These days there are a lot of ways for people to explore their favorite fandoms. Almost every franchise transcends one form of media and crosses into others, whether it's novels inspiring TV shows, comic books inspiring video games, or vice versa. There are even numerous ways to enjoy each of these, with video games on consoles and mobile devices, and comics in physical copies and digital. With so many options, you might think you’ve explored your interests in every way possible, but there might be one area you’re overlooking: pop-up books.
That’s right, movies can be 2D and 3D, and so can books. You might not have thought about pop-up books much as an adult, but who among us didn’t love opening a book and seeing a giant paper version of your favorite characters or animals jump from the pages when we were kids? Pop-up books aren’t just for children anymore. Some of them these days are geared toward more adult audiences, taking you into the worlds of franchises like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. Others still retain kid-friendly aspects while appealing to adult fans too. These books offer a unique way for you to look at a variety of fandoms, so why not give them a try? Here are 10 geeky pop-up books you should check out.
Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros
It was only a matter of time before Game of Thrones received a pop-up book of its very own. After all, the TV show's opening credits is already basically a pop-up map in motion so it makes sense that it would inspire such an item! This book features familiar places from the world created by George R.R. Martin. Locations like Winterfell, King’s Landing, and the Wall are brought to life alongside a number of characters from White Walkers to dragons, all of which seem to leap from the page. What makes this book even more impressive however is how it opens up so that the various locations can be laid out to pop-up at the same time and look like a map, which makes it resemble the opening of the HBO series all the more! Its amazing work by designer Matthew Reinhart, a paper engineer behind quite a few of the books on this list. Between these pop-ups and the information the book includes, fans probably won’t find a more fun and interesting guide to Game of Thrones than this one.
Star Trek Pop-Ups
Star Trek has boldly explored the final frontier in a quite a few different ways through the last five decades. So it shoud perhaps come as no surprise that their exploration includes the strange world of paper pop-ups! No matter which series you’re a fan of, you’ll find something fun warping off the pages of this book. Among the seven pop-ups fans will find here, you'll see tribbles, a Borg cube, a Klingon Bird of Prey, and much more as photos and information accompany the detailed 3D images on each page. The book doesn’t include anything from the rebooted J.J. Abrams universe and sticks to the series and movies from the original timeline however, which means this may not appeal to newer fans that have just discovered Star Trek thanks to the latest movies. Older fans, those finding the original Star Trek programs, and any one who wants to learn more about where the franchise has been over the years though will probably get a kick out of opening this book.
Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy and Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure
The galaxy far, far away is no stranger to pop-up books either. In fact, Star Wars has received two of these types of books, each created by Reinhart, in recent years. The first was released in 2007 and called Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy. It focused on the original trilogy and was released for the 30th anniversary of A New Hope. As you would expect, it features familiar scenes and elements from all three films.
The second book was released in 2012 and was called Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure. For this second adventure in pop-ups the book focused on the prequel movies and The Clone Wars TV show, offering those who want to see an earlier era of the galaxy explored in pop-up form a chance to do so. Whether you feel the Force pulling you towards both or just one of these, fans of any age will probably enjoy seeing the paper creations found here. Plus who knows? In just a few years you might be able to get your hands on a sequel trilogy pop-up book too and then the 3D paper circle will be complete!
Transformers: The Ultimate Pop-Up Universe
You probably won’t have any trouble recognizing the many robots in disguise in this book if you’re a Transformers fan. From Optimus Prime to Megatron, many classic characters are included in the pages. What makes this book stand out though is that it doesn't focus on showing the characters in just one form or another. It doesn't show Optimus in vehicle form for one pop-up and then robot form for another. Instead the book has fun with the whole transforming concept and allows readers to see it in action. Throughout the book you can pull on tabs that will actually transform the characters right before your eyes. You can change them from their vehicle form to their robot form and back again, adding a fun element to the book beyond just its pop-up nature. Whether you like Autobots or Decepticons, you will find there’s more than meets the eye about this book!
The Walking Dead: The Pop-Up Book
For those that might prefer some gore and horror in the complex pop-ups of your next book, don't worry. The Walking Dead has you covered! The popular series has its very own pop-up book that just might change the way you think about these types of books for the rest of your life. If there was ever a pop-up book that was definitely not for little kids, it's probably this one. Inside this book you'll find a guide to a few different parts of The Walking Dead story. It features five page spreads with familiar settings and characters and of course numerous walkers. These walkers might be made of paper, but their details will make you feel like they’re coming right for you from the book's pages! With the information this book also includes, it's the perfect way for you to brush up on the series a bit as you also enjoy its gory three-dimensional contents.
Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book: Based on the Film Phenomenon
Fans will feel the magic of the Wizarding World coming out of this book, which takes an interesting approach to the series by focusing on the eight Harry Potter films. The pop-ups bring a number of iconic moments from the movie franchise to life with images from Hogwarts to dragons staring in its pages. The book also seems to have a lot more to offer than just the amazing 3D creations. It includes behind-the-scenes information and other insights from the movies from those who worked on them that fans will be pleased to read. There’s even original artwork from the movies’ concept artist Andrew Willamson and items you can remove from the book like posters. It takes the films to a new level beyond just its pop-ups, perfect for fans that want more from one of these books than just cool images rising from each spread.
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron: A Pop-Up Book
If you're more of a comic book geek, there are pop-up books for you too. Marvel fans might want to check out this hardcover inspired by the movie Age of Ultron, where you'll find the Avengers assembling in various paper forms. Looking through its pages you might find the pop-ups emerging from each spread slightly less complex than a few of the other books on this list. It certainly seems to take a different approach to the concept, with characters for the most part just rising up from pages that include information about various aspects of the movie. However the details on each might still offer a new experience for fans looking for something different. Plus these designs will still catch the eyes of younger fans, making this one an especially good choice if you know a kid eager to explore the comic book world in a unique way.
DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book
Marvel isn’t the only one to bring its heroes to this format of course. If you want to brush up on your DC Comics super heroes, there’s a pop-up book for them too. This is a thicker volume than the Marvel book, featuring iconic heroes like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. On these pages you'll find information about each character that ranges form their backgrounds to the vllains they've faced through the years. It also includes a surprising number of pop-ups that range in not just size, but also complexity. There are some equally impressive big designs as small ones that will appear as you go through the pages. It definitely seems to be filled with more interesting pop-ups and fun aspects than its Marvel counterpart. Even the bat signal lights up!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Pop-Up Book
The pop-up books aren’t going to stop there either! There's no doubt that in the future we’ll have more of these to look forward to. We'll probably see more pop-up books for a few of the franchises listed here as well as books for different fandoms too. For example, fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might be happy to hear that the green machine is receiving a book of their very own as well this year. The book is scheduled to be released in October and will be based on the current version of the turtles that can be seen in the animated series on Nickelodeon. According to the description, there will be five pop-ups in this collectible book featuring the familiar characters. While it will be a few months before you can get your hands on it, fans can preorder the book now if you know for sure that you want to check out these pop-ups with a hearty “booyakasha” or “cowabunga" in the future!