Book Review: Goosebumps Graphix: Creepy Creatures
Publication Date: September 1, 2006
· R.L. Stine
· Gabriel Hernandez
· Greg Ruth
· Scott Morse
by R.J. Carter
Published: August 28, 2006
R.L. Stine's Goosebumps tales get a graphic novel makeover in this hardcover trilogy of terror from Scholastics fledgling imprint, Graphix.
The first creepy creature the readers will encounter is "The Werewolf of Fever Swamp". Gabriel Hernandez's sometimes sketchy pencilwork gives the story a visceral, earthy feel that fits the mood nicely.
In the story, Grady and his family have just moved to Fever Swamp so his parents, ecologists, can study some swamp deer they plan to later release into the environment. But within a few days, a predator makes his presence known, attacking the helpless deer and killing some. Is it the stray dog, Wolf, that Grady has recently befriended? Or is it the werewolf he's been hearing legends about from the neighboring children -- and is that werewolf really the hermit who lives out in the middle of the swamp? By the end of this story, you'll come face to face with the werewolf of Fever Swamp, in a traditional R.L. Stine "gotcha" moment.
The second tale, "The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight", is an adaptation by Greg Ruth, whose shaded pencils are reminescent of Richard Corben's older works. Jodie and Mark make their annual visit to their grandparents' farm in this scary story. But they can't help but notice that grandma and grandpa aren't quite as jovial as they used to be. Then they begin to see strange movements at night, out in the fields. That's when they learn that Stanley, the mentally challenged farmhand, has set out to earn respect by using his book of superstitions to bring the scarecrows to life. But when he loses control of them, it's up to Jodie and Mark to find a way to save the farm -- and their lives!
The final tale is, perhaps, the most disappointing of the trio. "The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena" doesn't really contain that much in the way of horror. But beyond that, the goofy stylings of Scott Morse seem much more suited to the Cartoon Network than to an adaptation of a spooky story. The story centers on practical joker Luiz, who gets to go with his sister on an expedition led by his father into the frozen arctic. What they find there is a frozen abominable snowman, which they bring back with them to their sunny home of Pasadena. This one's an easy skip.
But, two out of three isn't bad. With a nice hardcover presentation and a new way to tell stories that Scholastic already has a license on, this Graphix offering will certainly be welcomed by little boys and ghouls who are already fans of the Goosebumps novels.