Thursday, June 18, 2015

REVIEW: Seekers of the Weird (Disney Kingdoms) of the Weird
Disney Kingdoms series
Brandon Seifert | Karl Moline | Filipe Andrade
Based on designs by Rolly Crump
5/5 stars

The story behind this story is a story in and of itself. What drew me to this is the fact that it is Disney -and I love Disney- but when I read the inside flap I knew I had to read it.

Not only is this Disney, but the this story is inspired by the artwork of Disney Legend Rolly Crump, destined to be the blueprints for the Museum of the Weird in Disneyland. The designs were originally intended for the Haunted Mansion, but when Walt Disney saw Crump's work, he said it deserved to have its own spotlight.

Now, for my other Disnerds, no, there isn't a Museum of the Weird in Disneyland. Unfortunately, after the death of Walt Disney, the concept never came to fruition. The concepts and artwork of Rolly Crump have been gathering dust in archives for nearly 50 years.

With the joining of Marvel and Disney, it suddenly opened up a lot of new opportunities. While the Museum of the Weird might not be a Disneyland attraction, it's finding life and an audience in comics. (As an aside, be sure to read the introduction and the afterwards if you find this kind of stuff interesting.)

Now that I've let my Disnerd out, let's talk about the book...

Seekers of the Weird takes place in New Orleans, which is the perfect setting for the weird and morbid relics and artifacts bursting from the pages, like the camera that turns people to stone, the melting Candleman, and a gun that shoots ghouls instead of bullets.

Maxwell and Melody Keep help their parents run a strange curio shop called 'Keep It Weird', but things suddenly get a little too weird. Their parents are kidnapped by the Shadow Society, the swash-buckling uncle nobody talks about tries to come to the rescue, and Max and Mel learn that the curio shop is only a front for a much bigger, much stranger place: The Museum of the Weird.
 photo DisneyKingdoms-SeekersOfTheWeird01-014.jpg

Max and Mel have to hunt down artifacts to pay the kidnappers' ransom, but it's hard when half the Museum is trying to kill them, their uncle isn't telling them everything, and their parents' colleagues are sending shadow monsters to stop them.

I'm completely enamored with Seekers of the Weird. The art is colorful, gorgeous, and bizarre; the story is a fun, swash-buckling ride that does justice to both Marvel and Disney; the characters are funny, sarcastic, and clever.

The story itself may be familiar, but the setting and the 'weird' world are original and captivating. Somewhere between voodoo and just plain crazy, it's unique and refreshing and impossible to put down. While the world itself is darker than unicorns and fairies, the theme is still kid-friendly, so you don't have to worry about violence or language.

The relationship between Max and Mel is fun, because they both get to test out their strengths, but they have to exercise their weaknesses, too. More than anything, they have to rely on each other, because they aren't sure if there's anyone else to trust.

Seekers of the Weird is a big win in my book, from both the Marvel and Disney perspectives, and I hope to see more of it in the future. It's touted as the first series in the Marvel/Disney corroboration DISNEY KINGDOMS, and I can't wait to see what's next.

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