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Ghosts And Ruins

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Who doesn't love a good ghost story? This gorgeous, coffee-table art book is a compendium of old, forgotten haunted houses imagined by artist Ben Catmull, along with the stories and rumors of who haunts them, and why. Each spread features a different haunted house, lovingly and exquisitely rendered in scratchboard on masonite, with a short, nightmare-inducing description o Who doesn't love a good ghost story? This gorgeous, coffee-table art book is a compendium of old, forgotten haunted houses imagined by artist Ben Catmull, along with the stories and rumors of who haunts them, and why. Each spread features a different haunted house, lovingly and exquisitely rendered in scratchboard on masonite, with a short, nightmare-inducing description of each scene. In "Drowned Shelley," for example: A chorus of frogs surrounds the house where young Shelley was drowned headfirst in the bathtub by her drunken stepfather. Say her name 13 times while looking in the pond and she will drown you in your sleep. Say her name the wrong number of times while looking in the pond, and she will leave hair in your breakfast dishes. Say her name 13 times while not looking in the pond, and she will watch you when you clip your toenails. Mispronounce her name 13 times while looking anywhere near the pond, and she will kick you somewhere delicate at the stroke of midnight. Catmull's images are evocative, haunting masterpieces that never tread in graphic imagery, choosing instead to suggest horrors far more frightening than what they explicitly depict. With just the right touch of humor to balance the terror, Ghosts and Ruins is sure to attract fans of Edward Gorey or Tim Burton, and makes a perfect gift book for the ghost story fan in your house.


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Who doesn't love a good ghost story? This gorgeous, coffee-table art book is a compendium of old, forgotten haunted houses imagined by artist Ben Catmull, along with the stories and rumors of who haunts them, and why. Each spread features a different haunted house, lovingly and exquisitely rendered in scratchboard on masonite, with a short, nightmare-inducing description o Who doesn't love a good ghost story? This gorgeous, coffee-table art book is a compendium of old, forgotten haunted houses imagined by artist Ben Catmull, along with the stories and rumors of who haunts them, and why. Each spread features a different haunted house, lovingly and exquisitely rendered in scratchboard on masonite, with a short, nightmare-inducing description of each scene. In "Drowned Shelley," for example: A chorus of frogs surrounds the house where young Shelley was drowned headfirst in the bathtub by her drunken stepfather. Say her name 13 times while looking in the pond and she will drown you in your sleep. Say her name the wrong number of times while looking in the pond, and she will leave hair in your breakfast dishes. Say her name 13 times while not looking in the pond, and she will watch you when you clip your toenails. Mispronounce her name 13 times while looking anywhere near the pond, and she will kick you somewhere delicate at the stroke of midnight. Catmull's images are evocative, haunting masterpieces that never tread in graphic imagery, choosing instead to suggest horrors far more frightening than what they explicitly depict. With just the right touch of humor to balance the terror, Ghosts and Ruins is sure to attract fans of Edward Gorey or Tim Burton, and makes a perfect gift book for the ghost story fan in your house.

30 review for Ghosts And Ruins

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    Saying this this book will appeal to fans of Gorey just might be the most true thing ever stated in advertising copy. It has the fairly simply and very eerie art, the short and appealing vague descriptions, and an indescribably haunting quality, much like Gorey's work. No, it isn't quite as good, but what is? Still, very, very worthwhile. Saying this this book will appeal to fans of Gorey just might be the most true thing ever stated in advertising copy. It has the fairly simply and very eerie art, the short and appealing vague descriptions, and an indescribably haunting quality, much like Gorey's work. No, it isn't quite as good, but what is? Still, very, very worthwhile.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Armand

    This is an amusing collection of illustrated short shorts featuring haunted houses that don't always take themselves very seriously. Don't get me wrong - some can be downright sinister and yes, even deadly. But a few had me chuckling at their fey silliness. It's a good thing that I didn't wait for a blackout before reading this bauble. Kudos to Catmull for the eerie and atmospheric art. I like how they sometimes present a decided contrast to the anecdotes, how they continue being creepy and distu This is an amusing collection of illustrated short shorts featuring haunted houses that don't always take themselves very seriously. Don't get me wrong - some can be downright sinister and yes, even deadly. But a few had me chuckling at their fey silliness. It's a good thing that I didn't wait for a blackout before reading this bauble. Kudos to Catmull for the eerie and atmospheric art. I like how they sometimes present a decided contrast to the anecdotes, how they continue being creepy and disturbing even as the story takes a light turn. I just wish the text was a bit longer. Except for a single word in page 48, there are no inappropriate or risqué moments here. Brave kids as young as 8 should be able to enjoy this little gem. I'm rating this 7.5/10 or 4 stars out of 5.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    The drawings in this book are absolutely amazing!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sooraya Evans

    Not sure if this was meant to be a funny book. The drawings were creepy enough. But a house haunted by the spirit of a clumsy, slow moving goat? You heard me right. A goat.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sam Truman

    This was great. Entertaining, nostalgic, and looks cool on my coffee table. Totally worth the three extra blocks I walked to find a copy with an un-scratched cover. The illustrations feel like a combination of Edward Gorey and my beloved "The Tell Tale Lilac Bush" (Ruth Ann Musick). The poems themselves are short, creepy, and funny. They made me wish I had a weird little kid hanging around to read to. Not my own, but maybe a niece or something... Hair and Earwigs- The basement of this house Is fill This was great. Entertaining, nostalgic, and looks cool on my coffee table. Totally worth the three extra blocks I walked to find a copy with an un-scratched cover. The illustrations feel like a combination of Edward Gorey and my beloved "The Tell Tale Lilac Bush" (Ruth Ann Musick). The poems themselves are short, creepy, and funny. They made me wish I had a weird little kid hanging around to read to. Not my own, but maybe a niece or something... Hair and Earwigs- The basement of this house Is filled with hair and earwigs. Pg. 58

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    An absolutely beautiful book filled with tiny haunting ideas and unsettling moments of short fiction. A real treat of a short read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Castle Spooktacular (Cassandra Woods)

    what a gem! A random find on the graphic novel shelf. Unusually creepy and unsettling stories. Very short texts make it even weirder. GORGEOUS etched illustrations, and a refreshing read due to the sheer imagination and movie like concepts.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    The book itself was allright, but kudos for amazing preword: "It is highly recommended that you read this book alone late at night in the dark far away from civilization, preferably during a power outage." The book itself was allright, but kudos for amazing preword: "It is highly recommended that you read this book alone late at night in the dark far away from civilization, preferably during a power outage."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

    Bizarre. I was attracted to the cover and even though I'm not a big graphic novel fan, I picked it up. Loved the intricate black and white illustrations, but the abbreviated "stories" are just plain weird and a bit random. Bizarre. I was attracted to the cover and even though I'm not a big graphic novel fan, I picked it up. Loved the intricate black and white illustrations, but the abbreviated "stories" are just plain weird and a bit random.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Munkybug

    Creepy and beautiful

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    The “stories” are cute-in a horror filled kind of way-though I hesitate to even call them stories as they are extremely brief. It’s the artwork that is the real star here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tuathane

    An inventive idea, and the illustrations are beautiful. The narrative work seems aimed at a younger audience, however, and (with two exceptions) lacked anything frightening to those seeking horrors.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Grg

    Some of these haunted houses are pretty cool. I wouldn't mind living in The Disgusting Garden (if it didn't smell so bad) or the Labyrinth of Junk (though I feel bad for the goat). Some of these haunted houses are pretty cool. I wouldn't mind living in The Disgusting Garden (if it didn't smell so bad) or the Labyrinth of Junk (though I feel bad for the goat).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Humbert Cumberdale

    Gorgeous art, very quirky, but missing substance.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Harris

    A charmingly spooky art picture book for adults (though mostly appropriate for all ages) with wonderfully detailed, black and white illustrations of a variety of fantastical haunted locations and the ghosts that call them home, from the story of "Drowned Shelley" to the terrifying "Crawling House." Each of these mini-stories can spawn a lot of imagination about their back-stories. While you can peruse the book in less than a half an hour, the amusing spookiness engendered through the elegant art A charmingly spooky art picture book for adults (though mostly appropriate for all ages) with wonderfully detailed, black and white illustrations of a variety of fantastical haunted locations and the ghosts that call them home, from the story of "Drowned Shelley" to the terrifying "Crawling House." Each of these mini-stories can spawn a lot of imagination about their back-stories. While you can peruse the book in less than a half an hour, the amusing spookiness engendered through the elegant art work and the thought-provoking stories that accompany them can stay with the reader for a lot longer.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

    This is a strange and spooky book. The reader is instructed to "...read this book alone late at night in the dark far away from civilization, perferably during a power outage." Sometimes the least civilized part of our world is where the most people are found, so I didn't exactly follow the instructions. I think I picked it up at the library because of the "ghosts" and "ruins" words in the title, thinking of ghost towns, but this isn't about ghost towns. The drawings were nicely done but the tex This is a strange and spooky book. The reader is instructed to "...read this book alone late at night in the dark far away from civilization, perferably during a power outage." Sometimes the least civilized part of our world is where the most people are found, so I didn't exactly follow the instructions. I think I picked it up at the library because of the "ghosts" and "ruins" words in the title, thinking of ghost towns, but this isn't about ghost towns. The drawings were nicely done but the text was weak and seemed to be too sparse and incomplete. Those of you who like this kind of material (and you know who you are), enjoy!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Levi

    A beautifully illustrated book. The pictures are all about houses or places abandoned by people and supposedly haunted. The illustrations have stories/short blurbs to go with them, almost like notes someone would write about photographs they took of a place. The stories don't really do a ton to help the photos, they range from interesting (the Disgusting Garden) to silly (Drowned Shelley). The imagery is what really shines in the book. The illustrations are dark, creepy and beautiful. I'd have be A beautifully illustrated book. The pictures are all about houses or places abandoned by people and supposedly haunted. The illustrations have stories/short blurbs to go with them, almost like notes someone would write about photographs they took of a place. The stories don't really do a ton to help the photos, they range from interesting (the Disgusting Garden) to silly (Drowned Shelley). The imagery is what really shines in the book. The illustrations are dark, creepy and beautiful. I'd have been completely content with the book if it contained nothing but the pictures and their story titles.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy Holland

    Birthday present from Husband, which he read to me last night. The book is comprised of a series of mini-stories/vignettes, each one lasting 1-3 pages. The text is slight, but the illustrations are deliciously spooky and evocative. Some of the vignettes were on the silly side, but others were genuinely creepy (always my preference!). I thought any of the stories would make great writing prompts -- there's obviously a lot going on beyond the brief text and what we can see in the pictures. Definit Birthday present from Husband, which he read to me last night. The book is comprised of a series of mini-stories/vignettes, each one lasting 1-3 pages. The text is slight, but the illustrations are deliciously spooky and evocative. Some of the vignettes were on the silly side, but others were genuinely creepy (always my preference!). I thought any of the stories would make great writing prompts -- there's obviously a lot going on beyond the brief text and what we can see in the pictures. Definitely recommended for anyone who loves haunted houses and the macabre!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    A good mix of creepy and darkly humorous images and ideas. 2017 Not quite sure why, but something reminded me of this book and I decided to re-read it. I labeled it a graphic novel, and it is listed as such in my library system, but it is more like a picture book for adults in format, each two page spread including text facing a single illustration. I think it could be interesting to use some of the longer ones as inspiration for creepy places for players to explore in an RPG.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I'm not sure whether this was trying to be poetry, humor, a graphic novel, or something else entirely. While the artwork was kinda creepy (and often gross), the stories didn't quite connect with me - except for the first one, which had a slight narrative. The rest were like half-finished anecdotes, where you're waiting for the point of the story. I'm not sure whether this was trying to be poetry, humor, a graphic novel, or something else entirely. While the artwork was kinda creepy (and often gross), the stories didn't quite connect with me - except for the first one, which had a slight narrative. The rest were like half-finished anecdotes, where you're waiting for the point of the story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    I love scary books, but for some reason, this just didn't do it for me. The illustrations were amazing, but I needed more than just a verse or two attached to each page to really get me into the mood. I love scary books, but for some reason, this just didn't do it for me. The illustrations were amazing, but I needed more than just a verse or two attached to each page to really get me into the mood.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Delightfully bizarre and reminiscent of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and the Ghastlycrumb Tinies but still absolutely its own. I'm a big fan of THE CRAWLING HOUSE: This house is moving northeast at a rate of about ten feet per year. Delightfully bizarre and reminiscent of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and the Ghastlycrumb Tinies but still absolutely its own. I'm a big fan of THE CRAWLING HOUSE: This house is moving northeast at a rate of about ten feet per year.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Racheal

    4.5 Really lovely and creepy black & white illustrations of different haunted houses (the description says that they are scratchboard on masonite), with little spooky vignettes written, almost urban legend style, about the houses and their particular eerie characteristics.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Hayes

    Creepy little snippets of haunted house anecdotes, with some truly disturbing art to go along with it. These are perfect little idea-shots that really help get me in the Halloween frame of mind. Recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    The detail in these dark drawings is amazing! I notice something new every time I look through it. Beautiful work.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I really enjoyed this book. It is a book with short stories/short poems put together with a few paintings.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alice Paterra

    I'm sure people would compare this to Edward Gorey, and they'd be on the right track. Beautiful artwork as well as words. I'm sure people would compare this to Edward Gorey, and they'd be on the right track. Beautiful artwork as well as words.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Creepy little stories. Beautifully eerie, black and white sketches. Loved this for the artwork alone.

  29. 5 out of 5

    K

    Spooky stories; gorgeous artwork.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hollis

    Sent shivers up my spine and made me laugh...cautiously. What a strange and beautiful book!

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