Above: Illustrations by Mark Savee from Monster Gallery Color & Story Book (1973) Troubador Press #2013
Click on the images above and print them off so that you and your kids can color them in.
Monster Gallery Color & Story Book (1973)
Troubador Press #2013 [San Francisco, CA, USA]
Book dimensions: 9¾" x 12½" (32 pages)
Illustrated by Mark Savee Text by Leah Waskey
As a gift, I was given a copy of this oversized coloring book for my fifth birthday, from whom, I cannot recall. Instead of permanently marring the images with my Crayolas, though, I spent many hours honing my burgeoning drawing skills by recreating the likenesses of my favorite late night beasties documented within its pages.
Monster Gallery features ingratiating line drawings of fifteen different monsters from film, fiction and folklore: the Fly, the Monster of Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Godzilla, a Cyclops, a Werewolf, the Abominable Snowman, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the Phantom of the Opera, a Morlock, a Vampire, King Kong, and the Bride of Frankenstein. (Many of the names are generalizations, whilst some of the depictions are quite specific, as with the vampire that is unmistakably Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Dracula, although the artist saw fit to give him fangs.) Each 8½" x 1" illustration is accompanied by a full page description of the subject; surprisingly, the wording is not as patronizing as one might expect from a publication ostensibly aimed at children, and the information well researched.
A year after this was published, the artist for Monster Gallery, Mark Savee, produced a similar book for Troubador Press called Sci fi Anthology, which also featured a handful of movie monsters. Most of the material, though, was instead culled from classic sci fi and fantasy literature, but entries featuring the manimals from The Island of Dr Moreau or the Martian death machines from The War of the Worlds should make it appealing to most horror fans.
Although it was founded in 1958 by Malcolm Whyte and Brayton Harris as a forum for beat literature (often in association with City Light Books), Troubador Press specialized in children's fare-primarily activity books-by the seventies. (Being a lifelong aficionado of mazes, I once had a score of such books that were also published by them.) Some of the more notable Troubador titles for collectors of vintage kiddie monster fare include Monster Movie Book (1974) by John (Nightmare in Blood) Stanley, and 3-Dimensional Monster Mazes (1976) and How to Draw Monsters (1977), both by Larry Evans.
At the time of this writing, copies of Monster Gallery sell from thirty to seventy dollars in very good condition through places like ABE and Amazon, although-realistically-low to mid grade copies can be found for about twenty or less if one isn't impatient. Because of their unwieldy size and the fact they were often manhandled by their underage audience, these coloring books are difficult to find in high grade condition.