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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dear Creature Review

I didn't know what I was getting into when I was emailed a PDF review copy of this quaint little graphic novel called Dear Creature, but I always love getting books to review.

I just didn't know how much I'll love this one.

Dear Creature is the debut graphic novel of one Jonathan Case, and to say that it's a love story unlike any other is a pretty big understatement. The hero of the story is Grue, a sea mutant whose taste for human flesh is outweighed by his love for the works of Shakespeare, which he finds stuffed inside cola bottles. Our Bard-quoting hero finds a kindred spirit in whoever is sending those bottles his way and decides to search for his mysterious benefactor. He finds her, a scared and lonely woman named Giulietta ("Mark the romance of that name," says Grue), and together they learn what it truly means to love and be loved for who you are.

The one thing that stands out for me is the sheer artistry of the entire thing. Jonathan Case is a witty writer and a solid comic book artist at the same time. It's insane. He's like the Swiss knife of comic books, and my jealousy knows no bounds!

For starters, his character work is aces. Grue as the monster with a beautiful heart is interesting and fun to read. He's charming, eloquent and morbid, and his love story with Giulietta is sad yet sweet. But they're not the only characters in this romantic play. The supporting characters like Giulietta's protective sister Zola, Henry the policeman and even the three crabs that hang around Grue who provide both crack wisdom and comedic relief have roles to play in this story. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded comic book than this.

The entire comic is in glorious black and white, and once again Case showcases his mastery of the medium here. His sequential storytelling skills are amazing, even more with Case's unique art style. Panels flow naturally and his pacing is perfect. I was grinning the whole time I was reading it...it's like I'm watching a clinic on comic book storytelling!

Dear Creature is a solid book, whimsical, weird and wonderfully made. I'm a sucker for love stories like these, and if you like your romance a little bittersweet, you'll love this. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy, from your local comic shop or book store or online. I know I will!

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