Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
11
Oct 2018

Image result for happy birthday molly american girl

Title: Happy Birthday, Molly! – A Springtime Story

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly is excited to learn that an English girl is coming to stay at the McIntires’, and just in time for Molly’s birthday! But Emily Bennett turns out to be different from the glamorous girl Molly pictured. Emily is shy, and she seems unfriendly. Then Molly discovers that Emily is worried about her family in war-torn London, just as Molly is worried about her father, and the girls become good friends. They even plan to turn Molly’s tenth birthday celebration into a real English tea party. But they can’t agree about what’s important, and it takes a special birthday surprise to patch up their hurt feelings.

Initial Thoughts

I’m really ashamed of myself because of how late this is. Between work and getting sick and things just being God awful over here, I really slipped up and now I have to scramble before the year ends.

This one was difficult to re-read because a lot of the characters display a nasty side that wasn’t totally present in the last few books. But it also presents a much more sobering look at what life during wartime was like for these girls, in a manner different than Molly’s fears about her father’s life. But mainly, this book introduces Emily Bennett, who becomes a semi-reoccurring character in the “Molly” books. She even received her own spotlight tale, “Brave Emily.”

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American Girls , , ,
7
Sep 2018

That Alisa's so hot right now

Title: Alisa of the Silver Hair

Japanese Title: Gin’iro no Kami no Arisa

Author/Artist: Shinji Wada

Translaions: The Distaff Side & 4chan

Summary: As a child, the eponymous heroine is betrayed by three jealous friends who throw her into a pit and leave her to die. But Alisa perseveres: She trains herself to be smarter, faster, and more beautiful than any of them and returns for revenge. Years of living underground have left her with the silver hair of the title, so her victims can’t be sure whether the resemblance is real or only the product their guilty consciences…

Initial Thoughts

For July I wanted to do some more comic related posts for Point Horror and Nostalgic Bookshelf since it’s Comic Con International time. For Nostalgic Bookshelf, alongside the Molly recap I wanted to do a manga recap and a comic recap.

So “Alisa” is an obscure gem I learned of because of its creator, Shinji Wada. He’s the genius who created “Sukeban Deka,” a.k.a. “Delinquent Girl Detective.” It’s the story of Saki Asamiya, a juvenile delinquent recruited by the Japanese police force as an undercover detective within the country’s school system. Armed with a special yo-yo, Saki goes up against drug dealers, rapists, and international terrorists while the threat of her condemned mother’s execution is hung ovee her head.

But that is not this story.

“Alisa of the Silver Hair” is a very short story, only two chapters long, and came out years before “Sukeban Deka.” While I would’t say I’m the total authority on “Sukeban Deka” I’m familiar enough with it to realize “Alisa” appears to be some sort of prototype for “Sukeban.”

Alisa by Retrosofa

(Alisa by Retrosofa: Sal’s a big fan of Sukeban Deka so I thought he’d be a natural for a commission of Alisa)

Wada’s style evokes the shoujo tales of the 1970s, but his use of the tropes masks some truly sinister and depraved villains, many of whom are teenage girls. In fact, as pointed out over on Empty Movement, one of the later stories is eerily predictive of “Revolutionary Girl Utena,” a 90s anime masterpiece that deconstructs misogyny and incest in fiction through picking apart the Prince/Princess/Witch dynamic.

(Analysis on the story seen here: https://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=2740)

Because no one talks about this story, and “Sukeban Deka” is pretty niche itself (the manga still hasn’t been officially distributed through English markets), I decided to do a recap to shed some light on this beautiful little story of vengeance. But no, I have no idea if her name is supposed to “Alisa” or if it’s “Arisa” and the name was romanized by the translation.

You can read the entire story here: https://mangadex.org/manga/6931/alisa-with-silver-hair

(TW for suicide)

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Other Comics , , , , ,
31
Aug 2018
Goosebumps 33 - Horror at Camp Jelly Jam by R L Stine

Goosebumps 33 – Horror at Camp Jelly Jam by R L Stine

Title: Goosebumps #33 – The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, a.k.a. “R.L. <3’s H.P.”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Tennis… canoeing… monsters, anyone?

Summary: Sometimes, Winning Is Everything!

Swimming, basketball, roller hockey, King Jellyjam’s Sports Camp has it all. Too bad Wendy isn’t a sports freak like her brother, Elliot. But how excited can you get about softball? It’s just a game, right?

WRONG!

Because Camp Jellyjam is no ordinary sports camp. And Wendy’s about to find out why. Why the counselors seem a little too happy. Why they’re a little too obsessed with winning. And why the ground is always rumbling late at night…

Initial Thoughts

Since it’s now summertime I wanted to surprise everyone with one of the legendary summer camp Goosebumps books. But I couldn’t decide which to choose from. I’d already recapped “Ghost Camp” last year on my birthday, but I decided to go with one of the classic books since I reviewed a 2000 book earlier this summer.

This is one of the most bizarre books from the first 62, and looking back on it as an adult I’ve come to realize this is probably R.L. Stine’s attempt at doing an H.P. Lovecraft-style tale, but for reasons I’ll have to explain in the Final Thoughts. Unfortunately, the big twist in this story has been spoiled numerous times by the various international additions’ covers and the Classic Goosebumps reprint. Even the Goosebumps Graphix adaption (drawn by the legendary Kyle Baker), has the twist spoiled by the cover.

[Wing: Stine doing Lovecraft? I’M SOLD.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Goosebumps , ,
21
Aug 2018
Friendship is 8-Bit Story of the Blanks by Donitz

Friendship is 8-Bit Story of the Blanks by Donitz

Title: Friendship Is 8-Bit – Story of the Blanks

Creator: Donitz

Initial Thoughts

It’s been more than a year since I began writing for Point Horror, and after carefully double checking with Wing and Dove, I thought I’d do this extra special recap of a horror computer game. This’ll be my first ever game recap, and I don’t know if I’ll be doing others because it may be a bit tricky.

As the name implies, this is a “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” game. Not an official one, mind you. It’s a fan game I found on newgrounds.com a few years ago when I was doing a search for creepypasta-related games. As it turns out, “Story of the Blanks” was made for a fan contest over on a “Friendship is Magic” website. A contest specifically for creepy games.

This game is surprisingly ingenious as the creator designed it in the style of original generation Nintendo games. It’s pretty short once you get the hang of it, but the story’s engrossing and well-crafted, leaving a number of things to the player’s imagination and scary in a non-problematic way. You’re probably thinking since this is “My Little Pony” and it’s horror related it’s probably gonna be some gross shit, but I assure you if it was I would  never have recapped it for this site.

[Wing: I might have recapped it, depending on what that gross shit is, though not if there was, say, bestiality, etc., so. I love horror video games, but can’t play very many of them because a ton are first person camera style, which triggers my vertigo. Alas. Horror video games forever, though.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

My Little Pony , , ,
2
Aug 2018
Mermaid Saga Part 7: Dream's End by Rumiko Takahashi

Mermaid Saga Part 7: Dream’s End by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Part 7 – Dream’s End

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

It’s a good thing I chose this chapter for July because I’ve been incredibly backlogged the last couple of weeks ever since I got sick around Independence Day.

Dream’s End is another oddity in the series because it provides more world building, even though it’s the shortest story at only 22 pages not counting the splash title page. It’s the only time the series explores the concept of the Lost Souls beyond their typical usage as a plot device and warning against consuming mermaid’s flesh. It also has a bit of a “Beauty and the Beast” vibe.

 

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Mermaid Saga ,
31
Jul 2018
Confessions of a Teenage Vampire: The Turning by West and Ellis

Confessions of a Teenage Vampire: The Turning by West and Ellis

Title: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire #1 – The Turning

Writer: Terry West

Penciller: Steve Ellis

Inkers: Rich Perrota and Ravil Lopez

Letterer: Fred Van Lente

Colorist: Michelle Wulf and Ryan Dunlavey

Summary: I used to be a pretty average teenager. True, I didn’t have tons of friends, and I liked studying history, but I was basically not very unusual.

But that all changed when I met Phillip Lemachard. You see, Phillip is not like the rest of the kids in my high school. He’s not like anyone I know, in fact. When Phillip tells stories about history, it sounds as if he was really there. And he has this skin condition that keeps him indoors during daylight.

Now I’m beginning to change, too. And these changes are, well, really unusual.

Initial Thoughts

Here’s a special little treat from a story I haven’t read since middle school. This is the first of a two-part, stillborn series of YA horror graphic novels published by Scholastic in the late 90s. It definitely shows in both the setting (the characters mention “Surfing the net”) and the artwork (it’s got that high-waisted, long thigh Rob Liefeld/Art Adams look to it).

I thought it’d be fun to pull up this old jewel for Comic Con month, and I’m planning on reviewing the second book in October for Halloweenus.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Other Comics ,
26
Jul 2018
Batman: The Book of Shadows by Mills, Gallagher, and Mighten

Batman: The Book of Shadows by Mills, Gallagher, and Mighten

Title: Batman – The Book of Shadows

Writers: Pat Mills and Debbie Gallagher

Penciller: Duke Mighten

Inker: Bill Oakley

Colorist: Digital Chameleon

Summary: “…One must choose that victim who contains the greatest and purest force.

The Holy Fool.

The Hanged Man.

The King of the Lonely.

The Batman.

Thus shall the demon Archon arise and bathe the Earth in blood.”

— The Book of Shadows

Initial Thoughts

Back in the 1990s, one of the semi-big things in the comics industry were prestige format one shot stories. They were bound with glossy covers like trade paperbacks, but small enough to be individual issues. Their placement in the continuity of ongoing comics was debatable at best, since they were so rarely every mentioned in the main titles published by DC and Marvel. What was great about them is they were often self-contained stories which featured original antagonists and supporting casts beyond the main characters, but like I said the characters would hardly ever appear in the regular comics if they were lucky.

I own, well, I wouldn’t say a HUGE number of Batman prestige format books, but the entirety of my Batman collection of trade paperback issues and similarly printed stories takes up most of one shelf in my collection. “Batman: The Book of Shadows” was a story I stumbled into blindly, having never heard of it before my purchase and the action taken solely because the title intrigued me. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else written by Pat Mills and Debbie Gallagher, but from what I’ve determined the two are frequently published under 2000 A.D.. Likewise, I’ve only fond Duke Mighten’s artwork in an early 90s Marvel series called “Wild Thing.” “Book of Shadows” is a pleasant, creepy little story using tarot card themes and a group of monstrous villains whose designs are reminiscent of the Xenomorphs from the “Alien” franchise.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Batman ,
22
Jun 2018
Fear Street Super Chiller 12 High Tide by R L Stine

Fear Street Super Chiller 12 High Tide by R L Stine

Title: Fear Street Super Chiller #12 – High Tide, a.k.a. “Wave Race: Blood Storm”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: A lifeguard’s job can be murder…

Summary: Blood on the water…

Adam Malfitano still has nightmares about the night his girlfriend, Mitzi, died. He sees the blood. He sees her in the water. He is a lifeguard, and he can’t save her. He wakes up screaming.

Even worse, he has begun to see Mitzi while he is awake. He knows it is impossible… but she looks so real. He can see her face decaying. What does she want from him? Why won’t she leave him alone? He tried to save her – doesn’t she know that?

Initial Thoughts

IT’S SUMMERTIME AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS GONNA HEAD DOWN TO THE BEACH GONNA DO SOME BEACHY THIIIIIIIIII-

Gaaah!

I, I’m so sorry for that.

Anyway, for the first day of summer I proposed doing a recap for one of the summertime Fear Street novels. I picked “High Tide” because I’ve re-read this one a few more times than the other Super Chiller books, but apparently my memory was shoddy because WOW. The narration is shared by two characters in this book and one of them is about as frustrating as Darryl Hoode from the “Fear Hall” books. Had I remembered him I would’ve suggested something else, but I’d already re-read the book for the recap. And I’ll be honest, the big fight scene at the end is fucking ridiculous and amazing.

And as a special note, for the first time ever I will be using the phrase “The Muffin Man,” a time-honored Point Horror tradition, to refer to a character in an incredibly frustrating segment since they’re never referred to by name.

[Wing: Happy summer! Happy birthday, Sister Canary! Happy Needlessly Dramatic Cliffhanger Chapter Endings. (I assume, I haven’t read it yet at this point.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Fear Street , ,
17
Jun 2018
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.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Goosebumps ,
12
Jun 2018
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!]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Graveyard School , ,