By: Rachel Freeman
Moonstruck is published by Image Comics. It is written by Lumberjanes creator Grace Ellis with art by Shae Beagle and guest artist Kate Leth.
In the world of Moonstruck, fantasy creatures and humans live alongside each other. With fantasy creatures living regular, normal lives just like we humans do. However, a barista named Julie tries her best to be the most normal of all. She has a normal job, an “it’s-complicated-not-quite-dating” girlfriend, and she also turns into a werewolf when she gets upset. Totally normal. She works at a cafè with her best friend, a centaur named Chet, in the college town of Blitheton. But somehow Julie and Chet find themselves in the middle of a magical conspiracy and well…so much for being normal.
This. Comic. Is. ADORABLE. Just like Lumberjanes. Is everything Grace Ellis touches immediately adorable and wonderful? I think it is. This series is progressive in so many ways. It’s not just about fantasy creatures, but their gender identities and their different ethnicities. They aren’t just a bunch of stereotypical mythical creatures that are perfectly sculpted white people on top of animal bodies. They are people of color, LGBTQ, they are different shapes and sizes – from Julie who is short and on the more curvy side to Lindi who is tall, broad, and thick to Cass who is tall, thin, and lanky. While sorting through a creepy premonition, Julie is also trying to navigate her budding relationship – mainly what to say when she responds to texts from Selena. Julie is a character we can all relate to. Except the werewolf part. Then again, don’t we all metaphorically turn in to werewolves when we get upset?
Alright. Plot time. So we are introduced to Julie and Chet as they make coffee at the cafè while discussing a date with a girl that one of them went on. Turns out it’s Julie, the girl, talking about her date, with a girl. In the initial panels, you can’t tell who exactly is talking about this perfect girl, until page 3 when it is officially confirmed that its Julie. I really loved this segway because it didn’t matter who was talking from which perspective. It was just two people (well, mythical creatures) discussing their happiness and relationship. I also love Chet and Julie’s friendship which is full of terrible puns and love. I won’t go in to every event that happens because you really just need to read it, but I will say that Julie has to go Cass’s restaurant or cafè (I’m honestly not sure which) to get coffee stirrers for Chet. Cass is a psychic and while Julie is there, Cass gets a sudden and very cryptic message for Julie which basically boils down to “something bad is about to happen”. Que cliffhanger.
Moonstruck has a very Adventure Time/Steven Universe-esque art style. It’s cute and sometimes goes in to that sketchy-derp style we all know and love, but it still remains different enough that it doesn’t just feel like a copy of the same ol’ – same ol’ stuff. It’s vibrant and colorful but can also be very bleak to match the situation at hand.
OVERALL SCORE: 9 / 10
I absolutely loved this beginning issue. I do, however, wish we got SOME kind of image of Selena. Julie talks about her, we see texts from her, but we have absolutely no idea what she looks like. I mean, I guess that doesn’t matter per say, but she’s this really important person to Julie, who is the main character, so it’d be nice to just have like…a little bit of a visual. Like…is she a unicorn? Is she more person-like? Oh! Maybe she’s a cat. Selena, also Catwoman’s name – Julie, embarrassed about being a werewolf. Cats and dogs stereotype. Yeah. That’s my new theory.
(watch me not even be close)
Anyway. Be sure to pick up a copy of Moonstruck #1 from your local comic store!