A spectacular climax to the authors’ Encyclopedia Mythologica, offering a world-spanning gallery of ancient and modern monsters portrayed in thrilling 3-D.
From the first opening, in which Medusa’s reptilian coiffure and toothy, masklike visage explode from the page, to the savagely grimacing yeti (a.k.a. “Himalayan Hulk”) rearing massively up in the finale, this cast of creatures will jolt even the most jaded monsterphiles. Using bright-red crepe paper for the Chinese dragon and a mottled, vibrant color scheme overall, Reinhart and Sabuda concoct some of the most complicated and ingenious pop-ups ever. There are six big headliners and, in two or three inset booklets per spread, smaller but no less melodramatic figures. These include a malign Sphinx that menaces Orpheus then transforms into Giza’s inscrutable stone monument, a dark-skinned George of Cappadocia spearing a dragon in a scene done in stained-glass-window style, a creepy zombie emerging from a grave and other nightmare fodder, from the Australian Bunyip to an Algonquian “Leech of Doom.” Appropriately red-blooded anecdotes and commentary (“Monsters dominate the world’s legends, hungrily prowling the landscapes of yore”) beneath lurid headers supply the cultural and historical background.
Fragile, as ever from these two artists (open and close slowly for best results), but another tour de force of paper engineering. (Pop-up folklore. 7-11)