Moonshadow happened upon me – or, really, didn’t happen upon me – soon after I had discovered tried-and-true comic book stores.
It was 1985, and I was twelve years old, and the Comic Den, a small shop in a small strip mall in smallish suburban Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was my dedicated store of preference. I’d ride my bike there with a friend during summer holidays, or get my Dad to give me a lift there on a Saturday afternoon.
The Comic Den is where I discovered back issues of DC Comics’ Star Trek monthly series, The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, and Marvel’s ROM.
It’s where I found and began to collect (and read) Epic Illustrated, periodicals that were geared towards an audience much, much older than I was! But I loved the art inside them. I loved the science fiction and fantasy storytelling, a niche literary genre in comics that owed much, I’d soon discover, to a European heritage. This was comic book storytelling – graphic storytelling – that was so much different than what I was used to at the local Kmart and Towers magazine racks.
Epic Illustrated is where I discovered brilliant artists such as Jon J. Muth, which led me to brilliant writers like J.M. DeMatteis and his work in more mainstream comic books titles like Spider-Man and Justice League and Doctor Fate.
Those three monthly series were some of the most beloved of my comic book reading experience.
But Moonshadow, the self-described fairy tale for grown-ups, always eluded me. I always knew of it, and I was always intrigued by it, but I never did pick up and read the original twelve issue tale. Not even when it was reissued by Vertigo Comics (a DC Comics imprint) in 1994. Not even when they published the Compleat Moonshadow in 1998, a collection that included the one-shot sequel, Farewell, Moonshadow.
No, looking back, I feel that I had missed my mid-1980’s opportunity at reading the individual issues. And that I was always waiting for beautiful hardcover edition that would collect the entire story, full of bonus material, something that would look great and be enjoyed as much on my bookshelf as in my eager hands.
That day has finally arrived.
Written By: JM DeMatteis
Illustrated By: Jon J. Muth
Published By: Dark Horse Comics
Written by J.M. DeMatteis and lavishly illustrated by Jon J. Muth, Moonshadow is an interplanetary coming-of-age story, told from the eyes of an older Moonshadow. He’s an unreliable narrator, recounting his mix-species birth and upbringing in outer space: a product of a celestial father and a hippy, human, mother.
It’s a story of friendship and adventure, love and life, and the inherently complex relationship between father and son.
Moonshadow has the enviable and wondrous distinction of being the first fully painted American comic book story. Muth’s work breathes extraordinary life to the beautiful fairy tale and together, word and picture, capture the imagination of readers across generations.
It’s certainly a fairy tale for grown-ups, but it’s also a tale for those in their early teens, discovering word and picture and the intermingling of the two, perhaps for the first time.
Moonshadow: The Definitive Edition H/C is a 512 page tome that digitally restores the original twelve-issue series from 1985. It also includes the one-shot finale, Farewell, Moonshadow, and a number of illustrations by renowned artists Kent Williams and George Pratt, who ably helped the series along when original deadlines had become tight.
You can read writer J.M. DeMatteis’s remembrances on the creation of Moonshadow right here.
Make the run to your local comic book store today and pick up the breathtaking and wonderful, Moonshadow: The Definitive Edition H/C.