This week brings the debut of the first Marvel-Disney joint comic book, Seekers of the Weird. The book is under the banner Disney Kingdoms and while they haven't announced any other Kingdom titles yet, I can't imagine we'll have to wait long to see some.
The story starts off introducing us to sibling teens Maxwell and Melody Keep. (I almost think the title should have been Keepers of the Weird but maybe that would be too on the nose?) They're your average kids, one a nerd and the other a jock respectively, worried about reporting mid-term grades to their parents.
Only the parents seem to have other things on their mind and leave the kids in charge of the family business, a curio shop on the bottom floor of their home called Keep It Weird. When the kids go to talk to them again, they find their parents under attack from bizarre, mismatched taxidermy animals. They try to help but the senior Keeps are spirited away by the creatures.
|Preview image from CBR|
The kids continue to put up a fight but a quickly rescued by the black sheep of the family, Uncle Roland. They receive a ghostly message demanding the "coffin clock" in return for the kidnapped Keeps. Roland leads the kids into their parents secret study and unlocks a door leading into the Museum of the Weird.
Roland tells them he has to collect a few things from the cavernous museum and it shouldn't take him more than three days! Max and Melody start exploring and encounter a few unusual objects and living statues. Before they can find too much trouble, a wounded Roland reappears telling them it's up to them to retrieve the coffin clock before passing out.
I really enjoyed the book so far, especially the "weird" visuals. I read a lot of Young Adult fiction and this falls right in that territory. There's plenty of hints dropped at a deeper back story that I'm sure will be uncovered in future issues. It feels a little Doctor Who in spirit at times as Roland is spouting off things that are meaningless to the kids as he drags them into danger. Or adventure depending on how you look at it!
There is a final page in the book that talks about the first meeting between Marvel and Disney staff to talk about doing a joint comic based on park attractions. This is why I'm pretty sure this is only the first Disney Kingdoms series. Just please, no Small World comics!
More importantly, it talks about the origins of the Museum of the Weird and the man behind it, Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump. The short version is that it was to be a companion attraction to the Haunted Mansion, collecting strange and mystical artifacts from around the world. You can read the long version over at Doombuggies.com. If you're a Disney-phile or just a fan of the Haunted Mansion, I highly recommend checking it out. Quite a few of Crump's concept designs can be found in the comic if you know what you're looking for.