Friday the 13th weekend got a little spookier when R.L. Stine, best-selling author of the “Goosebumps” series and Ohio State alumnus, returned to his alma mater Saturday to discuss his career and his newest work.
Stine chatted with moderator Julie Snyder, senior director of development of Ohio State libraries, in front of an audience at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum and signed books for fans in celebration of his new graphic novel, “Just Beyond: The Scare School,” released Sept. 4.
Stine, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1965, edited The Sundial Humor Magazine from his second year to his fourth year. Stine said his time as an editor of the magazine was extremely beneficial.
“It was a wonderful experience. I got to learn how to deal with people and how to actually put out a magazine, how to edit things,” Stine said. “It was a wonderful education. It was just what I needed.”
Stine said his editorial duties earned him 22 percent of the magazine’s profit, which allowed him to afford his move to New York. Once Stine settled in the city, his writing career began to take shape.
His novel “Blind Date” became his first of many best-selling horror works. However, “Just Beyond: The Scare School” is Stine’s first graphic novel, making his visit to Ohio State a special occasion.
“We were really thrilled to find out that R.L. Stine was releasing his first graphic novel,” Caitlin McGurk, an assistant professor at the Billy Ireland Cartoon and Library Museum, said. “We started planning [the event] in the spring, and that was around the time that we found out about the graphic novel.”
McGurk said the event, which oversold its 300-seat capacity, lived up to expectations.
“Lots of people were excited about it,” McGurk said. “People came from out of town for it, and we’re just really glad everyone had a good time.”
Although a large amount of the audience consisted of older fans, there were several Ohio State students in attendance.
“It was really engaging,” Brenna Rachwal, a fourth-year in public health, said. “He was really personable and super hilarious.”
Rachwal said that before she signed up for the event, she had no idea Stine was releasing a book.
“I had just known that he was a famous author, and I remembered the ‘Goosebumps’ series from when I was a kid. But now after hearing him talk, I’m really interested,” Rachwal said.