This 1955 comic book, released in conjunction with the opening of Disneyland, served as promotional material for the park itself, as well as the products of corporate sponsor Richfield Oil.
Most famously, Richfield sponsored the park’s opening-day Autopia attraction. In addition, the company funded another Tomorrowland attraction called The World Beneath Us, an exhibit which showed the Disney-created animated short, “The Story of Oil.” The company also made its presence known at the nearby Disneyland Hotel, where guests could opt to receive Richfield servicing for their vehicles during the course of their stay. While The World Beneath Us remained open through 1960, their sponsorship deal with Disney didn’t end completely until a decade later when the Richfield Autopia officially dropped its corporate branding.
The comic itself features the Disneyland, Inc. trademark and was designed and printed by Western Printing and Lithographing Company, who also produced the widely-popular Dell Comics. The story, which spans thirteen pages, follows a family from outer-space who stumbles across Disneyland in the course of their intergalactic travels. In addition to their fun-filled tour through the park’s respective lands, and a sampling of various attractions, the family is equally impressed by the Richfield Oil services found in and around the park that provide their space-age vehicle with a brand of quality products and care the likes of which it’s never known. The memorable front cover features artwork representing the various lands of the park, while the back includes two full-page ads promoting the Richfield-sponsored attractions, as well as the company’s newly-introduced Richfield Ethyl gasoline. The comic was actually first made available in the months leading up to Disneyland’s opening, with complimentary copies being distributed at Richfield-carrying service stations around the country.
This pre-opening Disneyland souvenir provides an entertaining early look at the fun and adventures to come, and represents the type of corporate relationship that Walt was forced to rely so heavily on, in order to turn his dream to reality.