There are few attractions at Disneyland or Walt Disney World that are quite as beloved as the Haunted Mansion. For over 45 years, the mansion has been a sort of home away from home for lovers of all things gothic and spooky. Mansion inhabitants like Madame Leota, the three hitchhiking spooks and, most recently, the Hatbox Ghost have all become Disney icons. Now, Disney Publishing Worldwide is expanding the world of the mansion beyond just the theme parks by introducing a new series of young adult novels titled Tales of the Haunted Mansion.
The first book in the new Tales of the Haunted Mansion series, The Fearsome Foursome, was “written” by mansion librarian Amicus Arcane, described as “an all-new character whom Walt Disney Imagineering allowed Disney Publishing to create.” In reality, the novel was written by award-winning TV and animation writer John Esposito (R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, Teen Titans), with art by Kelley Jones (Batman, Swamp Thing, Sandman). The book is designed to look and feel like it came straight out of the Haunted Mansion itself.
Based on the attractions from the Disney Parks, each new book tells the story of one of the Haunted Mansion’s 999 ghosts. With eerie illustrations throughout and a beautiful three-piece cloth cover, the books are designed to look like they came straight from the library in the Haunted Mansion. Tales from the Haunted Mansion is a fun, spooky ride, just like the attraction from the Disney Parks. And if readers are familiar with the ride, they’ll see elements of it throughout the entire story, from items straight of the Mansion (are those pictures stretching?) to lyrics from the narration that is heard in each Doom Buggy. In this bone-chilling book, you will hear the terrifying tales of the Fearsome Foursome–four kids who look to out-scare each other. But just wait until they hear my spooky stories.
The story follows four middle schoolers—the Fearsome Foursome—who constantly try to out-scare each other with tales of terror. One night, after their clubhouse is destroyed, they are all invited to a spooky old mansion to tell their tales, where they are introduced to a mysterious librarian named Amicus Arcane. Amicus asks to join their competition because he has the scariest stories of them all. You see, Amicus’ stories are about each of them. The stories—which have elements of classic horror like Poe and Lovecraft—get creepier and creepier (but never too scary) as the book goes on. And as Amicus tells the kids their own scary stories, our four protagonists eventually realize where they are—they are a part of the 999 ‘happy haunts’ that inhabit the Haunted Mansion.