Comics

Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight – Comic Review

The kid-friendly horror series that defined a decade returns to comics! Readers beware, you’re in for a scare!

Brave the spine-tingling world of R.L. Stine to uncover the thrills and chills of the first ever Goosebumps comic series to feature original stories! Kicking things off is a new creepy carousel spin on HorrorLand! When Mia and Ginny go to stay at their Grandma’s mothball-filled house for the summer, boredom forces them to venture out into her tiny town. But, soon, what appears to be a dusty used bookstore plunges them into an upside-down world of terror!

Author: Jeremy Lambert

Artist: Chris Fenoglio

Pages: 80

The trade for Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight has finally hit the shelves! The first installation of the Goosebumps anthology comic is a fun, kid-friendly foray into the Goosebumps world with the kind of “is it really over?” ending the books were famous for.

Monsters at Midnight is written by Jeremy Lambert with art by Chris Fengolio. Part one hit shelves last October, and we were fans. To recap, the story started with sisters Mia and Ginny stuck spending the summer at their grandmother’s house in a sleepy little town. A mysterious haunted bookstore and a book written backwards that Ginny recites transports (clearly she’s too young to see horror movies or else she’d know — never recite strange texts you find!) the girls to HorrorLand.

HorrorLand is a little after my time — the concept was introduced in Goosebumps’ original run but was more fleshed out in its own series that ran from 2008 to 2011. The 19 book series explored the mythology of HorrorLand more, the different areas of the theme park and the monsters that reside there. But that background knowledge isn’t necessary for Monsters at Midnight. It’s a haunted theme park run by monsters and Slappy is there, what more do you need to know?

Once the girls enter HorrorLand, Slappy quickly informs them there’s no way out, and now they’re just along for whatever ride he has planned. Slappy and a group of monsters take the girls for a quick walk through some of the spooky attractions at the park, from a Monster Blood beverage stand to a house of mirrors where Mia sees warped reflections of her disapproving parents. Next stop: the water park, where Slappy shoves the girls into barrels and down the zombie-infested river.

Ginny accidentally grabs Irk, the first monster they met in the park. Irk is small and not super scary and gets picked on by Slappy and the other monsters, and it’s quickly clear that she doesn’t quite belong in HorrorLand. Despite her insistence on being big and scary, Irk saves Ginny from the lake monsters and starts to help the girls find a way to escape.

Irk is a fun monster that I think lots of kids will enjoy. She’s almost cute! I could see plush toys of Irk. I hope she continues to appear in other Goosebumps stories, because a small, likable monster helping the humans is a fun idea.

Of course, Mia and Ginny are able to escape the house of horrors with some help from Irk, and make it back home to their parents. But all may not be well, as Slappy, a skeleton and the creepy old lady from the bookstore all seem to make it back with them. While it’s the end of the book, it may not be the end of the story.

Goosebumps comics are operating as an anthology currently, with different writers and artists tackling different stories. Monsters at Midnight is technically wrapped up, but with the teasing ending it’s hard not to assume we’ll see more of these characters in some form. Maybe there’ll be a crossover with another story? The HorrorLand books saw different kids getting lost in the theme park and eventually teaming up, could something similar happen here where more kids fall into Slappy’s trap, and eventually find Ginny, Mia and Irk?

But even if this is the end, Monsters at Midnight works as a complete story that’s fun and engaging. It’s an action-packed and quick read, and middle-grade readers (or us fans who grew up on the book series) will be able to devour it quickly.

Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight is now available as a collected trade paperback from IDW Publishing.

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