cover image Moonhead and the Music Machine

Moonhead and the Music Machine

Andrew Rae. Nobrow (Consortium, dist.), $24.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-907704-78-9

This debut graphic novel tells the familiar story of a teenager struggling to fit in amongst his high-school peers. The situation is exacerbated both by his tendency to daydream and the fact that his head is a globe-sized moon that floats ever so slightly above his shoulders. Joey Moonhead’s most pronounced physical characteristic aside, the first third of this story is fairly standard teenage outcast fare, supplemented by the frequent flights of fancy, which Rae renders in exquisite detail. It’s not until the music machine enters the picture that the book hits its stride, either narratively and graphically. Rae lets himself off his storytelling leash, and Moonhead finds his voice through music, first by illustrating wonderful covers for made-up albums and then through the music machine itself. Built from pieces pulled out of the scrap heap, the machine is a sort of guitar/synthesizer hybrid, which, when played correctly, turns panels into an explosion of psychedelic colors that transform his classmates into fellow freaks. A book illustrator by trade, Rae clearly labored over these pages, and it is extremely visually captivating. (July)