Title: Goosebumps Series 2000 #8 – “Fright Camp,” a.k.a. “Return of the Go-carts from the Evil Kingdom!”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus
Cover Tagline: Where the wild things are… out of control!
Ad Tagline: You’re not going to play baseball.
You’re not going to go swimming.
You’re going to get scared!
I lowered my head and started to swim slowly, steadily out to the white, floating platform. I was four or five strokes away from it when I felt something wrap around my ankle.
At first, I thought it was a piece of seaweed.
But then I felt it grip me. I thrashed the water with both hands.
But the hard, bony hand held on, tugging me, tugging me underwater.
So for this summer I picked one GYG book, a G2000 book, and an original Goosebumps book to review alongside the Graveyard School recaps.
I wouldn’t say “Fright Camp” is one of my favorites but I’m definitely fond of it. It’s one of the oldest of the 2000 books I own, which I acquired from a friend of my brother’s way back when we still lived in the basement apartment of the house.
I enjoy “Fright Camp” for the same reason I enjoy “Shocker on Shock Street” and “One Day at Horrorland,” the world building. There are a number of horror movies mentioned in this book and they’re all fucking ridiculous and I love them all.
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?
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.]
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
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:
An escaped mental patient who found work as a school janitor, and then kills the group of boys who humiliate him
Three bikers who rob an elderly Native American man and are turned into old people because of his stash of weed
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.
There were seven of us when we started out. Someone – I think it was James – said that seven was a magic number. That magicians – real magicians like Merlin, the wizard, not the ones who pull rabbits out of hats – had always believed it was a powerful number. One that protected from harm.
Hah. Some magic.
But then, we didn’t stay seven long. One by one the group grew smaller. And finally there were only two of us left.
Two is not a magical number. When one of the two is a murderer.
In loving memory of Miss Anne C. Wilson, principal of Garfield Elementary School, Ottumnwa, Iowa, who always told me I would be a writer of books someday.
Tagline: Alone with a friend – or a killer?
Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. Also doesn’t mean it’s ever successful at killing/pranking/whatevering.
Memories: I have never read this one before, which is actually really weird. I am a completest, and I have read (and enjoyed) Class Trip II numerous times. Yet, despite Class Trip II clearly being a sequel to something, I never, ever went in search of the original. The fact that I read the sequel before tracking down the original is strange enough, but the fact that I never even tried to find the first book, never even thought about it, that is really, really weird. (I don’t know who I am anymore!) Dramatic hyphenation and choppy sentences aside, I love the premise of this book already (And Then There Were None is one of my favorite Agatha Christie books), and since I did enjoy Class Trip II, I’m hoping this lives up to my expectations.