Mooncop by Tom Gauld. Drawn & Quarterly, 2016. 9781770462540.
The only cop on the Moon works very uneventful shifts, dealing with troublesome but basically good teens and runaway dogs, as everyone seems to be moving away. Then the doughnut kiosk is upgraded to a minicafe, complete with an employee, and the cop’s life doesn’t seem so lonely anymore.
Gauld’s deceptively simple illustrations and minimal dialogue always express a tremendous amount of melancholy and hope (his book Goliath still gets me). A story set in a lunar colony that’s seen better days is a perfect match. It’s also funny — the image of the runaway dog trotting along in what looks like a hamster ball is how I sold the book to a friend, and the therapy bot his bosses send when they think he might be depressed doesn’t come with the right power cord and is unable to cope with the rocky environment.
I don’t think this combination of bureaucratic errors, vanishing population, loneliness, and stark beauty is a genre yet, but it should be.
Gene’s $.02: I loved this book, too. Gauld’s old school inking style always makes me linger over his drawings, and I’m amazed at how funny completely deadpan humor can be. (The only other cartoonist that can make me laugh in the same way is Norway’s Jason.)