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!
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
THE OTHER BAD: We get a return performance of, UGH, Jude as the main character. God he sucks.
Continue reading »
Tales for the Midnight Hour Original Cover
Tales for the Midnight Hour 1986 Cover
Title: Tales for the Midnight Hour
Author: Judith Bauer “J.B.” Stamper
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!]
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.]
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.]
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…
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.]
Title: Scary Godmother – My Bloody Valentine
Writer/Artist: Jill Thompson
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!
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.]
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!
(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.
“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.
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.
Cover Artist: Mark Nagata
Summary: Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum! Now The Giant Is Going To Have
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
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.]
“‘Join the Horror Club’ she said. ‘It’ll be fun’ she said.'”
Title: Give Yourself Goosebumps #3 – Trapped in Bat Wing Hall, a.k.a. “Tales from the Krupnik Crypt”
Tagline: Going Batty!
Summary: Join The Horror Club…
Being the new kid in school is no picnic. At your old school you had tons of friends, but now you don’t even have one. Then you meet Nick. He asks you to join the Horror Club.
The Horror Club meets in an old mansion known as Bat Wing Hall. It’s dark. It’s spooky. And it’s where your adventure begins.
The members of the Horror Club are going on a scavenger hunt. If you join the red team, you find out the truth about your new friends – they’re actually monsters! One is a green-skinned reptile. Another is a hulking giant! If you join the blue team, you get turned into a furry-faced vampire bat!
The choice is yours in the scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure that’s packed with over 20 super spooky endings!
[Wing: UMMMM. Does this summary really spoil the paths? WTF, editors.]
Happy birthday to me. [Wing: Happy belated birthday!]
Following up from last year’s “Ghost Camp” review (and you guys probably expected me to cover the sequel) I decided to recap another of my lifelong favorite Goosebumps.
“Trapped In Bat Wing Hall” was one of the earliest GYG books I ever read. Back in elementary school it was one of the few Goosebumps books that consistently remained in my homeroom back in 4th or 5th grade. It took me years, if not decades, before I finally purchased a copy of my own. I loved it so much I even attempted to write a sequel that ultimately went nowhere.
I’m implementing the system I came up with when I reviewed “One Night In Payne House” this previous Halloween. Since the book diverges into two different storylines, the recap will consist of me covering both of them as far into a good ending as I can.
I feel Wing will very much enjoy some of the first storyline, but unfortunately there ARE spiders in this story. Not a giant, two-headed sentient ghost spider, but spiders nonetheless.
[Wing: I guess it could be worse… For other arachnophobes, right after the first path begins, there’s a drawing of the spiders. It’s not super detailed, but still.]
Evil twins, Wing and Dove, and their friends recap Point Horror and other teen genre fiction.
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