The Moon Moth (Graphic Novel)
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The Moon Moth (Graphic Novel)

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  199 ratings  ·  53 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...more
Paperback, 114 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by First Second (first published February 27th 1976)
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Seth Hahne
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...more
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
Raina
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...more
Anthony
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gabriel
[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...more
Becky
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fantasy Literature
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
Nicola Mansfield
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...more
Wally
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
Michael O.
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...more
Jennifer Haight
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
Nick
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
Karissa
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...more
Andy
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
Ronnie
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...more
Branigan
"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
Angela
Jul 24, 2012 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Heather
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...more
Emily
I'm not into science fiction maybe because I get lost in the unfamiliar customs and language, but "seeing" things in a graphic novel format helped me transcend those barriers. At it's heart, The Moon Moth, is not really a science fiction novel, but a murder mystery and that drew me in, as well.
Nathan Herald
book 15 of 1000

This graphic interpretation of Vance's short story "The Moon Moth" is a welcome addition to any science fiction circle. In fact, it helps to explain many of the myriad complex issues dealth with in the story. Edwer Thissell is tasked with locating and apprehending an assassin on a foreign planet. Not only does Thissell not know what this assassin looks like, he also has to contend with the baffling, and potentially deadly, societal norms of this planet. In a world where masks desi...more
Rebecca Schwarz
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
John
Graphic novel version of an archetypal Jack Vance story, with a long and perceptive introduction that can be read separately. This translation to the visual is a bit better than OK--the plot is preserved and there's a good sense of the wonderful cultural setting and the author's distinctive way with words too. The art could be better, though; it's easy enough to "read" but the masks and other details have a sketchy look---they should be rendered in ornate, baroque detail and they just aren't. St...more
Scottsdale Public Library
Originally published in 1961, Jack Vance's novella, "The Moon Moth" is an imaginative blend of murder mystery and high concept science fiction. This graphic novel does a wonderful job depicting the strange world of Sirene, a planet where the citizens wear ornate masks and adhere to strict social customs. The protagonist, Edwer Thissell, must try to fit in with these practices and figure out a seemingly unsolvable mystery. Beautifully illustrated with fast pacing, this is an excellent introductio...more
Claire
The coded speech bubbles are really clever and visually beautiful, but I'm not sure this story was really meant for graphic novel form -- the sheer amount of dialogue as exposition is astounding, and it's even more awkward when you're looking at the characters standing around in frame after frame. I'm impressed by the inventiveness of the artist, though, and I hope his next work is either original or a better choice of adaptation.
Erik Eckel
This graphic novel served as my introduction to Jack Vance. The Moon Moth, which describes a foreign culture that sings dialog and emphasizes wearing of masks by all citizens, lends itself to the illustrated form. Somehow I misled myself to believing the novel was a space opera. It’s not. Regardless, the science fiction story explores compelling, complex concepts, despite its short length.
Megan
I haven't read any Jack Vance before, so this is my first introduction to his writing. I really liked the Moon Moth story, the whole foreigner adapting to a alien culture completely different from our own is a plot I always enjoy. This was probably a hard story to adapt to a graphic novel, but it definitely made me very interested in checking out some more Jack Vance.
David Gutsche
This was my first — albeit graphic — impression of Jack Vance, and I loved the imagination that resonated from each page. The society that he thought up is just as good, if not better, than most of Ursula K. Le Guin's anthropological high points. And his prose! It's so wacky / archaic / surprisingly engaging.

Now I want to read all sorts of Jack Vance.
First Second Books
Jun 08, 2012 First Second Books marked it as first-second-publications
I initially read Jack Vance's short story 'The Moon Moth' when I was in high school; in talking to our editorial director about books we had read in childhood, it was great to find that he also remembered this story vividly.

Jack Vance is a spectacular world-builder; we're so pleased to be able to publish this book and give readers another way to come to his work.
Lora
I didn't care that much for the artwork. I would have liked to see this story done in a modern superhero comics style instead - the contrast would have been interesting. Jack Vance wrote some very baroque old school scifi. Don't know if this will introduce a new generation to Vance or not. That said, I didn't hate it. It's a great story.
Scott
A classic science fiction story (or so I'm told - I don't read a lot of sci-fi myself) given a comic book treatment here. It's interesting how the artwork is used to convey some of the elements of the story, and it has a definite retro feel to it which perfectly fits the story.
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5376
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 gr...more
More about Jack Vance...
The Dying Earth Tales of the Dying Earth: The Dying Earth/The Eyes of the Overworld/Cugel's Saga/Rhialto the Marvellous Suldrun's Garden (Lyonesse, #1) The Eyes of the Overworld The Green Pearl (Lyonesse, #2)

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