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The Haunted Mansion in Paper, Mortar, and Pixel

I would say San Jose-based comic book publisher SLG Publishing has picked the right time of year to release their first issue of The Haunted Mansion comic book series (not yet available from Amazon). The 32 page black & white comic, based on the classic Disney attraction and not on the motion picture, tells the story of the 999 happy haunts who inhabit the Mansion and offers a combination of funny, spooky and scary looks at the world’s favorite Haunted House.

The Haunted Mansion #1 features work by noted comic book creators including Roman Dirge (creator of Lenore), Black Olive, D.W. Frydendall and Jon “Bean” Hastings.

To celebrate the release, Meltdown Comics & collectibles in L.A. will be hosting a gallery showing of artwork from the series, including concept art developed for the comic and pieces from unreleased issues of the comic book. The show runs the entire month of October and will end with a special closing night reception on Saturday, October 29th. In attendance at the reception will be artists Black Olive, D.W. Frydendall and cover artist Roman Dirge.

Burbank horror shop Dark Delicacies will also host a pre-release signing on Saturday October 22nd, with Black Olive and D.W. Frydendall on hand.

I’m glad to see another try at original material derived from the classic ride. I liked the Eddie Murphy movie pretty well as a film entertainment, but it did little to evoke the jaunty, spooky, almost delirious feel of the ride itself, the thought of which still gives me Halloweeny tingles.

When I was a kid growing up in Southern California, there was nothing much more exciting than going to Disneyland, especially because we went each year on the annual TRW corporate night: no tickets for rides, no long lines, no riffraff. It was great, and there is something special about Disneyland at night, too: the mystery is more complete, the illusion of a self-contained world of joy and excitement even more effective.

Since we lived in the vicinity and had relatively easy access, all the kids I knew were Disneyland vets and experts, offering extended and detailed accounts of their favorite rides, experiences, and we were all pretty much beside ourselves with anticipation when the Haunted Mansion was due to open in 1966. We were crushed when it didn’t open as planned due to Walt Disney’s death and various engineering and conceptual issues.

When it did open in ’69, the wait was worth it: convincing and scary on the actualization level, it was also funny and engrossing conceptually – a perfect frisson. The hologram “ghosts” were stunning and utterly convincing, as was the story behind their exploits – I still get sweet Halloweeny tingles just thinking about it.

There is a fascinating site dedicated to the Haunted Mansion ride called DoomBuggies.com after the little tracked vehicles that spirit you through the ride. (I LOVE that part at the end where you are turned toward the mirror and a ghost is sitting next to you in your DoomBuggy – my older son didn’t: when he was 4, the ghost sitting in his lap literally scared the crap out of him, poor little guy).

The lavishly decorated site offers a detailed history of the ride, stories and rumors section, interviews with the creators, an amazing behind the scenes section, a multimedia vault, and much, much more.

Happy hauntings.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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