“Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak;

Lay open to my earthy-gross conceit,

Smother'd in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,

The folded meaning of your words' deceit.”

The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare



Set presumably in the early 1960s, the story revolves around Grue, a monster “born atomically” and living beneath the waves off of the coast of California in the hull of a wrecked nuclear submarine. With only a bunch of wisecracking crabs as company, Grue used to enjoy hunting down and feeding upon young hormone-intoxicated couples as they engaged in nocturnal trysts on the beach but ever since he discovered pages from Shakespearean plays rolled up in cola bottles floating in the ocean, his existence seems incomplete.


Irrevocably changed by the Bard’s iambic pentameter, Grue sets out to find the person who is behind the bottled Shakespeare and, just maybe, discover his own Juliet.



The black-and-white illustrations were just masterful – it never ceases to amaze me how elite artists can convey so much with so little. Panel after panel, writer/illustrator Case skillfully develops numerous peripheral characters (like gung ho policeman Henry Craw and his inept protégé Larry), conveys complex emotions, and creates undeniably rich atmospherics.


Although Dear Creature was visually compelling, it’s the narrative that made this graphic novel such an unforgettable read. Here’s a perfect example. Grue vows to stop killing and consuming humans – with little support from his invertebrate friends. 


 Grue: “The only patient spirit I’ll meet is they that cast these telling bottles into the brine! As with the more I read, my bloodlust doth recede, so shall a contact with its source defeat the urge withal… I’m sure of it!”


Crab 1: “Uhy…”


Crab 2: “Prom night is coming.”


I loved this book, especially the ending. Stylistically, it brought me right back to the days of my youth when I used to love watching B-horror movies like Attack of the 50-Foot Woman and The Blob – except in this story, the monster doesn’t eat the girl, he gets the girl! Dear Creature was a fabulous read that gives all of the human monsters out there (myself included) hope that even in a world obsessed with superficiality, anyone can find true love, even if you’re a radioactive sea mutant…



Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 


 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!

by ‎10-05-2011 12:12 AM - edited ‎10-05-2011 12:13 AM

This book appeals to me because of the iambic pentameter.:smileyhappy: And, a chorus of smart-ass crabs as well as a creature/agoraphobic romance sounds entertaining. I'm glad to know that you liked the illustrations. The next time I'm in the mood for a graphic fix, I'll get this book.


Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.