Even Marvel fans are missing the biggest Easter egg at Disneyland's Avengers Campus

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! at Avengers Campus in Disney California Adventure

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! at Avengers Campus in Disney California Adventure

Courtesy of Disneyland

Avengers Campus, the first new land at Disney California Adventure since Cars Land in 2012, opens on June 4 — and with it comes spiral churros, new character encounters with Marvel Cinematic Universe favorites, an Avengers Quinjet, and Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, one of, if not the, most technologically advanced rides Disneyland has ever debuted.

While the general public won’t be able to peek inside the land until Friday, true MCU fans are already scouring information on the internet for the Easter eggs —  the hidden clues and references —  that Imagineers famously include in every new attraction and update to the park. 

What they might not realize is that the biggest Avengers Campus Easter egg of all is already on display — and it dates back to way before Marvel movies even existed.

When Disneyland reopened on April 30, hawkeyed fans noticed something weird around the perimeter of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout ride. Spots of blue, purple and yellow now dot the ground around the Collector’s Fortress, the building that houses the ride and which famously contained the galaxy’s largest collection of curiosities (including some Infinity Stones) in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. 

Disney explained the new element on a blog post previewing Avengers Campus. "A late addition to the Campus, Taneleer Tivan, a.k.a. the Collector, placed his Fortress [the Guardians of the Galaxy ride] against its edges," the blog writes. "This placement warped the ground immediately surrounding the alien stronghold causing a cosmic disruption to ooze from the ground below. Hues of blues, purples and yellows glow in the daylight."

That “cosmic disruption” might just look like a weird new decoration, but it’s actually a deep-cut reference to Marvel comic books — one which fans of just the Marvel movies, and not the comics themselves, wouldn’t recognize. It’s Kirby Krackle, a storytelling device that dates back to the 1960s.

Kirby Krackle, a comic book effect, is all around Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission  -Breakout!

Kirby Krackle, a comic book effect, is all around Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission  -Breakout!

Julie Tremaine

“In the ‘60s, [acclaimed Marvel comic book artist] Jack Kirby began to draw clusters of round black dots to depict enormous, but not necessarily directed, energy, often of a cosmic nature,” Harry Mendryk writes in a blog post on the Kirby Museum’s website. To readers, it might have just looked like ink spots splashed across a page, but it meant something significant — that two comic book universes were colliding on the page.

Mendryk further points out that versions of this splattered, crackling energy in the cosmos can be found as early as Kirby’s comic art of the 1940s all the way through the late 1970s, and became a popular storytelling device. “This simple graphic technique was so effective that it has been picked up by other comic book artists and can still be found in comics of today,” he explains. “The device has been given the name Kirby Krackle,” in homage to the man who developed it.  

Given what an important part of Marvel’s storytelling Kirby Krackle is, it’s no surprise theme park designers and MCU fans would be inspired by this and use the technique to help solve the bigger problem for Imagineers: bridging the gap between the “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride, which debuted in 2017, and the new Avengers Campus, both physically and in terms of storytelling. 

Avengers Campus is opening June 4, 2021, at Disney California Adventure Park

Avengers Campus is opening June 4, 2021, at Disney California Adventure Park

Courtesy of Disneyland

In the Disney Parks storyline, according to that same blog post, the Collector specifically chose to place his Fortress in that spot because of the Avengers’ decision to set up a campus in this location. From what Avengers Campus cast members have said at last week’s previews, the Avengers themselves are fine with Tivan’s invasion of sorts, as this allows them to keep a close watch on him while he’s at the edge of their new headquarters. (Terran’s Treats will also serve brightly colored spiral churros inspired by Infinity Stones, which is arguably another reason this “cosmic disruption” is a good thing.)

In the comics, a cosmic event as significant as this would arguably warrant a scene of “Kirby Krackle.” It’s definitely an inventive remedy for the strangely placed attraction and four year gap between Disney’s reskin of the Tower of Terror ride into Guardians of the Galaxy and the Marvel immersion into the parks. 

The gorgeous goo that is Kirby Krackle ends where the perimeter of the Collector’s fortress ends and Avengers Campus begins, but the Easter eggs abound in the new land. There are references to the days of Howard Stark and many nods and inclusions of characters not yet introduced into the MCU, like Squirrel Girl, Moongirl, Taskmaster and even Harley Keener. There are even references to pieces of deeply embedded California Adventure history throughout, not only to A Bug’s Land, which was torn down to build Avengers Campus, but to what was in that area even earlier, too.

But those, you’ll just have to find for yourself. 

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