I had mixed feelings when Figment was announced for a few different reasons, least of which was the “steampunk” feel to it but even more so my love of the classic Journey Into Imagination, that attraction was true Disney magic to me! I have to say I am so glad I took a chance. Figment may be based off a little purple dragon and a man wearing a funny suit from a famous Epcot attraction, but it reads like a Jules Verne or H.G. Wells story with lots of fun and some silliness thrown in.
After being blown away by the third issue of Disney Kingdoms Figment comic I had to talk to the man behind it all, Jim Zub.
Without many spoilers, but if you are not reading Figment by now you are not a true Disney fan, here is a bit of the conversation we had about the series.
Jeremiah Good – What was your starting point for your “origin” of Figment?
Jim Zub – After I was first approached by Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann about the possibility of expanding the mythology for Journey Into Imagination, I did a bunch of research on the attraction and then put together three possible directions we could take the story. Thankfully both the Imagineering team and Bill really liked my proposal for telling the origin of Dreamfinder in turn of the century England, so that’s the one I dug in on and developed further.
JG – What type of research did you do on the story of the attraction?
JZ – I was sent documentation about Journey Into Imagination- its history and the various aspects that went into it, as well as some old videos of a ride through, along with the soundtrack and a script of all the dialogue that’s spoken by the characters. In addition to that I read quite a bit online about the various incarnations of the attraction and Figment.
JG – Did you speak with any of the folks at WDI about their outlook on the li’l purple guy?
JZ – All the pitch material I put together went to the Disney Imagineering team and they provided lots of great feedback and suggestions as the project moved forward. It was a great collaboration and I was thrilled to have their guidance and advice.
JG – Was going steampunk part of the original concept or did it just meld together perfectly?
JZ – I mentioned the word “steampunk” in my pitch since Dreamfinder’s old Dream Machine had that kind of whirly-gig steam-era feel to it and everyone involved really liked that so we pursued it even further as the project went along.
JG – What did you think when you heard the first issue sold out so fast?
JZ – It was definitely a shock. I was hopeful that new readers would track it down, but the intense excitement of the Walt Disney World fans took all of us on the team by surprise. I’m just really glad that readers have been enjoying the story and are excited to see where it all goes.
JG – Has there been any talk about an ongoing or at least another mini?
JZ – Nothing yet, but I know there are other Disney Kingdom projects in development with different creative teams so I expect that takes priority. It’s been a really wonderful project to be a part of and it would be fun to bring the whole team back together for another story down the road if possible.
JG – The character of Blarion Mercurial, who we can only assume will become the Dreamfinder, has such an interesting name what was the thought behind him and his name?
JZ – I wanted his name to sound whimsical and eccentric, but also be something we could easily shorten. “Mercurial” fits a mind that’s always trying new solutions, and “Blair” just sounded right to me.
JG – The first two issues were set up for this magic world of the 3rd issue, was that something inspired by the old attraction because it has the feel of it.
JZ – Absolutely. Although I created new characters and places for the Figment comic so we could have conflict and character evolution that isn’t present in the attraction, I wanted them to feel like they were natural extensions of the themes covered in Journey Into Imagination as much as possible. Visually and thematically I wanted it all to feel like it fit together and was inspired by the original attraction. If readers enjoy it, then I’ve done my job.
I would like to thank Jim Zub for taking the time to respond to a fanboy…not Fanboy but a major fan! For someone who only made it on the original attraction one time he really has captured the feel of it with these books and he himself has taken the role of the Dreamfinder and taking us along for a great ride!
To wrap up, if you have not been reading the Figment comic you are missing out on a great story! You don’t have to be a comic fan or even a Figment fan to enjoy it but if you are reading this you are a Disney fan and it is worth tracking down! Please visit your local comic shop and do yourself a favor and pick them up, all 3 issues at this time are still available in 2nd or 3rd printing. The issue is also available from Marvel’s Digital Comic Shop at https://comicstore.marvel.com/
Elements based on Figment © Disney
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.