Disney Kingdoms

NYCC 2013: Seekers of the Weird

Brandon Seifert prepares to explore a hidden Disney Kingdom with artist Karl Moline!

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Seekers of the Weird #1 Rolly Crump variant cover

By TJ Dietsch

The Walt Disney World parks have some spooky places lurking inside their walls. The Haunted Mansion might top that list for many people, but have you ever heard about the Museum of the Weird? Imagineer Rolly Crump designed the whole thing, but it got shelved when Walt Disney passed away in 1966.

The concept gets resurrected thanks to a new five-issue limited series beginning in January 2014 called DISNEY KINGDOMS: SEEKERS OF THE WEIRD from writer Brandon Seifert and artist Karl Moline. The story finds brother and sister Maxwell and Melody delving into the Museum at the behest of their uncle Roland in search of their kidnapped parents.

“I've always been a huge Marvel fan, and since I started working in comics professionally it's been on my bucket list to do projects with them,” Seifert says. “Last year I sent some copies of my Image Comics medical horror series Witch Doctor to Bill Rosemann in Marvel editorial, hoping he'd like them. Turns out he did, and started keeping me in mind for projects. I followed up with him just before [San Diego Comic-Con] this year and, by a strange coincidence, it turned out he'd been about to contact me about SEEKERS OF THE WEIRD!”

Seekers of the Weird #1 preview pencils by Karl Moline

As Seifert explains, the idea for the series came from the combined brains of the Imagineers and Rosemann who helped develop the characters of Melody, Maxwell and Roland.

“While they supplied plenty of amazing anecdotes and designs by Rolly Crump, the Walt Disney Imagineers were also very interested in our interpretation and development of an entire world for MUSEUM OF THE WEIRD, so I got to come up with several different takes for what it could be, who could be running it and how the series could play out,” he says. “The story the Imagineers and Marvel liked the best was actually one that Bill had started developing. Maxwell, Melody and their weird uncle Roland were his idea, as was the overall plot. But he gave me a lot of really good material to work with and it honestly made the development I did way easier. The initial ideas were Rolly and the Imagineers’ and Bill's, but there's a lot of me in the book, too.”

Speaking of Rolly, Seifert says he hasn't had the chance to speak to him about the project yet, but did as much research on the Imagineer as possible:

Grandfather Coffin Clock

“I haven't been able to talk to Rolly yet, but I've read and listened to interviews with him, and looked at every Museum of the Weird design that the Imagineers supplied or that I could find.”

For his part, Seifert did his best to include as many elements from the original Museum of the Weird plans as he could.

“Honestly, the goal is to include all of them,” he says. “Of Rolly's designs, the ones we're using most prominently are the Grandfather Coffin Clock, the Mistress of Evil character and the Candleman. But the rest are going in the book as well: the man-eating plants, the Seven Sins of Man exhibit, a séance room under glass, the aquarium full of fish ghosts, all of them.

“It's a building full of dangerous magical items; sort of half-museum, half weapons-stockpile. I don't want to give much away, but a lot of the threats are things from Rolly's original Museum of the Weird designs. Stuff like the Mushroom People. But we've come up with a bunch of new stuff, as well.”

Seekers of the Weird #1 preview pencils by Karl Moline

Melody and Maxwell will find themselves dealing with a great deal of strange entities on their journey through the Museum, but they'll also have to deal with one another.

“Melody and Maxwell Keep are a pair of high school students in New Orleans, who are very different from each other,” Seifert says. “Maxwell takes after their parents. He's ‘weird,’ and more of a nerd. The kind of kid who likes taxidermy and Guillermo del Toro movies. Melody's very different—athletic and strong-willed. She considers herself the black sheep of the family, until she meets Roland. Roland's the Keep family's true black sheep; kind of a swashbuckler type who's involved with the Museum of the Weird.

“Before their parents get kidnapped, the Keep kids are just living their daily lives. “Lots of high school lacrosse for Melody; lots of ‘weird fiction’ novels for Maxwell. School, and their after-school job: helping their parents run Keep It Weird, their occult bookstore in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans."

Seekers of the Weird #1 preview pencils by Karl Moline

According to Seifert, Moline's work on the series so far has exceeded his expectations in all the best ways.

“I've been a big fan of Karl's work for a long time, actually, all the way back to Fray, which he did with Joss Whedon,” he says. “When Bill told me Karl was going to be drawing the book, I got super excited. But honestly, as good as I thought Karl was going to do, he's done way better than that. His concept art's been spectacular, and his pages have been even better. I think we were really lucky to get him and cover artist Mike Del Mundo on the book.”

Can’t make it to the convention? Don't forget to visit marvel.com/nycc2013, the best way to watch Marvel's live streaming video coverage! Plus, get real-time announcements from the convention floor; up-to-the-minute panel, in-booth and signing schedules of all your favorite Marvel creators; and see exclusive videos! All this and more, sponsored by Dr Pepper, Always One of a Kind!

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