The Horrible Bag of Terrible Things

Perfect for fans of Coraline, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Small Spaces

Eleven-year-old Zenith Maelstrom didn’t mean to destroy his family’s kitchen with his science experiment, but now he’s grounded and stuck at home under the watchful eye of his protective older sister, Apogee. Anxious for any distraction, he eagerly investigates a strange noise on the front porch and discovers a mysterious patchwork bag delivered from places and persons unknown. He finds the bag’s battered exterior and jagged stitches repulsive. And irresistible. After dragging the bag inside, he promptly pricks his finger on its ornate clasp. His drop of blood brings the bag to life, and something terrible emerges: a sinister, spider-limbed creature. The monstrosity skitters through the house, snatching Zenith’s unsuspecting sister and dragging her inside the horrible bag.

Zenith has no choice but to follow. After descending into the bag’s unexpectedly cavernous interior, he’s greeted by a trio of bickering, bloodthirsty gatekeepers whom he must outwit in order to gain passage to the realm beyond, a hidden world called GrahBhag. The sky there is a sickly green, the sun is a menacing red, and the terrain plays tricks on Zenith’s body and mind. Lost in a foul forest, Zenith forges an alliance with an earwax-nibbling gargoyle named Kreeble, who guides him out of the woods and through the bizarre land in search of his sister. Together they meet Raggedy Albert, a sentient sawdust-stuffed giant, who seems eager to befriend Zenith. But Albert’s hospitality is not what it seems, like much of what Zenith encounters in GrahBhag.

Eventually, Zenith learns of the Great and Holey Wurm, an eldritch horror with a godlike hold over the creatures of GrahBhag, who seems to have a dark, insidious purpose for Apogee. Zenith will have to save his sister and help them both escape the horrible bag before it’s too late. 

Rob likes collaborating with other cartoonists and writers. He really enjoys the process of dreaming up stories for others’ characters and bringing them to life on the screen or on the page. But he especially loves creating fantastic new worlds of his very own. Up until now, he’s always translated his original characters’ adventures into cartoons like Mina & the Count and My Life as a Teenage Robot. However, Rob thought that The Horrible Bag of Terrible Things could be a novel, a spooky story tailored for middle graders, but meant to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Luckily, he wasn’t the only one who thought that the terrible things inside the horrible bag would make for spine-tingling reading. (Thanks, Penguin Random House!) If you’re feeling adventurous, you can have The Horrible Bag delivered to your front door. Just click the Buy Now button above.

After spending so much time with Zenith, Apogee, Kreeble, and the many terrible things within the world of GrahBhag, Rob began to wonder what might happen next. The answer can be found in The Twisted Tower of Endless Torment, the second book in The Horrible Series, which will be published in January 2024. A third volume is slated for release later in 2024, but Rob still has to come up with the title (and the text) for that one. Check back frequently for more news and updates.

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