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Creature Tech Paperback – August 31, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in Turlock, Calif., a town TenNapel grew up near, this book is a farcical, sci-fi good-versus-evil yarn that manages to explore theology, alienation and social acceptance in a small community. It's the story of the battle between the abrasive good-guy scientist Dr. Ong and the resurrected Dr. Jameson, a malevolent 19th-century occultist/mad scientist who sought to rule the world. Ong (a child science prodigy and Turlock native) returns to his hometown after being appointed to direct a research facility locals call Creature Tech. There, he opens a crate housing the Shroud of Turin. Things get complicated when the ghost of Jameson (he was killed during a fiendish experiment) steals the shroud, resurrects his own body and resumes trying to take over the world with the help of an army of conjured hellcats and a gigantic space eel. Ong pursues Jameson while simultaneously acquiring a symbiotic alien parasite (it's alive and acts like a kind of leech sidekick), falling in love with gloomy Katie and galvanizing a town of rednecks to fight Jameson's horde of demon hellcats. TenNapel's creativity and attention to detail fill this book with pleasant surprises and entertaining twists. His b&w drawings are dynamic, comic and often startlingly touching. The images of Katie, Ong's sweetie, emerging from her comic but awkward shell are powerful, and TenNapel deftly surveys the complexities of social alienation in a format primarily intended to be nonsensical. This work is slapstick funny, strangely sensitive and well worth reading.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Out in Turlock, California, all hell breaks loose when a mad scientist's spirit opens one of the crates of top-secret stuff at the Research Technical Institute, aka Creature Tech because of rumors, essentially correct, about what sort of things go on there. Dr. Michael Ong, teenage Nobel laureate and the institute's chief, grapples with the slugbeast the spirit releases--successfully, thanks to a salt cellar--but the symbiont that powers the thing latches onto him. Now he has two insectoid arms and lots of extra oomph, which come in handy fighting the cat monsters the spirit throws at him while scheming to use the shroud of Turin to revive the humongous space eel buried under Turlock's terrain. If this sounds like some overactive big-critter horror movie a la The Blob --hey, those flicks should ever be this good! Graphic novelist TenNapel has already won an Eisner award (the comics equivalent of sf's Hugo and mystery's Edgar), and his goofy, kinetic style (quite reminiscent of Will Eisner's) makes a winner out of this crazed romp. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (August 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891830341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891830341
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 7.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

When I was in 6th grade, I thought I wanted to be an animator. But doing 24 drawings to make a character take two steps across the room was more an act of micro management than an exploration of life. I told stories through movies, video games and television cartoons before finding paradise in the art form of making books.

I'm 6'8" so that makes me stand out of the crowd in a literal sense. My artwork naturally followed suite by coming out a little off center. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to sell out just a little bit more and fit in better with the crowd. If I was happy sticking out I wouldn't spend so much time slouching. But I can no more write different books than I can stop being 6'8".

Once you know that I'm a convinced Christian, married 20 years to the most amazing woman I've ever met and trying to be a good father to four kids that are every bit as miraculously unique as you are, there isn't much more to learn about me. Okay, that and I like newts. Wait, and that I read G.K. Chesterton and smoke a pipe every Sunday afternoon with my friends. Hold on, I also ran two Marathons this year, mostly because I didn't think I could do it. I play loud music from the 70s when I write and listen to lectures while I draw. There's nothing better than ice cream buried in caramel.

http://tennapel.tumblr.com/post/22060513332/doug-tennapel-books

Customer Reviews

The art in this book gorgeous.
Joseph W. Annabi
And yet, all of these _very_ different elements come together to tell a very engaging and powerful story.
Amazon Customer
This is a quick read, but one that sticks with you, and one you can read over and over again.
Mark A. Gallagher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joseph W. Annabi on May 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
The art in this book gorgeous. The writing is really bizarre, and mostly hilarious. I read this in one sitting while waiting to catch a flight, and it was one of the most enjoyable reads I've ever had. This was definitely the best comic for my dollar in 2002. The complaint I hear most often about it though, is that it has christian themes. Well, yeah, the shroud of turin is a christian artifact, so by virtue of it being in the story, you'll have some christian themes. On top of that, the main character has faith issues to overcome, but so what? You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy a story about a Christian. It's a well done story, and despite my lack of religious faith, I found it quite enjoyable, and laugh out loud funny.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Blake Petit VINE VOICE on September 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Many people use the term "graphic novel" to describe any book-bound edition of comic-style storytelling, including collections of individual issues from monthly comics. Personally, I prefer to differentiate between these collections and original books, but no matter what definition you use, Doug TenNapel's "Creature Tech" is one of the best graphic novels in years.
The story stars Dr. Michael Ong, a former seminarian who abandoned his faith when he turned to science. Ong is the head of government facility charged with studying and cataloguing supernatural and alien artifacts and technology. What with one thing or another, Ong becomes bonded to a powerful alien symbiote and must use his new abilities to save the world from the ghost of a mad scientist who has a sinister plan involving the Shroud of Turin, a hand that can turn cats into demons, and a giant space eel.
It if sounds silly, that's because the concept really is. TenNapel shows incredible skill, though, in taking elements that could be used to create a weird, slapstick story and injecting it with genuine heart, emotion and action. You feel for Ong, his pastor father, the disfigured girl he used to persecute as a child and even the giant insect assigned to him as a security guard of sorts. Every character in this book has a dash of humor and a healthy dose of humanity that makes this a really great read.
The artwork is clean and effective, and the iconic style doesn't detract from the story at all. If anything, looking at the artwork makes you feel like you're actually reading the storyboards for a really great feature film that just hasn't been animated yet. Hopefully someone will pick up on this and make a movie very soon.
TenNapel also leaves room for a sequel, or even a series, and I for one would welcome it.
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
I wanted to title this review "Why everyone with two brain cells to rub together should read this book!", but I guess that is a little lengthy. It is, however, what I think about CREATURE TECH.
CREATURE TECH is a story that is as fun to read as it is difficult to classify. It has elements of science fiction and horror and action and religion and romance (only a little, guys; don't be afraid!) and comedy.... and on and on. And yet, all of these _very_ different elements come together to tell a very engaging and powerful story.
Doug TenNapel writing and art work together to fashion a graphic novel that is unlike anything that I have ever read (which is, in itself, enough to recommend it). CREATURE TECH is a seriously thought-provoking, funny, and memorable work of literature.
Here's hoping that we see MUCH more from Mr. TenNapel in the future....
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patricia S. Martinez on December 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is one of the freshest, most original graphic novels to hit the market in recent years - and apparently, it is going into its third printing.

Which is great news for anyone who has had trouble getting their hands on this singularly entertaining and thought-provoking piece of work. The comic moments are laugh-out-loud funny, the pensive quiet moments really make you think. The connections between people and how we relate are deftly handled. The art is expressive and evocative, even though it's highly stylized in alot of places.

As for the exploration of Christian faith, I need to stridently disagree with those who felt that the elements were either (a) unnecessary, or (b) forced. For the particular story that TenNapel wanted to tell, these elements were non-separable. The whole point of the narrative was Ong's return to who he really was, not who he decided he should be as a result of youthful rebellion and stubbornness. And the elements were not at all forced - they were elegantly woven in, carefully made a necessary and impactive part of the story. It is not ludicrous for certain scenes to be present, if they're part of the narrative, which they are. For those who find themselves wary of the description of this story as being overly religious or Christian, it's really not.

Where we belong in the world is a question that isn't the property of a single faith. It's part of our story - even if our stories don't include demonic cats, alien symbiotes, and giant praying mantii. ;)

It's hysterically funny and lighthearted when it needs to be, and tender and pensive as well. Definitely worth a read - or 3.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alan Cerny on November 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
See, now this is how I like to be preached to. This GN, written by Doug Tannapel (he created Earthworm Jim) is about faith, flying space eels, a guy who can turn cats into demons, the Shroud of Turin, a kung fu symbiote, a giant preying mantis who finds his own inner redneck, the Great Honey Bun of Christ, the Two Minute Meatman, and a top secret government laboratory that investigate paranormal objects. This feels like it's drawn by Bill Watterson, and it reads like it's written by his creation Calvin. It's simply wonderful.
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