"I'm covered in demonic cat pee!"Creature Tech is a comic book produced by Image Comics, written by celebrated author Doug Tennapel, that takes Rule of Symbolism to the max.Dr. Michael Ong, former seminarian-turned-athesist-scientist, is assigned to a government warehouse in his hometown which the locals have dubbed Creature Tech. Ong's job is to categorize boxes of mysterious artifacts, as the government doesn't know what to do with the artifacts. Unfortunately, Jameson, an English ghost, is after one of the boxes, which contains the Shroud of Turin. Ong and company have to stop Jameson before he enacts his fiendish plan to resurrect a giant space eel.Yeah.
— Dr. Ong, our hero
- Affably Evil: Jameson, also Laughably Evil. What little we see of Hellcat is more subdued, but still seems fairly amiable.
- Ambiguously Gay:Dr. Ong: Jameson! Come out of that closet right now!Jameson: In this town? Are you crazy?!
- Area 51: RTI/"Creature Tech" functions as this.
- Badass Longcoat: Lampshaded by Ong's father. Justified, since it's to hide the symbiote.
- Back from the Dead: The Shroud's ability to raise dead people and creatures becomes a driving force of the plot. Also, Blue gets killed by a cat-monster, and his soul is briefly shown in insect Heaven, but he gets sent back by God because his friends on Earth need him.
- Batman Gambit: Ong defeats Jameson because he understands that the alien symbiote is an intelligent, moral creature, and thus is able to anticipate its reactions. Ong allows Jameson to punch a hole in his chest and crush his heart—at which point the symbiote leaves Jameson and reattaches itself to Ong, because it likes Ong better.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: Oh, yes.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Blue, the giant CIA-trained mantis. Apparently they never quite curbed his predatory tendencies.
- Bishounen: Jameson's defining feature is apparently his feminine appearance, even though he's a zombie.
- Book Ends: The comic begins and ends with a Splash Panel of giant eels in space.
- The intro states that Pastor Ong rebelled against his religious family and became a famous scientist before returning to religion when he had "questions science couldn't answer". At the end of the comic, Dr. Ong, who rebelled against his religious family and became a famous scientist, is reexamining his own faith.
- Cats Are Mean: Played with. Jameson gains his powers from a cat devil, and one of those powers is the ability to turn any cat into a monster under his thrall. However, when Jameson turns Katie's cat into a monster, it eventually rebels against Jameson and dies trying to save Katie.
- Chekhov's Gun: The fake alien mummy at the museum which turns out to not only be real, but the space eel's rider.
- Cursed with Awesome: Ong really doesn't like having the alien symbiote attached to him. Even after discovering the superpowers that it gave him, he still intends to remove the symbiote and attach it to a dog after the whole Jameson incident blows over.
- Deal with the Devil: Dr. Jameson trades his soul and his hand for knowledge, magic power, and a devil's hand.
- Death from Above: Happens twice. In the opening scene, Jameson's giant space eel attractor works a little too well, causing a giant space eel to crash into his laboratory with the force of an asteroid. "That's A MORAY!" At the end Jameson rides on the back of the resurrected space eel and summons lightning to destroy Turlock.
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: Jameson's aforementioned deal is made with a demon named Hellcat.
- Disabled Love Interest: Katie.
- Disintegrator Ray: Creature Tech has a large one. It doesn't see much use because it takes six months to charge up.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: See Ambiguously Gay and Drinking the Kool-Aid on this very page for quotes.
- Dragged Off to Hell: Jameson's final fate.
- Drinking the Kool-Aid: Alluded to.
- Dr. Ong: I always feel weird drinking Kool-Aid at church functions.
- Extranormal Institute: RTI.
- Flying Seafood Special
- Giant Flyer: Giant space eels.
- Going Native: Blue the mutant mantis winds up at the home of rednecks Ed and Al...and quickly becomes their brother.
- Hated Hometown: Dr. Ong hates Turlock, CA, because of the rednecks and the religious. And the religious rednecks. And his father.
- Heroic Host: The alien symbiote that serves as Ong's new heart also provides him with extra limbs and kung-fu skills, and even stranger powers when he gets angry.
- Healing Potion: The folks at Creature Tech realize that the Shroud of Turin is the real deal when the blood on the shroud heals the injuries of anyone who touches it.
- Horse of a Different Color: The giant space eel even has a saddle on its back. When Jameson tries to destroy Turlock with the eel, Ong foils him by finding and resurrecting the eel's original rider, who's able to convince the eel to immediately ditch Jameson.
- If Jesus, Then Aliens: Very pointedly avoided. Mike Ong has no difficulty accepting the existence of the paranormal artifacts he's cataloging while rejecting Christianity. Even when he realizes that the Shroud of Turin is the real deal — and that Jesus must have really been the Son of God — it still doesn't compel him to actually convert.
- On the other hand, Pastor Ong was driven by the strange things he studied to turn to religion, so he plays the inversion straight: If aliens, then Jesus. He also objects that the Shroud of Turin can't be what it seems, since having conclusive evidence of Jesus' divinity would deprive people of the right to choose whether to believe in Christ.
- Michael does convert eventually, but only upon witnessing the death of an alien Christ analogue on another planet. If alien Jesus, then human Jesus.
- It's probably safe to say this trope drives the plot of Creature Tech.
- Kiss of Life: A rather bizarre example with Blue. Since he's a mantis, they have to blow air into his spiracles rather than giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Lampshade Hanging:Secretary: Fluffy's in there!Dr. Ong: *facepalm* Don't tell me... Fluffy's a cat.Jameson: *finding the cat* Deus ex machina!
- Literal Change of Heart: Dr. Ong gets one courtesy of an alien symbiont.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Jameson.
- Mama Bear: Appears in a brief scene:[A suburban family has said grace and is beginning to eat dinner. Dad notices a cat monster looking in the window.]
Father: What in the sam hell is that?
Mother: Dear! Don't use that language in front of the children!
[The cat monster reaches through the window and grabs the baby out of the high chair.]
[There is a look of abject horror on the mother's face, then she grabs a steak knife and lunges towards the monster.]
Mother: Get your hands off my baby, you son of a bitch!
- Meta Guy: Jameson spends most of his non-Turlock-destroying time making Incredibly Lame Puns, Shout Outs, chewing the scenery, and hanging lampshades anywhere they'll fit.
- Mix-and-Match Critter: Jameson mixes a cat and a dead bat to create:Jameson: Danananananananana, BATCAT!
- Museum of the Strange and Unusual: Not Creature Tech itself, but another local tourist trap displaying (and selling) items that are alleged to be, for example, a South American mummy, Excalibur, and the face of Jesus on a cinnamon roll.
- No Such Thing as Space Jesus: Averted. It's the entire reason why Ong converts.
- Oblivious to Love: "Something about that girl..."
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The terms of his deal with the devil specify that Jameson won't enter Hell as long as he has the demon hand given to him by Hellcat. As a result, he remains on Earth as a ghost after his body dies.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Jameson is basically a revenant after he uses the Shroud to raise himself from the dead. He has full intelligence and mobility, but still looks partially-rotted.
- Arguably, the Meat Man, who formed from a composite of animal meat cuts given life (and apparently sapience) by the Shroud.
- The Place
- Raising the Steaks: The steak is very happy to be alive and goes off to "find himself" but then gets hit by a truck. Which leads to the immortal gem:Jameson: He went to meat his maker.
- Red Right Hand: Jameson gained demon powers by trading his hand for Hellcat's. Among other things, it prevents his soul going to Hell for his sins until Dr. Ong wises up and cuts it off.
- Secret Government Warehouse: Creature Tech, although it fails in the "secret" part.
- Sort of justified. Part of Turlock's stipulations for allowing the facility to operate a nuclear power generator within city limits was that the place had to be staffed by locals.
- Southern-Fried Genius: Jim is a self-taught quantum physicist, and also handy with electronics and alien technology. To Ong's surprise and confusion, he's also deeply religious.
- Space Whale: Giant space eels. Same difference.
- Straw Atheist: Dr. Ong, at the beginning. Over the course of the story (and a personal encounter with Alien Symbiote Jesus), he reexamines this position and ultimately converts.
- Taught by Television: The alien symbiont saves Ong's life by employing kung-fu that it learned from watching a movie. Including the cheesy dialogue.
- You're Drinking Breast Milk: Happens to Ong at the picnic.
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: The parasite gives Ong an 11th-Hour Superpower when he gets overwhelmed by a horde of demon cats.