Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight – Comic Review

The 90s are in again, thank god, and with it comes new editions of all the stuff we loved as kids: Full House, the Magic School Bus, Jumanji, Duck Tales, and now, Goosebumps. The iconic book series kicked off in 1993 with a TV series to follow in 1995. 2015 saw a live action movie edition of Goosebumps, with Jack Black starring as author R.L. Stine, and we should have known that would lead to more: a comic series of Goosebumps has arrived! The comic will be an anthology with three story arcs, each with their own author and illustrator.

The first story is ‘Monsters at Midnight’, penned by Jeremy Lamber, who worked on Attack on Titan Anthology, with art by Chris Fenoglio, who also provided the artwork for The X-Files: Origins. The comics, like the books, are for middle-grade readers.

Sisters Mia and Ginny are staying at their grandmother’s house for the summer, and they’re bored of it instantly. Older sister Mia is on crutches and is especially upset to be missing out on soccer camp. Younger sister Ginny is deeply asthmatic, so sports camp was never in the cards for her, and is more easy-going about the summer with Grandma — as long as she has candy to eat and books to read, she’s happy.

It’s the books that set the sisters off on their adventure. While out shopping with their grandmother one day, they pass by a spooky-looking bookstore called ‘Cursed Editions’ and Ginny wants to go inside. She’d been reading a book called Don’t Go in the Basement (certainly a play on Gooosebump’s second novel, Stay Out of the Basement) but left it at home, and wants to pick up a new copy. Grandma refuses, and that’s that.

Just kidding! What is the Goosebumps series without kids sneaking out and getting into trouble? Ginny noticed the store was open until midnight (unheard of hours for an independent bookstore) and begs Mia to help her sneak out after Grandma falls asleep. The girls head out and explore the bookstore, which is definitely not what either of the girls had been expecting. There’s a cat, a mysterious old lady behind the corner muttering what sounds like bad omens, and a section of books written entirely backwards that make Ginny start speaking entirely backwards. A disembodied voice in the dark leads the sisters into a back room marked “The Really Scary Stuff,” and it takes them outside directly to HorrorLand.

HorrorLand was first introduced in the book One Day at HorrorLand, about a theme park run by monsters. The concept was expanded into its own book series that ran from 2008 to 2011, this time bringing back characters and monsters from the original books to face off in the theme park. No word yet on if this HorrorLand will follow the same format (or take place in the same continuity), but we do get a glimpse of Slappy, the ventriloquist dummy who’s become series’ most iconic villain.

The art style of the book is bright and cartoony, clearly aiming itself at kids, but not in a way that looks immature or might turn off older readers. Older teens (or nostalgic adults, like myself) will get an extra kick out of it when they notice the Necronomicon from Evil Dead 2 sitting on the shelf in the bookstore. It’s a fun first foray back into the Goosebumps world, even if there are no real scares yet in this book. For kids, it could be a great read to get into the Halloween spirit.

Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight is available now from IDW Publishing. The second book will be released in November.

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