Malleus Monstrorum, Volume I (2021)

Does Call of Cthulhu need a dedicated monster book? No. Does the inherent taxonomy of a monster book fly in the face of the concept of inherently unknowable entities being corrosive to human sanity? Probably! And yet, I love Malleus Monstrorum! Granted I loved the original (2006), but even that should make me skeptical of this incarnation. The original was illustrated with the clever conceit of found art — basically altering actual old art to subtly include mythos imagery. I love that, and it elevates what might otherwise be a book of dubious value. The new Malleus doesn’t take the same artistic approach, but that’s OK, it still works for me.

It comes as two volumes in a slip case. This is the first, which concerns itself with monsters and other critters. Another potential pitfall with a CoC monster book is one we saw in the Creature Compendium and its derivatives: tentacle fatigue. After a while, all these tentacle monsters look the same. Now, usually I want my monster books to have illustrations for every monster, but Malleus doesn’t and it actually works in its favor. Less, in this case, is more. The monsters that are on display are either unusual interpretations of earlier designs (love those Mi-Go, for instance) or straight weird ass monsters I’ve never seen before (What on earth is that tick in a trench coat? Blargh!). This kind of…it doesn’t deepen the mystery for me, but it gives me a bit of interest in creating mysteries, which feels like the ultimate point of a book like this.

Also, there are stats for the Jersey Devil, my home state cryptid. So many bonus points for that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *