First edition cover of Welcome to Dead House, the first Goosebumps book.
|Author||R. L. Stine|
|Cover artist||Tim Jacobus
|Genre||Horror, Thriller, Children's literature|
|Published||Original series: July 1992 – December 1997
Spin-off series: October 1994 – present
|No. of books||164 (List of books)|
Goosebumps is a series of children's horror fiction novels written by American author R. L. Stine and first published by Scholastic Publishing. It is a collection of stories that feature semi-homogenous plot structures, with fictional children being involved in scary situations. Themes in the series include horror, humor and the supernatural.
From 1992 to 1997, 62 books were published under the Goosebumps umbrella title. Various spin-off series were written by Stine: Goosebumps Series 2000, Give Yourself Goosebumps, Tales to Give You Goosebumps, Goosebumps Triple Header, and Goosebumps HorrorLand. Another series, Goosebumps Gold, was never released.
Since the release of its first novel, Welcome to Dead House in July 1992, the books have gained immense popularity and commercial success worldwide. As of 2008, the series has sold over 350 million books worldwide in 35 languages and has been listed in many bestseller lists, including the New York Times Best Seller list for children. The series has spawned a television series and numerous merchandise.
Structure and genre 
The Goosebumps series falls under the children's fiction, horror and thriller genre, although R. L. Stine characterizes the series as "scary books that are also funny." Goosebumps books feature different characters  and settings in each book. The primary protagonists in each book are middle class and can be either male or female.
The primary protagonists of a Goosebumps story are often situated in a remote location or somehow isolated from typical societal conventions. This can range anywhere from comfortable suburban areas to boarding schools, foreign villages or campsites. Books typically feature characters who either recently moved to a new neighborhood or are sent to stay with relatives.
The books in the Goosebumps series feature semi-homogenous plot structures with fictional kids being involved in scary situations. The books are mostly written in third person narrative, often concluding with twist endings. They contain surreal horrors, with characters encountering the strange and supernatural. R. L. Stine explained the success of his books by their absence of drugs, depravity and violence.
Inspiration and themes 
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Books and characters in the series were inspired by books and movies. For example, the character Slappy the Dummy was inspired by the literary classic The Adventures of Pinocchio. Some of R. L. Stine's ideas for the books also came from real life; Stine got the idea for the book The Haunted Mask after his son, Matt, had a Halloween mask that he had trouble getting off.
Two common themes in the series are children triumphing over evil and kids facing horrid or frightening situations and using their own wit and imagination to escape them. Other themes include horror, the supernatural and humor. Stine had stated "I think there is a very close connection between humor and horror."
Origins and publishing history 
Original Goosebumps series 
Following the success of R. L. Stine's young adult horror novels, the co-founder of Parachute Press (the company that developed the series), Joan Waricha, persuaded him to write scary books for younger children. R. L. Stine says the name for the book series came to him after he saw a TV station's ad in TV Guide that stated "It’s goosebumps week on Channel 11." He originally signed a six-book deal with the publisher Scholastic, but went on to write 62 books in the original series, the first book being Welcome to Dead House, which was released in July 1992.
A comic book series, titled Goosebumps Graphix was written based on books from the original series. There were three books published in the series; the first one, Creepy Creatures, was published on September 1, 2006.
Tales to Give You Goosebumps 
Six Tales to Give You Goosebumps books were published from 1994 to 1997. The books in this series were written as short story anthologies, featuring a collection of stories in each book.
Give Yourself Goosebumps 
There were 50 Give Yourself Goosebumps books published from 1995 to 2000, beginning with Escape from the Carnival of Horrors. The books in this series were written as gamebooks, featuring multiple endings. Many of the cover illustrations for this series were done by Mark Nagata, while the rest were done by Craig White.
Goosebumps Triple Header 
Two Goosebumps Triple Header books were published from 1997 to 1998, beginning with Three Shocking Tales of Terror: Book 1. As with the Tales to Give You Goosebumps series, the books featured a collection of stories in each book.It has 3 books.
Goosebumps Series 2000 
There were twenty-five Goosebumps Series 2000 books published from 1998 to 2000, beginning with Cry of the Cat. The books in this series were written in a similar format and featured similar content to the original series, but R. L. Stine classified them as being "much scarier." The covers in this series were illustrated by Tim Jacobus.
Goosebumps Gold 
The books in the Goosebumps Gold series appeared on series illustrator Tim Jacobus's website and marketing sites but were never released. In this series, Stine intended to write a sequel to The Haunted Mask II (The Haunted Mask Lives!), a sequel to Welcome to Dead House (Happy Holidays from Dead House). It was one of the two book series by R. L. Stine that was planned to be released in 2000 (the other was The Nightmare Room).
Goosebumps HorrorLand 
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The series was renewed in 2008 following the release of the first book in the Goosebumps HorrorLand series: Revenge of the Living Dummy, published on April 1, 2008. Books in this series mainly feature two stories.
Goosebumps Most Wanted 
The series continued in 2012 with new stories featuring some of the series' most memorable villains; including Slappy the Dummy, the Lawn Gnomes and others. The first book of the series, Planet of the Lawn Gnomes is set to be released in October 2012.[dated info]"
Legal dispute 
In September 1997, following a dispute between Scholastic and Parachute Press, Scholastic charged Parachute Press with breach of contract. Scholastic claimed that Parachute Press had been making merchandising deals and issuing press releases without Scholastic's required consent, and had begun withholding payments from them. On November 1997, Parachute responded by alleging Scholastic had repudiated its financial obligations, claiming Scholastic had voided its rights to publish 54 books. Parachute Press filed a lawsuit, which followed with numerous other suits and counter lawsuits over who controls certain rights to the series. In 2003, the two sides reached an agreement, with Scholastic acquiring the Goosebumps trademark and all other rights to the series for 9.65 million dollars.
Achievements, reception and controversy 
Following the release of the first novel in the series, the books quickly became popular, selling a million copies a month soon after they first appeared, and four million copies a month by the mid-1990s. The books appeared in many bestseller lists, such as the New York Times Best Seller list for children, USA Today bestseller list and Publishers Weekly bestseller list. Individual books in the series appeared on USA Today's bestseller list for over 115 weeks, while 47 books in the series appeared on Publishers Weekly list of bestselling children's books of all-time in 2001. The book series was a bestseller in many countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan and Australia and has been translated into 35 languages, including Japanese, Italian, French, Chinese, Thai, Czech, Spanish, German, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Hebrew.
In 1996, the Goosebumps series accounted for almost 15% of Scholastic's annual revenue. Following the decline of Goosebumps sales in 1997, Scholastic's sales had plunged 40%. The decline in Goosebumps book sales had made front page news, which Patrick Jones stated "demonstrates the impact and importance of R. L. Stine. One writer, it seems, influences the fate of an entire company."
By 1997, the Goosebumps fan club had established 75,000 members, and as of 2008, the series has sold over 350 million copies. In 2009, about a year after it was first published, Goosebumps HorrorLand had over 3.5 million books in print. The Goosebumps series maintains an 82% brand awareness among kids 7–12, and as of 2008, it is listed as the number two bestselling children's book series of all time and as Scholastic's bestselling children's book series of all time. The book series sells millions of copies annually.
Three books from the Goosebumps series have won the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite Book; Deep Trouble in 1995 (the award categories first year), the book Tales to Give You Goosebumps in 1996 and Deep Trouble II in 1998. In 2000, the series was ranked as the number two children's book by the NEA, as chosen by children. At one point, the Goosebumps series was listed as the bestselling book series of all time.
Literary criticism and reception 
Monessa Tinsley-Crabb from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stated ""Goosebumps" is an excellent distraction for the middle-school mind." Margaret Smykla commented that the stories were guaranteed to give goose bumps. Following the release of the first Goosebumps HorrorLand book, Publishers Weekly stated in a starred review that the new Goosebumps series was "deliciously chilling."
James Carter stated "regarding Point Horrors and Goosebumps, I feel that anything that children read avidly is a good thing." Patrick Jones pointed out "[t]he real horror is a culture where kids, especially boys, don‘t read—and Stine has done his best to stop that turn of the screw from happening in his lifetime." Stine takes pride in his reputation for getting kids excited about reading, stating "parents come up now and say, 'My kid never read a book in his life, and last night I caught him reading with a flashlight under the blankets.' I am very proud of that."
However, Jessie and Susan Bauer objected to the books, arguing that the stories "develop a child's taste for short sentences, simple sentence structure, easy vocabulary, uncomplicated paragraphs, and shallow, simple plots." Nicole Tanner argued that "the level at which they are written is intended to interest and engage young readers, not bore them with long-winded passages and confuse them with words that they cannot understand" and that "Stine understands his audience." Roderick McGillis described the books as "camp," stating "[the Goosebumps books] are so artificial, so formulaic, so predictable, so repetitive." Jones stated that the books "are widely read and, in the context of genre, well-written." Kenneth and Sylvia Marantz stated the books are "okay to read; not great literature, but they have a place. Joe. B says "there are several Goosebumps books in the series that can teach young readers good morals, such as (The Haunted Mask) teaches that there is nothing more important than the love of your family and friends."  Sandra Soares and Julia Tiede however, argued that although the books contain supernatural elements and put "children in a position of fright, danger, and loss of control," they do not contain any real violence. In regards to the books, Soares and Tiede also stated "the sources of the scares are so patently unreal that they cause more frisson than fear."
Book challenges 
Goosebumps was listed 15th in the list of most frequently challenged books during 1990–1999 and 94th in the list of top banned/challenged books during 2000–2009 by the ALA. The series was challenged for being too frightening for young people and depicting occult or satanic themes.
Television adaptation 
In the 1990s, Goosebumps was adapted for television. Produced in Canada by Protocol Entertainment in association with Scholastic Productions, the TV anthology series ran for four seasons from 1995 to 1998, beginning on October 27, 1995. The series mainly featured plots based on the Goosebumps books, among them The Haunted Mask and Cuckoo Clock of Doom. The TV series was very popular; it aired in over 100 countries and it aired on YTV in Canada, and it was the number one rated TV show for four years for the Fox Kids Network in the United States. A book series, titled Goosebumps Presents, was based on the TV series. In 2011, The Hub channel released a new series called "The Haunting Hour". Stine wrote every episode; due to popularity it has been announced that 3 more series will come.
Film adaptation 
Columbia Pictures acquired rights to create a Goosebumps film. Carl Ellsworth will write the screenplay, while Neal Moritz and Deborah Forte, the latter of which developed the TV series, will produce the film. On January 14th 2012, it was reported that a new draft of the screenplay will be written by Darren Lemke; Lemke co-wrote the screenplays for Shrek Forever After and Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer. As of March 19, 2013, the studio is in negotiations with Rob Letterman to direct the film. 
Video games 
There are three Goosebumps video games, two of which have been created for the PC by DreamWorks Interactive. A 1996 game entitled Escape from HorrorLand is an interactive sequel to the book One Day at HorrorLand, and a 1997 game entitled "Attack of the Mutant" was based on the book Attack of the Mutant. Scholastic released a new Goosebumps video game on October 2008 titled Goosebumps HorrorLand based on the series of the same name.
In other media 
Goosebumps has spawned numerous merchandise, including T-shirts, board games, puzzles, hats, fake skulls, dolls, bike helmets, fake blood and boxer shorts. Goosebumps was also adapted into a stage play by Rupert Holmes and a Disney World attraction. Goosebumps has an official website, which garners 1.5 to 2 million page views each month, making it one of the most highly-trafficked kids' websites. In 2008, it was announced that Sally Corporation would market Goosebumps rides.
See also 
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