Moonstruck Volume One Grace Ellis (writer), Shae Beagle (artist), Kate Leth (artist) Image Comics March 13th, 2018 It's here! It's queer! It's got magic and werewolves and non-binary inclusion! Admittedly, I may not be the best at coming up with rhymes, but the message still stands: Moonstruck is the playful, bright, and adorably queer comic
Moonstruck Volume One
Grace Ellis (writer), Shae Beagle (artist), Kate Leth (artist)
March 13th, 2018
It’s here! It’s queer! It’s got magic and werewolves and non-binary inclusion! Admittedly, I may not be the best at coming up with rhymes, but the message still stands: Moonstruck is the playful, bright, and adorably queer comic that you’ve been dying to read.
Set in the happy little town of Blitheton, where animals, humans, and mythical creatures live alongside one another, Moonstruck follows Julie—a soft-spoken barista, who also happens to be a werewolf—as she follows her dream. Julie is hell-bent on living up to her definition of normalcy, but when you’re a shape-shifting werewolf trying to appear human, “normal” proves not to be the easiest mask for Julie to keep wearing . . . especially in a group of friends that includes a mystical seer, vampires, a medusa, and an exuberant centaur!
More importantly, Julie wants nothing more than to find stability and happiness with new girlfriend Selena (who is also a werewolf), but when a magic act run by a sly fox and devious ghost sidekick rolls into town seeming like the perfect second date for the new lovebirds, Julie, Selena, and ever-present tag-along Chet find out that her wish for normalcy is not exactly what she expected. When Chet has to learn to function as a version of themself that isn’t true after losing their centaur legs, it’s up to Julie, Selena, and their friends to stop the magic-stealing magicians before it’s too late for others.
Honestly, the series is an absolute delight. Not only because of the bubbly and vibrant artwork by artist Shae Beagle, but also because of the obvious effort of writer Grace Ellis to make it an inclusionary book without bogging down the story itself; the script reads as a whimsical and upbeat slice-of-life, even with undertones that weigh heavily. The story is not entirely face-value and cutesy. While it may may appear to be another tale of a shy character just trying to fit in and fly under the radar amid turmoil, it closely mirrors what a lot of young LGBTQA+ people feel: though Julie is among those like her, she nevertheless feels the need to repress part of who she is.
On the other end of the spectrum, characters like her best friend Chet the centaur—openly non-binary, going by the pronouns they/them throughout the book—achieves the “normalcy” that Julie aims to emulate by losing their horse legs, but discovers that it feels wrong, leaving them pained by not being able to feel and look like their true self.
However, with the many LGBTQ+ themes running throughout the book alongside its bright colors and playful plot, the story is not heavy-handed with its message and subsequently makes it seem the way it should be: natural and important for everyone to understand. Whether the topics are at the forefront by having bi-racial queer couples or flamboyant representations of non-binary pride, the best part about this series its ability to make the story and its characters feel like any other comic while simultaneously breaking the mold. One of the key problems with comics featuring queer characters in the past has been having their sexuality or gender identity used as an unnecessary form of entertainment, or trope, and Moonstruck has successfully turned that idea on its head through heart-warming relatability.
It’s clear to say that Moonstruck has a story of love that should be heard by everyone. Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, and Kate Leth have done a masterful job by bringing more of what comics desperately need regarding acceptance, pride, and—ironically—normalcy, to queer existence, friendship, and love. Even through mystical creatures and a ghost that can do magic tricks.
Though this is only the first volume of Moonstruck, I can only hope that this is a story, and concept, that will continue for a long, long while.1 comment