It’s that time of the year again! The time where children come knocking on your door for candy, teenagers go to their first Halloween party and get toasted on peach vodka, and your local TV stations are running midnight horror marathons as if it’s the only time of year you ever watch horror movies. You can smell it in the air, can’t you? It’s Halloween! The time of the three G’s: ghouls, goblins, and Goosebumps. A classic of children entertainment, R. L. Stines Goosebumps has haunted the dark corners of kids lit since the early 90’s and it’s seems like IDW Comics is not done with it yet. The newest comic addition, Monsters at Midnight, evokes the adventure feeling of the classic work while bumping it up for the next generation of readers. Though not offering any real original monsters or scares, the comic does serve as solid homage to its predecessor for fans who grew up on the series.
The comic focuses on two sisters who are spending the summer with their grandmother in an oak lined, New England city somewhere in Vermont I’m guessing. Hoping to read the ending of her book “Don’t Go in the Basement,” the youngest, Ginny, spots a book store that’s mysteriously open until midnight and begs to go in, only to be refused by her grumpy older sister. Of course, no child adventurer would ever be stopped by something so petty and convinces her sister to go with her later that night, but even her tenacity couldn’t prepare her for the creepiness that is a midnight book store. When a mysterious doorway beckons Ginny through, suddenly, the book store becomes the least of their worries.
Monsters at Midnight is a lot like the Goosebumps movie. Campy fun with a lot of solid throw backs but not an actual original addition to the Goosebumps mythos. That being said, there are a lot of things to love about it. The sisters, Ginny and Mia, act like real sisters. They fight, they cut deals, they worry about each other, the whole nine yards. Mia, being at least seven years older than Ginny, is packed solid with puberty and is so upset about not being able to go to Camp Jellyjam that she keeps wearing her soccer uniform even with a broken leg. Ginny, on the other hand, is a high-energy handful that won’t let her asthma slow her down. They’re very relatable characters, a characteristic that really set apart the initial Goosebumps series from other children books. They honestly feel like friends you’ve had or siblings you grew up with. If you were ten years old and these guys tried to talk you into sneaking out at night to go to a scary bookstore, you’d do it in a heartbeat.
Unfortunately, this is one of those comics that’s only entertaining to those who have spent years reading the series. As mentioned, aside from an introduced sidekick, there are no original monsters or twists, it’s all (spoiler alert) old monsters such as Slappy the Dummy. Basically, the duo ends up visiting a theme park full of other creatures from the Goosebumps series. It’s a fun homage, but much like the aft-mentioned movie, unless you read the series or really love every monster in the series, it’s kind of boring. It’s not a Goosebumps comic, it’s ABOUT Goosebumps. It would’ve been much more interesting to see a new story with new monsters or even old monsters in a sequel, but reading what is basically “Goosebumps the Reunion” just seems kind of unoriginal. That’s not to say it’s not a fun read. It’s a great little addition to any monsters lovers library and will surely please even the most hardcore of Goosebumps fans.
Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight is out now!
Words: Svetlana Fedotov