Monday, October 31, 2011

Between Books - Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion graphic novel is 17 short tales based on the Disney parks attraction the Haunted Mansion.  Each story is written and drawn by a separate team or individual, the Haunted Mansion and its characters are the connective material that binds this volume together since every have a different writing and visual style.   Overall, these stories do not attempt to retell the story of the mansion but provide insights into “life” within the mansion, most often labeled Gracey Manor in the novel.  Stories range from how specific citizens arrived in the mansion, the rules of mansion life, and the behind the scenes lives of our favorite grim grinning ghosts.
With over 17 separate contributes these stories have a wide range of impact on me.  Some of them I absolutely loved.  These included “Blueprint for Murder”  which depicts the architects Mr. Coats and Mr. Davis.  The story plays off on the real life personalities of these Imagineering legends who lead the final design of the Haunted Mansions we have today.  Their competition with each other, the fictional Coats and Davis, leads to additions both physical and spiritual to the mansion.  “A Dynamite Party” gives us a humorous look at the origins of one of the portraits from the stretching room.   Other favorite looks with the Mansion include an explanation of why the caretaker continues to work in a haunted house and Madame Leota’s view of her current bodily state. 
This is not the in-depth storytelling that some graphic novel fans may want.  This book is no Fables.  But it does provide great glimpses into the spooky life.  I found many of the tales really delightful while others missed their mark with me.  I passed my copy off to a young Haunted Mansion fan and she devoured this book as quickly as possible.  And like me there were giggles of enjoyment as she churned through the pages.  Overall, this text is far from Shakespeare, but it does provide a fun connection to the Mansion for us living Between Disney. 

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