Bestselling author R.L. Stine, best know for his spine-tingling “Goosebumps” series of children’s horror, marked the final interview at the world famous CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con 2013. Stine sat down with Jonah Weiland to talk about 21 years of “Goosebumps,” the book’s unforeseen success, how he always wanted to be funny and not scary, how he read horror comics without his mom finding out and what keeps him motivated. They also discuss Stine’s non-prose efforts including “R.L. Stine’s Haunting Hour” TV series and an update on the “Goosebumps” movie — including which actor will play him in the film.
On “Goosebumps'” unexpected success: No one expected it. And actually, when the first two or three “Goosebumps” came out, they just sat on the shelves and no one bough them. I think if it was published today they would have yanked them off and that would have been the end of it. It took about six months, and then they just started to sell.
It’s a secret kid’s network. Kids telling kids. There was no advertising for it, there was no hype of any kind for “Goosebumps.” No one had ever heard of me really, it’s just kids telling kids. That’s all. And all big book crazes — “Harry Potter,” “Hunger Games” — you can’t ever force kids or get kids to read stuff because of advertising. They pick it, they find it, and they tell each other. And it was just this lucky thing that happened to me.
On what horror books he read growing up: “Tales from the Crypt.” All the comic books, the EC horror comics were around when I was a kid. I used to read them in the barber shop. I used to go get a haircut every week so I could read these comic books. I had even less hair when I was a kid. [Laughs] It’s true. Every week I would get a haircut so I could read the horror comics because my mom wouldn’t let me bring them home.
On whether “Goosebumps” will expand into the world of comics: Well, they did three graphic novels based on “Goosebumps” stories. But no, we never really explored that. I love comics. That’s all I read when I was a kid, ’til I was like 10 or 11. I’ve thought often about, it would be fun to do horror comics. Just to write them and have really good guys do the art, but somehow I’ve never found time.
“Goosebumps” you have to see in your own mind. You know, when you read a book it’s all really happening in your own head and it makes it a lot scarier. Maybe “Goosebumps” is better that way.