Daily Figment 80 — Comic Book Review

Good friend, Matt gave me a copy of the Haunted Mansion comic book the other day.

What a great read!

Jeff Pepper at 2719hyperion.com did a review that garnered quite a bit of attention from comic book and Disney fans alike. He makes some really valid points about the book.

I found that I liked about half of the stories in the book. A few of the art styles were hard for me to follow and some of the stories seemed to just take up space. I did have a few favorites and those were the stories that followed or expanded on the known mythos of the Haunted Mansions.

The story that centers around Claude Coats and Marc Davis is my favorite. They are portrayed as two mischievous and slightly evil architects that work feverishly to design the Mansion for Master Gracey. They include hidden areas, traps and pratfalls. Ultimately, their own traps become their undoing. I won’t spoil the ending for you.

Marc Davis and Claude Coats

Another short story involves a ghost’s first visit to the Mansion. He silently travels the ride scene-by-scene. What I like about it is that it illustrates one of the fan-based parts of the attraction. After being frightened by the ghost bride, the ghost jumps out of the attic window backwards.
I have always enjoyed this part of the attraction even though it was not intended as a part of the storyline. As I see it, this is how we are supposed to feel when we are on the attraction. As we ride in our Doom Buggy, we are so frightened by the Bride that we jump out of the attic window backwards, thus falling to our deaths. When we enter the happy graveyard scene, we are welcomed as one of their own. We have passed over to the spirit world at that point. That is also why the caretaker and the skinny puppy are frightened by us when we pass them in the Doombuggy, right before the graveyard scene. Just one Disney Geeks opinion, though!

If you are a fan of the Haunted Mansion, you will enjoy this collection. I am looking forward to buying the other compilations, as well.

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5 thoughts on “Daily Figment 80 — Comic Book Review

  1. Moving out the window after the bride and then “falling to our deaths” was most assuredly not intended by the design team. We exit the attic through a window because it’s a design choice for a transition, and spend quite a long time overlooking the graveyard as in an establishing shot before tilting backwards, which we do because it’s an interesting way to enter the scene. You can believe what you want, but that part of the attraction is a complete fabrication by fans.

  2. Andy and I argued politely, as brothers do, about this. He agrees that it wasn’t intentional by the designers. I like the mythos of it. It just has this really cool ring to it. I know it isn’t official, but there is such a home-grown collection of stories surrounding the mansion–that I find it fascinating that some have been incorporated by the cast members.

    It does make sense that you would have to tilt backwards to keep you safer in the Doombuggy as you change levels. Now that would be an urban myth to start…how many people have died while falling backwards out of the Doombugggy!

  3. Well then I guess I’d have to say that one should be careful when phrasing an endorsement of such a fabrication: the use of “this is how we’re supposed to feel” implies that WED intended the effect. The audience can believe anything they want about the Mansion – that is its’ most considerable asset – but a lot of the mystery the piece summons due to it’s intended non specificity has really been ruined over the years by the shift in our culture towards crushing literalism (I’ll be getting into this on my blog in the future so that’s enough of that for now).

    As for the tilt, it doesn’t really have much to do with safety. The reason Bob Gurr, Claude Coates and others were really pulling for the Omnimover system in the Haunted Mansion was its’ ability to pivot the carriage in such a way so that the audience doesn’t experience a tilt when going up or down a slope; think of all the times your Doombuggy starts going upstairs and you just kind of glide along like a ghost. You’re supposed to feel kind of disconnected and disoriented when such things happen.

    The effect is much more obvious at WDW now that they’ve added show elements through the Grand Staircase scene; check it out when you’re back home in a few months. Disneyland has a great moment where the second big spider used to be at WDW where the Doombuggies are just moving in pitch darkness before coming into the Endless Hallway scene, there’s a bit of creaking from the darkness, and you’re totally disoriented. It’s the scariest part of the ride.

    I think the tilt happens for three reasons:
    1) tilting the carriage makes the (relatively short) descent into a real event, a big moment when there’s nothing really happening.

    2) you’re supposed to be looking up at the projected stars, overhanging tree branches, and other show elements to help “sell” the idea of being outside at night.

    3) tilting the carriage pins you back in your seat, which means you’re less likely to look off to the right and realize you’re four feet away from a wall.

  4. Foxx…

    Great points. I can’t wait to read the literalism post.

    I’ve always worshiped the Haunted Mansion. I first learned of the HM when I was four and saw the view-master slides of the ride. I carried the carried as torch for the HM for more than 20 years before I was able to ride it.

    I think I missed a lot of the intention by viewing the ride through an adult’s eyes on my first ride. Although I was thrilled riding it for the first time, I was so excited that I didn’t follow the story. I didn’t have the opportunity of sitting between my parents and watching the ride through fingers…cowering in excitement and fear.

    The Haunted Mansion was my first Disney ride ever, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

  5. Yeah, being traumatized by the Haunted Mansion is something every child should have the opportunity to do. I don’t think I saw the whole ride until I was ten, the Attic and Giant Spiders bothered me so much (seems silly now, but I was taken by surprise by them when I was five and couldn’t get over the idea).

    People who say the Haunted Mansion is spooky and fun and not scary don’t remember that even the wolf howling outside was terrifying when they were five. 😉

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