Books & Graphic Novels

YA Cool Meets Old School Ghoul: Cullen Bunn & Cat Farris introduce “The Ghoul Next Door”

The Ghoul Next Door
Author: Cullen Bunn
Illustrator: Cat Farris
Imprint: HarperAlley (Harper Collins Publishing
On Sale: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 9780062896094
Trimsize: 6″ X 9″
Pages: 200
Price: $12.99
Ages: 8 to 12

A Revenge of Spooky Sunday Post

I’ve been following the work of writer Cullen Bunn since encountering the Dark Horse ComicsHarrow County tales several years ago. That story cycle ticked all the boxes for my tastes in supernatural fiction, and has been featured here on the SkeletonPete site in the past. So, I’m excited to share the news of the New York Times best selling author’s newest creepy chronicle called The Ghoul Next Door.

A stand-alone graphic novel, The Ghoul Next Door will be released by the HarperAlley imprint of Harper Collins Publishing in hardcover, paperback, and e-Book editions, this Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

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A selection of Cat Farris’s panel art for The Ghoul Next Door (Images courtesy of
Harper Collins Publishing)

Pre-release pages reveal illustrator Cat Farris’s style as what I’d coin “cartoon realism.” The characters are depicted in a young audience friendly style, (for kids who have likely grown up on a steady diet of Cartoon Network), while objects and surroundings cling closely to the look of their real world counterparts. The fluid variations of Farris’s watercolor washes offer a dreamlike effect, while deep contrasts are reminiscent of the monochromatic palette of silent films like Murnau‘s Nosferatu (1922). It’s a unique look that perfectly compliments the artist’s otherwise delicate line work

Based on these renditions, I can easily imagine The Ghoul Next Door being translated to an animated feature on the order of The Secret of Kells (2009).

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Grey has an encounter of the too-close-for-comfort kind. (Image courtesy of Harper Collins Publishing)

Subterranean Homesick Chews…

The narrative revolves around Grey, an 11 year old living in Anders Landing, New England. He soon discovers that strange artifacts left in his room during the night are actually gifts from Lavinia, an admiring ghoul, or “eater of the dead,” living below the surface of the local cemetery.

She’s Crafty…

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will recognize the extrapolation of themes envisioned in his short story “Pickman’s Model“. That story was first published in the October 1927 issue of Weird Tales and also deals with subterranean denizens of New England. “Pickman’s Model” gained wider attention when it was produced as an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery television show. 

Illustrator Cat Farris puts her artistic spin on the haunts & haints of Cullen Bunn’s Harrow County.

Cullen Says…

In his most recent personal update (Vicious Shivers #87) author Bunn describes the genesis of the upcoming release. “This book is over 2 years in the making (even longer, really, if you consider how many years this idea has been in my head), so I hope you’ll check out what Cat Farris and I have put together for you and your kids! […] It’s an almost 200-page graphic novel of horror, adventure, friendship, monsters, and fun. 

[…] if you have kids… if you know someone who does… if you are a kid at heart… or if you just like spooky and fun stories full of folklore and ghoulish antics, please support this title”.

Skeleton Pete Says…

Putting my money where my mouth is, I’ve placed an order for the hardcover version and I’m looking forward to posting a full review of the book in the near future.

In the meantime I suggest you check out Cullen and Cat’s previous works for yourself.

Farris’s imaginings of pop culture icons, as well as fantastic fancies of her own creation, can be viewed on her homepage. Bunn not only produces a prodigious amount of written work, but has informed us of the ups and downs of his vocation via the weekly email communique he calls Vicious Shivers.

Here are links to their respective websites.

Cullen Bunn Website

Cat Farris Website

Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

Hair ‘Em, Scare ‘Em: NECA’s Universal Monsters Wolfman Action Figure

A Just Another Spooky Sunday Installment

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NECA’s newest Ultimate Universal Monsters Action Figure Celebrates the 80th Anniversary. of The Wolfman. (Photo courtesy of NECA)

NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) has just announced the second selection in its roll-out of Ultimate Universal Monsters Action Figures. Following the Frankenstein Monster, as portrayed by Boris Karloff NECA will release The Wolfman, honoring the film’s 80th anniversary year.

Boxed with interchangeable head, hand and lower leg sculpts the 7 inch figure can be depicted as Larry Talbot, victim of werewolf curse, as well as the full fledged beast under the spell of the full moon. The authorized depiction of Lon Chaney Jr. as Talbot is a special treat for classic monster enthusiasts and collectors. The two monster head sculpts meticulously evoke the art of master monster maker Jack Pierce.

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Though shown to meet his demise at the end of the original film Chaney Jr.’s character continued to appear in Universal’s film roster for the next decade. He battled Frankenstein’s monster in Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman and was a  part of the gruesome ensembles of both House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945). 

He was last seen in the still delightful Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) where the Talbot character featured prominently in the narrative. Chaney Jr’s playing straight man to Lou Costello’s nervous hub-bub sets up some of the best scenes in that film.

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You may ask yourself, “What Have I Done?” Larry Talbot gets full moon fever. (Photo: Courtesy of NECA)

The Wolfman wasn’t Universal’s first foray into werewolf lore. In 1935 they released the stand alone tale Werewolf of London, with actor Henry Hull in the lead role. In retrospect that film may offer a higher creep factor and more unique spin on lycanthropy. Though Pierce’s make-up is rougher around the edges it also offers a more beast-like aspect.

Though my personal taste for werewolf films runs more in the vein of Hammer Films’ Curse of the Werewolf (1961) and The Howling (1981) it must be recognized that the poignancy of Chaney Jr’s characterization as monster and victim became a defining feature of filmic lycanthrope lore.

The PAWS that refreshes… NECA’s 7″ Ultimate Universal Monsters Wolfman Action figure on the prowl. (Photo: courtesy of NECA)
Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

Crimson (Yule) Tide: NECA Dolls Up Misfits’ Fiend for Xmas

neca, action figures, the crimson ghost, the fiend, basil gogos, the misfits
NECA’s newest Misfits mascot includes a face sculpt inspired by artist Basil Gogos’ seasonal interpretation of The Crimson Ghost (Photo courtesy of NECA)

Slay Riding…

While no one should be sitting on Santa’s lap this year, we think kids would avoid this particular St. Nick surrogate under any circumstances. Next to The Grinch, he’s the least desirable creature you’d want dropping down your chimney and sniffing around for your cookies.

Even so, there are those of us who have a taste for “Alt Xmas” decorating and NECA Collectibles obliges with this manageable manifestation of villainy, a seasonal version of The Fiend.

Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

No Strings Attached: Super7 Launches Ultimate Disney Partnership

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Super7 Toys dives into Disney territory with beautiful new Ultimates! product line. (Photos: courtesy of Super7)

If Pinnochio’s refrain “I’ve got no strings to hold me down” denotes an unfettered freedom to create then the folks at Super7 have picked a perfect starting point for their new collaboration with The Walt Disney Company. Over the last several years Super7 has built a collectibles line that reaches into the recesses of things you always wanted that nobody made and/or things your Mom wouldn’t buy for you that no one makes anymore.

From movie, music, and cartoon characters, to Major League Baseball players and team mascots, the company has quickly filled the void for pop culture enthusiasts.

Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

Blood Relations… Mezco Revisits Roots with Nosferatu One:12 Action Figure Bundle

Just another Spooky Sunday

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Mezco Toyz announces Nosferatu One:12 Collective Bundle (images courtesy of Mezco)

Fangs for the Memories…
Mezco Toyz is harking (or is it Harkering?) back two score years to their gnarly roots with a very special One:12 Collective figure of Orlock, the vampire Count of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s 1922 silent film Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror.