September 27, 2022

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“Horrifikland” – white space

Mickey, Donald and Goofy are the owners of a detective agency in which agents hide; Then they agree to proceed on the trail of a missing cat, an investigation that leads them to adventure in the long-abandoned Horrifikland theme park whose dark and disturbing atmosphere is its master.

Louis Trondheim Signed the eighth volume of the Disney graphic novel series for the French publisher glycinesand the third edited by him (the previous one was in collaboration with the designer Nicholas Keramidesincluding this), to Italy now panini cartoons In a dedicated private series.
On this occasion, he writes a text that is somewhat linear in his development, looking directly at a double source of inspiration: An animated short film from 1937 lonely ghosts (Ghostbusters) and an unconnected comic adventure Mickey Mouse and the Seven Ghosts (Mickey Mouse in the haunted house) of 1936, made by Ted Osborne And the Floyd Gottfriedson.
The conspiracies have already known various developments, as often happened in those years: striptease story In fact, he took advantage of the larger narrative space available to greatly strengthen the story, building a true thriller complete with the textbook accuracy of the thrill, while Cartons The nine-minute period occupied with gags that watched the three heroes fight pranks that were put against them by the ghosts of the title.

Horrifikland_2Trondheim is not just a remake of these Pieceas much as you take a hint from both works by remixing it with some original ideas and a few different assumptions, but always faithful to the hilarious gothic vibe of ghost stories in Disney sauce.
Indeed, in the dreary amusement park, the heroes face the aging owner and Pietro Gambadelligno: then they are injected with elements that can change the structure and direction of the plot, but at the same time the trio have to deal with ancient and sinister attractions capable of causing reversals and diversions.
This structure is a harbinger of somewhat effective gags, but on the other hand it makes the narration fragmented, which moves in the central part more through loosely connected curtains rather than a coherent development, thus approaching the language of animation but resulting in little weakness in the narration year on paper.

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However, the screenwriter states that he is well acquainted with the classic adventures of Disney characters, starting with the characterization of the same Mickey, Donald, and Goofy who seem to be fully committed to what was seen in those years on the big screen.Bold, brave, cheerful the first, cowardly but proud the second, naive and distracted the third. A combination that made a fortune for this trio, on the various occasions they worked together at times golden age From the animation, this has softened over time, even as the three teamed up again.
On the other hand, Trondheim manages to resume this harmony and re-propose it with freshness, creating the illusion of reading an unpublished story that comes straight from the 1930s.

Horrifikland_3

In this he is brilliantly assisted by designs and colours Alexis Nesme.
In fact, the artist uses a pictorial technique to illustrate the comics, giving the tables a three-dimensionality full of suggestions.
The one who comes out less subtly is Mickey Mouse, who in this vision seems a little fused with context, as if he were a puppet backstage. The realism that Nesme style imprints on Mickey creates an effect similar to strange valley1which results in paradoxically less realistic than classic designs. There is no dynamism in his character but on the contrary, he is static which makes him always rigid and not at all lively.
The opposite discourse of Donald Duck and Goofy: The two friends benefit greatly from the volumetric treatment provided by the artist’s brushes, and stand out on the page with tangible and appropriate effect. Ancient.
As for the settings, no one can fail to recognize the extreme care given to the places where the heroes move: The rustic and ethereal atmosphere of the first tables, with the village in which the trio operates, is effectively transmitted through the circular lines that mark the buildings and streets, as well as through the warm colors that turn into shades of yellow and ocher.
When you venture into Horrifikland, the backdrops are crowded with horrific buildings, with choppy lines and lopsided architecture. The footage is often twisted and cut to convey a sense of constant uncertainty and the animation is crammed with all those classic anxious details, from skulls to strange cracks in tree trunks, passing through, vividly mummies and ghosts. The board obviously loses the warmth of the first tables and lingers in the dark blue, green, and uncertain light of the torches, thanks to the play with shadows.
The cage has a fairly regular rhythm, without much separation, but occasionally Nesme bases affect four times, inlaid with some custom frames, coinciding with the passage from one scene to the next, as if denoting a subdivision into chapters.
Aesthetically, it is an outstanding work, drawing much inspiration from the Disney brand of the 1930s, making it their own and honoring it at the same time, with a well-finished and detailed end result.

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Horrifikland_4

The artist’s personal style meets typical Disney flair that emphasizes knowledge of original materials (Ghosts are fully committed to how they look lonely ghosts); Knowledge also found in the text by Louis Trondheim, which in addition to referring to the adventure in the haunted house provides quotes from other sources.
There’s the Mad Doctor from the 1933 short film of the same name, for example, featuring evil lawyer Lupo in Gambadilegno who comes straight from the American Gottfredson tapes.
They are not shown as endings per se: in the first case, the character adapts particularly well to darker-flavored plots – in fact already taken up on other similar occasions – while the second is functional for the deception that Gamba wants to commit a crime against the park owner, which He needs the help of a suspicious lawyer.

Horrificland It is not primarily this work that seeks to deconstruct Disney habits, but on the contrary, dives into it with conviction by looking directly at the mood of some of the golden age tales in which these characters live and adequately playing with the atmosphere of Halloween.Sprinkle this humus with great power and strong author character that is concentrated in the graphics. An enjoyable and quality read.

We talked about:
Horrificland
Louis Trondheim and Alexis Nesme
Subtitles by AmarenaChicStudio (Milan)
Disney Panini, 2021
48 pages, hardcover, colors – €14.90
ISSN: 977272466000610003


  1. Feeling alienated and alienated towards the extreme representational realism in the artwork