Best-selling author R.L. Stine, a Bexley native, will return to his hometown to launch his new graphic novel series "Just Beyond: The Scare School Original Graphic Novel" from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St.
Bexley's Gramercy Books, 2424 E. Main St., is be host to the appearance, which will include a screening of the 2018 movie "Goosebumps 2," followed by an author talk and book signing. An alumnus of Ohio State University, Stine also will discuss his new graphic novel series at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at Ohio State's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, 1813 N. High St.
Stine's "Goosebumps" series for middle-grade readers, which launched in 1992, has sold millions of copies worldwide and been adapted into both a television series and two movies.
He is also the author of the "Fear Street," "Mostly Ghostly" and "Nightmare Room" book series.
Stine's most recent return to Bexley was in January 2017 for Gramercy Books' grand opening celebration. That event included a screening of the 2015 "Goosebumps" movie at the Drexel Theatre, and the sold-out crowd demonstrated Stine's appeal to both youth and adult readers, said Linda Kass, Gramercy Books proprietor.
"When he came down the aisle (of the Drexel), the children were not only cheering, their parents were cheering," she said. "We're talking about generations that were excited about him."
The "Just Beyond" series centers on middle-school characters Jess, Josh and Marco, who discover a monster roaming the halls of their school. While the story marks Stine's first foray into graphic novels, Stine's Scholastic Books biography states he has been a fan of comics since childhood. He said he often read the comic strip section of the now-defunct hometown newspaper the Columbus Citizen and his original ambition was to become a comic-book illustrator.
"When I was a kid, there were these great comic books called 'Tales from the Crypt' and 'The Vault of Horror.' They were gruesome," Stine states in his publisher's biography. "I discovered them in the barbershop and thought they were fabulous. I used to get a haircut every Saturday so that I wouldn't miss any of these comic books."
Before publishing "Just Beyond," Stine made his first foray into comic books by penning the five-part Marvel series "Man-Thing" in 2018. The worldwide success of movies based on comic books by Marvel, DC and other publishers is increasing the popularity of comic books and graphic novels, Kass said.
"In essence, this is a trend," she said. "Kids are growing up in a very visual age. It's no wonder that authors are choosing to tell stories in a visual format."
For more information about Stine's appearance at the Drexel, visit gramercybooksbexley.com. For more information about Stine's talk at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, call or email the Ohio State Alumni Association at 800-762-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.