Curly the Skeleton is the former mascot of the Goosebumps franchise. He has been featured on a number of Goosebumps memorabilia. On most memorabilia, he is depicted with round glasses, a scarf, a pink Mohawk, and red eyes. On book covers and calendars, he is depicted with a white buzz-cut and black pupils. He is also often depicted alongside his pet bulldog, Drool on these covers.
Curly's white buzz-cut look was designed by Goosebumps illustrator, Tim Jacobus, and his pink Mohawk and red eyes look was designed by Scholastic. In addition, Curly appeared on the covers of all six Tales to Give You Goosebumps books, three Goosebumps Monster Edition books, and on the cover for the Goosebumps Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
Scholastic's website referred to Curly as "The coolest skeleton in the graveyard."
When the Goosebumps series first began, its publisher, Scholastic, had difficulty finding merchandisers who were willing to promote the books. This was because, although the series did eventually introduce recurring monsters, it never had a fixed cast of main characters.
In an interview with former Goosebumps cover artist Tim Jacobus, Tim discussed the creation of Curly. Jacobus had been asked by Scholastic to create a mascot for the series, so he designed a long haired skeleton-ghost for the cover of the book Tales to Give You Goosebumps. Many people, including Jacobus, did not like the skeleton's initial design. In order to improve the character, it was given a new haircut and a full body. This character soon became known as Curly the Skeleton.
Since his creation, he has appeared on many of the book covers and products involving the series.
Curly made his debut on the cover of Tales to Give You Goosebumps in 1994. On the cover (illustrated by Tim Jacobus), Curly is depicted as a ghostly figure with long curly hair (hence the name "Curly"). Scholastic wanted Curly to become the mascot of the Goosebumps franchise, so he was a given a more marketable design in subsequent covers. He appeared on all of the covers to the Tales to Give You Goosebumps and Goosebumps Monster Edition books with a human skeleton body, blue eyes, and a white buzz-cut. Scholastic, however, changed aspects of his design for merchandising, such as giving him red eyes, glasses, a scarf, and a pink Mohawk and ponytail. Curly was considered the official mascot for the franchise starting in 1995, appearing on many forms of merchandise and even appearing as the narrator at the beginning of the Goosebumps Collector's Caps Books. His status as a mascot came to end when the Goosebumps franchise halted in 2000.
Curly returned to the franchise in 2009 through minor appearances. He appeared in the book How to Draw Goosebumps and in a flash game on the Goosebumps website titled Ghost Hotel. Curly, along with other Goosebumps monsters, was planned to be featured in a new Goosebumps merchandising line made by Mezco, which was showcased in a Toy Fair 2009 press-kit. Curly was to be featured on a 3D bookmark and released as a mini-figure a part of the Goosebumps Pocket Horrors series. However, nothing has been heard of the line since, so it was presumably canceled.
While Curly did not make an appearance in the 2015 film Goosebumps, he appeared on the Vinyl special edition cover of the film's soundtrack using the Jacobus design, which hadn't been used in seventeen years.
Curly appears in the second and third issues of Monsters at Midnight, a Goosebumps comic book series. He is one of the monsters under the command of Slappy the Dummy while the protagonists are trapped in HorrorLand.
In late-2017, Curly appeared as the narrator in the mobile game Goosebumps HorrorTown where he is shown interacting with Slappy.
Curly also appears in the second arc of the comic series, Download and Die!, which was released the following year. He seems to play a bigger role compared to Monsters at Midnight, as he is shown acting in concert with Slappy as either his partner or his henchman.
Curly first appears in issue #1 as a sticker option in the Tickled Pink filter available on the mysterious phone found by the protagonist, Mitra. He later appears in issue #2, in a hospital inside a display case labelled "The Human Skeleton" while Mitra is visiting her injured brother Merchdad. He taps the case from within, but only manages to make Mitra feel like she vaguely recognizes him from somewhere.
He later appears in issue #3, where he helps Slappy attempt to reclaim the phone, though they are also forced to contend with the Creeps. After driving back the Creeps, they make another attempt to reclaim the phone only for it to get destroyed by Mitra, which also causes both Sybil Wicked and an evil clone of Mitra to disperse. When Slappy got shattered by Kyra using the gymnasium bleachers, Curly can be seen crumbling to pieces.
A skeleton walking a dog makes a brief cameo in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, a possible reference to Curly and Drool. In the tie-in book Slappy's Return, a mask of Curly's face can be seen in a store, meaning that the character was presumably brought to life.
- R.L. Stine has a replica of Curly which he puts outside his apartment on Halloween.
- According to the Goosebumps Fan Club's newsletter, Curly's birthday is in April.
- In another edition of the fan club's newsletter, Curly says that — while he isn't married — he has three sisters: Skelly, Boo, and Nightshade.
- Some pieces of merchandise, as well as an advertisement for the Goosebumps Fan Club, misidentify the skeleton chef on the cover of Say Cheese and Die! as Curly. According to artist Tim Jacobus, Curly's first appearance was on the cover of Tales to Give You Goosebumps.
- Most merchandise to feature Curly uses artwork of him holding a copy of Say Cheese and Die!, which may have added to the confusion.