Marvel might be owned by Disney these days, but you don’t see many Marvel/Disney crossovers. Last week’s issue of Strange Academy, though, had some fun with the House of Mouse’s history by introducing a terrifying version of one of Disney’s most beloved characters – the wisecracking blue Genie from Aladdin.
In Strange Academy #2 by Skottie Young, Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado and Clayton Cowle, the students officially start their magical lessons, taught by some of the most notable sorcerers in the Marvel universe. Magik teaches Inferno 101, Man-Thing covers botany, Scarlet Witch tutors chaos magic and Brother Voodoo teaches zombies and enchantments. Their very first class is with the Ancient One, who’s educating them on the history of mystical objects and to start with, he presents them with the Lamp of Kolmycan and summons up a genie.
It’s not a blue Robin Williams or Will Smith-alike who comes out of the lamp, however, but a monstrous, spectral being. Instead of putting on a song and dance for them, the kids are tasked with getting the ferocious genie back into his lamp without magic before the end of the class.
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The concept of a blue genie comes from the original tale of Aladdin from the Arabian Nights, which also features a green genie, but it’s likely that Strange Academy’s creators were deliberately subverting the popular image of genies as friendly, comedic creatures thanks to the popularity of Disney’s character. It certainly fits the darker tone of this comic series, and the Marvel universe in general, that the Ancient One’s genie is an inhuman beast. You definitely wouldn’t want a friend like him.
Similar subversions of famous non-Marvel characters have appeared in the comics before, of course, like the Simpsons or even Batman. And if the above panel has whet your appetite for Strange Academy, you can catch up on the first two issues digitally or in stores now.