Disney Parks' iconic pseudo-Polynesian animatronic attraction the Enchanted Tiki Room is getting new life - and a back-story - in a new comic book title from Marvel's Disney Kingdoms line.
Launching this Wednesday, Enchanted Tiki Room is an encore performance from the various animals and other characters from the 53-year-old attraction. Writer Jon Adams and artist Horacio Domingues worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to match the story, tone, and intention of the original.
Adams and Domingues talked with Newsarama about the new five-issue miniseries and the various characters - human, animal, and tree.
Newsarama: People are either really familiar with the Enchanted Tiki Room attraction at Disney Parks, or know nothing at all about it. Jon, Horacio, with that in mind, what is the Enchanted Tiki Room miniseries at Marvel about?
Jon Adams: The comic a story about the benefits of putting your ego aside and working with people you don't always agree with.
Horacio Domingues: In this story we will see different characters, tiki gods, humans, birds and animals interacting in different situations. Drama, action and a lot of fun here!
Adams: The setting is a remote island in the South Pacific, and the characters are a mix of humans, talking animals, and a couple of talking flowers. There's also a talking tree, but it's not one of those talking trees from Lord of the Rings. This tree is way cooler.
Nrama: I notice you didn’t compare yours to Marvel’s talking tree, Groot. Good one.
For fans of the Enchanted Tiki Room attraction, what can they look forward to?
Adams: This will be like getting to see what the lives of the characters who inhabit the Enchanted Tiki Room are like when they clock off work and go home. Like if you went to Disneyland and waited around for the Tiki Room to close, and then followed one of the macaws home. That's what reading this book will be like.
Nrama: But do readers need to be familiar with the attraction?
Adams: Of course not. As long as readers know what a bird is and are able to read English, they should be all set.
Nrama: Can you tell us about the main characters?
Adams: There are a lot of main characters, but my favorite is one I can't tell you too much about. She's a determined young girl from Ireland.
Nrama: Horacio, what kind of reference material or research did you have to do to draw a story based on a physical attraction at the Disney Parks?
Domingues: Mark and the Walt Disney Imagineers sent me a lot of material, including wonderful designs of the artists who worked on the creation of Enchanted Tiki Room. I have a huge archive of photos and drawings from the Disney Parks.
Nrama: Any chance you paid a visit to one of the parks for this project?
Domingues: No, but I’d very much like to visit the park. I think I’d even like to live there [laughs]. It's all so beautiful. But I think that my credit card would break because I would buy all kinds of gifts, toys, in particular anything with the Orange Bird!
Nrama: Jon, this seems like a pretty ambitious story, and from what I can tell this is your first work for the Big Two. How did you get involved with Marvel to do this?
Adams: I've worked with a lot of other publishers but it's my first time working with Marvel – which has been a dream of mine ever since I picked up my first issue of Amazing Spider-Man. My editors Mark Paniccia and Mark Basso were looking for someone who could bring a unique sense of humor to what is at its heart a pretty strange story. They'd read some of my work and asked me to pitch some ideas. After they politely entertained my less appropriate ideas, we settled on the current concept.
Nrama: Horacio, you've done some Marvel work before, but that was superheroes and this is far far different. How did you become involved with the project?
Domingues: I had been sending samples of my latest works in different styles to Rickey Purdin, Marvel’s talent manager. One day he wrote to me that he had a project he thought my versatility could be a good fit for. Of course, I said yes!
Nrama: But what in particular made this a project you wanted to do?
Domingues: Any project that comes from Marvel, will always be interesting and a challenge for an artist. But when I read the script from Jon, I realized it would be especially fun. And really it is. Sometimes, in scenes where birds interact, I find myself laughing to myself.
Nrama: Jon, and what particular about this project made it something you wanted to tackle?
Adams: Writing a book that is suitable for kids and can still be appreciated by adults is a fun challenge. There are some subtle jokes that kids will miss. And it's great to work on a property that's been around for decades and to be able to add my own take on it.
Nrama: Last question - what is your big goals with Enchanted Tiki Room?
Adams: I want to create a story that will make people smile and think and want to read a second time. But then when they try to read it the second time all the pages have turned blank. That's why the entire book is being printed with disappearing ink. [laughs]
Domingues: Well, the Walt Disney Imagineers, Mark Basso, Jon Adams and I, we're putting a lot of energy to this project. I hope that the public perceives it. And also, they have as much fun as we do.