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RL Stine on the 30th Anniversary of Goosebumps

RL Stine on the 30th Anniversary of Goosebumps

Maybe it’s the skeletons barbecuing on the cover of Say Cheese and Die! Or the beady-eyed face of Slappy on Night of the Living Dummy. Or it might be the green hand reaching from the darkness on Stay Out of the Basement. If you’re an adult of a certain age, you probably remember the image on the front of the first Goosebumps book you gripped under the covers late at night when you were a kid, intentionally scaring the heck out of yourself.

This July marks 30 years since the publication of Welcome to Dead House, the first in R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series, and the author, now 78 years old, is happy for his work to have become nostalgic. At the same time, he’s still churning out at least four Goosebumps books a year, with more than 180 books in the Goosebumps world to date. In the three decades since the series began, Goosebumps has become one of the best-selling children’s book series of all-time, with, according to publisher Scholastic, 350 million English language books in print, plus an additional 50 million international copies in print, translated to 32 languages.

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Goosebumps wasn’t Stine’s first foray into writing horror for a young audience. In 1989, with The New Girl, Stine launched Fear Street, his series of slasher books for teens, the most recent of which, Drop Dead Gorgeous, was published in 2019. Netflix made a three-film series based on a handful of Fear Street plots in 2021. But Goosebumps remains Stine’s biggest success: the books, intended for a slightly younger, under 12 crowd, have inspired two feature films starring Jack Black as a more sinister version of the author himself, plus a television series,…

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