Goosebumps is a cultural phenomenon that pretty much affected anyone who couldn't get enough terrifying tales as a child. A variation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark for the Millennial set, the expansive series freaked-out children everywhere, who clutched R.L. Stine’s books in their white-knuckled hands, as well as watching Goosebumps come to life on TV and on the big screen in 2015 (with a sequel on the way). While not as associated with fright narratives as Stine, Marvel still knows a thing or two about fear fiction, with horror titles including the Midnight Sons, Werewolf By Night, Dracula, and of course, Man-Thing.
Now, it looks like the master of tween terror and the House of Ideas are joining forces.
Today, Marvel announced that R.L. Stine will script an ongoing run starring the silent protector of the multiverse, Man-Thing. Stine will be joined on the new title by the artwork of German Peralta (Moon Knight, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Launching in March, each issue will also feature an original horror short from Stine brought to life by a rotating crew of artists – with Daniel Warren Johnson illustrating the first story. Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso discussed the impressive merger of talent in a company press release:
“R.L. Stine in the Marvel Universe – that’s an event in and of itself. And is there a Marvel character more perfectly suited to his sensibilities than the monstrous Man-Thing? Stine and artist German Peralta are spinning a tale full of action, horror, humor and heart – one that’s sure to please R.L. Stine fans, Man-Thing fans, and new fans.”
Marvel's latest authorial team-up sounds extremely promising, especially since Man-Thing began life as one of Marvel’s creatures that go bump in the night. Conceived of by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Gray Morrow, the mossy beast first appeared in Savage Tales #1 (1971). Dr. Theodore "Ted" Sallis attempted to duplicate the Weapons Plus program which created Captain America, accidentally turning himself into Man-Thing. The character eventually became the guardian of the Nexus of All Realities and joined up with the Thunderbolts, S.H.I.E.L.D. and S.T.A.K.E. Of course, one of the tricks for writing Man-Thing was his silence – something which is will no longer be a problem apparently.
Check out Man-Thing’s synopsis and a sneak peek at some early artwork:
“Attempting to recreate the formula that produced Captain America, biochemist Ted Sallis was transformed into the shambling creature known only as MAN-THING! Now, having recently regained his ability to speak, Man-Thing sets out on a journey to leave the swamps once and for all. But when an ancient and mysterious danger threatens reality, he will have to choose between his new life and the place he once called home!"
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Although capable of speaking a universal language, Man-Thing was typically the quiet guy at the back of the party. Giving Man-Thing a voice of his own again, much less one that belongs to horror-maestro R.L. Stine, sounds like a fantastic idea. His previous experience makes him more-than qualified to work along the horror-tinged edges of the Marvel Universe. The tale itself, which sees Man-Thing leave the swamp with his new voice, offers some intriguing possibilities. After all, he's one of Marvel's most underused (understandably due to his voiceless nature) and fascinating characters. His return is also timely, since the MU is about to be assaulted by monsters.
As of late, Marvel’s heroes have been dealing with an uptick of horror themes in a big way. Old Man Logan is facing off against Dracula alongside the Howling Commandos – of which Man-Thing is currently a member. In addition, a whole host of demons and colossal critters are assaulting the X-Men, Totally Awesome Hulk, and Ghost Rider. With the Monsters Unleashed event kicking off in January, March sounds like the perfect time for the monstrously heroic character’s return.
Man-Thing #1 is slated to arrive in March of 2017.