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Dear Creature Paperback – October 11, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Marvelously entertaining...A funny, bizarre, unexpected pleasure that gives a creature from the depths heart and soul."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Exuberantly weird...Startlingly assured for a debut effort."
--Publisher's Weekly

"...Pretty much perfect."
--Comics Alliance

"...A perfect marriage of storytelling and art...A stunning debut graphic novel mixing an inventive mutant creature story with retro comic realism."
--Shelf Awareness

"...An excellent book, far better than an author/artist's debut graphic novel has any right to be."

Dear Creature is sure to be one of the quirkiest and most surprising love stories you will ever read.” ―Gene Yang, Eisner Award–winner for American Born Chinese

“Every panel is beautifully composed….Case mastered it on his first project.” ―Steve Lieber, Eisner Award–winner for Whiteout: Melt

“An impressive debut. I dream of a world where every cartoonist's first graphic novel is this accomplished.” ―Derek Kirk Kim, Eisner Award–winner for The Eternal Smile

About the Author

JONATHAN CASE writes and draws books in Portland, Oregon, as a member of Periscope Studio, the largest cooperative of comics creators in America. His work is featured in the Eisner award–winning Comic Book Tattoo, and has been lauded as some of the best show of new talent in comics. Dear Creature is Jonathan Case's first book.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076533111X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765331113
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I don't read a lot of graphic novels, not so much because I don't like them, but because I have no earthly idea how to pick them. I mean just because I like the art doesn't mean the writing is any good, and I'm really not that much for art. So when I won Tor's New York (Not at) Comic Con Giveaway I was excited to see several graphic novels included. The first one I noticed in the bunch was Dear Creature and boy am I glad I did.

Drawn entirely in black and white, Jonathan Case's graphic novel tells the story of Grue - a sea mutant with a predilection for human flesh. He's awkward, gangly, and carries three crabs around with him who act more like devils-on-his-shoulder than parasitic companions. Surprisingly he also possesses a poet's heart. Through pages of Shakespeare stuffed into soda bottles and cast into the sea, Grue has fallen in love. Dear Creature is a love story of the oddest type between a monster and an agoraphobic woman.

Like every graphic novel I've read and loved (Watchmen being the standard bearer of course), the highlight is the writing. Case is both hilarious, through his crusty crustaceans, and poignant, in Grue's wooing. There is also a brilliance coming from Grue's dialogue which is written entirely in iambic pentameter. For those without previous exposure to ol' Shakespeare's rhythmic writing style, Case went to the trouble of including a primer in the back that's laugh out loud funny and informative.

The art itself has a very pulp quality that conveys some noir sensibilities in its use of light and shadow, but also a certain flair that's identifiable to me as Western. Of course there's a mounted cop that has a thing for the local 'working girl', so I suppose the Western elements aren't all that inconspicuous.
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Format: Paperback
So here I am, fresh off a review where I admit that it seems graphic stories just aren't for me, and lo and behold, here comes one that proves the exception to what has been a pretty consistent rule. Jonathan Case's Dear Creature is a wonderfully quirky story that nicely mixes humor, pathos, 50s monster movie nostalgia, and a heaping portion of Shakespeare. And it all works.

Set in a California coastal town during the early 60s, Dear Creature relates the story of Grue, a Creature of the Black Lagoon-like figure who spends his time eating hormone-ridden teens and hanging out with his crab buddies, who make up a consistently comical Greek chorus throughout the story. His routine, however, has been interrupted by the arrival of a series of empty soda bottles containing Shakespeare's plays. The stories and language capture Grue's soul and he foreswears his murderous past, vowing to turn over a new leaf. His first attempt doesn't work out so great in one of the stories more humorous and yet sad moments. Rather than seek out a random encounter again, Grue decides to go in search of the source of the Shakespeare-filled bottles. He tracks the bottles to an agoraphobic named Giulietta, whose home is the hold of a boat she shares with her sister (abandoned long ago by her lover) and her sister's children, one of whom has just been arrested for the murder of one of Grue's victims. In love with Giulietta, Grue has to navigate the chaos of several situations: how to deal with Giulietta's illness, what to do about her sister's accused teenager, how to avoid a local policeman trying to clear the son, what to do about scientists trying to learn about the local monster, and finally, how to manage--if possible--the consequences of his past.
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Format: Paperback
Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
How in the world did I miss this book when it came out? Inside of the covers of this book, lies a story that blew me away and artwork that melted my eyes out of their sockets. The visuals were so GORE-Geous, and they were only presented in black and white. The real kicker though was the way that Case was able to show expression through facial features and body movements. Every panel had a real life feel to it and it just hit home with me, as it got me invested in the cast on a more personal level, like something you would get from watching a movie. The story itself nailed so many different levels; Horror ', Humor ', Romance ', Mystery '. Every single one of those concepts is covered and played out so well. The jokes from the crabs had me rolling on the floor. The horror elements were classic, which is what I expected with a "Monster" being the main character. The huge surprise was the dialogue. The sheer amount of time that Jonathan had to put into this writing to get it right would be mind-blowing to find out. It did take some getting used to, but once I got it down it was just poetry on the page. If you know me, you know I don't give out 5 out of 5's often, and this book is more than deserving of the highest score. It is so solid on every single level that I am sad to think it is over now. Do yourself a favor and make sure to check this one out. I missed out when it came out and I regret that I had to wait for it to be nominated for a Ghastly Award to finally have a chance to check it out.

Artwork: 5.0 out of 5 * Story: 5.0 out of 5
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