weird,” is based on a Disney attraction that never made it off the ground…the Museum of the Weird.
“Seekers of the Weird” tells the story of Maxwell and Melody, two teenagers who work part-time in their parents’ curio shop, selling unusual items. When their parents are abducted by a group known as the Shadow Society, Max and Mel must team up with their uncle to get them back.
Uncle Roland takes them through a portal to a place known as the Museum of the Weird, in order to find an item known as the Coffin Clock, which will only appear if they can gather a specific set of items. Unfortunately, their search has a time limit…and the Museum of the Weird is filled with dangerous artifacts and creatures.
While it wasn’t my favorite of the two stories, I actually did really enjoy reading “Seekers of the Weird.” It was a very fast-paced and action-packed story, with a lot of interesting original characters. I really liked the fact that the story was built around an attraction that never saw the light of day, because it gave the writer and artists a lot of freedom to create their own story, while also allowing them to stay true to the concept art that was created by Disney Imagineer, Rolly Crump.
Overall, I thought that both of these stories were fantastic, not only with respect to their plots, but also their artwork. The characters and backgrounds are very well drawn, and the pages include a tremendous amount of detail. The entire book is also in full-color, which really adds to the overall mood of the stories. The artists did a phenomenal job of bringing both the Haunted Mansion and the Museum of the Weird to life! I also liked that the book includes original concept art and cover variants. They were a lot of fun to look at.
If you’re a fan of Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction, and you enjoy Marvel Comics, then I highly recommend giving Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion a try. It’s a great comic book collection that can be enjoyed by both teenage and adult readers. If you do have the opportunity to read this book for yourself, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Happy spooky reading!