Aug 14 S04E09 "The tale of the Ghastly Grinner"



Frank tries come use one of Tucker’s comic publications for kindling, which offers a convenient segue for Betty Ann’s tale around what that would median if comic books weren’t fiction yet guidebooks to another dimension.

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Teen comic book artist Ethan is sifting through his recent pile the rejections as soon as he stumbles upon an invitation to the cool opening the a new comic publication shop. He meets shopkeeper Frankie and is surprised to discover she’s already heard that him. Frankie to compare Ethan’s style to the great Sylvester Uncas and shows Ethan worry #1 Volume #1 that The Ghastly Grinner, a comic publication that fearful Sylvester Uncas so lot he didn’t have actually the organs to store working ~ above the series. Together a grand opening special, Frankie lets Ethan have the just remaining copy that The Ghastly Grinner. The next day, Ethan is an alleged to it is in learning about microwaves in science class, but he’s also engrossed in the comic book to salary attention. In the story, the Ghastly Grinner transforms everyone that encounters right into a laughing, drooling fool. Ethan’s teacher snatches the comic book away and also tosses it into a fishtank. Ago at home, Ethan tries come dry out the soaked comic book in the microwave. He walks far to take a phone contact from nerdy-girl Hooper, and an overloaded outlet reasons an explosion. The microwave explosion bring the Ghastly Grinner right into our world and also turns Ethan’s parents into laughing fools. Ago at the comic publication shop, Frankie reveals the Sylvester Uncas was she father and that he was working on one more issue when the Grinner caught him. She provides Ethan the unfinished issue and also he and also Hooper handmade a setup to avoid the Grinner, utilizing microwaves and Ethan’s art. The Grinner virtually wins, but Hooper conserves the day through a big-ass eraser.

Betty Ann reveals the Ethan i do not care a well known comic publication artist and also Gary declares the meeting closed.


T: The season four slump is broken! after three much less than stellar episodes in a row, we’ve ultimately hit among the series most well-known stories.

E: Yes! and also it’s a Ron Oliver classic! as soon as again, we’re basking in campy john Waters-meets-Tim Burton vibes and the glow of an absurd yet terrifying villain.

T: sorry Tucker, however you’re analysis a comic book, that’s not a graphics novel.

E: yes a difference, kids! and don’t allow those highbrow dickwads tell girlfriend there’s miscellaneous wrong through comic books.

T: divine crap, Kiki start the fire ~ above screen! That’s like a big no-no for kids’ TV.

E: the honestly didn’t happen to me, however fair point. The said, it’s incredibly hard to begin a fire by rubbing 2 sticks together, so the chances of youngsters successfully imitating this space low.

T: Ethan’s favor fourteen and also trying to get work as a professional artist? good for him!

E: Right? i love how incensed that is the he keeps being rejected. You’ve obtained time, kid, yet yeah, the sux.

T: Comic books Ink is a great name. This was earlier when i was collecting X-Men comics, so I acknowledge a lot of those covers.

E: I recognize next to nothing about comic books except what I’ve absorbed via osmosis from Troy, but I’d imagine the references here are legit. In addition to the store, Ethan’s room is a nice rad poster-fest with many bold comic book colors.

T: Frankie call Ethan “Cakes” and I love it. Perform you think she calls everyone that? What a weird nickname.

E: for this reason weird! and yet the weirdly works? i feel choose it’s probably short for “babycakes” however that’s never ever made clear. The jives for this reason well v her comics nerd meets Madonna meets gum-smacking-greaser energy.

T: Why is the Grinner’s saliva blue?!

E: No idea yet it’s disgusting. As Troy currently knows, I have actually a severe aversion to saliva. The vision of it provides me gag and also it appears unnecessary here. Human being don’t have to be drooling to come off as realistic laugh zombies.

T: i wonder how much writer/director Ron Oliver attracted on real life. He was a teenager magician in Canada who relocated to LA to do it in movies. You have actually to figure there was part rejection there. He even has Frankie give Ethan a great “screw what others say, you’re art matters” speech.

E: “Teen magician in Canada.” — ns don’t know why but I just love this so an extremely much. Why isn’t there a comic book collection about a Canadian teen magician? Or is there?? In any type of case, as melodramatic together the opened scene is where Ethan tears increase his rejections throughout a thunderstorm, that so deeply relatable to any creative person do the efforts to attain commercial success.

T: that funny, however I swear yes sir thunderstorms every time I obtain a rejection… all the world making fun of comic publications are asses. Love the parents saying he is addicted to comics when they’re stuffing their encounters in former of the TV.

E: i’m trying come recall when cultural attitudes towards comic publications started to change, and also people began to realize that comics room art that deserves simply as much respect as any other commercial medium. Troy would more than likely know far better than me. Was The amazing Adventures that Kavalier and Klay type of a transforming point? Or to be it prior to that?

T: This is a gross leveling of your question, but Watchmen in the so late ‘80s and also Maus (1991) both winner well-deserved widespread acclaim. Throughout the ‘90s, you have The Crow and also Blade adaptations combine film and comics in a way that spread affect to new fans. As soon as Hollywood latched on through X-Men, there was a real press for gritty and adult comics.

E: think it or not, I entirely forgot The Crow was a thing and remembering it simply opened up a quite terrifying wormhole into my teenhood. Ok just be over here, crying mascara-tainted tears for Brandon Lee.

T: ns love the the whole episode feels choose a comic book with the music and also wipes. Also microwaving the comic publication is together a comic publication idea. Speaking of comic movies, you acquire a similar vibe in Ang Lee’s lot maligned Hulk.

E: i feel like this is the episode Ron Oliver was born to write and direct. His visual layout lends itself so perfectly to pass a comic book to life.

T: “I think a person should recognize what lock are and work through it.” – Hooper Picallaro because that the win. She is together a wonderful character.

E: I normally bristle in ~ stereotypical “nerd” characters, yet Hooper won me over. She embraces her nerdery in a method that’s therefore much much less toxic 보다 Revenge the the Nerds or any kind of of the “nerd makeover” movies the were popular in the ’80s and then again in the ’90s. I additionally love the her lack of a sense of humor renders her impervious to the Grinner’s power.

T: It’s her superpower! and I would have actually hated if she got a cool makeover. She’s already cool. Lock do have her dressing favor a beatnik in ~ Ethan’s signing, however it works.

E: i don’t think beatniks and also nerds space mutually exclusive.

T: Okay, I have one complaint. Ethan doesn’t recognize Hooper’s voice or name on the phone, therefore she describes herself. Climate she hears one explosion, so she walks to his residence in around ninety seconds, establishing that lock neighbors, right? THEN she parents present up and also we learn Ethan and Hooper’s parents are great friends. So Ethan doesn’t recognize his parents’ friends’ daughter who lives next door?

E: This is the kind of ridiculousness that’s annoying however sort of functions within the paper definition of this weird episode? Also, walk he really not identify her voice on the phone, or is introducing herself simply kind of she thing? ns mean, if my name were Hooper Picallaro, I’d speak it as many times together humanly possible.

T: however she speak him they understand each various other from scientific research class. Not, you know, neighbors who have actually known each various other for years. It’s favor if I referred to as you up and also said, “Hey, Erin, this is troy Gardner, girlfriend know, the guy in Florida who you write AYAOTD? short articles with?”

E: “Troy, is it? AYAOTD? Oh, that’s right! how are you?”

T: on the bus, Ethan traction Hooper through the earlier of she head. I assume he to be just claimed to pull her right into the bus, but since he was already at the peak of the stairs, impede made that grab her like that, which simply makes me laugh. Perform you think the bus driver spinning his head earlier was an intentional referral to Flynn native “Phantom Cab?”

E: Head turn is sort of a fear staple, however they’re both chauffeurs so i’ll buy it!

T: therefore Sylvester Uncas thought up something indigenous the void and it turned the end to be real and also came for him? hasn’t every writer feared that happening?

E: of course! Stephen King wrote a entirety book about it! the said, here’s wherein we get to my one complaint around this episode. The world-building here is pretty messy. Betty Ann wonders aloud if comic publications are in reality guidebooks to another dimension. Yet in the illustration it’s clear that the comic book itself has the power to adjust the Grinner’s dimension. So, which came first? walk Uncas create the other dimension, or just attract from it? If it currently existed, why do comic books in our human being have the strength to change it? yes sir a mind-melting chicken or the egg problem here the irks me but doesn’t damage the episode.

T: also there’s the whole fact the comic books aren’t made prefer that. The Ghastly Grinner no a collection (would have made much more sense if it to be like concern 100 to be planned to it is in the last) and it’s put together incomplete?

E: Comic publication nerdery for the win.

T: i love the Hooper’s like, “Hey, Ethan, simply do a whole lot of art really super quick to save the day.” every that showing takes time!

E: I doubt that, prefer me, Hooper can draw stick figures. She has actually no structure of reference for this.

T: The climax is for this reason bizarre but they pull it off. Hear an epic superhero fight instead of seeing it certain does cut down ~ above the manufacturing budget.

E: It kind of imitates the experience of analysis a comic book, right? other than Hooper in reality gets to influence the people of the comic with her hilariously oversized eraser. Which captures fire. Love it.


T: Frankie Uncas is a lesbian, right?

E: I absolutely picked up some queer vibes, sort of in the same way that Rizzo indigenous Grease generally gets review as queer?

T: it wasn’t roughly at the time, yet the “Ghastly Grindr” joke would play as a gay joke today.



T: Comic books Ink attributes cardboard cutouts of the Crimson Clown, the Watcher, the knight from “Bookish Babysitter” and “Dark Dragon” Keith.

E: yes! Love these references!

T: Betty Ann’s meta-loving streak indigenous “Bookish Babysitter” proceeds - on the earlier of the Ghastly Grinner comic, there’s an advertisement for Are You afraid of the Dark? (and Ren and also Stimpy!).

E: speak of “Bookish Babysitter,” Frankie certainly reminded me that Belinda, the mysterious witch turned avestor from the episode. For a 2nd I thought they might’ve been played by the exact same actress.

T: and so evident that we haven’t pointed out it yet, yet the Ghastly Grinner himself is greatly inspired by the Joker.

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T: Is Hooper top top the spectrum? ns think she works as good representation if so.

E: Interesting! friend could definitely push her character in the direction and also make the explicit. Whatever else right here is sort of timeless, right?


Ryan Larson: Ryan Larson here, trojan was kind enough to invite me over. Why, you might ask? fine in situation you all don’t know, ns the founder and also editor end at Ghastly Grinning, a fear media hub with one goal: make horror happy. I grew up the town hall Are You fear of the Dark? and this illustration obviously stuck with me. “The Ghastly Grinner” is a really necessary episode for me due to the fact that it assisted galvanize 2 passions the had currently started to kind for me that would go ~ above to influence my life in significant ways, every the method to the existing day. See, the very first comic publication I ever before read to be Uncanny X-Men #159, where Marvel’s funny Mutants face off versus Dracula, and in one dropped swoop I became a pan of horror and also superheroes both. This episode of AYAOTD?, the was watched in ~ a formative age, assisted solidify that. Much more horror! more comics!

It also would have stranger, depths running implications that i never even realized but since of the Grinner (and Wolverine) my favorite costume shade combination, yes the is a thing, is blue and yellow or blue and also gold. To no one"s surprise, my favourite Goosebumps book is Attack that the Mutant. Horror and superheroes space not easy to mix, it’s to be tried plenty of times and also doesn’t constantly work out. The Joker is a an excellent spot for that, obviously, and also if you room really in search of something contemporary, inspect out The Immortal Hulk.

It’s due to the fact that that scarcity that these two genres intermingling the this illustration is even much more important. The human beings don’t collide that frequently and part of that is due to the fact that it’s hard to do. However, they did it brilliantly here, i beg your pardon is why we’re still talking about it 20 years later. I constantly wish someone had done a Grinner graphic novel, or also an Are You afraid of the Dark? one. The Grinner would certainly go top top to appear in two more episodes as a proceeding comic and also is even mentioned in the brand-new series the premiered critical year but outside the that, he stays on in ours memories. Probably I’ll just have to pitch that Midnight society comic again…

T: thanks for joining us this week, Ryan! one AYAOTD? comic would be the best. Just imagine problem 13: “The tale of the Ghastly Grinner vs. The Crimson Clown!” If you not following Ryan ~ above Twitter, he’s