The writing alone isn’t simply why this series is a fave of mine, though. The artwork by Stephen Gammell is just as notable, if not more so. He had the ability to turn even the most mundane of images into something nightmarish…and I love him for it. His artwork managed to be eerie, moody, and atmospheric all at once, and to this day it can make me jump while glancing at some of it. As an artist, I’ve tried mimicking his style countless times, I admire his work for this series so much.
Unfortunately, future readers will have no flippin’ idea what I’m talking about, because although reprints of this series still contain Alvin Schwartz’s stories, they are completely devoid of the illustrations that have helped make it such a classic.
That’s right, you heard me correctly. Thanks to this article, I have been devastated to learn that creeptastic art like this…
…is now replaced with art like this:
Nothing against the new artist—his art is quite good—but seriously, between these two scarecrows, only one looks like he’s going to jump off the page to skin you alive, after doing something similar to one of the characters in the book, you know what I mean?
The unsettling nature of Stephen Gammell’s illustrations isn’t the only reason why they’re superior. As pointed out in the article I linked above, his pictures brought you into the story instead of simply depicted them. Horror is all the more horrific when you feel like you're a part of it, after all, and that’s something the original artwork accomplished in spades.
RIP, Stephen Gammell’s illustrations. You shall live on in the hearts of fans, if not future editions of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.