Review: Dear Creature by Jonathan Case

Dear Creature by Jonathan Case

How did I get it: The library.

Why did I read it:  I’ve seen a lot of silly beach movies with monsters thanks to Mystery Science Theater 3000 so I was really curious about this graphic novel.

How I would rate it: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Summary:

Deep beneath the waves, a creature named Grue broods. He no longer wants to eat lusty beachgoers, no matter how their hormones call to him. A chorus of crabs urges him to reconsider. After all, people are delicious! But this monster has changed. Grue found Shakespeare’s plays in cola bottles and, through them, a new heart. Now he yearns to join the world above.

When his first attempt ends… poorly, Grue searches for the person who cast the plays into the sea. What he finds is love in the arms of Giulietta—a woman trapped in her own world. When she and Grue meet, Giulietta believes her prayers are answered. But people have gone missing and Giulietta’s nephew is the prime suspect. With his past catching up to him, Grue must decide if becoming a new man means ignoring the monster he was.

Review: There is no denying that this graphic novel is full of quirky moments that are equal parts charming and just plain odd. At the same time I feel like a lot of the elements of Dear Creature added cleverness and took away oppourtunities for solid characterization.

As much as I wanted to, it was all but impossible for me to like Grue. Usually I don’t mind monstrous main protagonists that devour ordinary people or those who spout Shakeapearen-esque phrases, but Grue was a sloppy eater to put it mildly and his iambic pentameter got old quickly. I liked how much he loved finding Shakespeare’s plays in bottles. I loved the Cyrano de Bergerac/Shakespeare meets Grendel/Caliban vibe. All of that seemed great in terms of a starting place, but Grue never grew. He just remained delightfully deranged and completely unaware of what consequences any of his actions had. None of his decisions carried a lot of emotional weight or range either, whether it was deciding to give up eating people or to court a very troubled Guiletta.

That isn’t to say that I didn’t like the graphic novel or didn’t get the references to Shakespeare, but I didn’t have as enjoyable a time as I would have wished. I definitely preferred the snappy remarks from his crab companions and “An Invertebrate’s Guide to Iambic Pentameter”  to Grue’s seemingly random hyper spur of the moment life changes. I really enjoyed the black and white illustrations. I loved the sherriff’s storyline as he worked to do right even if it meant turning in his badge and pissing everyone else off. But I just felt like the main storyline never struck the right chord with me.

In conclusion, a decent read, but one that is ultimately saddled with a main character with too much quirk and too little attention span.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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