Back at New York Comic Con, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer announced that the very first original comic book collaboration between Marvel and Disney would be coming in 2014. Dubbed ‘Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird’, this book by writer Brandon Seifert and artist Karl Moline would explore a Disneyland attraction that never came to be. Imagineer Rolly Crump envisioned The Museum of the Weird as an extension of the Haunted Mansion, but when Walt Disney passed away, the attraction never came to fruition. Now, thanks to the Disney-owned comic company, we can explore the Museum of the Weird for the first time ever through this new series.
The first issue follows siblings Max and Melody Keep as they head home after receiving some less than stellar academic assessments. While they try to figure out how to tell their parents the bad news, they arrive to find their mother and father acting weirder than usual. Sure, they run a curio store called Keep It Weird, but they had expected the usual parental tirade that each kid comes to know when they do poorly in school. But things get weirder when taxidermy animals come to life and take their parents away. Now, they only have the help of their weird uncle Roland to discover what exactly happened and what needs to be done in order to get their parents back.
Maybe it’s just the years of conditioning I’ve received from taking in everything Disney over the years, but this really did feel like a Disney story. Seemingly normal kids getting thrust head first into some daunting yet spectacular adventure feels like something that I’ve seen on the Disney Channel. That’s not meant to be a knock on the book though because I couldn’t stop reading to find out what happens to these kids.
While there was some Disney magic in these pages, there was also some Marvel grit. ‘Seekers of the Weird’ feels like something out of Doctor Strange’s slice of the Marvel Universe with all these demons and supernatural beings running around. The aggressive foes and somewhat graphic fates of some of the characters feel distinctly Marvel. The good thing about this book is that both Disney and Marvel come together in a nice harmony that works really well.
But overall, while I’ve found this to be exciting and very curious, it almost feels too familiar. Depending on where it goes from here, it could be just another average Disney story. But I’m willing to give it this new book the benefit of the doubt and see where it’s going. If not for the story, I’m a huge Disney parks nerd, so I’d want to keep reading to find out more about the Museum of the Weird. Since the attraction was never built, it can come to life in the pages of this Marvel comic. And that in itself has the right amount of Disney magic to keep me interested in ‘Seekers of the Weird’.
DISNEY KINGDOMS: SEEKERS OF THE WEIRD #1
Written by Brandon Seifert
Art by Karl Moline, Rick Magyar, & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Cover by Michael Del Mundo