When Seekers of the Weird appeared in Marvel solicits a few years ago, diehard True Believers wondered if it was the first of many mouse-eared intrusions to come. The mini-series came with sufficient spooky cred—it was written by Witch Doctor scribe Brandon Seifert and drawn by frequent Buffyverse artist Karl Moline—and was based on unused concepts for the “Museum of the Weird,” a walkthrough attraction that would eventually evolve into the beloved Haunted Mansion ride that graces several Disney parks today.
While Seekers of the Weird made only a minor splash, subsequent Disney Kingdoms titles (based on actual attractions instead of abandoned ideas) have garnered a dedicated following among comic lovers and Walt fanatics alike. Marvel and its parent company have mined rides both beloved (Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) and derided (Journey Into Imagination with Figment) to come up with new comics. In honor of this week’s launch of The Haunted Mansion from writer Joshua Williamson and artist Jorge Coelho, Paste recruited its most avid Disney parkgoer (me, that person is me) [a certain games/comedy editor would dispute this…—Ed.] to suggest 10 more Disney attractions—past, present and never-was—ready for the Marvel Comics treatment.
1 of 10
Of all abandoned Disney theme-park ideas, Beastly Kingdom might be the most depressing. Envisioned as one third of the Animal Kingdom (a dragon head still exists on the front entrance), Beastly Kingdom was cut due to budget reasons and the space will soon be home to an Avatar tie-in land instead. The area would have included a coaster racing through a greedy dragon's tower and a mystical hedge maze that led guests to the hidden grotto of a unicorn. Renae De Liz is a pro at myth and magic after adapting The Last Unicorn and putting her own spin on Wonder Woman, which makes her the only person who could take away the sting of never seeing Beastly Kingdom brought to life.
2 of 10
If Figment, the obnoxious purple dragon from Epcot's mid-80s boom period, can get two quality mini-series under the Disney Kingdoms banner, why not Michael Jackson's batshit-insane 4D film experience? Directed by Francis Coppola and executive-produced by George Lucas, Captain EO stars the King of Pop as a space-traveling music ambassador who convinces an evil Angelica Huston that pollution is bad and "We Are Here to Save the World," as the song goes. Imagine Bill Sienkiewicz slinging ink and paint to really nail the throwback movie-poster vibe.
3 of 10
When this young Paste writer first visited New York City, his hotel faced a multi-story snarling billboard yeti with light-up red eyes, angrily advertising the Animal Kingdom's flagship thrill ride. While the robot yeti hasn't worked quite right since the ride's opening (Imagineers have done an excellent job adjusting for its limitations, though), Expedition Everest's steep plummet, whiplash reverse and immersive theme makes it one of the most exciting rides in Orlando. If Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda ever need a break from their killer Image book Monstress, Everest's beastly secrets seem right up their alley.
4 of 10
it's a small world
Oh come on—you know the song is already stuck in your head. This lackadaisical boat ride through a simultaneously idealized and borderline-offensive vision of worldwide diversity (at its most stereotypical) is a Disney classic. The biggest hurdle to adapting it into a Disney Kingdoms comic may be its resistance to any and all conflict. Everyone gets along on it's a small world, thanks to iconic illustrator Mary Blair's whimsical, rosy-cheeked designs. As Blair left us decades ago, we'd recruit Capture Creatures creators Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt to apply their Little Golden Book style—or go left-field and let Eleanor Davis run amok.
5 of 10
Journey to the Center of the Earth
The theme-park elite consider Tokyo DisneySea to be Disney's finest location, and this thrilling dark ride remains its flagship attraction. An elaborate queue introduces riders to Jules Verne's steampunk world before visitors embark on their own expedition beneath the planet's crust. Giant mushrooms and grazing insects quickly give way to bursting lava flows and a close encounter with one of the most impressive monsters ever dreamed up by Disney. Riders are then shot through an open-air portion and treated to a gorgeous (if brief) view of the park. Given the wealth of Verne material to pull from (multiple parks also boast a fun 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride), we'd like to see the original Weirdworld crew of Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo reunite to bring this strange land to life.
6 of 10
With Pirates of the Caribbean likely tied up in film land for as long as Johnny Depp is willing to trot out a diminishing Jack Sparrow parody, Jungle Cruise—a staple at every location except for Disneyland Paris—is the next best thing. This leisurely tour through animatronic jungle flora and fauna (as well as some extremely dated depictions of "natives") is primarily a showcase for humorous improv from the cruise operators, making this the perfect blank slate for comedic writers like Ryan North, Chris Hastings or Kate Leth.
7 of 10
Maelstrom was one of the kookier rides in Epcot's World Showcase: an exciting boat journey through Norwegian myths brought to life by animatronic trolls and living trees, ending in a five-minute tourism video about the real Norway. Beloved for its acid-trip throwback imagery (paging Frazer Irving to turn Maelstrom into a nightmare Viking epic), this ride's final longship docked in 2014 to make way for…a Frozen ride.
8 of 10
A Haunted Mansion is all well and good, but is it as creepy as…a Phanton Manor!? This Disneyland Paris flagship attraction is considered scarier and darker than its cousins in other parks, making it the perfect setting for a follow-up mini-series to The Haunted Mansion—perhaps even reuniting writer Joshua Williamson with his viscera-proficient Nailbiter co-creator Mike Henderson? Alternatively, Disney Kingdoms can opt to adapt the Mystic Manor, Hong Kong Disneyland's more lighthearted, fanciful version of the ride.
9 of 10
Space Mountain is a weird one: a graphic novel from fan-favorite former Batgirl writer Bryan Q. Miller and Sandman artist Kelley Jones came out from Disney Press in 2014, meaning this property might be tied up outside of Marvel's purview. Regardless, we'd love to see what the House of Ideas could do with this intergalactic tabula rasa. Give ODY-C artist Christian Ward free reign to create more outer-space majesty and the book will sell itself out of the stratosphere.
10 of 10
Tower of Terror
While the Towers of Terror in Anaheim, Orlando and Paris are based on the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel and themed after The Twilight Zone, Tokyo DisneySea's Tower of Terror boasts an original story perfectly suited for the Disney Kingdoms treatment. In the late 1800s, explorer and businessman Harrison Hightower III pilfered a cursed African idol, which later came to life and sent the hotel's elevator plummeting from the penthouse to the ground floor—with Hightower inside. The Gotham Academy crew of Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl would be spookily perfect choices to take the elevator back to the top floor.