A Tribute To Stephen Gammell

Sure there is a lot of attention to the author of the Scary Stories books, Alvin Schwartz, but I think the illustrator Stephen Gammell deserves his time in the light too. I have spent countless hours staring at his visions of the macabre. I mean they are really disturbing when you look at the way they are drawn!

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There have been countless hours spent just staring at the bizarre world Steve Gammell has created for Schwartz. His expressive and haunting strokes give me the creeps, even 17 years later. I have tried many times to pass these books off for book reporting material but to no avail. It doesn’t matter because I am sure the report would just be filled with pointless statements like “This dead chick looks scary on page 57.”


Jesus! See what I mean? How scary looking is that? It’s for kids too! I don’t know what goes on in Gammell’s head but he needs to hang out with Rob Zombie. Can you imagine having a beer with this dude? I can. I would ask him what is his motivation for drawing such macabre images. I think Gammell should also work in a tattoo parlor. I’d get another if he designed it.

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What do you think….head in a jar? That is what I think. There is one thing for sure. Gammell’s art really put a dent in my reading level because I have no idea what the stories are about. I do know that my imagination stirs after spending an hour staring at these pictures. I begin to think of them later on at night. I wonder if I have the gift to draw nightmares?

Nope! That’s my head in a jar and the only thing that is confirms is that I suck. I doubt Alvin Schwartz will be calling me for an artistic touch to his scary tales. Oh well.

Oh my God! What the hell is that? I can guarantee you that The Ring was less scary to me because freaky chicks have been burned in my brain since the day I saw this. Thanks Stephen. Taken off guard while flipping pages, this made me choke on forbidden candy during mandatory reading time in homeroom many years ago. I didn’t die but I received a demerit for eating candy in class. Insult to injury.

I don’t mean to “paint the picture” that all Stephen Gammell’s art work is dead chicks and clowns. He illustrates other books like the poem book, The Burger and the Hot Dog. I love this book. I know, I’m 29 and a 29 year old dude shouldn’t like such things but here is a line and you’ll see what I am talking about.

A burger and a hot dog
One day had a nasty spat.
The burger got insulted
‘Cause the hot dog called him flat…


Well, thank you Mr. Gammell. Thanks for sharing your talent and for giving me the creeps, even at school. I can’t believe it has been almost 20 years and believe it or not, I don’t think I have even read a single story from Scary Stories 1, 2, or 35. Sorry Alvin. But mission accomplished Stephen! I will leave you all with this. Good night. Try not to read these in the dark.


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