Marvel and Disney Kingdoms Take You for a Ride with “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad”!

New York, NY—October 23rd, 2014— Coming in spring 2015, the world famous, thrill-packed Disney attraction – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – roars to life as an all-new Marvel and Disney Kingdoms comic book bursting with action, romance, mystery and adventure. The new series, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, continues the unique collaboration between Marvel Comics, Disney Kingdoms, and Walt Disney Imagineering. This five-issue series, created by rising star writer Dennis Hopeless (Spider-Woman, Avengers Arena), fan-favorite artist Tigh Walker (Avengers Undercover), invite readers all aboard an all-new adventure that reveals the never-before-told saga of how the gold mine in Big Thunder Mountain became the haunted legend it is today!

A mainstay of Disney Parks since 1979, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has entertained countless guests on this classic attraction in four Disney theme parks around the world. Now, Disney Kingdoms is proud to add ‘the wildest ride in the wilderness’ with an all-new tale of mystery and adventure set in the wild Frontier!

“Building on the momentum of the sold out Figment series, we are excited to embark upon what may be our wildest adventure yet,” says editor and Creative Director Bill Rosemann. “As one of the most famous Disney attractions, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is packed with a combustible combo of drama, humor, and thrills that will explode across the page and deliver all the action and surprises that the Disney Kingdoms imprint has quickly become known for.”

Series writer Dennis Hopeless continues, “Everybody knows Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as a rumbling, tumbling runaway train car attraction through an exploding gold mine. But it’s always been more than that. It’s a trip back in time to a Gold Rush town where daring men and women risked their lives in the daily battle between man and mountain. And let’s be honest, it’s the perfect setting for an adventure comic.”

Earthquakes! Floods! Dynamite-chewing goats! Can the denizens of Rainbow Ridge survive the clash between mankind’s greed and nature’s fury? And what is the protective power that dwells deep within the mysterious mountain? Surprises await you in the latest Disney Kingdoms saga coming in spring 2015.

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD #1 (OF 5)
Written by DENNIS HOPLESS
Penciled by TIGH WALKER
Elements based on Big Thunder Mountain © Disney
32 PGS./All Ages …$3.99

About Disney Kingdoms:
Created as a collaboration between Marvel Comics and Walt Disney Imagineering’s designers, producers and creative directors, the Disney Kingdoms line is home to exciting new comic stories expanding upon already beloved lands, attractions, characters and worlds of Disney Parks and Resorts. Launching in 2014 with Seekers of the Weird, Disney Kingdoms showcases some of the best and brightest Marvel creators as they craft new adventures that can be enjoyed by Disney and Marvel fans of any age.

About Marvel Entertainment:
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit marvel.com. © 2014 MARVEL

Comic Book Review “Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird”

Author: Brandon Seifert
Illustrators: Karl Moline, Filipe Andrade
Series: Disney Kingdoms
Hardcover: 136 pages
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: August 12, 2014

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I came across I was “Seekers of the Weird” one day when a friend brought over the first issue that was just released that morning and was so excited about it. He tell’s me that it was based off an abandoned concept envisioned by famous Walt Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump for Walt Disney in 1965 called, the Museum of the Weird, which that was to be built alongside the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. A creepy unseen side of Disney? Where do I sign up? This 5- issue series personally didn’t really bring the creepy in my opinion as it was much more adventure based. It is still nice to see these designs out there and getting some love. I think this would actually make a great movie Disney/Marvel…hint hint!

Official Premise: An all-new adventure inspired by Disney’s legendary but never built Museum of the Weird! When their parents are kidnapped, teens Maxwell and Melody are thrust into a thrilling race through the world’s most strange and dangerous museum, as they unite with their swashbuckling uncle to save their family and the world from an evil secret society! What lurks within the Wardens’ Library…and what is the Walking Chair? Who is the Shadow Society, and why do they want the Coffin Clock? In a catacomb of Mushroom People and a Séance Room under glass, our teen heroes discover the truth about the Museum – and their own destinies!

If seeing these concepts come to life (literally) is enough, the famous Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump actually gives an introduction to this book, which is actually quite awesome! Overall, this series is a good thing. It shows that Marvel and Disney are working together on different projects. Disney is slightly…slightly stepping out of their comfort zone here and trying something new. I think this series would have even been much cooler if it did take a turn for the darker but the adventure aspect works and makes it a quite fun ride. I loved reading about all these crazy..weird items that were in this museum. I hope that isn’t the last time we see Maxwell and Melody since they definitely are a bad-ass couple of kids. Did I mention already that this would make an epic film….hmm.

Seven Kingdoms’ Camden Cruz talks about the Deland Rock & Metal Festival

Camden Cruz is the guitarist for the power metal band Seven Kingdoms, based out of DeLand, Florida. Camden also runs the Deland Rock & Metal Festival. This Rock and Heavy Metal event will host it’s first multi-day, with camping event and will feature 50 bands. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about the festival with Camden, find out about the show and what’s next for Seven Kingdoms.

Mike Gencarelli: This November brings us the 5th Deland Rock & Metal Festival, how did this whole thing start?
Camden Cruz: Well, I was tired of not having a place to play in my home town of DeLand. So, when Seven Kingdoms was ready to release ‘The Fire Is Mine’ album, It was a perfect storm to try and host it right here in my hometown. We started talking to a few possible places, and realized very quickly that this was probably going to be an outdoors event. That right there made me think “Festival”. So after a long process of finding the Festival’s Home, we landed right outside the downtown at OB’s. It worked out very well and we have kept this thing running, and are always trying to improve over every year.

MG: What is the process for how you managed to find 50 bands for this amazing line-up?
CC: I still don’t have a ‘Set Protocol” for booking the bands, but usually we will go and book the headliners or biggest acts first. Once we have released that info, we set the date and put it online. I think people really dig being able to watch a festival develop, even if on an event page. We start to put it together right in front of everyone online. We have TONS of bands apply for the festival from the state, and it increases every year. We try to base our selections on if we have an established relationship with the band, talent and drawing capability. We like to book bands that can really get behind the event and push it.

MG: What else can fans expect from this 3-day festival?
CC: This is the first multi day year. We are offering camping for the first time as a package, so that will be very interesting to see how it changes from a one day deal, to a whole weekend. It’s only going to be better, as we have split the days up almost by genre, so its even better for the bands, and fans as far as who they want to see, and who they are paired up with. I think that having a three day deal, will start to get more people there all weekend, rather than just there for one day. There is a LOT of music, a lot of drinks and a lot of food here!

MG: What are you personally most excited about this year?
CC: The Camping feature really is a huge deal this year. Also the VIP packages are starting to really get solidified. We have a package this year that is a really good deal and it comes with a lot of free things and perks. I think people will be really happy at the end of the weekend. I am also very excited to see how it all turns out, as this is expected to be our biggest year by far. We also have a large promotional video package that we will be filming on site that day, to try and do a bunch of footage and promos to put online shortly after we shoot that weekend, almost in real time! Doing what we can so people at home can see what they’re missing!

MG: Besides running this show, you are also lead guitarist with Seven Kingdom; tell us you are juggling all these hats?
CC: Haha, this honestly is only my second item to juggle out of about 4 jobs that I have. I play and organize in Seven Kingdoms, I work full time custom painting at Chris Cruz Artistry, I launched CCE Presents this year in January, and we’re really starting to pick up the number of shows we put on in Florida. I also help manage bands and tours when the offers come in, but that’s more of a side thing. It’s pretty stressful sometimes, but I would not trade the mix I have for anything. I seem to have a really nice balance right now actually. I have been booking shows for years, but this is the first year that I really set out to make a big difference and make it something. I’ve already put on 20+ shows this year and two festivals. Along with day work, the band and these other things, I hope the only way to go is up!

MG: What was your first experience to metal that locked you in for life?
CC: I discovered heavy music around 2004, while I was in Highshool and racing Motocross. I raced all my life until that point, and pretty much discovered this side of music in the last years that I raced. It was a pretty tough time for me when I was 16-19 as my parents were going through a major divorce and it pretty much drove us to stop racing, along with injuries. Because of the seriousness of racing, I was very disconnected from people at the private school that I went to at the time, and didn’t have a lot of friends until I was at the track. When it all went down, I didn’t have a lot of local friends, and I didn’t want to be at home. I found a plethora of people in the scene that became my friends because of the love for music. I was able to ‘get away’ from all of that when I listened to this music, which turned into me in a band with a new set of friends. I was able to escape my life in away and go to this completely different and new thing. It really made that time, not so hard, because I was either discovering new music, playing in one of the first bands I was in, or just hanging out, not thinking of things at home. So, I suppose you can say that that’s what made me a lifer!

MG: You guys were born out of Florida but have a worldwide fan base including Europe in which you just completed your final tour to support the last album; how does touring abroad differ from here in the states?
CC: It is completely different, but not so different all at the same time. I believe that the fans in EU truly have a harder time trying to afford the shows. I believe that is why there seems to be more die hards over there, because people are literally budgeting money they probably shouldn’t spend on concerts for their favorite bands. There is also just not nearly the amount of opportunity for people in general over there as it is here in the USA, so we are very lucky for that. I think that fans are fans, anywhere you go. Just sometimes the farther away you are from home, sometimes it adds to the ‘stigma’ of a band playing in a certain area, and gets people more excited knowing you are from far away.

MG: Seven Kingdom’s last album was “The Fire is Mine” in 2012, is there a new album in the cards and what can we expect?
CC: There is a new album in the works as we speak. We will take all of 2015 to write and record the album. We have a lot of inner workings to figure out, on how the album will be released, and through who. We are really hoping for an early 2016 release, with a full and proper tour to be booked along side that shortly after, but we just need to see how it all works out. It’s still way to early to nail those official things. The music itself will sound much like a continuation of ‘The Fire Is Mine’ but with more experience and maturity. We all are always growing together as musicians so the music will always improve over time. With every album we do, we start to sound more like Seven Kingdoms, rather than a bunch of other bands mixed together. So, we are just focused on writing a very solid album that will top TFIM, make us happy and also make our fans happy!

Comic Book Review “Disney Kingdoms: Figment #2″

Published: July 02, 2014
Rating: All Ages
Writer: Jim Zub
Cover Artist: John Tyler Christopher

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

After reading the first issue of “Figment” from the Marvel line of Disney Kingdoms, I couldn’t wait to start reading the second issue. If you are familiar with name of the ride inDisney World’s Epcot, “Journey Into Imagination”, then you will appreciate this issue because it follows the Blarion Mercurial and Figment into the imagination world. In the end of the last issue, they were both being sucked into a portal and this one starts off with them ending up in a strange world with many different creatures including the extremely cute Chimera.

This world of imagination looks so amazing and I couldn’t help but race to the next page. Kudos need to go to acclaimed creators Jim Zub (Skullkickers) and Filipe Andrade (Captain Marvel) for really creating this wonderful new world for these classic characters. When I first read that they were making a comic book series about Figment and angling it as a steampunk fantasy, I didn’t know what to expect but this has been quite the ride so far. I felt like I wanted a little more out of this second issue but it still continued to setup the pace well for future issues. Only three more to go in this series, I wish it doesn’t have to end so soon.

Comic Book Review “Disney Kingdoms: Figment #1”

Published: June 11, 2014
Rating: All Ages
Writer: Jim Zub
Cover Artist: John Tyler Christopher

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When I was a kid visiting Walt Disney World’s Epcot, I would run as fast as I could to “Journey into Imagination” starring the lovable purple dragon Figment. The character has also inspired me and hopefully many others to use and embrace their own imaginations. Since Marvel and Disney joined forces the superhero movies that we all know and love weren’t the only great thing to come out of the merger. The Disney Kingdoms line comics that Marvel is putting out is really expanding the world such great characters and Disney properties.

“Figment” is actually the second title in the new Disney Kingdoms line following the equally amazing “Seekers of the Weird”, which is based off an idea that Walt Disney had that never came to be about a collection of “unique” items that were protected by a family. A few months ago when I heard about “Figment”, I just knew that this was going to be a real knock out of the park hit. I just knew it. Well, it is not only a great read but it is beautifully drawn with a great style that allows Disney to show a new side to these characters.

In the first issue we get introduced to the character we all know and love, Dreamfinder, under the name of Blarion Mercurial. We met him when he is a young inventor at a very prestigious scientific London institution but is rather scrutinized for his irrational inventions. Of course due to these inventions we find out how the dragon Figment came to be. This is really a neat story, one that has never been told before by Disney. So it is new ground for these characters and if you love them like I do, I couldn’t recommend checking out this new series.

There are also a tons of little Easter eggs too for those hardcore Disney fans, so keep an eye out when reading. Honestly, as good as this issue was, I see such potential in the series and I have a feeling that Disney is really going to have a lot of room to expand this story and really give fans a great look into the work of the Dreamfinder and his friend Figment. I cannot wait to see what they have in store for issue 2 and also what other properties are they going to develop next after this one becomes a big success. I would like to suggest “The Haunted Mansion”!

Book Review “The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond”

Author: Christopher Finch
Hardcover: 504 pages
Publisher: Abrams; New edition
Release Date: October 1, 2011

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Walt Disney has been a major influence on my life. I grew up watching the films and still today adore them all. I really look forward to sharing them with my soon-to-be daughter (due May 23, 2012). In fact, I even moved from NY to FL, just to be closer to the parks. This book is honestly the ultimate tribute to the art of Disney and The Walt Disney Company. This is not a new release though, the original edition was published in 1973 and since then there has been many revised and expanded editions released in 1975, 1995, 2004, and now 2011. If you are a Disney fan and don’t own this book, I highly recommend it. If you own past revisions, I would still recommend it because there is so much content added into this latest edition that it completely makes it worth wild.

The newest edition of the book covers the ever changing and expanding history of The Walt Disney Company. Author Christopher Finch didn’t just slap a few new pages and re-released this. He literally updated every chapter to showcase the achievements of The Walt Disney Company in not only filmmaking but also theater, and theme parks. There are a few new chapters though, focusing on mostly Pixar Animation Studio and the new work from Walt Disney Animation Studio like “Tangled”, as well as updated theme park information.. There are also new extensive interviews CEO, John Lasseter, and president, Ed Catmull. This also includes a foreword by John Lasseter. John is such a legend and has aided so much to the Disney legacy with his work over the years.

For a book that was published originally almost 40 years ago, this still relevant and still packs new information even for super fans like me. That is the other thing actually, even though the film is called “The Art Of”, it isn’t just colorful photos. It comes jam-packed with endless thorough information, I enjoyed that the most. You can really tell that author Christopher Finch is a super fan himself. I really looks forward to future revisions of this book. The Disney company will continue to grow throughout the years and will always have special place in my heart.

When you think about art and animation, Disney is the first to come to my mind. They are easily the most successful and influential in the business. This book contains some really amazing concept art, animation drawings and archival materials. Even if you have seen previous editions of this book, this edition literally contains hundreds of new images capturing, well…The Art of Walt Disney.  Let me just tell you how beautiful these images look.  Abrams did an amazing job with this release and delivers the highest quality images.  Whether you are reading this book for yourself or introducing it to your children, it is a great way to keep the Disney legacy going.