Writer – Marieke Nijkamp
Artist – Yasmin Florez Montanez
If you are my age, you were raised on a steady diet of Goosebumps and Fear Street books and TV shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Tales from the Crypt. I was perusing the new releases on Midtown Comics and saw Goosebumps – Secret of the Swamp from IDW Publishing and ordered it for nostalgia’s sake.
Blake is a teenager spending her summer in Fever Swamp with her aunt. Like most teenagers, Blake spends most of her time inside playing the video game Lore Hunt. Blake’s aunt decides to take her on a tour of the town and introduce her to the Mitchells and their daughter, Lily.
As Blake’s aunt shows her the general store and the tea shop, she regales Blake with stories and legends about the swamp. Blake and Lily are introduced to each other and both soon realize they are competitors on Lore Hunt. Mrs. Mitchell tells Lily it would be a good day to introduce Blake to her friend, Cara.
Lily and Blake meet Cara for a picnic and the trio of girls are having a good time until Lily starts talking about the swamp. Blake tells Lily that her aunt has already told her about the stories about the swamp. Lily wants to see if these stories are true and asks Cara and Blake if they want to visit the swamp. Cara says no but Blake is intrigued.
Blake and Lily sneak out after dark and head toward the swamp. Soon the two start hearing noises and howling, both agree that its time to go home. As they turn around to head back, they come face to face with a werewolf!
If you are looking for something to treat your kids with for Halloween this year instead of candy, I definitely recommend giving them this first issue to read, in addition to the Goosebumps movie with Jack Black. If you want a trip down memory lane, this book is right up your alley. There are some Easter Eggs from the other Goosebumps books sprinkled in this story (keep your eyes peeled for the garden gnomes in front of the Mitchells’ house).
There aren’t a lot of scares in this first issue but I’m sure there will be twists and turns over the course of the next four issues to ramp up the dread in the pit of your stomach and get that bead of sweat running down the back of your neck. R.L. Stine always did a great job of pulling the rug out from underneath you and deserves to be ranked along Rod Serling and M. Night Shyamalan with that ending that comes out of nowhere and leaves you gob smacked.
Goosebumps Secrets of the Swamp #1 is a read that’s fun for the whole family and a topic of conversation over dinner to get everyone excited for Halloween.
Next Issue – “Twelve-year-old Blake was worried that summer break with her weird aunt in Fever Swamp would be b-o-r-i-n-g, but it’s quickly become more intense than she ever could have imagined. Lost in the swamp with her gaming rival, Lily, and surrounded by werewolves, Blake could use a lot less danger and a little more boring right about now!” On Sale November 4, 2020.