Two new graphic novels about beloved Disney hits are due to be released in the Spring. Disney Dumbo: Friends in High Places and Disney: Aladdin are set for publication in March and April 2019 by Dark Horse Comics.
Disney Dumbo: Friends in High Places will be a five-part anthology series accompanying Tim Burton’s take on the animated original from 1941, which has long been considered a 20th century classic. The Disney: Aladdin graphic novel is also due to be an anthology series, in four parts.
So far, the partnership between Dark Horse Comics and Disney has produced graphic novels based on the films Incredibles 2, Zootopia and Frozen. The new Dumbo comic is said to follow the flying elephant and his friends in their various adventures around Max Medici’s circus. The Big Top is described by the novel’s publishers as a place where “differences are celebrated, and dreams soar!”
This marks an important difference from the original Dumbo film, which despite its celebrated status in the Disney canon, has sometimes courted controversy for its portrayal of a group of singing crows, famous for penning the number “When I See and Elephant Fly.” The crows have been accused by writers such as Richard Schickel of perpetrating negative stereotypes against African Americans. Although this has been disputed, it’s also been argued that the crows are depicted sympathetically due to their crucial role in helping Dumbo take to the air.
They will not be appearing in the live action remake. Dumbo’s friend Timothy Q. Mouse also doesn’t make the cut. Instead, new characters such as Neils Skellig and Miss Atlantis will be introduced.
The graphic novel accompanying the new Aladdin film has been described by the publisher as bringing “the individuality and spirit of Aladdin and friends to the forefront.” The original animated feature from 1992 is considered a gem of the “Disney Renaissance” era. It also stoked controversy, however, when the opening lyric, eventually changed, described Arab countries as places where “They cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.”
The remake and the accompanying novels will no doubt steer clear of this.
Dumbo will be released on March 29th. Aladdin hits screens on May 24th.