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The Disney Parks have a major focus on storytelling through experiences. However, many rides have inspired additional stories or added to their lore in ways that go beyond sitting on a ride or watching a film. Disney Parks Comics feature attractions adapted into a visual format, providing new original stories and ways of bringing the parks home.
Disney Parks Comics: Marvel’s Disney Kingdoms
The Disney Kingdoms line of comics from Marvel centered on several classic attractions from the parks and some underrated ones that weren’t realized in their early forms or concepts. The line included “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad,” “Enchanted Tiki Room,” “Figment,” “Figment 2,” and “Haunted Mansion.” Each of these series ran for five issues.
Released in 2015, “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” features the work of comic duo Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and Tigh Walker. It highlights the adventures of Abigail, the daughter of Barnabas T. Bullion, a gold mine owner. The story focuses on the gold mine that would become haunted and star in the classic attraction near the mining town of Rainbow Ridge. It details how Abigail came to be a train robber targeting her father’s mine, providing the origins of the haunted location.
Published in 2016, “Enchanted Tiki Room” featured the creative team of Jon Adams, Horacio Domingues, and Mark Basso. It puts the spotlight on the titular attraction as guests come to visit it. There is drama between the feathered performers. Jose and Pierre are both present in the series, and the future of the show is on the line, while guest drama adds to a slew of mysterious occurrences. This comic is very different from the hit show, but it’s an intriguing tale that lets readers spend more time with the iconic birds.
“The Haunted Mansion” was also published in 2016 and featured the talents of Joshua Williamson, Jorge Coelho, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Joe Caramagna, and Emily Shaw. This comic features an original story that has cameos from iconic haunts, while incorporating new characters. Madame Leota and Constance the Bride both make appearances, while the main action focuses on Danny Crowe, a teen called to the mansion to save his grandfather’s spirit. Nods to classic Disney attractions and the numerous happy haunts present make this comic series stand out among Marvel’s Disney Parks comics.
The “Figment” comic series was inspired by Journey Into Imagination, its mascot, and the Dreamfinder. The first series kicked off the Disney Kingdoms line in 2014. It had the creative team of Jim Zub, Filipe Daniel Moreno de Andrade, and John Tyler Christopher. It explores the origin of the Dreamfinder, which was never before seen. The series was such a fan-favorite success, it warranted a sequel series.
“Figment 2” saw the return of Jim Zub, partnering with Ramón F. Bachs, and John Tyler Christopher. It threw Figment and the Dreamkeeper to a new time with a new mystery to unravel. This series introduces a new young inventor named Capri, continuing the tradition of inspiring a younger generation via storytelling. It focuses on the efforts of the group of heroes as they try to save a school from darkness that threatens to spread doubt in its victims.
Disney Parks Comics: A Disneyland & California Adventure Focus
Coinciding with the overlayed renovation of the Tower of Terror, “Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout #1” shares a name with its drop-tower counterpart. The comic is a one-shot issue by Christopher Hastings, Edgar Salazar, Allen Martinez, Andrew Crossley, and Clayton Cowles that shares a similar story as the ride but without the multimedia, in-person effects guests have when riding. Taneleer Tivan, The Collector, has selected the Guardians of the Galaxy as the highlight attraction of his museum’s public opening. The ragtag team must work together to escape while readers see glimpses of the intergalactic residents and artifacts in their curated prison. Reading the issue won’t replace the ride’s experience, but it can bring back memories of a park visit.
“W.E.B. of Spider-Man” is a five-issue series from the creative team of Kevin Shinick, Alberto Jiménez Albuquerque, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. Inspired by “WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure,” this story introduces the Worldwide Engineering Brigade to Marvel Comics. The comic allows readers to get to know the work and adventures of the young inventors, including Peter Parker, Squirrel Girl (Doreen Green), Onome, Harley Keener, and Moon Girl (Lunella Lafayette). The ride and comic provide very different plot points in their broader stories but have the same base of putting technological innovation in the hands of the next generation of future STEM-based heroes.
Rolly Crump’s Museum of the Weird was designed as a neighboring attraction for The Haunted Mansion. Though the concept hasn’t been realized in any Disney Parks, the Disney Kingdoms comic series “Seekers of the Weird” from Marvel was inspired by it for a new original story. This five-issue miniseries has the creative team of Brandon Seifert, Karl Moline, Rick Magyar, Jean-François Beaulieu, and Joe Caramagna. It follows two teens after their parents are kidnapped, leaving them with a strange uncle and lots of supernatural enemies to face in his mysterious and bizarre home. It takes original concepts from the ride’s design in a new creative direction and features an introduction from Rolly Crump himself.
Disney Park Comics Outside of Marvel
Not all Disney Parks comics have been published by Marvel. “Space Mountain” was published by Disney’s own comic publishing group. It features work from Bryan Q. Miller, Kelley Jones, Rob Leigh, and Hi-Fi Design, taking inspiration from a story by Michael Siglain. This graphic novel follows two space cadets who have the opportunity to go on a time-travel adventure, but find themselves off-track very quickly. It also has several Disney Park cameos that are sure to entertain eagle-eyed readers, such as the Carousel of Progress and The Moonliner. With tones of retro-futurism, the graphic novel harkens well to Tomorrowland’s broader theming while paying tribute to the land’s major rides, including the one that inspired it.
One of the most popular attractions to adapt, the Haunted Mansion, inspired a graphic novel from IDW Publishing. Released in 2020, “Haunted Mansion: Frights of Fancy,” shows a young girl (Sydney) struggling to earn her keep as one of the titular spooky home’s newest residents. Its publication commemorated the 50th anniversary of the attraction and featured the creative team of Sina Grace, Egle Bartolini, Nicoletta Baldari, Valentina Pinto, Riccardo Giardina, and Christa Miesner. It includes antics from Constance, the infamous and undead Haunted Mansion bride, who tries to hinder Sydney’s goals.
IDW Publishing also released Disney Parks comics to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the parks. “Magic Kingdom Comics” features the republication of older Disney Comics involving the parks and its iconic attractions across two issues. From the Mark Twain Riverboat to a mystery involving the Country Bear Jamboree, this is a great addition to the Disney Park-inspired offerings that have been released over the past decade. It features work from Carl Barks, one of Disney’s most beloved and influential comic creators. Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck, and Mickey all have appearances, and some stories made their USA debut. This includes a Danish story published in 1992 from an issue of “Anders & Co.” – Anders being Donald’s Danish name.
If the previous and more recent adaptations weren’t enough, an even older Haunted Mansion-inspired multi-issue miniseries that was published in 2002 exists. SLG Publishing released eight issues of “Haunted Mansion,” serving as a ghostly anthology. These issues featured the work of numerous comic creators focusing on different residents of the 999 happy haunts fans are familiar with. There are attempts to be the 1000th resident of the mansion, a look at the pets residing in the on-grounds cemetery, and even an origin story for William Gracey and one of the Hitchhiking Ghosts. This variety comic series is perfect for fans wanting to know all the possible lore for the attraction, regardless of what is and isn’t canonical.
There is no shortage of Disney Parks comics for fans of hit attractions to hunt down and enjoy. With so many offerings available from the past couple of decades and republishing efforts for classic Disney comics, there has never been a better time to bring more Disney Park magic home. There are tons of stories to be explored with new attractions like those involving Marvel or classic attractions like the Haunted Mansion.