A dead-pan but touching graphic novel …

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.

8 thoughts on “A dead-pan but touching graphic novel …

  1. AnnaBookBel says:

    It is lovely – would make a great prezzie (as not cheap for under 100 pages – but full colour and nicely produced).

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I find that while I have problems when faced with a whole book of short stories, I can do them when published singly, or, in graphic novel form! I’m building up a pile of graphic novels for those in between moments.

  2. Aww, this looks adorable! I’m crushed that my library doesn’t have it, but they’re usually pretty docile about ordering books when I tell them to, and who wouldn’t want to own a copy of something as cute as this?

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