The opening scene in “Moonhead and the Music Machine,” Andrew Rae‘s new graphic novel, reminds me of a short story by P.G. Wodehouse about a boy who struggles with always being late for breakfast at his boarding school. Too bad he couldn’t have used such an excuse as having a moon for a head. However, Joey, our main character in this fabulous work of comics does have a moon for a head! The panels with Joey’s moonhead catching some more winks while his body trudges off to high school is pure comics magic. It turns out that Joey can tune out the world at will and have an out-of-body experience any time he likes. This might have been a bit too much for Wodehouse to process in his day but he probably would have approved.
What brings Joey down to Earth is the sobering fact that he’s a nerd in the classic drama that is high school and Rae does a great job with those tropes. We have everything but a high school dance. Instead, we have a talent show and it’s through this venue that Joey finds himself and even helps others with finding their own inner nerd or geek. We’re all unique and may as well have a moon for a head, right? Rae’s light linework floats along the page. We get caught up in all the fluffy and whimsical qualities to his choices in color, composition, and characters. They all float along like so many clouds of cotton candy.
We never get a clear answer, or any answer, as to why Joey has a moonhead. My spellcheck is fiercely resistant to the idea as it dilegently corrects me with “moorhead.” You may as well be asking why the classic characters in those Saturday Night Live skits with the Coneheads had cones for heads. I think they always explained it off as having to do with their being from France.
“Moonhead and the Music Machine” is published by Nobrow Press. You can find it by visiting our friends at Nobrow right here.