Mortimer Megazine Field Guide Anthology Series: Creatures & Cryptids (vol. 1) – edited by Michael Koehler

4 out of 5

A huge step up from the previous installment in all forms: Mortimer Megazine’s ‘field guide’ to Creatures & Cryptids is a very well printed, somewhat pocked-sized collection of exactly what it says: attributes / ratings / descriptions for various (fictional) creatures, as crafted by some indie writers and artists. 22 creatures get a full page of text and (generally) a full, full-color depiction, with those RPG stats we love – a danger rating, intelligence rating, friendliness, magic – as well as a classification of fungi, paranormal, etc. The scope felt a little wide – the book allows for talking about creatures from the present or the future, and, indeed, as the name of the book suggests, they’re not all cryptids, with the population of some of these critters making them downright ordinary – which diluted, for me, the fun of some of these types of collections, and didn’t encourage as much flourish in the writing as possible. This goes doubly so for the couple of entries that tried to be more topical with some commentary. But for the most part, the creators have a lot of fun figuring out mini histories behind their depictions, and the binding, printing quality, and sense of order of the book are all very professional.