Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Nearly three decades ago, folklorist Alvin Schwartz published a book I loved and treasured as a kid, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the first of three horror anthologies that would go on to become the single most challenged book series of the nineties. What any Schwartz fan can tell you is that most of the animosity against the series was not due to the stories themselves, which were, in fact warm-milk tame, but rather the uber-eerie sketches of artist Stephen Gammell. Gammell's nightmarish inkscapes imparted the every page of the children's books with an oddly unsettling menace.

Sadly enough for today's audiences, the series has been re-issued with new, less unsettling, more prosaic illustrations by Brett Helquist, best known for his work on the popular A Series of Unfortunate Events series.

Luckily for Gammell fans, copies of the original artwork are readily available online, including in these three image galleries: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones.

If you're interested in reminiscing over these stories, which were so many kids' first introduction to the macabre world of the horror genre, then don't miss the re-enactments of MoonRaven09, or the dramatic readings of daMeatHook on YouTube.

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