Issue X: Spooky Summer
If you seek this humble editor, you may find her in a cave watching horror films
It’s like housekeeping for toads!
I know y’all are used to Toad Talk opening with a “hello fellow toads,” but today, we’re kicking things off with a quick announcement! Starting next week, Toad Talk will include a bonus secret email for anyone who wants to become a paid subscriber. For $5 a month (which is as low as Substack would let me set the rate) or $55 yearly, you’ll get good stuff like printable art, digital wallpapers, sketchbook tidbits, my deepest gratitude, and my darkest secrets. You can also become a Top Tier Toad for $56+ a year and support my silly little comics and writing, if that’s your jam. (*My* jam is currently the Bonne Maman strawberry variety.)
If you don’t feel like subscribing, you’ll still receive the same weekly issues of Toad Talk that you’re accustomed to. As always, I’m just glad you’re here!
Letter from the Editor
Helloooooo fellow toads,
Happy Toad Tuesday! After one of the longest and most depressing winters of my life, I’m actually glad it’s summer and we’re done with snow for at least six months. I’m sure I’ll be recanting that statement in a few boiling weeks, but for now, I shall be a font of gratitude. Global warming, amirite?
Whenever I’m reading or watching a story about characters taking a seemingly interminable, scalding journey through the desert (Holes before they found the sploosh?) I’m always like, “Eh, I could do that”. And the thing is, I probably *could* if I had no other choice, but as soon as it comes to doing anything optional and that thermostat is readin’ above 80 degrees…forget it, baby. I did half an hour of yard work today and I smell like a swamp full of feet. If you met me in the summer, you might actually think I was a vampire ‘til the seasons changed.
As soon as the temp starts rising, I am required by law to:
Metamorphose into a cave troll perpetually hiding in the shade within close proximity of a fan; and
Chop off my hair or become a claw clip kween,
not necessarily in that order.
But alas; cave trolls need entertainment too, especially after a sweaty walk back from the farmer’s market or a spicy gardening sesh. What kind of titillating enrichment does this troll prefer, you ask?
A Good Summer Spook
is the bee’s knees, as far as I’m concerned. And thanks for asking! You really *do* care.
If you know me, you may already know I’m mildly obsessed with cults, cryptids, cemeteries, and the supernatural. I spend a lot of my days dressed in all black like a weird little mortician who listens to country music at work. (Which, coincidentally, might be why I don’t fare too well in full sun.) She’s giving you cowpoltergeist! She’s giving you Goth Brooks! She’s giving you the summertime boos!
Anyways, I pass much of my summer downtime in a dimly lit room consuming spooky media in hopes of, perhaps, catching a chill or two and forgetting that it’s hot enough to roast me like a corndog outside.
Here are thirteen of my summer go-tos, in no particular order:
The Haunting of Hill House
Friday The 13th
You Won’t Be Alone
The Tower Podcast
I also love doing my annual Twin Peaks rewatch between February and October, but I can’t find anywhere to stream this year, so the rewatch is on hold til I buy the entire series on DVD; alas. In the meantime, if you, dear readers, have any recommendations (for spooky summer media and/or places to stream Twin Peaks), please do let a lady know.
Stay cool out there, mes chers crapauds!
By Mary Carol Charlton, PhD in Flea Market Studies
Hello again, dear viewers, and welcome back to another episode of Antique Alley! I’m delighted to share the latest little gem I’ve found with you.
When you think haunted dolls, your mind probably jumps right over to Annabelle or those eerie porcelain creatures that great aunts love to fill their dusty china cabinets with. Well, I’ve got something a bit different here today!
If you come from a family of glassblowers, you may have some idea what we’re looking at. Otherwise, let’s dive in!
Back in the day (I’m estimating around the 1950s for this piece), glassblowing, steelworking, and potterymaking were all common professions in the tri-state area where this lady hails from. Her transparent prison was actually blown in a Steubenville, Ohio glass factory.
The globe that now surrounds this doll was originally attached to a large tube—you can see the spot right at its apex—which the artisan blew through to shape the glass. This piece would have served as both valuable practice and a demonstration of skill (and perhaps a gift for a friend, too).
Until next time, dear viewers! Mary Carol Charlton signing off.
Firsthand testimony from local resident who received this piece as a gift
By Merv Barton
any of you heard bout that jaggin around openin up again?
Real nice place , real good onion rings
My sister Cheryl said it’ll be back open soon
was some real good burgers they had there before
Want tto take my grandboy Trevor
You been up there ?
I liked goin up there for the cruise ins, some real sleek cars they had at that jaggin around
ha d to do my cruise ins at the eat n park past few months
Nice place but I ain’t been back up there yet can any of you tell me if it’s any good now ?
By Custard Whimbley, Professor of Literature
Salutations, book freaks!
Here we are again in the nook where the written word reigns supreme…that’s right, it’s the Book Nook! This week, we’re leaning into 80s camp, cheesy horror tropes, and big hair with My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix.
Exorcism tells the story of high schoolers Abby and Gretchen, BFFs who have been inseparable since they were 10. After Gretchen gets lost in the woods during an ill-fated slumber party, Abby notices that she’s no longer the same bestie-for-the-restie she once was. A series of concerning events (involving tapeworms, Christian bodybuilders, and the terrors of high school) set Abby on a seemingly-hopeless quest to save her friend from whatever demons have taken over her psyche before Gretchen is gone forever.
Overall, this was a fun, campy read, perfect for the beach or a warm summer night. If you enjoy 80s pop culture, the Fear Street series, the Southern Gothic genre, or Hendrix’s other novels, I’d recommend snagging a copy at your local library or bookstore.
3/5 coffee reheats
I’m also reading Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda right now. So far, it’s really got me hooked, and I’ll be sure to report back on the final coffee reheat score once I’ve polished it off.
Free Stuff Footer
Helloooooo, patrons of the toad!
To show you some of the kind of stuff paid subscribers will get, I’m including some spooky printable downloads for y’all! All I ask is that you don’t use them for any commercial purposes or repost them online.
If you choose to up your subscription, you’ll get a bonus ~secret email~ with toad goodies alongside every regular issue of Toad Talk.
Thanks again for supporting this humble publication and being part of the knot!