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I’ve been actively stockpiling Halloween media for months now. It’s a thing I do–prep work. I’m like a Halloween squirrel, burying choice cuts in anticipation of the season to come.

As we rapidly approach the month’s midpoint, I’ve elected to unearth my reading materials as part of our weekly Stack Overflow series.

The Vampire Combat Field Guide: A Coloring and Activity Book for Fighting the Bloodthirsty Undead
It wasn’t until a recent post by GeekMom Jenny that I actually realized coloring books for grown-ups were even a thing. Well, they are, and this one managed to scratch my macabre itch. Written by Roger Ma and illustrated by Kurt Miller–and released under the banner of the esteemed Institute for Undead Combat Studies–each of its 61 pages include valuable insight into the undead scourge… and also cool pictures to color. From combat training and defense techniques to identification guides for vamps of all stripes, The Vampire Combat Field Guide is grisly fun for advanced colorers and would-be vampire hunters. The pages are thick, and the solid line art–which is broad but not always minimalist–makes this book a perfect fit for whatever coloring media floats your boat. I’m a colored pencil guy myself, which I reckon could also serve as stakes in a pinch. (Review materials provided by: Berkley Books)

Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History
For the past 30 years, the answer to the question “Who ya gonna call?” has been painfully obvious. With two films, two animated series, multiple video games, and countless merchandise tie-ins to their name, the Ghostbusters remain every bit the cultural juggernaut they were back in 1984. This book collects ephemera from throughout three decades of Ghostbusters history–everything from early design sketches, storyboards, and stickers, to detailed prop breakdowns, mini animation cells, and production notes–and compiles it into a gorgeous, 222-page coffee table book. Opening with a forward by Dan Aykroyd and an introduction from Ivan Reitman and concluding with an overview of the property’s growing fandom and a look forward to the franchise’s reboot in next year’s feature film, this one is a must-have for any Ghostbusters diehard. Daniel Wallace’s writing provides proper insight into all that you love about Ghostbusters–and some stuff you don’t, Ghostbusters II haters–and a wealth of removable items makes it easy to get lost in the narrative of New York’s premiere supernatural removal service all over again. (Review materials provided by: Insight Editions)


The Walking Dead: The Pop-Up Book
Somewhere between the morbid entertainment of The Vampire Combat Field Guide and the encyclopedic exploration of Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History falls The Walking Dead: The Pop-Up Book. When closed, the book appears a thick mess of seemingly random pieces, but when opened five brilliantly gory spreads pop to (un)life. Each vignette, from the Bicycle Girl and the fall of Atlanta to the crew’s time at Hershel’s farm and the prison, are brilliantly articulated and (if you’re the prankster type) terrifyingly surprising to the unaware. Each feature scene is also bordered by story abstracts, to put them in the right narrative framework, and multiple additional pop-up panels and activities. You can check out the Governor’s zombie head-filled aquarium, help Michonne decapitate a walker, and even pull (half) a waterlogged zombie from a well. It’s the perfect way to celebrate five years of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and to add a little blood, guts, and gore to your coffee table selection. (Review materials provided by: Insight Editions)


The Official Adventure Guide: Ash’s Quest from Kanto to Kalos
At the urging of my 10-year-old–who astutely pointed out that “They’re called Pocket MONSTERS, dad!”–I will close with the latest Pokémon book from the fine folks at Scholastic. This beautiful, rugged hardbound book follows the evolution of the popular video game franchise by examining it from the continuing narrative of the equally popular animated series. Across 156 pages, you and your geeklings can follow along as eternal 10-year-old Ash Ketchum leaves his home in Kanto region’s Pallet Town for Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Univa, and Kalos. Along the way, you’ll see the sights, relive important battles, and investigate the even more important Pokémon he caught in his travels. While ostensibly a series guidebook, The Official Adventure Guide features lots of story dialog in simple but effective language to keep young readers interested. It also includes biographical information for all the heroes, villains, and supporting players viewers have encountered over the past 18 years of Pokémon continuity. (Review materials provided by: Scholastic)

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