Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #234: Graveyard School Final Four Countdown: #24 – Scream Around The Campfire by Tom B. Stone

Scream Around the Campfire Cover by Mark Nagata
Scream Around the Campfire Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #24 – Scream Around The Campfire, a.k.a. “I Heard The Bigfoot Call My Name”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: Who Is The Happy Camper From The Dark Side?

Alex wishes he had stayed home this summer. He hates camp. He hates the goofy songs. He hates the gross food. But most of all, he hates the creepy campfire stories. Is he the only one who notices that they’ve been coming true? And will he be able to stop whoever it is before he becomes just another marshmallow on the campfire of life?

Initial Thoughts

Four, repeat, we are down to FOUR books left before the series is over and we are once again leaving the confines of Grove Hill. This is the second of the two summer camp books and Thacker manages to avoid doing a total retread of “Camp Dracula.”

When I first heard of this particular entry back in 2004, my interest got peaked at the discovery the main character was none other than Alex Lee. Alex being the protagonist of the first “Graveyard School” book I read, I was eager to see what he would do in his next protagonist role. However, upon reading said book for the first time…

Guys I gotta level with you, this book is rather strange. Mainly, it’s the reveal behind what is causing the different campfire stories to come to life. But Thacker also includes a couple of unique ghost stories shared by the campers, although we see a retread of the infamous “Hook” urban legend.

At the very least, one thing to enjoy is the return of Alex’s pragmatic moral backbone and how he doesn’t strive to be some perfect angel yet is openly disgusted when other people are being hurt.

Also, the supporting character is named Garth which I fucking love because one of my favorite comic characters of all time is named Garth.

[Wing: No idea how the book is going to come across, but I love that book blurb up there. It sounds GREAT and makes me want to go to summer camp again.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #231: Campfire Stories #1 by Don Oriolo and Vincent Scarpelli

Campfire Stories Cover
Campfire Stories Cover

Title: Campfire Stories #1 – “An Evening With Ranger Bill,” a.k.a. “Ranger Bill Says ‘No Means No Or He’s Gonna FUCKING KILL YOU'”

Writer: Don Oriolo

Artist: Vincent Scarpelli

Initial Thoughts

Get ready guys, because this introduction is gonna be a doozy. This comic has got to have the weirdest history of any individual comic I can think of.

It was supposedly published in 1992 by a company called “Global Comics,” yet seems to be the only title the company released besides an adaption of “Thirteen Something” which included early artwork by famed “Archie” artist Dan Parent. The next time I see Dan I need to ask him about all this.

Yet the reason I ever heard of this comic was a low budget, direct to video horror movie from the early 2000s called “Campfire Stories.” Made about a decade after the comic was released, the plot involved two teenage boys, a female hitchhiker, and the creepy Forest Ranger Bill. Ranger Bill tells them three stories:

  1. An escaped mental patient who found work as a school janitor, and then kills the group of boys who humiliate him
  2. Three bikers who rob an elderly Native American man and are turned into old people because of his stash of weed
  3. Two roommates who decide to pull a prank on their boyfriends that ends with one of the roommates possessed by her grandmother’s spirit

The movie ends with the three escaping from Ranger Bill and making their way to a nightclub, only to realize the people in said nightclub are the characters from the stories. The boys are murdered while the hitchhiker escapes and flags down another car asking for a ride the exact same way she approached the boys…

The third story’s the only one I ever held an interest in, but once I was able to watch the entire movie I saw the opening credits mention a “Campfire Stories” comic book. However, said comic that I’ll be reviewing has little to do with the movie. The setting’s totally different, it doesn’t feature the same stories, and instead of being a forest ranger, Ranger Bill is a camp counselor. Yet the end credits of the movie feature pages from the ACTUAL comic.

As a side note, there was a different movie called “Campfire Stories” that came out in 1991, a year before the comic was published. They don’t seem to be connected although except they both tell a standard urban legend (the same one in fact).

Compounding all this weirdness, the comic AND the movie were co-created by Don Oriolo. Don’s a writer and musician and apparently worked with both Bon Jovi AND discovered Meat Loaf. He’s also the son of Joe Oriolo, the creator of the “Felix the Cat” TV show and co-creator of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” Don’s well known for producing the “Felix the Cat” movie of the 1980s, one of the most infamously bizarre animated films in existence. Of course it’s also got a great soundtrack.

Weird, right??? So much packed into one comic.

Because I’ll be reviewing “Scream Around the Campfire” this month I chose to do a recap on this title to go with the camp theme.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #227: Graveyard School Final Five Countdown: #19 – The Gator Ate Her by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #19: The Gator Ate Her Cover by Mark Nagata
Graveyard School #19: The Gator Ate Her Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #19 – The Gator Ate Her, a.k.a. “When The Alligators Cry”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: What’s Big And Green And Mean All Over?

Algernon is about the find out. He’s spending summer vacation with his relatives, the “Swamp People.” They live near a swamp, and Algie hates swamps. He htes the smell. He hates the insects that hover aroud. But mostly he hates the dark, murky water. Below the muddy surface, Algie knows something is lurking. Something wicked… watching… waiting. He’s right!

Initial Thoughts

It had to end someday guys, and we’re down to the last five books in the series. If all goes as I hope it will, the last book, “The Spider Beside Her” will be done in time for the next Halloween Extravaganza.

Algie Green returns after having a co-starring role in “The Dead Sox,” but is back to being a main character. Continuity problems persist as Algie plans to spend the summer visiting his cousins in the South, despite having just spent the entire summer playing baseball and under the ghostly possession of Coach Geist.

This was one of the last books I needed to complete my collection after acquiring most of them in 2004. Thankfully, Thacker doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator by shilling out a bunch of hillbilly jokes with Algie’s cousins like A.G. Cascone did with “Grandpa’s Monster Movies,” and she’s back to drop some hard environmental truths via Algie’s Great Aunt Marie.

[Wing: I’M NOT READY FOR IT TO END. I love the Graveyard School; I’m surprised by how much, actually, considering I’m only vaguely fond of Goosebumps. It’s the characters here, really. They’re G R E A T.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #226: Short And Shivery by Robert D. San Souci – Part 3

GHOUL evening, boils and goops
It’s like if Tim Burton hosted an international buffet

Title: Short & Shivery a.k.a. “The Wide World of Horror”

Author/Editor/Reteller: Robert D. San Souci

Illustrator: Katherine Coville

Summary: Everyone loves a spooky story. Don’t you?

Welcome to a chilling world of hair-raising tales! The thirty stories in this book were gathered from around the world, selected for their ghastly details and terrifying twists. Come inside and meet the young miller’s daughter in “The Robber Bridegroom,” who may have discovered too late that she has been betrothed to a madman; the dancing skeleton who returns from the dead to haunt the friend who betrayed him in life; the Golem, who tires of serving his greedy master and suddenly turns evil; and intriguing characters in stories from the Brothers Grimm, Washington Irving, and other world-famous authors. But before you settle down in your cozy reading chair, check behind you… and keep all the lights on!

Initial Thoughts

We’ve finally reached the end of the first “Short And Shivery” collection after six long months. In August I’ll start a recap for the second book.

Luckily this book’s got three different water-related tales to fit in with my June theme, and luckily for YOU Wing we’ve finally reached the werewolf story. UNluckily for you this is also the portion with the giant spider story. Sorry. [Wing: Werewolf outweighs giant spider, mostly. Though: WHY IS IT ALWAYS GIANT SPIDERS? I just had to talk someone out of doing it as a decoration at work this fall, too.]

[Wing: Editing to add a link to this great comment from Sarah about the golem story in this recap, the use of mythology versus theology versus folk tale (her suggestion and the best one) and the history of the golem as a response to anti-semitism. I really appreciate her taking the time to share her perspective and want to highlight it.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #225: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #8: Weekend at Poison Lake by R.L. Stine

Weekend at Poison Lake Cover by Craig White
Weekend at Poison Lake Cover by Craig White

Title: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #8 – Weekend at Poison Lake, a.k.a. “Aliens and Jewel Thieves and Moss-Men OH MY!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Craig White

Summary: Come On In – The Water’s Slime!

It’s the weekend and your family’s vacationing at an awesome lake. The water’s cool, clear and downright deadly!

Rumor has it this lake is filled with poison! Or are those aliens? And what’s that nasty smell? Better pick a lucky number to help you out, or this nature trip could really go wild! If you pick the right number you’ll be chillin’ on the beach without a care. But if your number’s unlucky, you’ll come face-to-face with evil jewel hunters, ice-cream-craving aliens, and all sorts of freaky wildlife!

The choice is yours in this scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure that’s packed with over 20 super-spooky endings!

Initial Thoughts

Since “Chicken Chicken” hasn’t been finished yet that means two Goosebumps recaps as well as two Graveyard School recaps this month. This is going with June’s water theme.

“Poison Lake” was the last of the GYG Special Edition books and from what I’ve read it’s one of the most loathed. I can sort of understand why yet I do love this one.

THE BAD: The whole “Lucky Number” shtick this book employs is extremely frustrating in figuring out a proper path to take. See, the numbers aren’t really “Lucky” because you’re just as likely to die from using the number to determine a choice than if you’d voted not to use it at all. And yet when you get the bad endings from not using the number, the book mocks you for it. Hell, it’ll mock you even if it doesn’t immediately lead to death by asking why you don’t want to utilize it.

THE GOOD: The four stories Stine’s crafted are incredibly endearing, and are totally independent of one another. Once you pick a path, you’re stuck on it. Which actually made recapping this much easier. My favorites are “The Missing Jewels” story and “The Moss-Man” story, the former because of the presence of competent adults and the latter because Stine’s able to create real tension and a dreamy atmosphere similar to “The Ghost Next Door.”

Also I love the monster on the cover despite its lack of appearance in the actual stories.

Poison Lake Monster by Jesus Marquez
Poison Lake Monster by Jesus Marquez

THE OTHER BAD: We get a return performance of, UGH, Jude as the main character. God he sucks.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #224: Graveyard School #18: The Dead Sox by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #18 - The Dead Sox Cover by Mark Nagata
Graveyard School #18 – The Dead Sox Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #18 – The Dead Sox, a.k.a. “The Devil Went Down To Graveyard School”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: Three Strikes? You’re Dead!

Park Addams thinks it’s going to be a great summer. He’s just made the all-star team, and it seems like they can’t be beat – until they meet the Belville All-Stars. Shutout? Try wipeout! No-hitter? No one even sees the ball! How do they do it? The Grove Hill All-Stars are suddenly scared to death. Welcome to the field of screams.

Initial Thoughts

Welcome to the last sports-related entry in the Graveyard School series, and just in the middle of baseball season. [Wing: Ugh, baseball season. That long stretch of time between the Stanley Cup finals (#weallbleedblue) and college football.]

Despite what the summary probably has you thinking and despite Algie Green’s role, this is not a direct sequel to “Scream, Team!” even though it features another evil sports team from Belville. No return appearances by Coach Sandman here, folks. This time we’re going less “Cackling scientist” and we’re looking at something a bit more… Faustian.

This book does present something of a continuity problem since it’s a summertime story, but overall its only real downside is the inclusion of Park’s older sister who is a complete bitch. [Wing: #misognyisforpussies] Thankfully she has no real role to play beyond a few insults so she doesn’t drag the story down too much.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #223: Batman: The Drowned #1

Batman The Drowned #1 Cover by Jason Fabok
Batman The Drowned #1 Cover by Jason Fabok

Title: Batman The Drowned #1 – “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a.k.a. “Holy Zombie Steampunk Pirate Lady Aquaman-Batman, Batman!”

Writer: Dan Abnett

Pencillers and Inkers: Phillip Tan and Tyler Kirkham

Colorists: Dean White & Arif Prianto

Letterer: Tom Napolitano

Cover Artists: Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson

Associate Editor: Jessica Chen

Editor: Phil Kaminski

Group Editor: Eddie Berganza (FUCK YOU!)

Summary: As the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL rock the DC Universe, the creatures of the Dark Multiverse stand ready to invade our world! How can even the World’s Greatest Heroes stop a horde of deadly beings that appear to be powerful, nightmare versions of familiar figures?

Initial Thoughts

To coincide with the three Graveyard School books for June, July, and August, I wanted to do recaps featuring similar themes. Since June’s will be “The Gator Ate Her,” that meant I wanted to do recaps on water-based horror tales.

Batman The Drowned - Bryce Wayne, the Batwoman of Earth -11
Batman The Drowned – Bryce Wayne, the Batwoman of Earth -11 (As in NEGATIVE 11)

So what, exactly, are all of you looking at and why is there a lady pirate version of Batman is what most of you are probably wondering. Well…

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #222: Tales for the Midnight Hour by J.B. Stamper Part 1

Tales for the Midnight Hour Original Cover
Tales for the Midnight Hour Original Cover
Tales for the Midnight Hour 1986 Cover
Tales for the Midnight Hour 1986 Cover

Title: Tales for the Midnight Hour

Author: Judith Bauer “J.B.” Stamper

Initial Thoughts

As part of my attempt to start off Year Three on the right foot, I’ll be reviewing one of my favorites of the Point Horror collection. Though this book was originally published back in 1977, which I believe predates the inception of the original Point Horror line. Nevertheless its three follow-up books were published under Point, as were the two reprint collections (which are the copies I own).

Much like “Short & Shivery” these tales were a big inspiration on some of my earliest attempts at fan fiction. I adapted “The Furry Collar” and “The Velvet Ribbon” as two DC Comics fan fics which you can still read online on fanfiction.net and DeviantArt.

The one story I’ve ever read by J.B. Stamper before I got this collection was her short tale in the first “Thirteen” collection. My only real problem with J.B.’s writing is she tends to abuse ellipses too much at the ending of some of the stories, not helped by her blatantly stating the obvious and making it hard to take the final shock seriously. [Wing: Oooh, she’s the predecessor of Dove’s nemesis, R.T. Cusick!]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #221: Detective Comics #49: Clayface Walks Again!

Detective_Comics_49
Detective Comics 49 Cover

Title: Detective Comics #49 – “Clayface Walks Again!”

Writer: Bill Finger

Penciller: Bob Kane

Inkers: Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, George Roussos

Letterer: George Roussos

Editor: Whitney Ellsworth

Initial Thoughts

Last year I reviewed Detective Comics #40 as part of my attempt to freshen the air in May since I spent all of April 2018 talking about my best friend’s death in my recaps.

Honestly I’m still not sure it did much to help.

Anyway, I figured it’d make since to review the follow-up story in May 2019.

Detective Comics #40 was the debut of Basil Karlo, the first Batman villain to call himself Clayface. Rather than being a shapeshifter as most people know the later Clayfaces to be, Karlo was a famous horror actor driven over the edge when one of his old movies was being remade and he wasn’t asked to star in it. Donning the guise of Clayface, one of his previous characters, Karlo tried to kill off the cast of the remake but was stopped by Batman and Robin.

I mentioned Karlo has all the earmarks of a prototypical slasher movie killer, so it’s especially fitting the follow-up story feels like a typical slasher sequel. Karlo’s back and out for revenge against the people who thwarted him, Batman and Robin. He also wants to kill Julie Madison, the actress who survived his previous killing spree and thus serves the role of the prototypical Final Girl. Out of all the Batman love interests, Julie’s remained my favorite and it’s disappointing this story was her final appearance in the Golden Age Batman stories.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #219: The Witching Hour #1

Witching Hour #1 Cover
The Witching Hour #1 Cover by Nick Cardy

Title: The Witching Hour #1, a.k.a. “Anne, this isn’t about you”

Creators: Neal Adams, Pat Boyette, Dick Giordano, Dennis O’Neill, Alex Toth

Cover Artist: Nick Cardy

Summary: During DC’s latest foray into the horror / mystery arena, editor Dick Giordano conjured up a triumverate of witches to host an anthology series produced by some of comics’ biggest names. In this first issue, writer / artist Alex Toth provided a framing sequence (with an epilogue drawn by Neal Adams) that introduced readers to the cronish Mordred, motherly Mildred and beautiful Maiden Cynthia – as well as their bumbling pet zombie, Egor. Each witch then brewed a potent blend of horror and dark humor crafted by Toth, writer Denny O’Neil and artists Pat Boyette and Jack Sparling. It was an effective spell that would entrance a loyal audience long into the next decade.

Initial Thoughts

Wow Jude’s actually writing about DC Comics and it’s NOT incoherent ranting, who’d have guessed?

As part of my attempt to start Year Three off strongly, I’m including a review of my favorite of DC’s old horror anthology comics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Well, it’s up there alongside “Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love.”

DC had a whole slew of horror comics, “House of Mystery,” “House of Secrets,” “Tales of the Unexpected,” “Ghost Castle,” “Doorway Into Nightmare,” “Sinister House of Secret Love,” etc. “The Witching Hour” was first published way back in 1969 and ran for 85 issues before the main characters were transplanted to “The Unexpected” upon the book’s cancellation.

“The Witching Hour” stands among one of my favorites due solely to the hosts that narrated its stories. Every, well, most of the issues, had a framing device focusing on three witch sisters, Cynthia, Mildred, and Mordred. The issues would take place at midnight, where the sisters would welcome the reader and try to see which of the three had the most gruesome tale to tell.

I only own about a couple dozen or so issues ranging from most of the first ten to a few sporadic numbers throughout the run. From the handful I own I can clearly see the formulaic rot that set in, when the humorous framing stories were reduced to a one page joke opener that lacked the style and panache of the earliest comics.

The Three Witches In Sandman
Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred in The Sandman

The three witches were later incorporated as part of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” alongside many of the other horror host characters like Lucien from “Ghost Castle” and the brothers Cain and Abel. Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred were introduced as aspects of the Fates/Furies dubbed “The Three-In-One.” Cynthia was established to be the Maiden of the trinity, while Mildred was the Mother and Mordred (who acknowledges her name’s wrong) is the Crone.

They repeatedly appeared at least once per story arc but in different forms before becoming the antagonistic Kindly Ones in the comic’s penultimate tale.

As of recently, they’ve been popping up in some newer DC works. Cynthia appeared in 2018’s Valentine’s Day anthology as a love interest for DC’s version of the Bride of Frankenstein. The three were later antagonists in a Catwoman/Sylvester and Tweety crossover by Gail Simone and have been bedeviling Harley Quinn in her solo series.

The witches are truly the only reason why “The Witching Hour” remains my top fave of the horror anthologies, and they’ve been especially prominent in some of my DC story ideas. Onto the recap!

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #218: Graveyard School #16: Don’t Tell Mummy by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School #16 - Don't Tell Mummy
Graveyard School #16 – Don’t Tell Mummy Cover by Mark Nagata

Title: Graveyard School #16 – Don’t Tell Mummy, a.k.a. “Morton Explains It All”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: Please Don’t Feed The Mummies…

Take a Graveyard School class trip to the museum with Park and his friends. Sneak away from the others. Rattle the dinosaur bones. Jump out and say “Boo!” to the museum guard. Play a little hide-and-seek. But whatever you do, don’t go near the mummies. One of those mummies isn’t wrapped right, as Park found out just before he disappeared…

Initial Thoughts

Now we’ve reached a real treat in the Graveyard School franchise, and while it’s not one of my all time favorites I can understand why it’s so great. In this book, we’re introduced to one-shot character Morton who might be the franchise’s Ensemble Darkhorse. How do I know this?

I can say I was the person who created the Graveyard School wikipedia page AND the TV Tropes page, but some time later some person added entries and tropes pertaining to Morton. I know it wasn’t me, and it amazes me that Morton had some fans out there despite how obscure this wonderful series is. But it’s easy to see why because Morton’s awesome. She’s sarcastic and take charge and doesn’t take anyone’s bullshit.

Come everyone, come with me as we appreciate Morton.

Oh and Wing get ready for a surprise appearance from someone we haven’t seen since 2017.

[Wing: I love the sound of Morton, and I already wish she wasn’t just a one-shot.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #217: Short And Shivery by Robert D. San Souci – Part 2

GHOUL evening, boils and goops
It’s like if Tim Burton hosted an international buffet

Title: Short & Shivery a.k.a. “The Wide World of Horror”

Author/Editor/Reteller: Robert D. San Souci

Illustrator: Katherine Coville

Summary: Everyone loves a spooky story. Don’t you?

Welcome to a chilling world of hair-raising tales! The thirty stories in this book were gathered from around the world, selected for their ghastly details and terrifying twists. Come inside and meet the young miller’s daughter in “The Robber Bridegroom,” who may have discovered too late that she has been betrothed to a madman; the dancing skeleton who returns from the dead to haunt the friend who betrayed him in life; the Golem, who tires of serving his greedy master and suddenly turns evil; and intriguing characters in stories from the Brothers Grimm, Washington Irving, and other world-famous authors. But before you settle down in your cozy reading chair, check behind you… and keep all the lights on!

Initial Thoughts

Here’s the second of the three installments for the first “Short & Shivery” collection by Robert D. San Souci. Unfortunately Wing we still haven’t reached the werewolves yet, but we DO have a vampire story and one of my favorite monsters of all time, the Nuckelavee.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #216: Deadtime Stories #17: Faerie Tale by A.G. Cascone

GOT ANY SCABS?! They could be worth gold
Why HELLO, it’s me! The Scab Fairy!

Title: Deadtime Stories #17 – Faerie Tale, a.k.a. “Reject Ridge High”

Author: A.G. Cascone, a.k.a. Annette and Gina Cascone

Cover Artist: Mark Fredrickson

Tagline: This is no tooth fairy!

Summary: Who’s watching while you sleep?

The first time Colin saw the tooth fairy was after he’d lost his first baby tooth.

His parents laughed when he told them. They said it must have been his imagination. Kids never really see the tooth fairy.

But Colin kept seeing her every time he lost a tooth. And even though it was a little spooky to actually see a fairy, he still kind of liked it and felt pretty special.

But now that he’s older, Colin is starting to see other fairies in his room at night. Some of them are pretty scary looking. And they’re starting to take a lot more than baby teeth!

Before he knows it, Colin finds himself stuck in a truly grim fairy tale. And he doesn’t have much time to figure out how to escape.

Initial Thoughts

This month for Point Horror I’ve planned out a small fairy tale theme for my recaps. I decided on this months ago when I realized this month’s “Graveyard School” would be “Jack and the Beanstalker.” Well, even though with all the delays I’ve stuck to my decision. I never really get to talk about my interest in fairy tales so I saw this as a fun change of pace and a good way to start the new year.

“Faerie Tale” is the last of the Deadtime Stories series and it’s one of the more difficult entries to find. People used to charge ridiculous prices for it on Amazon, but I got lucky last summer and found a cheap copy. Now I’m sure you all remember how awful “Grandpa’s Monster Movies” was, but this book is a delight. In fact it’s one of the funniest YA horror books I’ve ever read. I’m sure part of that comes from my fascination with fairy tales, yet I won’t spoil all that happens.

Suffice to say though, the summaries aren’t exactly truthful over what happens in this book. I was always under the impression “Faerie Tale” was about a kid who could see fairies all his life, and as he got older they started to turn more malevolent and creepy looking. That’s not what happens at ALL.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #213: Short & Shivery by Robert D. San Souci – Part One

GHOUL evening, boils and goops
It’s like if Tim Burton hosted an international buffet

Title: Short & Shivery a.k.a. “The Wide World of Horror”

Author/Editor/Reteller: Robert D. San Souci

Illustrator: Katherine Coville

Summary: Everyone loves a spooky story. Don’t you?

Welcome to a chilling world of hair-raising tales! The thirty stories in this book were gathered from around the world, selected for their ghastly details and terrifying twists. Come inside and meet the young miller’s daughter in “The Robber Bridegroom,” who may have discovered too late that she has been betrothed to a madman; the dancing skeleton who returns from the dead to haunt the friend who betrayed him in life; the Golem, who tires of serving his greedy master and suddenly turns evil; and intriguing characters in stories from the Brothers Grimm, Washington Irving, and other world-famous authors. But before you settle down in your cozy reading chair, check behind you… and keep all the lights on!

Initial Thoughts

For my fairy tale theme, what makes a better fit than this collection of international folk tales and ghost stories? “Short & Shivery” has been a presence in my life since middle school, and I own all four volumes. Many of the stories had something of an impact on my writing, and recently I’ve been attempting to incorporate some of the creatures in these tales in my comic ideas.

Now I originally planned to recap all 30 stories in one post, but figuring this would take too long for me to do and for Wing to go through and comment I’ve decided to split it into 3 posts to cover all of the tales. Less frustration and anxiety trying to get it done. Enjoy these first ten tales.

[Wing: This is another set I’ve never read before, even though I love creepy short stories.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #212: Goosebumps Series 2000 #22: Full Moon Fever by R.L. Stine

Dee Wallace Stone to the rescue!
The Howling 2000

Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #22 – Full Moon Fever, a.k.a. “The Worst Goosebumps Ever 2000” [Wing: Spoilers: LIES AND DAMN LIES IT’S GREAT.]

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Hairy Halloween!

Summary: The blankets. The sheets. They were shredded.

Claws to bits.

Grunting, my chest heaving up and down. Raspy breaths escaping from my open mouth, I staggered across the bedroom to my mirror.

And stared at even more horror.

Tufts of short black fur grew from the back of my neck. Monstrous and ugly…

Initial Thoughts

So I was having a lot of trouble deciding what book to pick for this fairy tale theme I decided on. “Legend of the Lost Legend” involved folk tales, “Beware, the Snowman” a nursery rhyme (sort of), and “A Night In Terror Tower” was about a prince and princess. What made me decide to recap “Full Moon Fever” is because it involves what might be considered a folk tale or a ghost story, it’s another entry most people don’t talk about, I had a commission from a friend I wanted to show off, AND I knew Wing would enjoy more werewolves.

Well, they’re sort of werewolves.

I should mention this book’s reputation of being the worst of the Goosebumps 2000 books, which already doesn’t have a stellar rep. In fact, this is essentially considered a rehash of “Chicken Chicken” which is considered by many to be THE worst Goosebumps book. But hey, I went with it because of my seasonal nostalgia for some of the 2000 books, the same reason I recapped “The Werewolf in the Living Room” last year.

[Wing: That is the weirdest werewolf illustration I’ve ever seen, so I hope they are only sort of werewolves. That looks more like were … I don’t even know what. Some sort of weremarsupial?

Also, huge thanks to Dove who handled our recent site hack. She’s a rock star.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #211: Scary Godmother: Bloody Valentine Special by Jill Thompson

Oops wrong movie
No miners were harmed in the making of this comic

Title: Scary Godmother – My Bloody Valentine

Writer/Artist: Jill Thompson

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

Following up on my recap of the holiday story last month, here’s the obligatory Scary Godmother Valentine’s special. Because Vamlumtime’s is Serious Times!

Long live the King and Queen!
Max and Ruby by Toril Orlesky – One of my favorite fictional couples of all times

This issue puts the spotlight on Count Max and Ruby, the King and Queen of the Night, as they have their first fight ever! Jill gives us a good look into what makes Max and Ruby tick and how their differing personalities actually compliment one another. I know they’re certainly my favorite characters after Skully Pettibone, but it helps Max and Skully share the same voice actor (Scott freaking McNeil) in the animated movies.

But don’t worry Wing, there’s plenty of Harry the Werewolf in this. But there ARE a couple of spider mentions (no photos though).

[Wing: As always, I appreciate that warning. And oh my god, that cover is delightful.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #210: Rumic World: The Laughing Target by Rumiko Takahashi

Rumic World Cover
And you thought Glenn Close was bad

Title: The Laughing Target, a.k.a. “Yandere Saga”

Writer/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Summary: Yuzuru was an average teenager who had almost forgotten that he was betrothed to Azusa when he was only 6! Now arriving to claim what she feels is rightfully hers, only Satomi (Yuzuru’s current girl friend) stands in her way… and with the mysterious and frightening powers that Azusa brings, Satomi won’t stand in her way for long!

Initial Thoughts

(TW: Sexual Assault)

Just because “Mermaid Saga” is over doesn’t mean I’m done with Rumiko Takahashi, which is why I’ve picked another of her earlier horror works for February and Valentine’s Day.

Surprisingly there isn't much laughing
God Takahashi’s men all look alike but her artwork is still GORGEOUS

“Laughing Target” is a one-shot story from 1983, not as well known as her other works, but still a prominent example of her solo stories. It was one of the most highly promoted of the “Rumic World” banner, and one of the three solo tales adapted into an OVA.

Please keep in mind I have NO idea how I’m able to type the following information with a straight face, as this is the first time I’ve ever had to use the word “Yandere.” God I’m a nerd.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #209: Graveyard School #17: Jack and the Beanstalker by Tom B. Stone

I guess you could say this is pretty... grim
Beans, beans, the magical fruit…

Title: Graveyard School #17 – Jack and the Beanstalker, a.k.a. “Jude Deluca’s ‘Graveyard School Theater’”

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

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum! Now The Giant Is Going To Have Some Fun…

Jackson needs to earn some money – fast. When he mows old Mr. Thompson’s lawn, that’s what he thinks he’s going to get. Right? Wrong! Mr. Thompson pays Jackson with magic beans! Now Jackson’s back to square one, and when he throws the beans out the window, his money troubles don’t seem so big after all.

Initial Thoughts

Hello, I’m Jude Deluca and I’m doing an impersonation of Shelley DuVall. Welcome to “Graveyard School Theater.”

Many of us know that money can either be a source of great happiness, or the cause of great trouble. But unfortunately, tonight’s tale shows us that in Jackson Crowder’s case, it’s the latter. Come with me as we see how Jax finds himself in one harrowing situation after another, when something as simple as a broken window grows out of control into a problem of, shall we say, gigantic proportions.

Ladies and gentlemen, “Jack and the Beanstalker.”

[Wing: I’m so glad to see another recap of this series, because I still find it delightful, even though I never would have guessed how much I would love it back in the beginning.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #208: Grimm Fairy Tales #1: Red Riding Hood by Joe Tyler and Ralph Tedesco

No Means No Hood
The cover that started it all

Grimm Fairy Tales #1 – Red Riding Hood, a.k.a. “Little Red Abstinent Hood”

Writers: Joe Tyler & Ralph Tedesco

Pencils: Joe Dodd

Inks: Justin Holman

Colorist: Lisa Lubera

Designers: Jeffrey Ariola & Jason Sorrenti

Cover Artists: Al Rio (R.I.P.) and Tom Smith

Editor: J.C. Brusha

Summary:

Exploring the connection between sex and violence, the adaption of Little Red Riding hood confronts that line. The werewolf displays the lust and animal nature of sexuality while Red symbolizes the innocence and purity of love. The hunter is the balance between them both, taking you back close to the original story of the brothers Grimm rather than the doused down version we know today, the true moral behind the story is displayed.

A young girl with doubts about losing her virginity to her pushy boyfriend reads a story about Little Red Riding Hood in a book she finds beside her bed. The story of the fairy tale character parallels her own, and the ending of the updated story teaches her a lesson, which feels all too real.

[Wing: I mean, Little Red Riding Hood has always had sexual threat built into the story, but this will be interesting. That cover, though. Not feeling it.]

Initial Thoughts

Happy birthday, Wing! For the fairy tale theme this month I’m doing a recap featuring your favorite thing, WEREWOLVES! [Wing: I’m scheduling this to go up after my birthday, because I was too busy around my birthday to comment, but I love this as a gift recap.]

[Wing: I’m scheduling this to go up after my birthday, because I was too busy around my birthday to comment, but I love this as a gift recap.]

Zenescope’s “Grimm Fairy Tales” is a prime example of a sleeper hit. Back in 2005 when I was in high school, I found the first issue buried within the small pile of independent comics at my store. Being a horror comic and with my interest in fairy tales, I was immediately intrigued. Imagine my surprise when, despite the sexy cover done by the late Al Rio, it was a story about a girl being pressured into having sex by her boyfriend…

And she said no.

I missed the next two issues but attempted to support the series regularly. Unfortunately there were a number of delays with the following issues and I wasn’t sure when they were coming out, but I quickly got into buying GFT on a monthly basis. It was starting to grow pretty big, and spin-offs were being launched such as “Return to Wonderland.” Suffice it to say, nearly 15 years later and Zenescope Comics is still going strong and has created an entire world through their GFT series.

The basic premise of the original issues followed Sela Mathers, a mysterious woman with a book of fairy tales. Sela would present herself to the “Main Character of the Week” and show them a fairy tale relating to their current dilemma. Interestingly, Sela did not appear in the first issue, only her book did. And in the second issue she was startlingly different from every issue onward. It wasn’t long afterwards Sela became the main character as her past was explored, followed by the introduction of her arch-enemy, the redheaded Belinda. At that point an entire myth arc was constructed and I began to lose track as the series moved away from its original, episodic nature.

Unfortunately, I haven’t supported GFT in years. My comic shop became rather erratic in ordering the current issues and I completely lost track of the series by the time the 100th issue came around. Since I hadn’t done anything with Zenescope for a long time, and I needed the space in my boxes, I ended up selling my entire collection on eBay. However, I held on to the first issue (and the 2nd print of the 2nd issue) for sentimental reasons.

That being said, Zenescope and Grimm Fairy Tales will always be important to me because of one reason. It was by supporting “Return to Wonderland” that I befriended colorist Nei Ruffino on DeviantArt shortly after graduating from high school in 2008. Nei is the closest friend I’ve ever had, and the first real friend I made after getting out of the hell that was grade school. She’s been a part of my life for ten years, longer than any friend I’ve known. If it wasn’t for her presence in my life I genuinely doubt I’d be alive right now.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #206: Scary Godmother: Holiday Spooktakular by Jill Thompson

Santa who?
Merry Solstice from the Fright Side

Title: Scary Godmother in “The Search For Mister Boogeylegs”

Writer/Artist: Jill Thompson

Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

Last year I did a review of Jill Thompson’s “Dead Boys Detectives” manga from Vertigo, and decided to follow up with another work by the greatest comic creator of all time (Scott Snyder, eat your fucking heart out). Originally I planned to finish this last year but there simply wasn’t enough time.

I’ve been hyping up Scary Godmother for a while now in some of my other posts, so I figured now was the time to finally do a proper recap to share the magnificence of these stories with y’all.

[Wing: That cover is so much fun.]

But first, before we get into all that, let’s take a look at our intrepid cast.

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