Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #158: Goosebumps #35: A 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 Fear Street Recaps

Recap #157: Ghosts of Fear Street #23: Why I’m Not Afraid Of Ghosts by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Title: Ghosts of Fear Street #23 – “Why I’m Not Afraid Of Ghosts,” A.K.A. “Let’s Scare Oliver To Death!”

Author: Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Cover Artist: Broeck Steadman

Tagline: Boo Who?

Summary: The Ghosts With The Most!

Robbie and Dora are the spookiest ghosts on Fear Street. At least, they think they are.

Until Oliver Bowen moves into their house.

Oliver can’t be scared! The kid has an explanation for everything. The sheet rising off a chair all by itself? Only the wind. The howls and moans at midnight? His sister having a nightmare. The horrible face in the attic window? Just a weird reflection.

But Robbie and Dora have a plan. A plan to scare Oliver out of his socks – and out of their house for good!

Initial Thoughts

I’ve had a recap in mind for this one since last year but I had trouble fitting it into the schedule. I managed to purchase this book back when there were a handful of “Ghosts of Fear Street” volumes still in-stock at Barnes & Noble. I remember ordering this one because it’s the only one that seemed interesting.

It truly is one of the best in the series because it’s one of the few books told from the point of view of the villains, even though Robbie and Dora aren’t really that bad. There’s a whole set of rules established for what they can and can’t do as ghosts that’s not really explored in the other books.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman is believed to have also ghostwritten two entries in the Goosebumps franchise, specifically “Return of the Mummy” and “Deep Trouble II,” even though Stine claims he wrote all of the books himself. I haven’t found any info that denies or confirms that info, but I do know she also wrote “I Was A Sixth Grade Zombie,” a later entry in this series which I also love and will be recapping in September.

Fair warning Wing, Oliver has a pet tarantula, but it doesn’t feature too heavily into the plot.

[Wing: Did Stine have a pet tarantula or something? They keep showing up in his books.]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #156: 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 Other Recaps

Recap #155: The Last Vampire #5: Evil Thirst by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 5: Evil Thirst by Christopher Pike
Last Vampire 5: Evil Thirst by Christopher Pike

Title: Last Vampire #5: Evil Thirst by Christopher Pike

Summary: Alisa’s daughter, Kalika, a bloodthirsty monster with powers far beyond Alisa’s, is gone. It is Alisa’s task to track her down and destroy her.

Yet Alisa still has trouble believing her daughter is totally evil. She still hopes to save Kalika, even if it means risking her own life—and perhaps the lives of everyone in the world.

Tagline: She had the power of a demon.

Initial Thoughts

I’ve been thinking about it, and I could have sworn I’ve read this one, too, but again, I have no recollection of what happened or where this is going. Also, I’m about to do some travelling and so have been writing a bunch of recaps so I can schedule them before I go; if I sound weird in this one, that’s probably why. Finally, I hope I don’t have to type that title too often, because I’ve already typoed it as Evil Thirsty. Twice.

Again, that cover looks super familiar, so if I haven’t read it, I must have owned it, but if I owned it, I would have read it — my brain my brain my brain.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #154: Mermaid Saga Parts 15-16: Mermaid’s Mask by Rumiko Takahashi

Image result for mermaid saga vol 4

Title: Mermaid Saga Parts 15-16 – Mermaid’s Mask

Creator: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

It’s Mother’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than by recapping yet another twisted mother/son dynamic from the mind of Rumiko Takahashi?

“Mermaid’s Mask” is the last story in the series, and is almost as bloody as “Mermaid’s Scar.” It’s one of the most terrifying entries in the title, and also the saddest, giving us a villain whose sympathy is on par with Towa Kannagi.

Unfortunately, one of the main characters doesn’t have a proper name, so I’ve given her the nickname “Masako” for reasons I’ll explain in the final thoughts section.

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Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #153: Nightmare Hall #12: The Whisperer by Diane Hoh

Diane Hoh - Nightmare Hall - The Whisperer
Diane Hoh – Nightmare Hall – The Whisperer

Title: Nightmare Hall #12: The Whisperer

Summary: Shea Fallon can’t tell anyone what she did. She knows it was wrong. Terribly wrong. But she had to do it – she had no choice. Anyway, she’s sure nobody will find out. Until she hears the whisper on the telephone. “You don’t have to worry. No one will know what you’ve done. I’ve seen to that.” Who is the whisperer, and how does he know? Shea wonders. And even more terrifying…what will the whisperer’s price be to keep her secret?

Tagline: Non.

Notes: I will refer to the bad guy/girl as The Whisperer since, well, that’s what they are!

Initial Thoughts

Welcome back, Diane Hoh. Why do you leave us? Your fill-in’s last contribution was real bottom of the barrel stuff and was almost my Last Date with the series. [Wing: Badumcha.]

As always, I have good memories of this, because it’s from Ms. Hoh. Shea’s big secret is that she cheated on an exam. I’ve never done that. Ironically enough, I’m not clever (or devious) enough to think up a scenario in which I could do so. I did okay, though. I got a degree. For all the good it did in securing a job. (I have had many jobs since university, of course, but my degree had nothing to do with any of them). I’m 38 and still paying the bloody thing off. And I have gone way off course… [Wing: Oh god, student loan debt. I hope this book is better than the last one. I need a distraction from weeping into my budget.]

[Wing: What with this being book 12, we’ve hit a year of Dade recapping Nightmare Hall! I’m glad we have so many books to come, still, because these recaps are a joy and a delight forever, and Dade continues to be a wealth of information about YA publishing in the 80s and 90s. Thank you for all you do, Dade!]

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #152: Graveyard School #13: Tales Too Scary to Tell at Camp by Tom B. Stone

 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 Other Recaps

Recap #151: 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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