The Men of Letters Bestiary: Winchester Family Edition launched in mid-September 2017 as an in-depth guide to monsters from the television series, Supernatural. Oddly, it’s not written by the Men of Letters, an exclusive and secretive group of British hunters, but by Sam and Dean Winchester.
Let’s take a look inside.
This book reads like an update to The Supernatural Book Of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, And Ghouls, with fewer monsters and ghosts in it. The format also follows Tobin’s Spirit Guide(2016 ed.), which came out with the Ghostbusters reboot.
It’s very well-crafted. Insight Editions, the publisher, put a lot of thought into the detail like the hardcover format, paper choice, and creatures. The paper stinks a bit, but you’ll get used to it after a minute or two.
This edition is also very short. There are 112 pages, so it’s about half the size of Book of Monsters. This means the editors left out a lot of monsters from the series. They did put the most important creature categories inside, like Ghosts, Demons, Primordial Entities and Gods. But, I’d like to see an encyclopedia with all the paranormal entities the Winchesters have fought–and killed–over the past 12 seasons.
Listen to our full review here:
By the way, I found out how to say bestiary (since I said it wrong about 20 times in the podcast), it’s pronounced ‘bess-CHEE-air-ee.’ I never said I was a linguist!
Tim Waggoner, a long-time Supernatural novelist, took the helm to write the creature descriptions. He wrote in the voices of Sam (typed entries) and Dean (hand-written entries and comments). Most of the book is written from Sam’s POV, but Dean chimes in on his brother’s entries. Waggoner did nail the voice of each character, so no complaints about that. I just wish Waggoner got more pages to explore the beasts in-depth. For example, Crowley, a long-time frenemy of the Winchester Bros., got one page and three paragraphs for his entry. This is a major character, who could have easily filled 3 or 4 pages. I’ll put this on the editor, not the writer.
Kyle Holtz made the artwork and it accurately depicts the characters, monsters and other paranormal creatures. It looks like he took a pencil, charcoal and ink to finish the art. That just means some of the pictures looked smudged, like the Djinn on page 15. You can still make out the monsters’ details, but the lines don’t look as crisp as his work from Tobin’s Spirit Guide, which appears to be pencil and ink only. It may also reflect the lighter paper weight used in the Bestiary versus the Spirit Guide. Still, this artwork is far superior to the illustrations in the Book of Monsters I mentioned under First Impressions. Kyle’s a talented artist (I hope he does a horror comic soon!) and I think it’s the paper stock that makes his work look a little muddy.
Ghostly Activities Take
It’s definitely a must-have book for Supernatural fans. The overall quality (writing, art and packaging) makes it a fun companion to the other season companions (i.e., The Essential Supernatural series). If you’re a fan of creepy things, it may be worth a look because it’s inexpensive (about $20 on Amazon). I definitely recommend it for fans of the show. For ghost hunters, you won’t find anything you’d use on an investigation or research.
Image sources: All pics courtesy of Insight Editions © 2017