Covering Ghosts of Fear Street with Mark Garro
High profile artist Mark Garro is known in the YA horror community for being one of the cover artists who worked on Ghosts of Fear Street. Alongside Broeck Steadman, John Youssi, Jim Ludtke, Happy Boy Pat, and Cliff Nielsen. Mark used vivid colors and warped perspective to create a nightmarish vision of the dangers haunting the children of Shadyside.
A few months ago, I reached out to Mark to ask if he had any information on “The Funhouse of Dr. Freek,” the fabled last book in the Ghosts series which was never published. Mark didn’t know anything about “Dr. Freek,” but he was willing to share high definition versions of some of his covers – including three which were never officially used for publication.
Revenge of the Shadow People
The shadows of Shadyside start taking on lives of their own.
The use of black and red really makes this cover come alive, as does the transparent effect with the shadow creature hovering over the boy’s bed. Note the pseudo-Batman poster in the left side of the cover. You’ll see it again later on.
Don’t Ever Get Sick At Granny’s
Granny Marsha’s the coolest grandma around. Her home remedies are guaranteed to kill fevers… colds… anything. Anyone…
This book has a reputation as being the most bizarre story in the Ghosts of Fear Street line. It’s purported to rival I Live In Your Basement! from Goosebumps in terms of sheer weirdness. Mark conveys that feeling rather well with the poisonous green theme and Granny Marsha’s demonic expression.
Mark mentioned Granny Marsha was modeled after his own grandmother. She apparently wasn’t happy to know he used her likeness for a horror book.
House of a Thousand Screams
A famous magician dies and his home is bequeathed to his next of kin, who discover he left behind some cool and terrifying magic tricks.
The warped perspective is put to good use to highlight the furry creature’s escape from the box of magic tricks.
Spell of the Screaming Joker
A game of cards unleashes a gaggle of ghastly jokers hunting a group of children and marking them with playing card suits. What happens when they get all four symbols?
As a comic book fan, this is admittedly my favorite of the officially released covers. From the use of greens and pinks to the joker literally escaping from the card, there’s a lot of depth to this illustration.
Go To Your Tomb – Right Now!
A mysterious girl named Luanna grants Jack and his friend Connor the gift of invisibility for the day. Now Jack must return the favor by venturing into a dangerous tomb.
This is one of two books in the Ghosts line that used the redesigned cover format before the Fear Street franchise was moved to Gold Key for publishing. The spider symbolism on the tomb’s layout is rather subtle foreshadowing to the latter half of the story.
Parents from the 13th Dimension
A two-headed coin brings Sarah to an alternate universe with the perfect family she’s always dreamed of. And they’re so glad she’s staying for dinner…
Mark also did the cover artwork for the collected Ghosts edition. Ghoul Friends collected Eye of the Fortuneteller, How To Be A Vampire, and Camp Fear Ghouls.
Mark’s colors really make this one pop, with the contrast of the red ghoul against the heavy use of greens and blues, alongside a hint of an unnatural purple moon.
Collecting The Ooze, The Boy Who Ate Fear Street, and Don’t Ever Get Sick At Granny’s. Note Mark’s name written on the chalkboard. Mark’s touch with drawing ghostly effects manages to look almost like they were made by a different artist, highlighting his utilization of different styles in the same piece.
Big Bad Bugs
After mainly using blues and greens as the base for the collected editions, Mark switches out with a ghastly red featuring several larger than life insects and arachnids. This one includes Nightmare In 3-D, The Bugman Lives, and Halloween Bugs Me.
Including Monster Dog, Attack of the Aqua Apes, and Night of the Were-Cat, Mark includes more ghoulish animals rising up from the depths of the Fear Street Cemetery. And what appears to inexplicably be the Fear Street Mountains.
The first of the collected editions focuses specifically on ghost-related stories, such as Fright Knight, Who’s Been Sleeping In My Grave, and Stay Away From The Treehouse.
The effect of the tree branch holding the moon, and the moon appearing to be screaming, is an amazing little touch.
The following three covers went unpublished. Two of them were used for online solicitations while the third was unknown to the Fear Street fandom until now.
Escape of the He-Beast
Jamie Kolker accidentally steals a computer disc and unwittingly unleashes his favorite comic book villain into the real world.
There’s that Batman poster again. Escape of the He-Beast was originally going to be released after Parents from the 13th Dimension. After Ghosts was moved to Gold Key, He-Beast was made into the 31st book in the series.
I Was A Sixth Grade Zombie
Valerie and her best friend Mark learn the new afterschool clubs are being used to brainwash kids, and they might be next.
Mark’s cover for Sixth Grade Zombie uses that warped perspective to highlight protagonist Valerie’s fear and confusion which we see more of as she investigates the brainwashing plot. The swirly eyes of the other kids does a good job of referring to the titular zombies as the brainwashed kind and not the undead kind.
Tale of the Blue Monkey
A doll resembling a blue monkey carries a bad luck curse related to the Fear Family and an evil toymaker.
This is a rare treasure in the Fear Street fandom, one we didn’t know existed before Mark shared it with me. Whereas He-Beast and Sixth Grade Zombie were solicited online with their original covers, there was no indication Mark also created a cover for the Blue Monkey.
Mark brings the titular doll to life as it crawls its way out of a grave. With a single, glaring red eye, Mark is able to use the doll’s stitching to resemble both a wicked smile and to emphasize the idea that the toy has come back from the dead.