Graphic Novel Review: Moonhead and the Music Machine

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August 17, 2014 by I SNIFF BOOKS - Beth

moonhead coverMoonhead and the Music Machine by Andrew Rae and published by Nobrow.  ISBN  978-1907704789. Page count:  176. Hardback with cloth spine.  Book size is 9″ x 6.5″.  Nobrow graphic novels use very high quality materials and printing methods and their books are noticeably different than the others on the market.

synopsis:  Meet Joey Moonhead. A normal kid in every way. Except one… He has a moon for a head.  Life is a peach when you have a moon for a head. Your head can wander out of the atmosphere into galactic reveries, drift blissfully across star specked plains, roll lazily into jungles with undiscovered artefacts or soar closer than Icarus to the sun’s seething glare. Snap! Back to reality – the world of a teenage boy is a much crueler place, the taunt “crater-face” is a very literal insult and the cool kids have an unremitting supply of abuse. And so, as the law of divine providence state, when the school talent contest takes its yearly turn, it is the role of the outcast to take part. Thus, Joey Moonhead begins a stellar mission to create a music machine that rivals all those in existence.  An imaginative and visually poetic take on the stock American high school drama, Moonhead is a subtle blend between Wayne’s World and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Andrew Rae’s graphic novel is enriching and powerfully illustrated.

In Moonhead and the Music Machine, we are introduced to Joey Moonhead, a misfit who tries to blend in and hopes he will just be ignored, but instead is teased and ridiculed by his classmates.  Joey secretly wishes that he had a special talent (other than having a moon for a head that floats above his neck) that will make his classmates notice, admire, and like him.  As to be expected, in Joey’s quest to develop his talent and hopefully become popular, he forgets who his true friends are.  And if the daily grind of high school wasn’t difficult enough to navigate, at home Joey doesn’t get much relief — his parents seem too busy and distracted to meaningfully connect their son.

While the premise does seem a bit familiar, Rae is right on with capturing the atmosphere of high school life in his illustrations– the jostling in the halls, boys eyeing good-looking girls, students heckling each other and teachers, and students fidgeting during roll call, just to name a few.

The artwork is without a doubt vibrant and fantastic, but for me, the story is just good.  There were also a couple of story elements I wasn’t too sure about, but maybe Rae did that intentionally so the reader can interpret these events for his/herself. Moonhead and the Music Machine is a surreal spin on the life of a high school misfit with a couple of surprising twists toward the end.

Nobrow has a slideshow preview of Moonhead and the Music Machine.

Available for purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher, Nobrow.  And check your local comic book shop!

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary review copy from Nobrow Press in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

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