The Haunted Mansion might just be the most adapted Disney Park attraction and that makes sense considering its built-in backstory. We need to look no further than just this year when the second big screen adaption was released in July? Why not closer to this month?
There have also been many books featuring the Mansion released such as this anthology from 1995. I will not be looking at this one but I have picked out two other Mansion books to review.
Today’s entry is a graphic novel and The Haunted Mansion is no stranger to comic adaptions as there were comics from the publisher, Slave Labor Graphics and there was the Disney Kingdom miniseries released by Marvel.
Today’s graphic novel comes from IDW who I’m mostly familiar with through their MLP comics. This graphic novel isn’t exactly scary but rather it is evoking the more fun and silly side of the Mansion. The suggested age range for this book is 9 – 12 but I think you could give this comic to a six-year-old and be fine. It’s a very soft adaption of the Mansion and that even comes through in the art with how warm and inviting it is.
Compare this to say the Marvel miniseries and how the art while not rough felt mature for its demographic.
In many ways, this book could be described as cute and I don’t think that’s a word that has ever been used to describe the Mansion. There’s nary a scare in the book which is rather ironic as it focuses on a new resident named Sydney making a bet with Constance that she scare people who come to tour the Mansion. Speaking of Constance, it’s so interesting she’s gone from an axe-wielding murderer who kills her grooms to a mean girl bully, think Diamond Tiara.
I get it though as this book is meant for the youngest readers who might not be ready for the full experience of the Mansion. If I can give this book credit in one regard, it does highlight some of the lesser-known happy haunts. For example, the first ghost Sydney meets and befriends is Sally aka The Tightrope Walker.
This is something that I do appreciate about this graphic novel as it avoids the usual characters. For example, Leota is barely a cameo in the story and that’s okay as she’s been featured in both movies (FYI she was played wonderfully by Jamie Lee Curtis)
Using lesser-known ghosts for the Mansion also ties into one of the themes prevalent in this book, teamwork. You see Sydney makes a bet with Constance that she can scare anyone who tours the Mansion and Constance gives the new girl a team of what is presented as the rejects of the Mansion but I don’t exactly think that’s quite apt. Do not get me wrong, I like this as it allows these other characters more time to shine.
They stumble a bit at first but eventually do come together after Sydney makes a bet with Constance that if she fails to scare anyone, she’ll cross over. This isn’t the Eddie Murphy movie where the ghosts want to cross over, scares are essentially rent the ghosts pay to stay in the Mansion and I guess if they fail, they’re evicted from the Mansion. Huh, that’s kind of like Monsters Inc. The deal is agreed to and Sydney can scare some people after Sally reads down Constance, she apologizes for how she treated the Mansion’s newest resident. It’s fine and I do get what the comic is going for in giving everyone a chance but I dunno, I know I’m not the age this book is targeting but some scares would’ve been nice. I mean Muppets Haunted Mansion is also an all-ages special focused on the Mansion but it doesn’t limp on the scares. Just take a look at the scene with Gonzo looking in the mirror.
I guess I’m just a little disappointed with how tame this is. Sure, I know there’s also a Little Golden Book take on the Mansion but you know what you’re getting when you get a Little Golden Book but with this, it’s just so soft. And IDW isn’t afraid to go dark, just take a look at the Nightmare Rarity arc from the MLP comics, The second-ever arc for the My Little Pony comics wasn’t afraid to get dark. And I feel as though, kids can handle some scares. This book in many ways was holding the hand of the reader.
My Final Thoughts
It’s fine and I may be a bit harder on this than other things I’ll be reviewing later this month but there is a balance of scary and silly that is usually expected where The Haunted Mansion is concerned and while this had the silly, it forgot the scary. Ah well, join me next time as we head to Arnedelle to look at
Phantoms of Arendelle