Friday, September 30, 2016


Mooncop is the latest book from Tom Gauld, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite comics creators. He excels at drawing in deceptively complex manner that simultaneously ends up conveying great dramatic weight and comedic potential, which is an amazing ability. Past works like Goliath and You're All Just Jealous of My Backpack also reflect his great craftsmenship, and I highly recommend you check them out.

Mooncop is a dark comedy/slice of life tale set on a lunar colony in some (not-so-distant?) future. It is the kind of comic Stanley Kubrick might have made, only by which I mean it shares a similar matter-of-fact sensibility about science fiction as well as an overall devotion to impeccable detail, craft, and style. The goings-on revolve around our titular police officer, whose job is not so fantastic or demanding as it might seem. There is surprisingly little happening on the moon, and the people who are there are law-abiding, so mostly we just see his daily routine.
Still, there are some pretty cool things on the Moon, like therapist-robots, automated donut dispensers, and neat, modular buildings. And the monotony is broken up by a few episodes, such as looking for a teenage runaway, dealing with a broke-down car, and helping find a lost dog.
This future is pretty bleak though, and more and more of the lunar population leaves to return to Earth because life on the Moon is pretty humdrum and drab, a bright future turned  disappointment. Still, the ordinary actions of the Mooncop are still quite compelling, if mundane. There is a sort of dignity in his endeavors, matched by the somewhat ridiculous ways technology affects his life. In the end, this book reads sort of like 2001 meets American Splendor, and that is actually quite a wonderful combination. The humanity and emotional life of the cop shine through all of the sci-fi trappings.

All of the reviews I have read of this book have sung its praises. Michell Buchman called it "a fun, clever meditation on what it means to be human." Greg Hunter wrote that it "may be best appreciated as a retro sci-fi tone poem, big on feel in its depictions of loneliness and depression but short on insight." Oliver Sava remarked, "Gauld is known for his minimalist aesthetic and deadpan sense of humor, and these two elements work wonderfully together to bring levity to the emotional crisis in these pages."

Mooncop was published by Drawn & Quarterly, and they have a preview and more information available here.

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