Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Between Books - Designing Disney's Theme Parks

I have heard a lot about Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance edited by Karal Ann Marling over the years.  Honestly, I've often understood it to be next to John Hench's Designing Disney as a classic of the field.  So when I found a used copy of Designing Disney's Theme Parks I knew it had to find it a spot in the Between Library.

Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance edited by Karal Ann Marling serves as a companion to an exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in the 1990s.  As such, the book is focused heavy on design.  The text includes articles on Imagineers as artists by Marty Sklar, design, Disneyland and culture and setting.  The essays are surrounded by the many images including design sketches, model pictures and images of the park in action.  Overall the general theme stresses the importance of understanding design in Disney Theme Parks and learning from them in other projects.

Honestly, I do not believe that Designing Disney's Theme Parks will be a go to book for me.  The book does a good job of discussing design.  But a lot has changed since the 1990s.  The images includes many that at publication date would have likely been new to the reader, but today they have been published in numerous other books.  But the difference between this volume and more recent is accessibility.  This text really speaks to designers, and converses to them as professionals.  Other offerings have a more general audience, speaking to many different fields.  Additionally, I had hoped that a major theme of Designing Disney's Theme Parks would be movement.  Honestly this is touched on but not empathized to the level I had expected from other commentators.  Perhaps that fact this is a collection hindered the ability for it to maintain the consistent theme.

Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance edited by Karal Ann Marling is an important Between Book.  It served as a predecessor for many of the design books that we have now, using pictures to help tell the Disney story.  Hard-core Disney history fans need this volume.  However, more casual readers may want to seek out a less technical book.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cap's Comics - Haunted Mansion #3

Haunted Mansion #3 helps to establish our villain’s motivations.  As the story opens it becomes clear that the Captain is after one thing, treasure.  The Captain has searched the mansion from almost top to bottom and cannot find this pirate booty.  There is only one place he cannot go where it might be hidden, and he will need help to enter that area.  Therefore he attempts to retrieve Danny from the endless party!  But as the party finally ends a new character intercepts our mortal hero, the Hatbox Ghost.  The Hatbox Ghost takes Danny on a spiritual and physical tour through the castle.  And the abrupt ending of this tour results in hard truths for Danny.  The other villain, Constance is depicted solely as motivated by murder!  With Danny now facing the reality of his situation, will be become a victim to the Captain or Constance?  Can he find the bravery he needs to move on in the Haunted Mansion?

John Tyler Christopher Variant Cover

Joshua Williamson really seems to be writing this story for Haunted Mansion fans.  And the inclusion of the Hatbox Ghost really works to prove my point.  The Hatbox Ghost becomes a mentor, somewhat of the non-specific Yoda model.  And he leaves us with more questions than answers.  The big thrill for Mansion fans is the Hatbox Ghost’s and other denizens noting that Hatbox was gone but has just recently returned.  It feels like a literally tribute to the original appearance to this legendary ghost when the Mansion opened and his recent return.  And Jorge Coehlo’s art continues to present the Mansion’s citizens in a familiar an non-scary way that the Between Kid can enjoy.  

Brian Crosby Variant Cover

At this point I am seeing the Haunted Mansion Disney Kingdoms as a safe story.  In fact safe is the word I used in my last review.  It has a beloved Disney Parks attraction at its center.  And the creative team is making sure to hit the fan needed notes to make sure fans are seeing what they most want with the Hatbox Ghost being a great example.  And the story is not too scary, making it All-Ages friendly.  Honestly, safe here may be another way to say success as while no one may be completely over the moon about the material but it is still something most readers can and will enjoy.  

Second Printing Variant Cover