Moonhead and the Music Machine

This is a graphic novel about self-confidence, music, bullying and school life. It incorporates both realistic and surrealist elements in illustration, characterisation and narrative.

Joey Moonhead gets bullied at school (for having a moon for a head) and has few friends, although the ones he does have are as engaged with both science and music as he is. He is determined to become a musician and enter the school talent competition. After some initial setbacks Ghost Boy helps Joey build an instrument and also builds his confidence as a performer.

There are a number of double-page spreads without any panels or frames which show the sheer joy and creativity involved in making music. These images, filled with bright colours and vivid abstract shapes, represent Joey at his most content. In addition, similar page layouts show his inner thoughts and dreams. For example, after the pretty girlfriend of the biggest bully in school flirts with Joey, he has romantic (and slightly rude) daydreams about her in which they kiss, chaste yet nude, in a landscape full of burgeoning plant life.

School, in contrast, is largely depicted realistically, despite the non-human forms of some of the students, and the colour-scheme involves quite a bit of grey. The narrative is carried largely in more traditional page layouts with panels, emphasising the more everyday aspects of the narrative. 

A similar mix of realism and the fantastical can be seen in characters. Whilst some look human, others do not, and one, Ghost Boy, may exist only as a representation of Joey’s confidence.