Boom! Box Jam: Jackie Ball & Maddi Gonzales Bring Us Welcome To Wanderland, A Magical Theme Park Made Real

by Richard Bruton

This week, Boom! Studios is announcing a previewing a series of YA titles in the Boom! Box imprint with “Boom! Box Jam“. They started off by welcoming us to join Boom Studios! this September for a fabulous looking new four-issue series exploring the fantastical wonders of a magical theme park in Welcome to Wanderland!

The series, written by Jackie Ball (Goldie Vance) with art by Maddi Gonzalez (Elements) all begins in Wanderland Park, the “Most Truly Magical Place on Earth!” – at least according to young Bellamy Muñoz. This little girl loves the park, knows every last bit of information about it, all the history, the best shortcuts between rides, and everything you could possibly want to know about the iconic Old West Town, Space Age Metropolis, and New Princesston.
And when she somehow finds herself in the REAL version of Wanderland, complete with real, proper princesses and all the magical talking woodland creatures she’d always dreamt of, you can only imagine just how excited and happy little Bellamy is.
But, as we all know, sometimes fairy tales have a dark side, and according to the makers of Welcome to Wanderland, Bellamy will be finding out that this real Wanderland is a place “where fairy tales aren’t exactly a dream come true”.
Welcome to Wanderland’s writer, Jackie Ball, has drawn on her previous career for this exploration of childhood fantasy made real:

Welcome to Wanderland is inspired by my career in theme park design, and the wonderful, passionate weirdos who work in that world. One of my best friends grew up in Orlando, and he used to go to the parks after school to do his homework. It just painted such a picture of what it was like to grow up so constantly immersed in this rich other world, and so that’s where Bel came from: a kid who spends all her time in a park and is passionate to a fault about a place that’s going to seed a little bit, despite being run by a massive corporation with deep pockets.

When talking about the character of her series’ star, Ball points out that the last thing she wants to do is belittle the rich fantasy life that some of the most creative of young minds can have:

It was important to me that it didn’t come off as making fun of Bel for caring so much, because being a passionate, detail-oriented nerd can be a wonderful gift as a creative person. But it can be all-consuming, especially when you’re a teenager, and that can blind you to things like other people’s feelings. That’s something Bel’s going to have to wrestle with.

Series artist Maddie Gonzalez had this to say over Welcome to Wanderland:

I’m super psyched to get to work on Welcome to Wanderland! It’s such a cool concept, and as someone who adores the wonder of theme parks and magical realism, I’m excited to help bring to life this new world full of fantastical elements and big personalities. Bel and Riot have been some of my favorite characters to design so far!

Just from the couple of art previews we’ve seen so far and that description of the series, we think Boom Studios may well be onto another hit here!
Welcome to Wanderland will be hitting your local comic shop or digital comic provider in September 2018.

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