A Field Guide to Midwestern Monsters

 FGTF   (Hylas, 2005)

™ and © 2005 Aaron Blecha & Jason Felix

Much like the numerous Peterson Field Guide series of reference books, this title purports to be a guide to various monsters that inhabit the upper Midwest, specifically the Great Lakes region. It is an area intimately familiar to the writer and artist. Who else would know about Giggles, the Bratwurst Fiend or Cumptico-Calico, Bastard of the Deep Woods? These are not the typical vampires or werewolves but rather the kind of monsters that have been inexplicably overlooked by paranormal investigators. Each monster is afforded a full-page illustration and a paragraph relating the creature’s origins and habits and cautionary advice such as “Be wary of thick curds in your dairy products. They’re not what you think.” Artist Jason Felix has a whimsical illustrative style that evokes the humorously grotesque creations of Basil Wolverton. Aaron Blecha writes the descriptions with mock formality that satirizes the more absurd aspects of local culture. — George Haberberger

From the Comics Buyer’s Guide:

A Field Guide to Monsters includes all the usual creatures: Dracula, Godzilla, and King Kong, for example. It includes more obscure monsters, such as Gwangi dinosaurs and Triffids. It does not ignore human monsters, including Jason Voorhees and Jack the Ripper. And it includes monsters many would have overlooked. Hulk? Check. Audrey II? Check. Shrek? HAL 9000? Grandpa Munster? Flying Monkeys? All present and accounted for.

It’s not just the comprehensiveness that makes the book so (grrrr) delightful; it’s the style. The entries are chock-full of fun facts played straight, but, at the same time, the book doesn’t take itself too seriously. Of course, there’s only so much gravity one can apply to discussing how to survive the attack of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. (He’s vulnerable to proton weapons and Boy Scout campfires, apparently.)

Recommended for monster fans of all stripes.

— Jack Abramowitz

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ca. 2005Aaron BlechaJason Felix