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The Compleat Moonshadow

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,438 ratings  ·  102 reviews
by J.M. DeMatteis & Jon J. Muth Collecting both the original run of Moonshadow and its sequel, Farewell Moonshadow in a single paperback volume. Journey from the farther reaches of outer space to the starry skies of the inner spirit as the young dreamer, Moonshadow, and his cynical alien companion, ira, set forth on the unforgettable intergalactic odyssey that science-fict ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Vertigo (first published 1989)
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Tobin Elliott The term "compleat" is an archaic spelling of "complete," but it is correct. It became popular again when The Compleat Beatles came out back in 1982 a…moreThe term "compleat" is an archaic spelling of "complete," but it is correct. It became popular again when The Compleat Beatles came out back in 1982 and it used as a term for definitive editions.(less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,438 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, edelweiss
Moonshadow is billed as a fairy tale for adults. However, it's more of a Dickensian tale set in outer space. Told allegorically with planet-sized malls called GimmeGimme, each issue focuses on a different subject as Moonshadow comes of age, consumerism, death, war, sex, etc. The comic is told as Moonshadow's memoirs and is more illustrated novel than a comic. As the book labored on over it's 500+ page run, I found myself getting more and more perturbed with Moonshadow's pacivity as he continuall ...more
Feb 02, 2010 rated it liked it
This is probably one of the weirdest books I've ever read. Moonshadow was born in an intergalactic zoo, the offspring of a drug-addled, Brooklyn-born hippie who calls herself "Sunflower" and a "grinning ball of light," an alien creature who may or may not be entirely capricious (read: absent father extraordinaire). At the zoo, Moonshadow slavishly follows around some lecherous, foul-mouthed, cigar-smoking, bowler hat-wearing, Wookie-like creature named Ira, and together they have some adventures ...more
Jamie Manley
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Yeah, it's a comic book. One with more depth, humor, and relevance than 90% of mainstream literature as found on NYT lists or NPR.
David Schaafsma
Van Morrison’s Moon Dance:

Cat Steven’s Moon Shadow:

“Piping down the valleys wild
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me:

‘Pipe a song about a lamb!”
So I piped with merry chear
‘Piper, pipe that song again!’
So I piped; he wept to hear.”—Blake

The Compleat Moonshadow is a kind of fictional/fantasy (auto)biography of Moonshadow, which the author John Marc DeMatteis says is a stor
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's so rare to find a graphic novel that works on more than one level, but when you do, it's wonderful. On the one hand, there’s the gorgeous watercolor art, some of it literally breathtaking, one the other, there’s the solid story that tackles various important topics while still being exciting, engaging and occasionally humorous.

Sci-fi fans will no doubt find the story fascinating. It’s the “journey of awakening” of 15-year-old Moonshadow, the child of a hippy earth-born mother and a giant g
Apr 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Imaginative, with interesting pictures, at times very beautiful. I would easily give this 4 stars if I had not taken so long to feel attached to the story or characters. By the end, I did feel attached, to varrying degrees. During the first third of the book I felt incredibly annoyed with the pompous writing. I think this book is overrated yet I would still recommend it to fantasy lovers.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What does one write when one knows he couldn't possibly give a book justice.

Wouldn't it be fun if we all lived in a Disney Animated Movie nd could simply burst out into song instead... in fact, I do believe that is exactly what I am going to do...

Oh, I'm bein' followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin' on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if.... I won't have to work no more.
Nadine Jones
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The best comic book series I ever read, the one to which I compare all others. Even five stars isn't enough.
3.75 stars

Moonshadow is a fantastical coming-of-age tale with splashes of sci-fi drama. It wasn't perfect, but it was an interesting ride overall.

Let's talk about the main feature first: the artwork. It was lovely! The watercolors were beautiful. The color palette seemed fitting for the setting of the story. I also enjoyed the character designs. There was an old-school charm to it that I can't exactly put my finger on. Moonshadow was a cool thing to flip through simply for the art alone.

The sto
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
(4.5 stars, although...I'm wavering. It was really good.)

More than some of Vertigo's other graphic novels, this one comes closer to being an illustrated novel. Yes, there are still dialogue balloons and even traditional comic book onomatopoeiae, but they're well dominated by narration coupled with absolutely fantastic artwork.

Where to start.... Since I've brought up the art, I'll go over that first. It's not just watercolor, although that's certainly the majority, and used to all its strengths:
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Under the editorship of visionary Archie Goodwin, Marvel's Epic Comics line, with titles such as Dreadstar, Coyote, and Starstruck, showcased some of the best and most innovative comics of the 1980s.

Premiering in 1985, the fully painted twelve-issue fairy tale Moonshadow by writer JM DeMatteis and artist Jon J. Muth continued that bold tradition.

The chronicles of the young, naive Moonshadow's life continued in 1986. Orphaned and raised by strange aliens and befriended by a cantankerous, foul sme
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dude who runs the hobbie shop said this was his favourite comic ever. That's high praise for a major nerd! Plus he gave me a discount. Sweet!

Dec. 25, 2011

The ending to this book actually bumped it up from beige 3 star read to 4 stars. I expected so much more from this when I started it. The artwork is really whimsical, a perfect fit to the story. But as I read further and futher, I couldn't stand how pretentious the narrator was. Ugh! Get over yourself. Throughout the book, the narrator breaks t
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moonshadow is a 1985–1987 limited series written and created by J. M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Jon J. Muth and Kent Williams as well as George Pratt. It was later released as a trade paperback currently entitled The Compleat Moonshadow. The comic was inspired by the Cat Stevens song of the same name. It takes the form of a bildungsroman with elements of satire.

The first issue of this come out while I was on my own bildungsroman, and the echo and significance of this was not lost on me. It w
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any fan of graphic novels
Undoubtedly one of my favorite comics ever, I was unaware of its influence when I first discovered a copy in a box at an antique/junk shop. One of the first comics to feature fully painted artwork, it featured a complex adult storyline that melded poetry, crude humor, fairy tale, and science fiction into a wistful story of reminiscence, a coming of age tale set in space. It does suffer from a rambling plot that at times lacks cohesion, but Muth's gorgeous art binds it together beautifully, and M ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Definitely an overlooked, imaginative, unique, creative, funny, with some depth, sci fi, coming of age graphic novel. Ira is quite the character in and of himself- he's a sarcastic, funny, impulsive, selfish, lecherous alien and he is the pretty much unwilling companion to Moonshadow, the main character, a young boy trying to figure out where he belongs. The artwork is also quite talented. This is one of the best books I bought impulsively from the used section at a bookstore. Maybe this comic i ...more
Paul Dinger
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a great graphic series. I can't say what I loved more if it is DeMatteis' words or Jon J. Muth's incredible watercolers. This series has a great mixture of comedy and tragedy that is almost like I. B. Singer's books in comparison. DeMatteis has written many series since, but this remains my favorite because of the way it tells the story of a childhood innocence forced to confront grown up reality. Though told in very fantasy terms, this is a realistic view of love, life and death, and gr ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sharon by: Nigel
The watercolour illustrations in this book are alone are captivating, and as it turns out, the story is also very beautiful. As many commentators have noted, this is an original and haunting coming of age story. Moonshadow, the main character, and the book itself are innocent and full of wonder. Because this is a story of awakening, it is also full of confusion, heartache, sorrow, betrayal and pain. The artwork, the author's prose, and even Moonshadow himself created such an atmospheric experien ...more
Pete Bangs
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This raucous and magical coming of age story is one of my all time favourite books. First read it in the 1980's and I've reread it a dozen times since discovering new things every time. The artwork is gloriously gentle except when it isn't, the story is charmingly whimsical, except when it isn't. This book has everything, poor parenting, sex and debauchery, war and violence, love and peace, happiness and misery and in the end acceptance. DeMatteis' writing is heavily autobiographical, one has to ...more
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
Well, if you read literature then you will like this book. If you like obscure references and underlying themes, you will like this book. If you read books because its relaxing but engaging, then you won't like this book. I had to struggle to get 100 pages into it. The story and characters are really well portrayed and the story is interesting at times, but there is so much to understand. To be honest I did not like the art style either so it swayed me into reading something else. If your into f ...more
Zena V.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comix-d0ne
This is definitely something I would call an illustrated novel rather than a comic. It's sort of strange, and my favourite part is the artwork. Wasn't compelled by the story much and found myself thinking of stories that I've written in the past that could probably measure up to this one. That's not to say the work isn't good, it's definitely got its charms, but it was the illustrations that compelled me to keep turning the pages.
Tracy E.
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a comic book fan in general, but the 90s DC Vertigo comics were something special, and MoonShadow is no exception. This one along with The Sandman by Neil Gaiman were my favorites. There is something sweet to this one with its exploration of character. The watercolors are beautiful. Even now, 16 years later, I still have these on display around the home.
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I originally read this series many years ago when it came out in individual issues. I wanted to see what I thought of it years later.

The artwork has a very dreamy, water-washed effect, which I do find very beautiful. I remember the story to be much less is very unique and also has an odd dream-like quality to it.
Derek Royal
Dec 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reread for the Frisco Public Library's graphic novels book club. Incredible book, all the more impressive on multiple readings. I have my good friend and former student David Walton, for introducing me to well as other great DeMatteis books.
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
everyone should read this book. one of the most imaginative stories i've ever read with an inconceivable amount of gorgeous watercolors to accompany it. gives me chills just thinking about it.
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautifully painted, whimsical and magical, Moonshadow is a graphic novel experience quite unlike any other.
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this series as it was coming out and I loved rereading it, I was amazed the first time I saw a comic that was so beautiful the water colors done for each page were the perfect companion to the coming of age story that struck me like a moving bus. My father had been divorced 14 times and my mother divorced 2 times and I now had a great stepdad but the Dad I spent the most time with was so much like the nasty Teddy Ira in the moonshadow stories, I still smile just thinking of what a dick he ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shane Lewis
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
Sophisticated, dreamlike, magical; this book belongs on the same shelf as Yeats and Melville. Combine the writing of DeMatteis with the art of Jon J Muth and this is one of the greatest graphic creations of all time.
Pop Bop
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"...Aunt Ettie's lunatic orbs."

So, if, in the 60's, William Blake had written the life story of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust in the style of "2001: A Space Odyssey", you might get something like this. Our hero, Moonshadow, the offspring of a Summer-of-Love mother and an all-encompassing unfathomable grinning moon-shaped space creature ball of light, goes off to explore the Universe, to a Beatles soundtrack. The comparison to a little Jewish boy and a sort-of-virgin birth should not be overlooked
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I honestly thought I hated this collection/book when I started it. It was a gift, and I don't usually like 'comic books' very much, and the art style is kinda weird at first. Also I feel like the story starts slow and is meandering, and honestly, the main issue is that I knew nothing about this book and went in so unprepared that everything was confusing and that put me off.
However, by the madhouse section, I was acquainted with the world and characters enough that I got so sucked in. I read th
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Also Credited As:
DeMatteis, John Marc
Ellis, Michael
Lombego, Wally

J.M. DeMatteis was a professional musician/singer and rock music journalist before entering comics in the late 70's.

Credits include Spider-Man, Moonshadow, Brooklyn Dreams, Justice League, Abadazad, Hero Squared, the Life and Times of Savior 28.

Created I, Vampire , Creature Commandos, Moonshadow, Hero Squared (co-creator), Abadaz

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