I got an extremely friendly email from a talented beginning artist by the name of Jonathan Case earlier this week. I was told that Tor Books was releasing Mr.Case’s first graphic novel. I was excited because I appreciate his brilliant line work in the dark thriller Green River Killer from Dark Horse. Dear Creature had a lot of positive press so I was more than ready to jump right in and read.
Dear Creature follows Grue, a mutant sea freak with the heart (and tongue) of a poet. Grue looks for his true love, the “organism” that has been putting poetry in glass soda bottles and tossing them out to sea. Along with Grue we meet his crabby friends, real crabs, some inept cops, and a slightly off kilter woman named Giuiletta. Every character has a purpose and we aren’t really introduced to anyone who doesn’t progress the story.
The story is very original, it’s the classic love sick monster story with a few interesting twists. There is humor, romance, and death, all the things that make a story classic. I couldn’t help but compare the oddball nature of the story to something like The Goon, although much less offensive.
As for the dialogue, it worked, most of the time, but just like any Shakespeare inspired dialogue you stumble over it and have trouble getting through it sometimes. This didn’t make the book any less enjoyable, if anything it helped to amplify Grue’s odd nature. The crabs have some of the best dialogue in the book, trust me it’s worth a read for them alone. The art was fantastic, simple and complex at the same time, with some panels scarce of art and others saturated with his beautiful line work.
With clever writing and great designs, Jonathan Case makes a huge splash with his Graphic novel debut. Go out find this book and support indie comics, it’s a fun read, it supports a good cause, and it could end up being an important book. I give Dear Creature a 4 out of 5.