By now, you’ve probably encountered Disney’s Tsum Tsum at least once. If you haven’t, they’re basically a line of tiny stuffed animals that come from Japan based on Disney characters ranging from Mickey Mouse to Iron Man. Tsum Tsum have become something of a cultural phenomenon, leading to spin-off materials of all shapes and sizes, including today’s comic: Disney’s Tsum Tsum Kingdom.
I’ve actually read a bit of the Marvel Tsum Tsum comics in the past, and they’re just as weird as you might expect. I’m not sure who had the idea to jump from tiny stuffed animals to a line of superhero comics but, funnily enough, I quite enjoy them. I picked up Disney’s Tsum Tsum Kingdom hoping for that same level of absurd fun.
Surprisingly, the short stories that make up this comic are more grounded than their superhero counterparts. Each story essentially shows a little adventure the Tsum Tsum go on while not being watched by humans. The comic feels vaguely reminiscent of Toy Story in that regard. The Tsum Tsum get up to some mischief but generally help their human owners from afar. It’s simplistic and you can’t really expect many surprises, but I did enjoy it for what it was.
What ended up raising the stories above average was actually the narration that flows through the book. Since Tsum Tsum don’t actually speak, the brunt of the narrative is told by a narrator who examines the actions of Tsum Tsum as if they were wild animals out on the savanna. I found it charming, as the narrator mused on the inner thoughts of the Tsum Tsum and gave their own color commentary on key moments. It added some much needed flavor and without it I think the comic, as a whole, wouldn’t have held my attention.
The artwork falls into a very similar camp. It, by far, isn’t the most complex art I’ve ever seen; character designs are nice and stylized, but backgrounds can be a little lacking. Despite this, everything comes together when viewed as a whole. This can likely be attributed to the fact that the Tsum Tsum themselves, who serve as the primary characters, are aggressively cute. Every single one feels energetic with subtle facial expressions to make you relate to them. They almost feel like a troop of puppies running around while their owner is asleep.
It’s hard to sum up my feelings on Tsum Tsum. At a base level, they aren’t something I find very interesting, and yet every time I read a comic about them, I find myself engaged in their strange personalities. If you’re a parent looking for a comic to share with your kids, Disney’s Tsum Tsum Kingdom is perfect. It’s kid friendly while still being a fun read for adults. If nothing else, pick this book up to learn why these little puff balls have become so popular.
Creative Team: Thom Zahler (Writer), Jeremy Lambert (Writer), Philip Murphy (Artist), Nico Pena (Artist), Nicoletta Baldari (Artist)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
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