This catalogue-sized cryptozoo is from Ayahuasca Publishing. Ayahuasca is the drug that abruptly empties your body of all fluids and shows you visions of your ancestors as various Dr Seuss characters. It’s the perfect name for the producers of this collection of stories about monsters of all types, arranged by the geographic regions of the US. Everything from legendary swamp creatures to Bloody Mary: these are the legends told and retold, and though you feign disbelief, somewhere in the back of your most honest mind, you think, “Damn. This doesn’t actually sound made-up.” Best of all, the stories are handled by fully legit writers, folks who have writing schedules and who’ve been banging things out on their typewriters since the 6th grade. Me, I’m all for the straight-forward narrative, so I really dug “Revised Countermeasures” and “Tropical Paradise Lost”, about northeastern lake serpents and angry Hawaiian hobbits, respectively. Less fun for me are the more poetic ones – like I said, these are craft-y writers – but that’s not to say they aren’t effective, just not to my taste. The tone of the stories covers the spectrum, from comedy to pathos to terror, and local color is loud. The illustrations are as varied as the writing, and sometimes as good as the Stephen Gammell art from Scary Stories.
If you’re just coming to this series, good news! There is, in fact, a Volume Two and a Volume One!
If you’ve been following this series, bummer! Wipe your tears with your prehensile tail, because this is a trilogy and this is the end.