Once in a Blue Moon Vol. 1

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Art by Jennifer Quick
160 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

As comic books increase their presence in bookstores, it’s interesting to see which companies already seem poised to make great strides into this new market. Take, by way of example, Oni Press’s new book Once in a Blue Moon. Appealing to teenager readers both male and female, it’s a perfect example of a book which should get noticed by a lot of this new audience reading comics. Mind you, Oni’s been publishing this sort of book for years now; it’s just the latest example of the marketplace finally catching up with them.

Aeslin’s parents used to read The Avalon Chronicles to her every night as a child, telling stories of the female Dragon Knight who saved all of Avalon from the forces of evil. Then Aeslin’s father died, and her mother put the book away, never to be read again. Now Aeslin’s a teenager, and she’s just come across a sequel to The Avalon Chronicles, titled Once in a Blue Moon. The Sorcerer Khrom’s forces have taken over Avalon and the kingdom is in ruins. Oh, and now Aeslin’s trapped inside the book to boot. Things are definitely not going well for Aeslin or Avalon.

Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir’s Once in a Blue Moon has a familiar pattern to it, with a young protagonist from our world getting pulled into a fantasy realm where they are the key to saving the land from evil. What struck me was not so much the basic idea behind the book, which I thought was full of pretty stereotypical characters, but the little details. The idea that Once in a Blue Moon splits its story behind our world and Avalon is a nice one; so often storylines in the real world get abandoned as soon as the narrative shifts universes. The role that Aeslin’s mother plays is a nice one as well; I appreciated that she’s not only got a life outside of being Aeslin’s mother, but an important one in the real world. Most importantly, it’s nice that Aeslin is proceeding in short, cautious steps in saving Avalon; it’s much more realistic and it makes you want to see what’s going to happen next.

Jennifer Quick’s art has a scratchy quality to it, with thick ink lines forming characters’s faces. It’s a rough sort of look, one that reminds me a lot of manga artists. The frustrating thing is that the characters have a nice basic look, but they’ve all got a generic sort of look to them; if you put them in the same outfits it would be hard to tell them all apart. I also would’ve been happier with some more backgrounds in the panels; speed lines or nothing at all seems to show up a little too often for my tastes in some of the smaller panels. The storytelling isn’t bad, but I do wish that the interiors looked as slick and polished as the cover. It’s by far the nicest piece of art in Once in a Blue Moon, and it’s a little disappointing that the rest just doesn’t live up to the promise of the cover.

Once in a Blue Moon Vol. 1 is a good, but not great start to this new series. I like what DeFilippis and Weir are doing to set their story apart from others of the same genre, and I think that Quick has some real promise, even if the art isn’t quite there for me. There’s enough going for me that I’ll take a look at a second volume to see where it goes from here. Hopefully we’ll see more twists in the story and some improvement in the art, because if we get both of those I think the series could be good to go. For now, though, I’ll cautiously await any future installments.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

12 comments to Once in a Blue Moon Vol. 1

  • Robert May

    well i thoght it was a good comic book that needs to have more installments to it,
    and may be be good if you guys that made the comic book poot it ni color. it be nice to see a color comis and notafy me if theres a movie or what not on it being anime.
    its a good book that all readrs should read.

  • britni

    its a really good book i like it but where is vol. 2???? it kinda just left off at the begining of a journe and BAM! nothing more…. i read it in 2005 and its now 2007, where is vol. 2?

  • Luke

    i agree with britni. my cousin gave me the book, and i read it, and im just wonderin where is volume 2????? i mean, i like anime/manga, but this is just so much better(even though it is technicaly manga), so im just gonna keep lookin.

  • Emily

    Once In A Blue Moon is AWESOME! ^.^
    I just finished it like ten minutes ago! lol
    I was just searching thru google though…. where’s the second one!
    If this manga wasn’t continued that seriously SUCKS!

  • Rain

    Why did they syop at one volume?? If they were only going to do one, why make the first!? That’s not very nice!

  • To the best of my knowledge, there are plans for additional volumes, but the departure of Jennifer Quick as artist meant that they need to find someone to take her place.

  • Miruo

    i’ve been looking for #2 for like, two years, i’ve kinda given up looking because i didn’t think she’d come out with another, but i guess if the artist ran off, i suppose i’ll look some more

  • maria

    its really sad that the 2nd one diden’t come out. =(

  • Arrow

    If this was meet to be a one shot don’t put a #1 on the spine, but having a hint about her father, they really need to at lest put out the second for us to know that they are still writing the manga.

  • mike

    im read the book today and i like but i head that they need a new artist to work on the rest

  • Danielle

    I found the book almost 4 years ago in a library and just recently purchased it. I’ve already contacted Oni Press, but I thought there would be at least a 2nd and 3rd maybe even a 4th volume out by now.

    A new artist huh? hmmmm

  • carlos

    Ok people discontinued is th word here