Monstrous Compendium, Volume Two (1989)

Long time coming for this: this week, Monstrous Compendiums! (It took me a while to get replace the covers, dang — the danger of loose leaf!).

So the first Monstrous Compendium included a big binder but really only half the monsters you’d expect. Gorgons, hags, kuo-toa, leucrocotta, mimics, otyughs, ropers, rust monsters and more were in Volume Two, conveniently offered for sale at the same time! The sheets are laid out such that they can be inserted into the binder pages seamlessly, almost as if at one time they were all together. Hm.

I have great affection for this one in part because the plastic wrap had a tear, and I could flip through the pages ahead of the Christmas for which it was intended as a gift. James Holloway does a lot of the art and that is fine, but the Daniel Horne illustrations are my favorites, and a clear, semi-goofy contrast to the art in the old Monster Manuals. Look at the myconid! Or that Ettercap who looks weirdly like Grandpa Al Lewis. Horne’s monsters have an excess of misproportioned personality and I love them for it.

The Easley cover painting is fine. It’s definitely not as impressive as Volume One, but the Ettin is suitably lumpy and the gargoyle is OK. I don’t love that non-feathered griffon, though?

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