A new woman comes to town and buys the old, haunted Whaley house. But something seems just a little odd, and Rose, Becca, and Carlos are irresistibly drawn to check it out. What will they find? Goosebumps is back as we review Goosebumps: Horror of the Witch House #1 from IDW Publishing.
Writer: Denton J. Tipton and Matthew Dow Smith
Artist: Chris Fenoglio
Colorist: Valentina Pinto
Letterer: Christa Miesner
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 1, 2019
This is an all-new story arc in the Goosebumps series. Last time, it was a creepy, haunted phone that brought out the monsters. This time, a strange entrepreneur buys a haunted house.
AH, THE OLD HAUNTED WHALEY PLACE
Goosebumps: Horror of the Witch House #1 opens with a realtor pitching an old house to a young woman. It turns out that the house has a reputation for being haunted. No one wants to buy it. It’s truly a steal. The woman takes it.
We meet Rosie, a young girl whose way to school takes her right past the old Whaley house. She knows it must be haunted, and hates to go past it, but it is the quickest way to school. She’s excited to have some news to tell the other kids, and we realize that she is one of those quiet kids, the not-popular ones. But once she arrives, the cute guy, Carlos, is already telling people all about it. His brother is a barista, and sold the woman a fancy coffee drink. We learn that her name is Veruca (or “Viruka” on her coffee cup), and that she is a multimillionaire from Silicon Valley. At school, we also meet Becca, student-athlete and skeptic about ghost stories.
The coffee cup bit amused me. I have a friend whose name has been epically misspelled on coffee cups all across the country.
That evening, there’s a welcome party in town to meet Veruca Curry. Becca sits next to Rosie and they meet and talk for a bit. The Mayor makes a big introduction, and as Veruca takes the microphone, a large, tall man sits right in front of the two girls. So the two of them don’t see what happens when Veruca holds out a coin and snaps her fingers, and everyone else in the audience gets a kind of dazed looks – they only see the aftermath.
Later that night, there is hammering and sawing going on at the Whaley house. Rosie hears it from her bedroom. Becca hears it on her way home from practice. And Carlos hears it on the way home from his friend’s house after a trip to the mall. All of them are individually intrigued and meet in the woods with a little jump scare. And then they decide to investigate together.
I know these stories are somewhat formulaic. But this one is just very neatly laid out. The characters are diverse and fun. There’s a supernatural mystery afoot, and I suspect our young people are the only ones who avoided some kind of hypnotism or magic spell, so they will have to investigate.
FUN AND LIVELY WITH A TOUCH OF CREEPY
The art of Goosebumps: Horror of the Witch House #1 is bold and energetic. There is a cartoony feel, which fits the story well. There are also a lot of little touches in the art that support the story so well, and are humorous. The establishing shot of the haunted house shows the realty sign, with a picture of the realtor. By his hair and dress in the photo, compared to seeing him in the same pose in the next panel, we can tell this house has been in the market for a LONG time. Veruca Curry has a fabulously sinister smile, so we know instantly she’s up to no good. And the house has so many spider webs in the corners, something must be wrong with it.
I love the kids in this book too. I suspect almost every reader will find someone to identify with. I like that when they go investigating, two of them are using their phones as flashlights. Rosie actually has a flashlight, but then she came from her house, where she could reasonably grab one. Rosie, normally the shy one, actually takes the lead here, which is kind of cool.
BOTTOM LINE: A LITTLE SUPERNATURAL INVESTIGATION
You know by the title who Goosebumps: Horror of the Witch House #1 is aimed at. Dear readers, I am well old enough to be out of the prime demographic, but I enjoyed this book. There’s humor, there’s a solid set up of the mystery, and we have some intrepid young people to figure it all out. It’s well-paced, fun, and lightly spine-tingly.
Goosebumps: Horror of the Witch House #1
There’s humor, there’s a solid set up of the mystery, and we have some intrepid young people to figure it all out. It’s well-paced, fun, and lightly spine-tingly.