Mooncop by Tom Gauld
Mooncop is a short graphic novel which can be ‘read’ in 10 minutes with its 96 pages, many of which have no text at all. It’s worth taking much more time over though to savour the wit and pathos behind the simple yet complex drawings. I finished it the first time and immediately went back to the beginning to read it again, this time looking more too.
Tom Gauld may be familiar to some of you from his cartoons and strips in the Guardian and New Scientist. He has a highly individual style that is deceptively simple, yet packed with detail. This is his second graphic novel for Montreal-based comic publisher Drawn and Quarterly, and he has illustrated several children’s books too.
In Mooncop, there is no explanatory text, everything you need to know is in the picture. There are no thought bubbles – we don’t need them. When the characters talk to each other, it’s pure dialogue. It’s sheer genius!
Our hero, the unnamed mooncop goes on his rounds through the lunar colony in his little floating bubble-domed car. We see a collection of geometrically shaped buildings and domes, all seems well. Then his screen beeps and he hurries to sector 6.3 to find Lauren, the daughter of the lunar supermarket owner who had strayed into the restricted sector. He gives her a lift home and she tells him her family are leaving, (right).
Back at police HQ, the mooncop sends in his report. 0 crimes – a 100% record. Packing up, he goes home via the donut vending machine. He goes to bed looking at the Earth through his window. Beep! It’s another uneventful day – Mrs Henderson’s dog goes missing, that’s the highlight. But when he stops for his donut and coffee, he finds the vending machine is being upgraded to a cafe soon!
Such is the lot of the mooncop. Gradually, the inhabitants of the lunar colony are going off to pastures new. The mooncop’s apartment used to be on the eighth floor of his modular block, but he goes home one day to find he’s now on the fourth – they’ve removed the empty modules.
Then, one day , the Lunar Donuts cafe opens – and it’s manned by a real person, not a robot… I can’t possibly say any more!
This graphic novel is so witty with its dead-pan humour, but it also firmly tweaked my heartstrings having an emotional punch that was unexpected. I absolutely adored it. (10/10)
Source: I bought this book from an independent bookshop!
Tom Gauld, Mooncop (Drawn & Quarterly, 2016). Hardback, 96 pages.