Mooncop by Tom Gauld

Do you remember when you were a kid, and all you wanted to do was help people and live in space? Maybe not, maybe your childhood was very different than mine, but when I was young, I couldn’t imagine anything cooler than being a cop on the moon. Tom Gauld understands that drive, and makes it the central theme of his new graphic novel, Mooncop.

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Mooncop. Man, what a title. It has the flair of one of those 80s action movies that you can’t ever be sure wasn’t some elaborate hoax, while at the same time conveying a sense of space age adventure. A cop! On the Moon! What could be more exciting? And then, following from the idea that reality will always disappoint us, Gauld delivers a bleak, empty, melancholy world. The moon as a small town in the Rustbelt, where everyone is moving away. The moon is vast, and empty, and that’s actually fine.

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Mooncop represents the coming of age of the space-cadet adventure. It’s a shining example of the mode of contemporary literature also commonly occupied by the films of Jim Jarmusch. Few things happen, those things happen slowly, when they are done happening, the reader is left with a bunch of emotions. Essentially, life is mundane, even when you’re a cop on the Moon. That doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. There is always beauty, and adventure, if you’re willing to search for it.

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Mooncop is excellent. It’s short (less than 100 pages), and feels for all the world like a children’s book, aside from the fact that it left me with a profound sense of longing and sadness and hope in a way that no children’s book ever has.

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Go buy it, read it. Visualize a time when we can live on the moon. Visualize a time when the idea of living on the moon seems mundane.

Read Mooncop, and feel things.


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Written on January 10, 2017