Mooncop is a comic, lovingly rendered in palette of subdued blues. Tom Gauld, a cartoonist for The Guardian and the author of Goliath, is known for his two-dimensional perspectives and textured inkwork. Here we find him illustrating the story of a lunar cop who finds his beat becoming more and more desolate. (His quarterly crime report involves zero crimes reported, zero crimes investigated, and zero crimes solved—oddly a crime solution rate of 100%). What was once a burgeoning colony is becoming emptier by the day, as all of the moon’s denizens are returning to Earth. Mooncop isn’t a science fiction story so much as it is an exploration of listlessness and loneliness. It’s a short comic, but a resonant one. Gauld’s deadpan ear for dialogue brings levity to the story’s existentialism; the flatness of his muted landscapes creates a strange dynamic that makes each panel feel endless but also claustrophobic.
When Mooncop asks for a transfer, his request is denied. “Just hang in there a bit longer,” the reply says, “this won’t last forever.” Leave it to Gauld to find the quiet bit of poetry in bad news.
TL;DR: In space, no one can hear your clinical depression.