Disney Kingdoms Comics Reviewby Megan Walker, contributing writer
While Disney has been in the comics business for a long time, with the purchase of Marvel Comics in 2009, its ventures in comics began to grow exponentially with its own properties. In 2014 Disney, in partnership with Marvel Comics, began publishing a series of comics under the name “Disney Kingdoms.” To date, Disney has released five different Disney Kingdoms series, with the promise of more to come. The comics have taken on stories revolving around themes from the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, diving further into the worlds from various attractions and the characters that live in them.
Seekers of the Weird
“Seekers of the Weird” was a five-issue comic book series based on Museum of the Weird, an original concept story and artwork for an attraction that never saw the light of day. The story follows siblings Maxwell and Melody Keep as they attempt to rescue their missing parents. The siblings end up exploring the deepest parts of the Museum of the Weird, fighting against an evil society looking to destroy everything.
The “Seekers of the Weird” series was the first series under the Disney Kingdoms banner, and a great introduction into Disney’s new adventure in comics. Disney was able to minimize the risk of audience disapproval by using an attraction that was never actually built. Fans going in didn’t have much of an opinion to go off of and therefore had nothing to lose by reading the series. As for its success, “Seekers of the Weird” turned out to be great. It was a fairly successful book with great storytelling and fantastic artwork that would make any Disneyphile excited. It also sparked a huge interest in the new Disney Kingdoms line, which would has so far produced four more series of books.
“Figment” was another five-issue series that told the origin story of fan-favorite characters, Figment and Dreamfinder. The story follows Dreamfinder in his early years as a scientist working in energy properties, until one day, when he creates something… someone. Figment is the creation from these experiments, and together, Figment and Dreamfinder must work together to save their hometown.
While “Figment” was one step further into the area of “risky” stories to produce—since there is a huge fanbase behind the characters—it turned out to be a huge success. The story gave a fantastic origin to these famous characters and made Figment even more lovable than he was to begin with. Audiences ended up adoring this series, with most issues and printings selling out fairly fast. In fact, this series was so popular it sparked the creation of a second Figment series later on.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
“Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” was the third series in the Disney Kingdoms line and the first to tackle an existing attraction in the parks. “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” provided the backstory to the wildest ride in the wilderness. The story found Abigail Bullion, the daughter of the owner of the Big Thunder Mining Company, joining up with some unlikely partners to discover the mysteries of what was happening deep inside Big Thunder Mountain, in hopes to save her father’s business and her town.
“Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” was the riskiest story in the Disney Kingdoms line, as it took on an existing attraction—and a fan-favorite one at that. However, not only was the storytelling very good, but the art was amazing—and the connections made between the story and the attraction itself was Disney magic at its best. Serious park fans are bound to find many little details here and there from the attraction itself that will be fun for them to come across.
“Figment 2” took the story from the first Figment series and continued it right where it left off—only now, our heroes are joined by a new companion… but I won’t spoil who it is. Throughout the five issues, the three friends are then forced into a battle against the dark and evil Doubt that eventually floods everyone’s minds from time to time. The story takes place at a school in Florida and features some fun nods to park icons.
This series was literally demanded for by the fans; Disney never planned on publishing a sequel to the first Figment series but the demand for it by readers was so high that it was decided to green-light another go at the story. As with the first series, this book was wildly popular, with many printings selling out. The storytelling and artwork in this series were also pretty great, but personally if I had to pick, I enjoyed the first series much more than the second.
The Haunted Mansion
Currently the most recent series is the ongoing five-issue series, “The Haunted Mansion.” With another go at an attraction-based series, “The Haunted Mansion” is a story about a boy who has to go into the mansion to save his beloved grandfather’s memory from evil. This series has just recently started, however, so there’s not a lot of information to give, and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you.
Ultimately, the Disney Kingdoms comics series has been a fantastic addition to both the Disney and Marvel product line, and are absolutely worth checking out. If you’re not a comics reader—or even if you’re an avid comics reader—these books are definitely for you. Additionally, they are absolutely great for all-ages (with a slight warning that Seekers and Haunted Mansion do involve ghosts and other “otherworldly” creatures, so parents may want to flip through these before giving them to young kids). Disney fans will love the stories within these books, and if you’re just looking for a great story to read or some great artwork to admire, you will also find that within the pages of these books.
You can find these books at online retailers such as Things from Another World or Midtown Comics, or at your local comic book shop. You can also find some of these books (most recent issues mainly) along with the new line of Star Wars comics from Marvel in various stores at all of the Disney parks and throughout Downtown Disney shops.