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Goosebumps has a comic book series recently that’s published by IDW, and they currently come in two stories of 3 issues each, with each story having a different writer and artist.
Monsters at Midnight
This really disappointed me. Basically, two sisters go to a bookstore because one of them badly wants a certain book. This turns out to be a bad idea, as suddenly, when they go outside, monsters are everywhere, and Slappy the Dummy (from the “Night of the Living Dummy” books) is taunting the girls.
The story is basically the same as “One Night at Horrorland”. In that, it’s basically about kids who get stuck in a situation where lots of scary randomness attacks them. That is, it’s basically a glorified funhouse. Look, the kids climbed into coffins to ride as boats down a river, and then the coffins slammed shut and trapped them inside for a short while just to scare them. Oh look, now sea monsters are trying to pull them under. Oh look, now the ground broke out underneath one of the kids, and she feel down below and got hurt.
It’s randomness, with Slappy serving as more or less the overlord of this place. There’s no real plot to speak of. It’s just the heroes scared by the randomness that attacks them.
Download and Die!
I expected at least a bit more from this one, and I got a lot more. Basically, remember “Say Cheese and Die!”, with the evil camera? Now imagine a smartphone with evil apps.
Three gamer girls in middle school are hooked on online gaming and mobile phones, as everyone is these days. One of the girls has her phone broken by bullies, and a new phone mysteriously arrives in the mail with new apps to mess around with. She wonders if the girl she has a crush on sent it to her, then decides to go use it. Stuff goes wrong.
She surreptitiously takes a photo of the bullies and applies a “sick” filter, and shortly afterwards, they do become sick and start vomiting, which she assumes is a coincidence. She also plays a mobile game involving “Creeps” invading various US cities and sending cookies with seeds planted in them – a reference to the book “Calling All Creeps” and its plot.
Slappy shows up again – this time to taunt one of our protagonists in a nightmare sequence. All this is in the first issue, which ends on a cliffhanger.
Yes, way more actual plot happens in just the first issue of “Download and Die!” alone, in only 22 pages, than through all of “Monsters at Midnight”!
Tenative grade: A-
The comics seem to be inspired by the original books in the Goosebumps series, as far as their plots go. There’s modernization in both characters (gamer girls, racial diversity, a lesbian) and themes (mobile phones, online gaming). It’s handled pretty well, I think. The use of Slappy the dummy as a recurring villain struck me as excessive, but I see potential with these comics.
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