Sunday, August 7, 2016

Disney's Beauty and the Beast Marvel Comics

Here's another hidden gem I found out about on Meagan Kearney's Beauty and the Beast page!

Back in the mid-90s, Marvel published a series of short comic books that were a spinoff of the Disney movie. You can read them all on Disney Wikia! Although, at least on my computer, each time you go to a new page you have to wait for the popups to go away to allow you to read the words at the top and bottom of each page, which is kind of annoying. But since the issues aren't that easy to track down in real life it's a small price to pay for a true Disney BATB geek.

I read the first one, "A Chance for Romance." They're clearly aimed towards a young audience-the main problem in this one is that the Beast is in a bad mood and the objects are worried his bad mood will spoil the Wardrobe's surprise birthday party. In fact, reading the comic made certain relationships seem more strange to me. I'd read other people complaining about how the enchanted objects too happy to be the Beast's servants, or how Beast's relationship with Belle could promote abusive relationships-which I don't think is as much of an issue in the movie itself. But in the comics, you see the same scenarios repeat themselves over and over and everyone seems to tolerate the Beast's tantrums a little too well...

However, there are some endearing and funny moments too, and we get to see more of the fiesty Belle we all know and love who's not afraid to tell the Beast what she thinks. We also get to see some of the Beast's insecurities, although from skimming the plots of the first few, it seems that they all just repeat the same formula: the Bibettes/silly girls in the Village are trying to ensnare Gaston, while at the castle the Beast loses his temper and Belle calls him out and then they have a nice moment. I hope that as the issues progressed, the Beast shows more progress, and the whole romance isn't based on the fact that Belle simply isn't afraid of him. Here's the official blurb:

Beauty and the Beast was a series of comics published by Marvel Comics, spun off from the 1991 animated film of the same name. It ran for 13 issues from July 1994 to July 1995. 

 The comics took place during Belle's stay at Beast's castle, more specifically an unknown period after Beast, at Lumiere's suggestion, gave Belle his library. Until Issue 7 (or Issue 8 if one counts flashbacks), the comics (with the exception of issue #6) both focus on Belle's stay at the castle as well as events occurring at the village (the latter mostly regarding Gaston trying to find a way to impress Belle, with the Bimbettes trying to get him to focus on them instead of Belle), either at real time or, in the case of Issues 5 and 8, via flashback. Starting with Issue 7 until Issue 10, flashbacks to Belle's time with her father were showcased, and Issue 11 and 13 also showcased flashbacks to the Beast and the servants time as humans. It is not to be confused with a similarly-titled 4-issue story arc for the X-Men franchise, and is usually referred to in official Marvel materials as Volume 2 to distinguish it.

 Some elements in the comic series were later included in the Broadway musical (most notably Wardrobe's backstory as being a former Opera Diva).
Also from the comics-Jenny Prater was wondering over at Halfway to Fairyland why, in the musical version, the Beast never learned to read as a child, when he would have been raised as a Prince. It does seem like possibly an oversight on the side of the writers, but that's another plot element that actually came from these comics! So while it still might not be the best addition to the story, it's kind of cool that they used these stories for ideas when writing the musical...


  1. I never knew these comics existed til I came across this article and also on the Disney BATB wikia page. How I can read them?

    1. On the Disney wikia page, you can scroll down and click on any of the issues. Then at the top of the screen that pops up, you have to click on the title of that issue, and then you can access the pages themselves. Hopefully that makes sense! It is a little confusing...