Comic Review - Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1

Coming out today is the first Disney branded comic book from Marvel Comics - Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1.  This series was first teased at the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center in August 2013.  A poster was given out to anyone who told a cast member at the Parks and Resorts Pavilion that they wanted to see "something weird."  The poster contained a QR code to that opened a video that told us about a bold new collaboration between Marvel and Disney Imagineering.  Months later, the Disney Kingdoms project was announced.

The project came about when Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada met with Disney Imagineers to discuss various projects.  One of the outcomes was Disney Kingdoms which would create worlds around some of Disney Imagineering projects, including those that have been realized as park attractions and those that never saw the light of day.  This first 5-part story arc is based one of those that never reached fruition, but is well known among Disney fans - Museum of the Weird.  Back when they were developing the Haunted Mansion, Disney Legend and Imagineer Rolly Crump came up with this concept dubbed the "Museum of the Weird" in which guests would be able to see oddities from around the world.  Sadly, Crump's project was never developed.  But, thanks to the collaboration between Marvel Comics and Disney Imagineering, we're able to appreciate this concept like we never have before.

The story revolves around brother and sister Maxwell and Melody who find themselves the reluctant participants in a grand adventure after their parents, owners of a curious store called "Keep It Weird," are magically kidnapped.  Their "black sheep" Uncle Roland (obviously named after Rolly Crump) suddenly appears and introduces them to the mystical Museum of the Weird where their adventure begins.  It's a treat to be able to look around this comic version of the Museum and see some of Crump's concepts, including the Coffin Clock, the Candle Man and the Aquarium with Ghost Fish just to name a few.  Crump's concept art for the Coffin Clock was actually used as a variant cover for the first issue.

What's great about Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird is that it's not a kids book, but it is a book that, I think, all ages can enjoy.  Writer Brandon Seifert, who is actually known for writing darker more adult titles like Hellraiser and Witch Doctor, manages to make us feel like we're watching a classic Disney action movie.  There's just something fun about it.  Seifert keeps us on a brisk pace and throws us quickly into the Museum of the Weird.

Karl  Moline's pencils and Rick Magyar's inks are wonderful and their work compliment each other well. But, I think what really makes the art work pop is Jean-Francois Beaulieu's colors.  They really add to the action and emotion of the story.

I also commend Marvel and Disney for this first collaboration.  While I am a big Disney fan and had no problems with Marvel taking on Disney's canon of familiar animated characters, I'm even more impressed that they went with a concept that not only is off the beaten path, but pays homage to Disney history that makes it also more accessible to the general public.

I look forward to seeing how this story arc develops and where else Disney Kingdoms takes us.

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