As a child of the 90s, I remember reading Goosebumps novels and adoring them. The way that the plot always seemed like entirely face-value horror but then twisted at the end was my favorite. Fast-forward to today and I’m a 30-year-old man who still loves scary things. Seeing an opportunity to review a new addition to the Goosebumps stories I knew I had to take it. While it doesn’t quite live up to my memories of the old series, as a comic for children, IDW Comics’ Goosebumps: Horrors of the Witch House #1 from writers Denton J Tipton and Matthew Dow Smith, artist Chris Fenoglio, colorist Valentina Pinto, and letterer Christa Miesner, is a fun, if not a little light, introduction to the new series.
Our story opens with a woman purchasing a run-down old house. The woman is revealed to be Veruca Curry, a tech millionaire who is moving into town. As we soon discover, the house that she has selected is considered haunted by the community at large.
We are then introduced to our protagonists, the sweet but lonely Rosie, sporty Becca, and popular Carlos. Though these three don’t interact much with one another, we get a glimpse into each of their lives during a normal school day. It seems the town and the school are abuzz with rumors of the new resident and her house. The evening after school an assembly is held for the town to meet Curry. Rosie and Becca both attend for their own reasons, but something strange happens while they are there. Soon enough the townspeople begin behaving strangely and it seems like only the three children can get to the bottom of it.
The script for this comic does a good job of introducing the setting and giving us a cursory feel for who the characters are. The characters are given a little more depth than I would have anticipated, which is nice. For example, Becca is shown as being a fan of athletics. However, she is also shown as being sensible about the dangers of putting all of her eggs in that basket. The story setup is intriguing, and I’m interested in seeing what the patented “Goosebumps Twist” will be. Writers Tipton and Smith are clearly enjoying putting the pieces in place.
Fenoglio’s art does a good job of making the characters and the action clear. Their style matches the Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe that a Goosebumps story should always strive for. Paired with that are Pinto’s colors that help bring everything to life. Miesner’s lettering is clean and well balanced in the panels. Overall the pages are stylish and enjoyable to look at while simultaneously keeping the visual side of the story present.
I wish there had been a little more meat to this comic, honestly. I’m sure that a healthy amount of this feeling is just nostalgia and rose-tinted glasses. But maybe that’s the point. I found the story’s ending enticing and I’ll definitely check out issues two and three to see where the plot goes. It just felt pretty light, even for an introduction. If you’re looking for a good comic for kids or young adolescents then I would highly recommend this for them. If you’re an older reader hoping to find the same fun you had back when you were that age, this might not be for you. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing more from Goosebumps: The Horrors of the Witch House and its talented creative team.
Goosebumps: Horrors of the Witch House #1 will be available in comic stores everywhere May 1st, 2019
Rating: 4/5 Neighbors, who might also be monsters?