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The Moon Moth (Graphic Novel)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  346 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
A classic science fiction tale finds new life in this graphic novel adaptation.
A fascinating blend of murder mystery and high-concept science fiction, The Moon Moth has long been hailed as one of Jack Vance’s greatest works. And now this intricately crafted tale is available in glorious full color as a new graphic novel. Edwer Thissell, the new consul from Earth to the pl
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by First Second (first published January 1st 1961)
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Seth T.
Apr 04, 2012 Seth T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
The Moon Moth by Jack Vance, adapted by Humayoun Ibrahim
[On Sirene, everyone who's anyone drives their own Noah's ark
(minus the two-by-twos of course)]

Generally, the purpose of setting a story in a science fiction world meanders down one of two lanes. On the one hand, an author may hope to introduce in the reader's mind a critique of contemporary society, culture, or history by forcing a comparison of analogy. A Brave New World, 1984, Gattaca, Solaris, even Alien—these are stories whose goals are above and beyond the simple entertainment of the reade
Jared Millet
Vance's "The Moon Moth" was an interesting choice for a graphic novel adaptation. The story hinges on concepts that lend themselves to the graphical format, such as the masks that all the characters wear, and ideas that don't - namely the music that permeates all Sirenese conversation. That Ibrahim managed to pull the latter trick off is no small feat. His art style leans more toward Spiegelman or McCloud than that of mainstream comics, which is appropriate for a story heavy on personal interact ...more
Jan 23, 2017 TJ rated it liked it
This is not Jack Vance's great short story, "The Moon Moth." It is an adaptation by Humayoun Ibrahim. Excerpts from Vance's short story are included in this graphically illustrated book. If you have read and love the short story, then you might want to read this adaptation. I do not recommend it by itself, however, and doubt that it was intended for those who are not already familiar with the short story. The illustrations are cartoon like but seem fine, although I already had my own imagined im ...more
May 25, 2012 Anthony rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2012 Gabriel rated it liked it
[disclosure: I won this in a Goodreads First Reads Contest]
So that's how you write a mystery short story!

Actually, I still don't know (well, from this book anyway. I have other examples if I decide to read them). And that's the only real problem with this adaptation. Too many of the clues are glossed over in a couple of panels. The musical instruments used with dialogue (a cool SF trick that added lots of flavor to the tale and worked really well in the graphic novel format) were not all include
Jake Swanney
Oct 24, 2016 Jake Swanney rated it really liked it
Summary of The Moon Moth:
The new consul for Earth, Edwer Thissel, gos to the planet Sirene and has difficulty adapting to the culture there. It is class based, where diffrent classes have diffrent masks they have to wear, and diffrent instruments they used to communicate with.
Edwer then learns of an assassin that has landed on Sirene, but he is unable to find out who it is due to the masks. He manages to find the assassin, but the assassin unmasks Edwer. Edwer turns it around to his advantage
Mar 12, 2015 Monique rated it liked it
I bought Moon Moth through for a crazy cheap price. I enjoyed most titles from :01 (First Second) and the price was too good to pass up, so I feel pretty forgiving right from the start.

Moon Moth was good, but not great.

Adapted from a short story by Jack Vance, Humayoun Ibrahim does his best to translate a rather complicated story into a more visual format. I instantly loved the thick lines and solid colours of his illustrations. The clumsy panel transitions, inconsistent pacing an
Vance is one brainy guy. The language and concepts here are amazing.
Basically, it's a space future, and there's this planet where everyone wears masks, 24/7. Masks denote status and there are strict, potentially lethal consequences of getting the etiquette wrong. As if that wasn't enough, all speech on this world is accompanied by instrumental music, played by the speaker on hand instruments carried around on everyone's belts.

Add to all this a government agent trying to catch a fugitive withou
Logan Young
Jun 06, 2015 Logan Young rated it really liked it
This is the first time I have read Jack Vance (I realize this is an adaptation of his short story into a graphic novel) but I really enjoyed it. The world he created was so unique with a population that had such a distinct culture, and it was pretty miraculous how the artist was able to pull off how this society communicates exclusively through music. The art is pretty cool as well, not like mainstream comics at all. The plot itself was solid too, no complaints on that.

Perhaps my one complaint
Nov 07, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2014 Austin rated it liked it
this book was a very interesting book I can't really explain this book it is weird. but I did enjoy it you have to read it to try to understand it. I liked it tho

I gave it a 3 stars because it was hard to follow nut it was still good it is about this other life on a different planet made of people with masks on. I would recommend this book to someone who likes a weird story.
Apr 17, 2012 Karissa rated it really liked it
The only Jack Vance work I have read to date is The Last Castle, which to be honest I don't remember all that well, so it must not have made a huge impression on me. I have Songs of the Dying Earth on my shelf to read, but have not yet read it. I guess the point I am trying to make is that I think I could have written a better review for this if I was familiar with the original short story in more depth. This graphic novel feels like a sketch of what the full story probably was.

Edwer Thissell, t
Jennifer Haight
Jun 19, 2012 Jennifer Haight rated it it was amazing
The Moon Moth (adapted by Humayoun Ibrahim) by Jack Vance was originally printed in 1961 and Vance is considered to be one of the most under-appreciated important authors of the science fiction genre. Although he has been graced with numerous awards he never received the big paydays or name recognition as other perhaps less deserving authors in the genre. In the intro essay: The Genre Artist by Carlo Rotella, author Michael Chabon says: "Jack Vance is the most painful case of all the writers I l ...more
Will McLean
Jan 28, 2016 Will McLean rated it it was amazing
The Moon Moth
Will McLean

This story takes place in the future, and is about Edwer Thissell. One day Edwer receives a letter telling him he has to arrest an assassin named Haxo Angmark. Thissell makes the conclusion that Angmark must have killed and taken the place of one of the other three expatriates on the planet. But on the planet he is on, everyone must wear a mask, so how is he to know where Angmark is? I would say this book is for kids in grades 7 and up because of some violence, scary imag
Nicola Mansfield
Aug 02, 2012 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
Reason for Reading: I love science fiction short stories.

This is the adaptation of a short story by Jack Vance and since I had not read the story in question I first did so before reading this graphic novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was quite pleased to find it such a clever murder mystery set in a foreign, alien atmosphere. This novel starts with the reproduction of an article from "The New York Times" magazine written about Vance and his being a genre writer and how it affected his success
Aug 07, 2015 Mandy rated it really liked it
This was my first introduction to the writing of Jack Vance. He's definitely got a distinctive voice. I loved this graphic adaptation of his short story, The Moon Moth It's a story that benefits greatly from a little illustration (it's a little difficult to keep the masks and musical instruments separate otherwise). The text and images work together to accomplish a common goal, which is not always the case when it comes to graphic adaptations of texts.

The setting is exotic, but the plot is relat
Jun 19, 2012 Nick rated it liked it
The Moon Moth is a brilliant story that involves a mystery as well as a lot of odd cultural interactions. It had its flaws, though, and this graphic version accentuates those. While the solution to the mystery that is offered certainly did work, it only did so because the villain got sloppy. That's never good, in a mystery. Also, the resolution involved is awfully close to being a deux ex machina event. Yes, there's a setup for it, but it requires there being only one Moon Moth mask in the city, ...more
Michael O.
Aug 27, 2012 Michael O. rated it liked it
I have not read the original Jack Vance short story upon which this graphic novel is based. The comic* concerns a governmental official assigned to a very alien planet whose citizens accompany their dialogue with music from instruments selected for emotional tone and social prestige. The official must navigate this perilous society with little training, hoping that his ingenuity can rescue him from the many faux pas he commits.

Pros and Cons: The art is interesting and colorful but rarely astoun
This lovely little graphic novel, based on a classic short story by Jack Vance, tells the story of a consul sent to a remote planet to capture a dangerous criminal. There are no aliens in this story, but the culture of Sirene is intricate and unique. Everyone wears a mask, and may change masks according to their status and mood. Also, all communications involve a large variety of musical instruments, which also vary according to the relative status of the people speaking (singing, actually); usi ...more
Justin Myerson
Dec 06, 2016 Justin Myerson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
No Awards
Summary: A science fiction based on a famous short story is about a planet called, Sirene and how the people living there interact with people from Earth. The people of Sirene wear masks which comes to be a problem later in the story where they have to find someone from Sirene who may be a potential threat. This exciting book will draw in many science fiction fans to read this exciting story.
Review: I recommend this graphic novel to children/teenagers who have a love for science fiction
Apr 30, 2012 Ronnie rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book free through Goodreads First Reads.

I was a little lost at the beginning of The Moon Moth. I didn't really know what I was supposed to be getting out of the first couple of pages- with no words, just the art. However, after getting the background information, through a flashback of the main character, understanding the story and art became much easier.

I would recommend re-reading The Moon Moth to get the full affect of the story and art. I found the re-read to be so much
Aug 30, 2016 Roy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Surprisingly effective translation of a Jack Vance story into graphic format.
The story itself is classic Vance, who was uniquely creative in portraying human derived cultures that were complex and quite different from our own. Here is a society built on status and face with complex cultural rules including playing a variety of musical instruments while you talk, each depending on the kind of communication and where everyone wears masks in public whose qualities depend on your status. This works
Feb 26, 2012 Andy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels, sf, 2012
I haven't read that much of the enormous Jack Vance output, but I can say, echoing Carlo Rotella's introduction, that there's no one else like Vance. That's part of what makes this tale so compelling. The story is that of Edwer Thissell, a man sent to a land where everyone wears masks all the time, making identifying people very difficult. Add to that the fact that, in order to communicate with the locals, you have to communicate through various musical instruments, the misplaying of which could ...more
Mar 22, 2013 Branigan rated it it was ok
"The Moon Moth" is about a world that is more like an alien world. Edwer Thissell is the main character. Thissell has been asked to be the head person of a planet called Sirene. Sirene is a different world where everyone wears masks. The community members living in Sirene switch what mask they want to wear by their change in moods.They communicate with each other by singing with different instruments. By knowing what mask the person wears and what instrument they are communicating with tells the ...more
Roman Colombo
Feb 04, 2015 Roman Colombo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Well, that was certainly a fast and wonderful read. I've never read the original short story, but it seems like it was made to be adapted into a graphic novel, and the art suits it well too. everything is simply beautiful. The story itself, a murder mystery (though that part is relatively short) is great too.

And I really hope a director takes this as a project. I can Neill Blomkamp adapting this wonderfully with Sharlto Copley as the Moon Moth. It would be quite amazing to see a movie where, for
Jul 23, 2012 Angela rated it liked it
Recommended to Angela by: random library pick
Shelves: comics, sf
This is a graphic novel adaptation of a classic SF short story (which I haven't read).

I really liked the story concept, and the way the graphic artist portrayed different types of singing (important to the story). It was interesting how differences in sound were translated visually.

I found both the solution to the murder mystery, and the conclusion of the story, rushed. Not sure if that is a flaw of the original story or of the adaptation.

Overall, worth the read. And both the story and the autho
Jun 19, 2012 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
I liked the story, the complexity of the Sirenese and the mystery. I also enjoyed the artwork. The different color speech bubbles with differing outlines to show the instruments and the singing was very cleverly done. I was disappointed in the houseboats, aren't they supposed to have very detailed, intricate panels on them? They all looked pretty plain.

I haven't read the original version yet so I am unable to compare them. I have read some information on Jack Vance though and by all accounts peo
Fantasy Literature
Apr 12, 2014 Fantasy Literature rated it it was amazing
My favorite Jack Vance story is “The Moon Moth,” so when I heard that First Second had a graphic novel version of the story, I was extremely excited. However, I also was nervous, as one is when a favorite novel is made into a movie: Will the adaptation live up to my high expectations? In this case, I’m pleased to report that Ibrahim’s The Moon Moth, while obviously incapable of employing Vance’s rich language throughout, has, at the same time, an advantage to the original prose-only story becaus ...more
Bruce Nordstrom
When I ordered this book, I made a mistake. I thought this was a stand alone novel by Jack Vance which I hadn't read before. But then when it came, I found I had a graphic novel adapted from a short story by Vance. And I haven't read the story yet.

I think this is an excellent graphic adaption of Vance's story. This is a very complicated story-a si-fi/mystery set on an alien planet where the native culture is complicated beyond my power to describe. But thanks to the simplicity of the drawing, I
Rebecca Schwarz
Feb 28, 2013 Rebecca Schwarz rated it liked it
I haven't read Jack Vance yet, though I recently picked up an omnibus of his short stories at Half Price Books. This graphic novel didn't impress me too much - the art was creative but the draftsmanship just okay. That said, there is a nice introduction about Jack Vance. I knew he was a scifi great, but don't know anything else about him. And the story was intriguing enough that it made me want to go to the source material. The introduction says that one of things that makes Vance great is his s ...more
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Aka John Holbrooke Vance, Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Alan Wade.

The author was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. During the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed widely to science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first novel, The Dying Earth, was published in 1950 to grea
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