An interesting take on young adult tropes, Moonhead and the Music Machine is one of the more bizarre and intriguing graphic novels I’ve read in recent memory.
Joey Moonhead is aptly named — he and his family have moons for heads. Trying to find his place in high school, Joey struggles between his parents’ expectations and his desire to fit in. When the school talent show comes up, Joey invents his own instrument and shocks his peer by not only playing but being pretty good at it.
Filled with things only a graphic novel can do, Moonhead and the Music Machine is an immersive, entertaining experience. On one level, it would be easy to zip through the story but doing that doesn’t allow for really taking in the various panels and visuals created by Andrew Rae. And while the story itself isn’t exactly a new one, Rae’s take on the coming of age young adult story is intriguing enough to make spending time with Joey Moonhead worth it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from the Amazon Vine program.
Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor is a weighty read. And I don’t just mean the actual physical weight of the book (though it is a thick, heavy book). I’m talking about the story, it’s implications and how it’s stuck with me even though I finished the last page months ago.
David Smith is a struggling artist. He’s visited by the ghost of his dead uncle and given a choice — give up art and live a long life with marriage, children, etc. or live two hundred more days and be able to create as much art as he wants. David chooses the shorter life and art, but he finds, as with all choices, there are pros and cons to it. A pro is he can create art faster and more effectively than ever before. A con is that his friends and agent find it hard to believe he’s creating this much art so rapidly.
Another con is that just as David’s life has an expiration date, he meets a girl and falls in love. At first it appears a one-sided love (she’s dating someone else) but soon the two are falling in love.
The interesting thing about The Sculptor is that the love affair is rich, complicated, wonderful and messy — sometimes all within a few panels of each other. Meg has her issues and isn’t the “perfect” love interest. But she’s a great fit for David — at least for most of the run of this story. Where McCloud takes our characters and this story is profoundly moving — going from the great excitement of the early days of a relationship to the hard work that comes in keeping the relationship going. McCloud doesn’t shy away from some of the harder issues facing our couple nor does he come up with any easy answers for them. Continue reading
As I’ve said in the past, one of the fun things about NetGalley is skimming through the comics and graphic novels section and finding treasures there I might not have heard of before or might have overlooked.
Liz Prince’s Alone Forever: A Singles Collection is one such collection. The series of comic strips examine Liz’s attempts to find love in the modern dating world that includes things like OK Cupid and texting your feelings to someone and then awkwardly waiting for a reply (this cartoon reminded me a lot of the Seinfeld episode where George tells his latest date that he loves her, only to not get a response.).
For the most part, Liz’s observation are self-deprecating, witty and amusing. I can’t help but hope she’s exaggerating some aspects of these stories, if only for her own sake. But having been out there in the dating world once upon a time, I have a feeling that some of the more extreme quirks aren’t necessarily all that exaggerated.
This collection was a quick, pleasant read and it’s one that makes me curious to see what else Prince has to offer. I may have to seek our other collections by Prince or just surf over to her web site and see what other observations on life she has to offer.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.