A mutant submariner pines for a surface girl trapped in a prison of her own making.
There are a hell of a lot of weird things in the world of graphic novels, ranging from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy to, well, anything touched by Alan Moore. But every once in a while you get a beautiful anomaly like this black-and-white graphic novel by Portland-based artist and writer Case. A throwback and tribute to both The Bard and the monster movies of the 1960s, the book opens on a morosely giggly other-than-human creature, Grue, and his Greek chorus of crab friends. “It’s a damn shame you broke yer bauble, sure. But dead cheerleaders will always nourish better than dead playwrits! Agreed?” says the lead crab. It turns out that Grue, a mutant critter with a taste for human flesh (apparently you can lure frisky teens with a six-pack), has been reading the plays of Shakespeare, tossed into the sea in soda bottles. He has, henceforth, adopted iambic pentameter as his chosen idiom, and sets out in search of the source. In the world above, Grue finds Giulietta, an agoraphobe whom Grue presumes to free, before finding out about her plight. Much chaos ensues, including a hot-blooded chase by the local police and the capture of Grue by those who would punish the sea monster for his sins. This is not your typical funny book, even compared to oddities like Fables or Sweet Tooth, but it is marvelously entertaining and a weird side-door entry into both Shakespeare and graphic literature. Be sure not to miss the coda, “An Invertebrate’s Guide to Iambic Pentameter,” in which our crabby hosts try to explain our hero’s lingo, via the self-explanatory phrasing, “Ba-donk A-donk A-Donk A-donk A-donk!”
A funny, bizarre, unexpected pleasure that gives a creature from the depths heart and soul as well as a happy ending.