Over the years I’ve read some unfortunate “Supernatural” related books. The obvious exception to that are the ones penned by Nicholas Knight. “The Essential Supernatural” from Insight Editions is no disappointment. I would venture to say this is one of the best pieces of “Supernatural” swag on the market.
“Look, I don’t have to tell you: you get it.” Eric Kripke (Creator), From the Foreword
If you’re a fan, you’ve probably already purchased the book. If you haven’t – you should. This might be a little off topic but it’s a reference some of you may relate to – do you remember the “Griffen and Sabine” books? They were small hardcover books, but contained letters and other surprises inside. “The Essential Supernatural”, in addition to having a lot of information, fantastic photos and some new quotes – also contains little surprises.
There are postcards, letters, posters and stickers and a few other surprises peppered throughout the book. But let’s break it down a bit.
First of all, the construction is great. The book really is, a solid coffee table book. I prefer the older look of the actual book cover rather than the dust jacket. The possession tattoo is on the padded cover and it reminds me of one of the books that might have been seen on the shelves of Bobby Singer.
One of my favorite things about the book is the amount of time devoted to the Impala. That car is the third main character in “Supernatural” and I’m glad to see her featured, as such, in this book. There’s a section about the way the Impala is kitted out, and there are behind-the-scene shots that show how some of the filming is done when the Winchesters are driving. One of the add-ons to the book is a small pine air freshener. I’m pretty sure Dean Winchester wouldn’t want one in the Impala but it’s amusing none-the-less.
Each season is broken down in terms of the overall arch of the show and what the main themes were. There are behind-the-scenes photos from the episodes, brief descriptions of the recurring characters and a bit of detail about monsters. As a fan you will find it to be the ultimate companion guide to the series.
There are a lot of add-ons in the book. There are post cards, posters, stickers, and copies of graphics created specifically for the show. My favorite items are the posters of Chuck’s Supernatural Novel covers. Those posters are keepers. There is also a fold out map that lays out all the cases the Winchesters have worked across the US.
My only criticism? Some of the items contained inside the book can’t actually be removed without damaging the pages. Now, if you’re a Super “Supernatural” fan you’re probably not going to be taking things out of the book anyway, but I was wanting to take the postcards out – and it’s pretty much impossible without ruining the photo pages they’re attached to.
There are some chapters that are new to me. I’ve read a lot of “Supernatural” books and it was nice to see some new information and a few new photos. There is a large spread on the types of angels and the same for the demons (eye color by hierarchy anyone? We know it, but it’s fun to see.)
I really enjoyed the sections that were behind-the-scenes oriented. There are several photos of the motel rooms that are lovingly created on set, episode after episode. Staying in the artistic vein, there is a large section in the book on the graphic images that are created for the show. Fans who watch regularly will recognize some of the Motel signs, beer labels and business logos that the art department has created.
Another great section includes some photos of Hex bags, and the main weapons that have been used on the show. There are explanations (as much as is available) for weapons like The Colt and Ruby’s Demon Killing Knife.
If you’re interested in Visual FX you’ll be pleased. There’s a section devoted to this department of talented artists.
Some of the sections are clearly, designed for fans and by fans (I think that Nicholas Knight genuinely enjoys “Supernatural” and that’s why his books are so great.) A section is devoted to the fact that the Winchester die over and over again and what the implications of that are.
This book is absolutely worth the price and I appreciate something that is manufactured well. If you haven’t already bought this is an absolute must for fans and collectors. If you know a member of the “Supernatural Family” who doesn’t yet, have this book – buy them one.