Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Horrific World of Monsters.

Dulan Barber, The Horrific World of Monsters
As I scale the glassy heights of Sheffield's Velocity Tower, in protest at inappropriate drilling for oil, people often lean out of the windows and say to me, "Steve, with what do you associate Christmas 1974?"

And I tell them, "With what? I'll tell you with what I associate it. I associate it with toffee. I associate it with Quatermass and the Pit - which may or may not have been on TV that Christmas. And I associate it with The Horrific World of Monsters."

Yes, it's true. For Christmas 1974, I was given that self-same book.

And what a magnificent tome it was, giving information about virtually every monster you could ever hope to encounter.

It had such Hammer and Universal standbys as Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula and the Wolfman.

It had dinosaurs.

It had Kong.

It had monsters from ancient mythology.

It had Japanese monsters.

It had British monsters.

It had real-life monsters like the Yeti and Nessie.

It even had Marvel super-heroes.

Granted, even at the time, it seemed a little strange to see the likes of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four labelled as monsters but I didn't care. The inclusion of such characters meant we got reproductions of pages of artwork and pin-ups from said comics. How we thrilled as the Human Torch encountered Annihilus, and the Hulk met the Bi-Beast.

Monsters' Who's Who by Dulan Barber
It was from that book that I learned of the existence of Angar the Screamer.

It was from that book that I learned of the dread Anthropophagi, those mystery cannibals whose mouths are in their chests

For a Dr Who fan like me, it was a treat, as it featured old stills of such Dr Who monsters as the Daleks, Cybermen and Ice Warriors at a time when we had access to neither repeats of the show nor recordings.

All in all, I do believe it may qualify as the greatest book ever written.

A bit of Googling tells me it was written by someone called Dulan Barber, of whom I know nothing. But I do recall the book was often advertised in American comics at the time, where it was re-titled The Monsters' Who's Who. But, whatever name it went by, it was thoroughly and totally monsterific.

8 comments:

cerebus660 said...

Sounds like a very cool book! I don't remember it myself... but, if I had been aware of it, the book would have been top of my Christmas present list :-)

Dougie said...

I think I read this in the library in the mid-70s. Did it also feature Marvel's Dark Messiah and Darkoth the Death-Demon?

Steve W. said...

Yes it did, Dougie. It has a full page John Buscema splash of Darkoth walloping the Thing.

Dougie said...

The copy I read had a different cover, I think; more black and green. But it was about forty years ago, so who knows

Steve W. said...

Dougie, there are some scans of the interiors on this site: http://dinosaursdiedofboredom.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/in-honour-of-this-spooky-month-im-going_17.html They might stir a few memories for you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steve. This is great.

I read and re-read the book from cover to cover when I was in grade 3 in Geelong, Australia in 1982. The photos and articles from the book will stay with me for many years. So much so that I bought a copy in March 2009!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steve. This is great.

I read and re-read the book from cover to cover when I was in grade 3 in Geelong, Australia in 1982. The photos and articles from the book will stay with me for many years. So much so that I bought a copy in March 2009!

James

Steve W. said...

Thanks, James.

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