Monsters Who’s Who, Dulan Barber
1975, 1974, Marshall Cavendish Publications Limited
This is by far the strangest culmination of monster knowledge via encyclopedic entries. Dulan Barber was an author of nonfiction, novelizations, and children’s fiction. He wrote twelve fiction thrillers under the name of David Fletcher and horror fiction under the name Owen Brookes or Robert Rush. Monsters Who’s Who is a collective of monster history that misses the boat in terms of quality and complexity.
What is bizarre about this book is that it spins through a hodgepodge of entries ranging from television and film-made monsters to dinosaurs and even folklore mythical creatures despite the cover showcasing strictly movie monsters.
Barber’s definition of what a monster is becomes convoluted in accordance to the selection he focuses on. From the work done in this book, things like a brontosaurus is considered a monster stacked against Spider-Man. But I can argue more for Spider-Man to carry monster origins than for a typical dinosaur, unless that dinosaur is Godzilla. Yet the distinction between superhero and monster is never considered.
Another odd entry is the looping of a very generic description called Science Fiction Monsters while other beings like the Metaluna Mutant or Alligator People get full entry attention. While there are two entries for vampires (the other was for Dracula), there is not an entry for Witches. These are examples of the incoherence of depth given to this printing.
The charm of this book are the eclectic mythological creatures Barber features. Also a comprehensive look at the Loch Ness Monster and the Yeti builds a childlike wonderment in the way urban legend lends to the ethos of mysterious monsters. To be able to point out this book’s fallacies is almost more the reason to keep it in a collection.