Contrary to popular belief, I not only can read, but occasionally acquire books and enjoy them. In my travels, when I come across an especially interesting or cool book, I like to pass it on to you fellow horrorhounds. This go round the mulberry bush I’ve come across a neat little book from Peter Pauper Press.
The book is entitled Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies: The Compendium Monstrum. Lucky for you folks I speak pretend Latin and call you that translates roughly to the Monster Encyclopedia. I’ve long been a sucker for reference style books about monsters, dating back to my days of patronizing the tiny Dauphin County East Library as a child. Back then when I was ready to move on from dinosaurs, I happened to find a Paranormal Encyclopedia that tuned me into the wide weird wonders of the world, from chupacabras to moth men to aliens that mated with humans. As an eleven year old, that was close enough to porn to get me to check the book out no fewer than 12 times.
With my history lesson over, we move on to a grander scheme of history in the Compendium. Suzanne Schwalb and Margaret Rubiano painstakingly collected and arrange this book out of the papers of Herr Doktro Max Sturm and Baron Ludwig Von Drang, two of histories most eminent experts on monsters. Their creature descriptions are brought to life through the creepy and informative sketches of Bruce Waldman.
What I love about the book and really enjoy is its presentation. The paper looks aged and the book is compact enough to be stored in a pocket, bound like a moleskine notebook. It includes large, fold out maps and a section in the back for you to fill in your own monster sightings.
Divided into three sections (Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies) the Compendium alerts you how to identify the threat, provides you with a history, and tells you the best route for defeating your enemy. The book has a playful sense of humor, though the illustrations could find home in any book on the monsters of the world- they’re my favorite part and they’re on more than 50% of the pages.
While Compendium Monstrum isn’t quite the serious monster encyclopedia that I long for, it is a fine addition to my diverse collection of monster reference books. If you are someone you know are into horror movies or classic monsters, Compendium Monstrum is an inexpensive and fun addition to any library.
Because this is still a Coroner’s Report…
Kills: Instructions on how to kill vampires, werewolves, and zombies.
Ills: Plenty of sketches, though nothing to turn your stomach.
Lust: This is an all ages reader, so no.
Learning: Class is in session on monster hunting. Silver is your best friend.
Review: Light hearted, with great presentation and plenty of awesome illustrations.