Posted in Goosebumps

Goosebumps Series 2000 #15: Scream School by R.L. Stine

Goosebumps Series 2000 Scream School by R L Stine
Goosebumps Series 2000 Scream School by R L Stine

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #15 – Scream School, a.k.a. “BEST DAD EVER.”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus (US Version), ???? (French Version)

Tagline: Student body stalker…

Summary:

The two figures floated up from the pile of dusty costumes.

One was a man, the other a woman. Their faces were ghoulish. Skin pulled so tight Jake could see the bones underneath. Eyes yellow, sunken back in their sockets. Their lips cracked and purple.

“Now we can make our movie,” the woman said, floating closer to Jake, arms outstretched, side by side with the man. “The most horrifying movie ever made.”

Initial Thoughts

If there’s one thing “Goosebumps” is known for, it’s questionable parenting. You’ve got stupid parents, oblivious parents, cruel parents, abusive parents, and even evil parents. It’s pretty much a given the mom or dad in any of the books will have no idea what their child is going through and prove to be pretty unhelpful. For example, there’s:

  • Michael Webster’s parents, gleefully unaware of what a horrible little bitch Michael’s sister, Tara, is and constantly punishing Michael for whatever Tara does.
  • Mrs. Ross, Evan Ross’s mother who is constantly unloading Evan onto relatives who are clearly unfit to take care of him and hate his guts, and is even making HIM pay for summer camp.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Sanders, who legitimately cannot tell that their children Crystal and Cole are transforming into chickens when it is painfully obvious Crystal’s lips have hardened and turned into a break.
  • Julie Martin’s mom, who assumes Julie is writing a short story as Julie tells her about the evil camera which has mutilated and injured several of her friends, even after Julie’s brother “Mysteriously” grows yellow fuzz and two fucking antennae like a goddamn bee.

But one of the worst parents, at least I think he’s one of the worst, is one of the main characters in “Scream School,” which is why I decided to review it for Father’s Day as an extra Goosebumps recap. So join me in wishing Emory Banyon would die in a fire.

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Posted in Graveyard School

Graveyard School #8: Let’s Scare the Teacher to Death! by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #8: Let's Scare the Teacher to Death! by Tom B. Stone
Graveyard School #8: Let’s Scare the Teacher to Death! by Tom B. Stone

Title: Graveyard School #8 – “Let’s Scare the Teacher to Death!” a.k.a. “Teaching Ms. Cheevy”

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. “D.E. Athkins”

Cover Artist: Barry Jackon (US Cover), ???? (Russian Cover), ???? (UK Cover)

UK Tagline: It’s Miss-terious!!

Summary: But We Were Only Joking!

Mrs. Cheevy, the new math teacher at Graveyard School, is totally paranoid! She’s always looking over her shoulder, her voice continually quavers during math lessons, and she jumps when anyone asks a question. This makes her the perfect target for class clown Bentley Jeste, and soon all the kids get in on the act. Math has never been more hilarious, until one day a practical joker goes too far. Could Mrs. Cheevy’s second-period class have scared her to death?

Initial Thoughts

The proportions on the US cover have always bothered me, because how much space is there between the desk and the chalkboard?

This is not one of my favorites in the series, but it’s more that I’m conflicted on how exactly I should be feeling on it. It’s the only book besides the first one that doesn’t have anything supernatural in it, but it’s interesting. It’s a rare event where we get to see things from the “Antagonist’s” point of view and learn their feelings on the situation, yet it’s hard for me to decide if there really IS an antagonist in this book.

Both sides of the conflict give as good as they get, and it’s like the equivalent of going to a race track to watch for car crashes instead of rooting for one particular side. Although, I’ll be real here, had I read this book before “Boo Year’s Eve” and “Escape from Vampire Park” I doubt Jordie Flanders would’ve become one of my faves.

Fair warning Wing, there’s a joke involving a rubber spider.

[Wing: Thanks for the warning!]

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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #3: Molly’s Surprise – A Christmas Story by Valerie Tripp

Molly's Surprise - A Christmas Story by Valerie Tripp
Molly’s Surprise – A Christmas Story by Valerie Tripp

Title: Molly Book #3 – Molly’s Surprise A Christmas Story

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly and her family face a disappointing Christmas. Dad is off at war in England, Molly’s grandparents can’t come for the holidays, and it looks like there won’t be many exciting presents. Worst of all, the family hasn’t heard from Dad for a long time, and they’re worried. But Molly decides they should make their own merry Christmas – a Christmas filled with the kind of unexpected surprises that Dad would make. Thanks to Molly, the best surprise of all is waiting for the McIntires on Christmas morning.

Initial Thoughts

Yeah, I know it’s May, but I have a good reason why I’m recapping the holiday book now instead of saving it for December. The main Molly books are all part of a progressive timeline, and if I skipped this one for the holiday season it would just muck up the other recaps.

Regardless, this is my favorite in the main series because I love holiday stories and I love tales taking place in the 1940s, so this is a win-win for me. And after last month I could use some perking up.

(more…)

Posted in Goosebumps

Goosebumps #35: A Shocker on Shock Street by R. L. Stine

Goosebumps 35: Shocker on Shock Street by R L Stine
Goosebumps 35: Shocker on Shock Street by R L Stine

Title: Goosebumps #35 – A Shocker On Shock Street, a.k.a. “Erin and Marty’s Bogus Journey”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Goosebumps Graphix Illustrator: Jamie Tolagson

Tagline: It’s a real dead end.

Summary: Talk About Shock Treatment!

Erin Wright and her best friend, Marty, love horror movies. Especially Shocker on Shock Street movies. All kinds of scary creatures live on Shock Street. The Toadinator. Ape Face. The Mad Mangler.

But when Erin and Marty visit the new Shocker Studio Theme Park, they get the scare of their lives.

First the tram gets stuck in The Cave of the Living Creeps. Then they’re attacked by a group of enormous praying mantises!

Real life is a whole lot scarier than the movies. But Shock Street isn’t really real. Is it?

Initial Thoughts

“Shock Street” has been a personal favorite of mine for the same reason as “One Day At Horrorland,” and it’s the world building. Because the book is built around a fictional horror movie franchise, I’ve repeatedly gone back for re-reads to devour all the information available on the Shock Street films and creatures. You don’t know how delighted I was to learn it was getting a graphic novel adaption, illustrated by comic artist Jamie Tolagson, from Scholastic’s “Goosebumps Graphix” line, which made up for how disappointing the TV show version was. And hey, it meant reference for commissions! I added a couple of scanned pages from the Graphix adaption; sorry about the quality. Again, I was worried about wrecking the spine.

One of my earliest examples of fan fiction, way back in middle school, was my attempt at writing a story about one of the films mentioned in the book. Of course looking back my story was God awful. I still tried to come up with ideas for what the different Shock Street movies were about, which I’ll get into during the final thoughts alongside a small gallery of commissions of Shock Street monsters.

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Posted in Bailey School Kids

The Bailey School Kids #31: Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones

The Bailey School Kids #31: Ghouls Don't Scoop Ice Cream by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
The Bailey School Kids #31: Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones

Title: The Bailey School Kids #31 – “Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream,” a.k.a. “Local Children Harass Depressed College Student”

Authors: Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones

Illustrator: John Steven Gurney

Summary: There are some pretty weird grown-ups living in Bailey City. But could the new worker at Burger Doodle with very pale skin and sad eyes really be a ghoul spying for a family of vampires? The Bailey School Kids are going to find out!

“Scout said she works for a family,” Liza said with a gulp. “Maybe it’s a whole family of vampires.”

“Don’t tell me you think a whole batty family is going to swoop into Bailey City as soon as a ghoulish spy finds them a nest?” Eddie said.

“That’s it!” Howie shouted. “Mrs. Jeepers is bringing more vampires to Bailey City.”

Eddie rolled his eyes. “That’s a bunch of bat poop. After all, ghouls don’t scoop ice cream.”

Initial Thoughts

And now we venture into a YA horror series slightly better known than the other non-Goosebumps books I’ve recapped. “The Bailey School Kids” was aimed at a reading group one level below the Goosebumps audience, which makes sense given how incredibly short they are along with the use of illustrations.

The broad premise focuses on a group of four children, sensible Melody, smart Howie, scaredy Liza, and annoying Eddie, as they find themselves surrounded by odd and creepy adults who may or may not be monsters and other sorts of creatures.

Is the albino art teacher with braces actually an alien trying to steal color from the planet Earth?

Is the new lunch lady who looks inexplicably like Bette Midler really Cupid serving up love potions in time for Valentine’s Day?

Is Mr. Jenkins, the virile camp counselor with a love for rare burgers and late night strolls, a werewolf?

The thing is, the kids are never able to prove if these people are monsters, ghosts, aliens, or other types of creatures. But then again, they’re never able to prove they AREN’T.

The only other reoccurring character is their teacher, Mrs. Jeepers, a redheaded Eastern European woman with a love for polka dots and who might be a vampire. It’s believed she’s capable of surviving in sunlight because her green brooch she wears on her collar has magical powers.

The series is pretty infamous due to the outrageous covers from the original print run and how utterly scandalized and shocked the kids appear in response to whatever new person they’re investigating.

I used to own a fair number of these back in the day, but at some point I ended up giving them away because it was believed I was too old for them (you wouldn’t believe the fit my mom had when I bought one in Barnes & Noble back when I was in middle school). As of right now, counting this book I own three. I remembered this was one of my favorites mainly because of Scout, the depressed ice cream worker who may or may not be a vampire’s ghoul. I bought the book again a couple of months ago specifically for this recap. And I made sure I got the original print because, no offense to the artist of the reissues, you just can’t beat that level of outrage.

[Wing: That cover is adorable. I’ve never read any of these books, so I’m excited to see what this series brings to the table.]

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Posted in Graveyard School

Graveyard School #13: Tales Too Scary to Tell at Camp by Tom B. Stone

Tom B Stone - Graveyard School - Tales Too Scary to Tell at Camp
Tom B Stone – Graveyard School – Tales Too Scary to Tell at Camp

Title: Graveyard School #13 – Tales Too Scary To Tell At Camp, a.k.a. “1001 Graveyard School Nights”

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Cam De Leon (U.S. Cover), ???? (Lithuanian Cover)

Summary: Warning: Don’t Read This Book In Your Bunk!

These thirteen chilling stories will send you screaming for cover. From howling heads to shrieking stalkers to larger-than-life lice – read about the unnatural, the bizarre, and – worst of all – the unexplained.

Stay near the campfire. The scariest creatures of all might be right behind you!

Initial Thoughts

As thanks for putting up with my depression last month, I’ve chosen to do recaps focusing on some of my favorite books which means another short break from the chronological order. I just wish I had some commissions to add to this one.

“Tales Too Scary” is special in the Graveyard School series because it’s the only entry that’s an anthology of stories. Unlike the “Tales To Give You Goosebumps” books, this one has a framing story encompassing the first and last chapters, and a features an eclectic grouping of the GS cast including my favorite, Jordie “The Human Computer” Flanders. The situation’s a cross between “Hansel and Gretel” and “1001 Arabian Nights” which of course captured my interest right away.

One of the stories is interesting because it’s told in three parts by three different storytellers.

You wanna believe I began the draft for this last year after I was officially made a recapper by Wing? I couldn’t wait to share this with all of you.

Also, I simply had to include the Lithuanian adaption’s cover artwork because I can’t tell if it’s horrible or amazing.

As a head’s up Wing, there IS a story with bugs, but it doesn’t include spiders.

[Wing: Thanks for the head’s up. I personally adore the Lithuanian cover, though that doesn’t really answer the whole horrible or amazing question, because either, both, whatever, I would still adore it.]

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Posted in General/Admin

Detective Comics #40: The Murders of Clayface

Detective Comics 40 The Murders of Clayface
Detective Comics 40 The Murders of Clayface

Title: Detective Comics #40 – The Murders of Clayface

Writer: Bill Finger

Penciller: Bob Kane

Inker: Jerry Robinson

Initial Thoughts

I don’t talk about this as much, but before I was ever a Titans or Legion fan I was a Batman one. It started, of course, thanks to Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s animated series, but as I got older I tried to dig deeper into the more obscure aspects of Batman’s history. I was more fond of the Golden and Silver Age stuff like Kathy and Betty Kane, the original Batwoman and Batgirl, and villains like Doctor Double X and the Rainbow Beast.

My favorite member of Batman’s Rogues gallery is undoubtedly Clayface. But here’s the thing, there are over seven of them! If you watched the Batman cartoon, you probably remember Clayface looked like this:

And in the comics, he did. One of them did. Well, after the cartoon happened, people began using THAT design as a default appearance which made things frustrating. The cartoon version was a combination of the first three Clayfaces. The very first, who appeared in Detective Comics #40, wasn’t a shapeshifter. No, he was a serial killer with a grotesque face. But I can’t say much more than that because it would spoil the story.

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Posted in Goosebumps

Goosebumps #10: The Ghost Next Door by R.L. Stine

Goosebumps 10: The Ghost Next Door by R. L. Stine
Goosebumps 10: The Ghost Next Door by R. L. Stine

Title: Goosebumps – The Ghost Next Door

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: There’s a strange new kid on the block…

Summary: “How Come I’ve Never Seen You Before?”

Hannah’s neighborhood has gotten a little-weird. Ever since that new boy moved in next door.

But when did he move in? Wasn’t the house empty when Hannah went to sleep the night before? Why does it still look so deserted?

Shes not getting any answers from her new neighbor. He just keeps disappearing in the oddest ways. And he’s so pale…

Is Hannah being haunted by…

…the ghost next door???

[Wing: Adorable summary.]

Initial Thoughts

Now we’ve reached one of the true classics of the original series, the tenth of the first twenty books back when Stine was still establishing the trends and style of the franchise. For those who’ve read the early books, you know already a number of them had an atmosphere that hasn’t been properly revisited in any of the later works. They seemed to carry with them a sense of real despair and fear before Stine began to realize the books might’ve been too scary for kids. [Wing: Which is a shame. Kids are better at scary things than adults want to give them credit for handling.] I think he’s mentioned if he got the chance he’d rewrite “Welcome to Dead House” to make it funnier. Which I hope he never does.

This one’s got a twist in it most people might already be familiar with considering it was adapted for the trading card series, the TV show, as well as the movie. Well, I’m not spoiling it for new readers just yet, and since I don’t have any commissions related to this one I’m gonna be scanning the three trading cards depicting certain scenes. Luckily they were illustrated by Walter Velez, who provided some of the best artwork for the card series.

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Posted in Fear Street

Fear Street #31: Switched by R. L. Stine

Fear Street Switched by R. L. Stine
Fear Street Switched by R. L. Stine

Title: Fear Street #31: Switched

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

Summary: She traded places with a killer…

There’s a little cabin in the Fear Street woods where a girl can really lose her mind. In fact, she can change it into someone else’s. That’s what happened to Nicole and Lucy. Now Lucy is in Nicole’s body and Nicole is in Lucy’s. What a trip!

But for Nicole, what a trap! Because Lucy is using Nicole’s body to get away with murder!

[Wing: Why oh why oh why do people ever think switching bodies intentionally (or letting someone else take over their body) is a good idea in these books? Why? I’m looking at you, The Accident.]

Initial Thoughts

I’m really not sure what I can say about this book right now without spoiling things or making blatant hints about how it will end. I can’t compare it to the other entries, other than I can safely say the main character might qualify as one of the few genuinely depressed protagonists in these books.

In the meantime, enjoy this awesome commission.

(Nicole Darwin and Lucy Kramer by Jerry Gaylord – I got this from Jerry several years ago at New York Comic Con. His wife Penelope did a commission of Holly Flynn from “Fear Street: Lights Out” for me at the same show. The two are awesome artists and they’ve become semi-regulars for me. I love the lightning bolt effect Jerry carried over from the cover)

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Posted in Shivers

Shivers #24: The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh by M. D. Spenser

Shivers 24: The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh by M. D. Spenser
Shivers 24: The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh by M. D. Spenser

Title: Shivers #24 – The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh

Author: M.D. Spenser

Cover Artist: Eddie Roseboom

Summary: BIG GHOULS DON’T CRY…

Samantha should keep smiling. Otherwise, tears of fear might ruin her summer and probably her life. But the summer was already bad news. There she was on the coast with her cousins. Boy cousins, always around, acting like—well, boys. But cousins can be cool!

Especially when you might need them to save your life. Is that cozy coastal town they’re on really haunted? Could be! That might explain all those strange things Samantha sees and hears.

It gets stranger and stranger when Samantha discovers the shocking truth behind the terror. Will all the cousins stay safe and sound or is it the beginning of the end for everyone?

LISTEN FOR THE VOICE OF DOOM!!!

Initial Thoughts

You guys will remember the previous “Shivers” recap as one of the darkest books I’ve reviewed so far for this website. While this book isn’t necessarily as dark as “Weirdo Waldo’s Wax Museum,” I chose it because its primary theme is regret. And with the theme I’ve worked on for April 2017, an attempt to do some self-analyzing about my best friend’s death,  the regrets in this book obviously hit close to home, otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to recap it.

The villain in this feature has got to be one of the most understandable and relatable villains I’ve found in these books. Saying anything further would spoil what comes next.

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