Where evil twins and friends come together to lovingly snark Point Horror and other teen genre fiction
 

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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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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Recap #201: Fear Street #17: The Best Friend by R.L. Stine

A gift from Becka's BBFF

Maybe she can get store credit?

Title: Fear Street #17 – The Best Friend, a.k.a “Baby’s First Fear Street”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: Sometimes friendship can be murder….

Summary: Best friends… to the end!

Who is Honey Perkins? She’s been telling everyone in Shadyside that she’s Becka Norwood’s best friend. But Becka’s sure she’s never met Honey before.

Honey systematically moves in on Becka’s life, copying her in every way. But when Becka presumes to have more than one “best friend,” the horrible accidents begin.

Does Honey just want a friend? Becka wonders. Or does she want more – much more!

Initial Thoughts

This is where it all began for me. I remember like it was yesterday. Me, a young child, with my mom and Nana in K-Mart looking at the book section. When suddenly I saw a small paperback with the image of a teenage girl horrified by a Christmas present in her lap. Upon closer inspection, I saw the present had a knife sticking out of it.

Even though I didn’t know what the title was, the memory of that cover stuck with me for a while. It was a couple of years later when I learned I was looking at “The Best Friend” in R.L. Stine’s teen series, “Fear Street.” I had no idea at the time Stine wrote this book, so it was an amazing coincidence that the book I remembered was also written by the guy who wrote “Goosebumps.”

Coincidence? Or maybe fate?

As you can guess, people have described this book as “Single White Female on Fear Street.” Of course I’ve never seen the movie myself.

Re-reading this book for the first time in years, I found myself feeling genuinely unsettled and disturbed by what went on. I knew of course the plot and what happened, but not from repeated re-reads. For some reason, the reviews I’ve seen of this book have derided Becka, the main character, as annoying and a bad friend. Honestly, I don’t see it. Becka’s probably one of the biggest victims in the entire franchise because of what Honey Perkins does to her life in this story.

Best BEST friends

Becka Norwood and Honey Perkins by Nanihoo – Nanihoo has been an absolute joy to commission this past year. She’s done numerous design commissions and helped me flesh out one of my comic ideas farther then I’ve ever gone in years

[Wing: That is such a fun piece of art!]

Oh and FYI, when R.L. Stine signed my copy last year, he told me everyone HATED the ending when it came out. Which probably explains how “The Best Friend 2” happened.

[Wing: Damn it, Stine, stick to your guns!]

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Recap #196: Spellbound by Christopher Pike

Spellbound by Christopher Pike

Spellbound by Christopher Pike

Title: Spellbound by Christopher Pike

Summary: No one knew how the girl had died.

They found Karen Holly in the mountain stream, her skull crushed. There was only one witness to the tragedy, Karen’s boyfriend, Jason Whitfield. He said a grizzly had killed her. But a lot of people didn’t believe him. They thought Jason had murdered her in a fit of rage.

And now weeks have passed, and Jason has another girlfriend, Cindy Jones. And there are the new kids in town, Joni Harper, the quiet English beauty that Cindy’s brother, Alex, cannot get out of his mind. And Bala, the foreign exchange student from Africa, the grandson of a powerful shaman.

Together they will return to the place where Karen was killed.

Some will die.

The others will come face to face with a horror beyond imagining.

Tagline: You can close your eyes….It won’t help. [Wing: Except, spoilers, that’s exactly what it does.]

Initial Thoughts

This is one of my favourite Pike books, though not my absolute favourite. There are monstrous women and full moons and hunger, and it is all pretty great — except for that girls fighting over boys and boys fighting over girls and racism everywhere. /o\

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Recap #190: Cursed (2005)

Title: Cursed (2005)

Summary: A werewolf loose in Los Angeles changes the lives of three young adults who, after being mauled by the beast, learn that the only way to break the curse put upon them is to kill the one who started it all! [Wing: There is so much wrong with this summary.] [bat: It didn’t sell me on watching it, that’s for sure.]

Tagline: Beware the full moon. [Wing: So simple. So cheesy. So perfect.] [bat: Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.]

Initial Thoughts

This movie is kind of terrible and a whole lot ridiculous and I love it so, so much. Unrated version all the way, so you know. [bat: UNRATED VERSION IS TRUE CANON; IGNORE THE STUPID RATED VERSION!]

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Recap #182: After the Hole by Guy Burt

After the Hole by Guy Burt

After the Hole by Guy Burt

Title: After the Hole by Guy Burt

Tagline: Death is always to be found beneath the ground.

Summary: On a bright spring day in England, six teenagers laugh and joke as they make their way to a neglected part of the institution they mockingly call Our Glorious School. Hidden in the dark hollow of a buttress is the door to a small windowless cellar. Behind the door, the old stairs have rotted away. A boy unfurls a rope ladder and five descend into The Hole. The sixth closes the cellar door, locks it from the outside, and walks calmly away down the flagstone path.

The idea is simple. While their parents think they are on a field trip, and the school thinks they’re at home, Frankie, Geoff, Alex, Mike, and Liz will spend three days locked in The Hole. Martyn will remain above ground, promising that when the five emerge into daylight, they’ll have been part of the greatest prank the infamous schemer has ever engineered.

The three days pass predictably: a lot of talking, some booze, flirting, a few friendly fights. At five P.M. on the third day, they drink a celebratory bottle of vodka and wait for the mastermind to arrive and release them. Thirty hours later, they realise that Martyn is not coming to let them out… ever.

Note: As before with the movie, I will take scenes at their face value and comment on them, and then loop back if they are contradicted/expanded. I’ll actually use footnotes for this though – it will be a number in square brackets. They may even be links if WordPress lets me. This makes it a very hard book to recap, so bear with me.

[Wing: I’m scheduling this post to go public on the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, because it is the start of my favourite season, and this is a creepy and twisty way to start it, and it is also a sad family day from which I want to be distracted.]

Warning: There is a rape in this book. I’ve tried to keep the language I use as non-threatening as possible, and keep discussion of it down to a minimum. However, it’s there. You have been warned.

Initial Thoughts:

This is less initial thoughts and more a warning. If you want to read the book, go read the book. It’s a lot easier now than it was in 2003, when I read it. I had to get an out-of-print second-hand copy from a seller on Amazon marketplace, using a friend’s account (my ex got me blacklisted for six years from 2001 onwards), because eBay didn’t have it.

It’s on the kindle now. It’s £3.99. Go read it, because if you’re interested you’ll enjoy the book much more if you just read it, rather than read my recap (which is spoilerific), and then the book.

The book doesn’t have much in common with the movie, so seriously, this is your last chance, go buy it and read it. It’s about the length of the average Sweet Valley Twins, so it’s like an hour out of your day. And you might enjoy it.

(Oh, and forgive some of the prose. Guy Burt was seventeen when he wrote it.)

Also, I’m actually going to note the chapters in this, because it becomes very significant later, and you may want to check something. You’re welcome.

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Recap #179: Mermaid Saga Parts 8-9: Mermaid’s Promise by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Parts 8-9 – “Mermaid’s Promise”

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

So we’ve reached the last of the stories that feature Yuta AND Mana. The following, which will be the last recap, takes place during Yuta’s past.

I’m not sure how to feel about this because we get a glimpse at what happens when Yuta gets too close a normal human, but unlike with Rin it wasn’t cut off soon enough.

Unfortunately, the story tends to cut back between the present day and the past a LOT, which can be jarring while trying to recap. I apologize if it causes any confusion.

And of course Mana continues to be a badass and a delight.

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Recap #175: Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Title: Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Summary: Leslie can’t wait to turn sixteen. She’s planning a huge birthday Party. Everyone’s invited. Her gorgeous boyfriend, Rick. Her best friend, Deborah. Her cousin, Trish. It’s going to be the biggest bash ever. [Wing: That … that is a list of three people. THREE.]

But out of the blue, weird things start happening. Scary things. She nearly gets knocked down by a runaway car. People start getting hurt. It seems like someone doesn’t want Leslie to make it to sweet sixteen.

But a few little accidents won’t scare Leslie. She is going to have her party. Even if it kills her…

Tagline: Sweet sixteen and never been…killed

Initial Thoughts

Hi guys! How’ve you been? I’ve been great, lots of exciting stuff happening (to any American readers with Arthritis you may see my face advertising your medication very soon [Wing: Well that’s interesting!]), but I’m so happy to be back doing a recap which I hope y’all enjoy!

As a child I really liked this book and really wanted a huge sweet sixteen….I’m going to be honest, while reading this book I kept trying to remember what I did for my sixteenth and I have absolutely no memory of even turning 16. I think I went for a meal with my friends? Or we snuck out and went clubbing? But I did that a lot so it wasn’t a sixteen thing, it was more like a Saturday thing. I remember when I turned 13 I went to the cinemas with a bunch of friends and my mum. In my family, it was more of a celebration to turn eighteen or twenty-one. I definitely remember my twenty-first, I don’t remember my eighteenth.

I may need to see someone…..

Anyway I did enjoy this book, it wasn’t as awesome as I remember but I didn’t hate it (Side eyes Halloween 2) The ableism was annoying as hell but there wasn’t a lot of it and Leslie was a solid character who was easy to empathise with.

[Wing: Aaaah, Sweet Sixteen. Mine was a party, but it was in that weird time where I wasn’t quite out of the church cult yet but I was involved with decidedly non-church-cult-friendly people like Ostrich, so the party was mostly church cult people (surprisingly enough, because church cult didn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, though it had loosened up a bit by then), but then later on there was drinking. Fun times.]

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Recap #167: Mermaid Saga Parts 13-14: Mermaid’s Gaze by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid’s Saga Parts 13-14 – Mermaid’s Gaze

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

We’ve come to one of my favorites in the series, but it’s sad because this story’s never gotten an animated adaption.

We’ll also be visiting another twisted sibling dynamic like the Kannagi Sisters from “Mermaid’s Forest,” but this goes much differently than you’d think.

There is, however, talk of suicide in this.

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Recap #164: Nightmare Hall #13: Monster by Diane Hoh/Barbara Steiner

Nightmare Hall - Monster by Diane Hoh

Nightmare Hall – Monster by Diane Hoh

Title: Nightmare Hall #13: Monster

Summary: Rumors are flying around Salem U. Stories about a monster roaming the campus. Tales of students viciously attacked in the dead of night. Abby McDonald thinks it’s all nonsense. A fraternity prank. A drama major giving an unusual “performance”. She has too much on her mind to worry about a monster. But she should be worried. Because the truth about the monster is even more horrible than she could have imagined….

Tagline: None

Notes: I will refer to the bad guy as…wait for it…the monster!

Initial Thoughts

Diane Hoh is missing in action again this round, but thankfully, so is Nola Thacker! This time our ghostwriter is none other than Barbara Steiner, who released a few Point horror books (The Phantom, The Mummy, Spring Break) back in the day, but was actually quite prolific in teen YA horror fiction, with a bunch of titles written for the publisher Avon Flare (The Dreamstalker, The Photographer, The Photographer II: Dark Room, Night Cries, Deathline, The Coffin, and the Dark Chronicles trilogy, The Dance, The Gallery and The Calling). I’ve read them all, except for The Coffin and The Calling, and have always found her to be a rather “meh” writer. I remember “meh” being my overall reaction when I read this for the first time in my teens, although I can’t remember much else about it. She can’t be worse than Thacker, though, can she?

[Wing: I liked most of The Phantom, which may be the only book of hers I’ve read, but she did not pull off the ending, so I don’t have high hopes. Especially because with a title and a summary like that, I want this to be a werewolf book. It’s probably not a werewolf book. I’m already primed to be disappointed.]

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