Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird

By Nick

I was late to the party. Again. I didn't hear that Marvel and Disney had teamed up to bring fans graphic representations of Disney attractions until people all over Facebook started posting pics of the cover of Figment #1, which caused a lot of excitement, not only because it showcased the beloved purple dragon, it also featured the beloved Dreamfinder!

When I investigated and discovered it was actually part of a new comic book imprint called Disney Kingdoms,  I immediately looked into what, if anything, had already been published!

What I discovered was weird. Seekers of the Weird to be more precise.

I bought the graphic novel from Amazon, when it was inevitably released in that preferable format for me, and fully intended on reviewing it for Halloween time, which I thought would be appropriate considering the macabre subject matter.

Obviously, that didn't happen. But I digress.

Seekers of the Weird is based on concept art created by Imagineer and Disney Legend, Rolly Crump, for an attraction that was to be located at the end of The Haunted Mansion, a Museum of the Weird.

This attraction was so far along in the planning stages that it was featured on the Disneyland 10th Anniversary Show, with Walt Disney himself speaking to Rolly about the concept.
The show is on the Walt Disney Treasures-Disneyland USA DVD box set, and it is readily available on YouTube. As an added bonus, Marc Davis discusses concept work for the Haunted Mansion in the same segment.

As for the story in Seekers of the Weird, it is indeed weird. It reminded me very much of the odd horror comics I would read while at the doctor's or dentists office as a kid in the early 70s, or the Vertigo line of comics from DC I bought in the early to mid 90s. This isn't a bad thing, just surprising it's coming from Disney, and it may be off putting to an audience not accustomed to this coming from Disney. Not that the Haunted Mansion isn't on the dark side, come to think of it!

The artwork is good, and fits well with the story. The artists involved did a nice job paying homage to Rolly Crump's concept work.

This is an interesting read, but, to be honest, if not for the historical ties to Walt Disney era Imagineering, it would not have caught my attention. The same cannot be said for Figment, one of my favorite Disney characters, and I've already pre-ordered that graphic novel, which comes out in May.

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