Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp is the start of a new Goosebumps adventure from writer Marieke Nijkamp and artist Yasim Florez Montanez, and is easily one of the best Goosebumps comics I’ve read yet.
In this first issue readers are introduced to Blake, a young teen who’s been sent to stay with her aunt Camila in the town of Fever Swamp for the summer. Blake is a fairly average teen, wanting to spend her time inside playing video games rather than having to go out and try to make new friends in this strange town. Despite this, her aunt insists on getting her to meet Lily, one of the local teens who’s into the same video game as Camila.
Camila seems to like Lily, but there’s some definite feelings of rivalry between the two of them, especially as Lily is one of the best players in the world. When Lily gets Camila to agree to accompany her into Fever Swamp later that night, Camila discovers that maybe monsters exist outside of her video game.
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This issue is very much set-up, and spends the majority of the book establishing the characters, which is great. By the time the issue is over readers have a very clear idea who Camila is, what makes her tick, and why she makes the choices she does during the book. Whilst we don’t get as long a time with Lily, she’s given enough of a personality that we can understand her motivations, and why she and Camila could have a competitive friendship.
One of the things that I really loved about Camila, however, is the fact that she’s a female lead who’s also Black and disabled. I’m sure there will be some people who’ll cynically say that this would be someone ticking boxes for inclusion, but this is actually some really nice representation.
Even though Camila is visibly disabled, having a prosthetic on her left arm, it doesn’t even come up until towards the end of the book, and even then when asked how she’s able to play video games because of it she simply replies ‘very well actually’ and shuts down any invasive questions; which is awesome. I’m not completely surprised that the book has some good representation, with both the writer and artist being women, but it is still really pleasant to find in what was a very male-centric franchise when I was a kid.
The book has a really nice art style too, and artist Yasmin Florez Montanez and colourist Rebecca Nalty work really well together, creating a look that’s clean and simple, that doesn’t overload the reader, yet manages to look really good at the same time.
This issue proves to be a great start to this new volume of Goosebumps, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1 is out now from IDW Publishing.