Monday, April 2, 2007

Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion (Slave Labor Graphics)

When I first heard about this project I was beside myself with joy (I have been accused of being an obsessed Disneyland Haunted Mansion fan and I don’t deny it). My immediate elation, however, was soon tempered by doubt – how many new and interesting stories can anyone possibly tell about the Haunted Mansion? And since it’s a Disney licensed product, I assumed it would be sanitized and Mickey-ized.

It’s so good to be wrong sometimes. Haunted Mansion showcases amazing creativity and talent and is thoroughly entertaining. From sweet stories about puppies and children to the ongoing tale of Master Gracy (piracy, villainy, and treachery!), there’s something for everyone here and it’s all good. It’s quite fascinating to see one subject through so many different lenses. My personal favorites are: Jon “Bean” Hastings’ tale of the treacherous architects who built the Mansion; Roman Dirge’s comedy sketches in the pet cemetery starring Fifi, the smart-aleck poodle; Christopher’s new verse to Grim Grinning Ghosts; and Serena Valentino’s The Woman in Black, a ghost story with a happy ending. And, of course, if you’re a Haunted Mansion fan at all, there are tributes and references galore.

I wouldn’t call Haunted Mansion all-ages – it’s a shade dark for little ones. If your kids are old enough to really like the ride they’ll probably like the comics. As far as classrooms or libraries, it would be fine for upper elementary, but you should know that Fifi does like to say, “crap.”

Shelby says: Haunted Mansion is basically a bunch of stories that happen at the Haunted Mansion. There are stories about a bad language dog, a kid who accidentally reunites a boy and his mother who didn’t see each other for about 5 years, Madame Leota doesn’t know she’s dead, and many other WACKY stories. My favorite one is when a new ghost comes to the mansion and the whole time he is followed by the voice in the ride at Disneyland. He’s very scared at first but then fits right in. I love Eric Jones’ art (He does Little Gloomy and Super Scary Monster Show with Landry Walker).

Sarah says: Haunted Mansion is a series of stories by different writers and different artists. Basically they’re all about Gracie Mansion, aka The Haunted Mansion. I have two favorite stories. One is about Fifi the Ghost Dog and the other is new words to the song Grim Grinning Ghosts and it tells why the caretaker goes to the graveyard every night. The Fifi story has three sort of bad words, so it’s probably better for children that know those words are not okay to say. I like the way the artists put every single detail in their pictures of the real Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. I like the ride and I don’t close my eyes anymore!


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