Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Some of you may enjoy comic books. I did as a kid and still, occasionally, do. For example, I've just this week finished all four bound editions out there of WALKING DEAD, and I put my order in at my local comics store for the Supreme Power special books on NIGHTHAWK and HYPERION. Those of you who have been reading Mirathon since its early months--hey, this place is less than a year old!--know that I love what Joss Whedon and J. M. Straczynski--both creators of some of the best SF on TV ever--have done with comics, and that I'm a Gaiman/SANDMAN fan. (Who isn't?)

I even managed to tick off some Alan Moore fans cause I dissed him for doing comics porn when his talent could do so much better. Hey, ho.

But you may not have heard of Doug TenNapel. I got his CREATURE TECH on Elliot's recommendation.(How are those amazon pennies piling up, Claw-Man?)

This total hoot of a graphic novel opens with your sci-fi standard: a mad scientist. In this case he's a Brit who's got a demon hand (part of a nefarious deal with the dark and saucy forces of evil) and a real strange eel fetish. The demon that's wearing the mad scientist's hand helps out around the lab/observatory. They are luring a giant space eel to earth to prove that. . . the scientist is not mad. (snarf)

It doesn't end well for crazy dude.

Long time later (think a century plus) and our genius scientist-atheist hero--Dr. Michael Ong--is assigned to an underground scientific facility where a multitude of sealed crates with mysterious contents are stashed and methodically studied. (Flashback to the ending of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and you have an idea of what I mean.) And yes, the facility is located in the hero's hometown, the place he'd left behind and reluctantly returns to now. His dad is a preacher there, and the founder of the Research Technical Institute--Creature Tech to the townfolk who are none too pleased with its presence. Weird things happen cause of Creature Tech.

AND NOW, the wacky, action-packed, weird fun really gets going.

You meet the odd, but endearing, townfolk, who don't like the standoffish protagonist much to start with. There's the handicapped girl who tugs at the hero's heart. His father, a godly man who loves his son and wants him to know Jesus. The kindly rednecks who are into hunting and not beyond adopting a mutant, giant bug. The symbiote that is so much more than first thought. Hellcats. A kinda vampire. And the Shroud of Turin (an object in one of the crates at CTI), which becomes pivotal to the ensuing events, which I won't disclose. I'd hate to ruin your enjoyment.

As the plot progresses, the hero learns about love, neighborliness, his dad, and God.

One scene that harkens to the gospel is splendidly done.

It's a seriously cool graphic novel. It's got a solid Christian heart and an off-kilter sense of humor. (If you don't laugh snot out of your nose at what happens to the butcher's meat when the Shroud comes into play, well...your humor meter urgently needs calibrating.) The artwork is quality stuff, often funny and, sometimes, really touching.

I'm gonna look for more TenNapel stuff. The guy is whack...in the best sort of way.



Elliot said...

I'm glad you liked it! I think I originally heard of it from Eve Tushnet. (Ecumenical-word-of-mouth is alive and well.) Though I'd long been a fan of Earthworm Jim's various incarnations.

I've been seeing good reviews of his more recent graphic novels.

I think my Amazon account is up to about $4.50. Thanks for buying stuff! I see you bought some stuff through my account I hadn't even posted, oddly enough! :-)

Elliot said...

You should pass this review on to Christian Fandom!

Mirtika said...

Elliot, it may be that if I purchased something else by using you as a gateway, that you get credit.


Elliot said...

BTW, you'll probably enjoy this further attack on Moore by John C. Wright: http://johncwright.livejournal.com/28549.html

Mirtika said...

I did.

As someone who has, in the shady past, read a half-dozen or so works of Victorian porn in tandem with middle sis, I don't see how it's much of a strain, unless one laughs too hard at the amazingly repetitive and randy hyperbolic silliness of it. My sister and I still laugh uproariously if she mishievously says, "Come here, my naughty boy." (A direct bit of dialogue from one.)

I can honestly say none of it ever inspired me to write. Clearly, Mr. Moore sees depths we didn't grasp.

Although, I would think his comic should have characters from Dorian Gray and Dracula, novels already dark and hinting at and alluding to Victorian sexual depravities. (Oh, wait, he's done that already.)


Chris Well said...

I also give CREATURE TECH a big thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

Take a look at this Christian graphic novel: