HEART OF DISNEY LORE, A “THE HAUNTED MANSION #1” REVIEW
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art: Jorge Coehlo
The Haunted Mansion, for the few who may not know, is based off of an attraction at Disneyland/World, and not the horrible Eddie Murphy movie. The attraction takes you through several scenes in the que line that starts to [paint the picture of a…well a haunted mansion. Then you go on to the dark ride portion and see all the ghosts and haunts that fill this building. Finally exiting after making it all the way to the attic where the ghost of a bride awaits you for the big conclusion to the attractions story.
This comic doesn’t try and explain any of the unknown ghosts or try and show you an origin story to the ghosts that haunt this house. This comic is scripted to take you on a journey with a young boy as he tries to free his recently deceased grandfather and find the courage he has always been lacking (side note: This immediate death of a family member is on par for the course with a Disney film)
I really loved the first few pages where random townspeople try and explain who haunts the mansion or the story behind it. Their responses are what I could imagine someone telling you about the actual attraction as it does show you a graveyard with a pirate’s ghost, a several times widowed woman and even the bleak warning of some hitchhiking ghosts.
If you are a fan of the Disney attraction, this book’s illustrations will please you. Nearly scene for scene as we follow our young courage-less Danny into the haunted mansion, we see scenes straight from the park. The horseless funeral carriage, the stretching room complete with a painting and dialogue right from the attraction. Throughout this comic from Marvel’s Disney Kingdoms title, we see almost 999 of the ghosts brought to life. Keep an eye out for some panels illustrated by Jorge Coelho. For me, this book was worth the read not so much for the story alone, or the artwork, but the collaboration of the two to create a tale that makes some sense and provokes a sense of nostalgia and remembrance for seeing scenes from the attraction played out in the comic’s panels.
Let’s not forget that we get to meet Madame Leota in the comic as she will guide Danny (and us the reader) through the haunted mansion and to saving his grandfather along with the other trapped souls. This may not be a comic for the average comic reader, but for kids or Disney fans, I would recommend they read it at least twice to see what hidden images or dialogue the creative team has included to give the attraction its full comic book conversion. This isn’t the first time The Haunted Mansion was featured in a comic series of its own, but so far its really fun.