Wet Moon Vol. 1: Feeble Wanderings

By Sophie Campbell
176 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Before Wet Moon, I was already a little familiar with Sophie Campbell’s work in comics. I liked the flashbacks she drew for Too Much Hopeless Savages, and her art for Spooked was really nice as well. What I hadn’t realized, though, was that Campbell can not only draw, but she can write as well.

Cleo is an art student getting ready to start up classes. She’s living with two new roommates, but one of the girls seems to be avoiding her. She’s got a difficult relationship with her sister. Her friends can be a little trying. There’s this one guy that just the sight of will send Cleo into a cold panic. And who keeps putting all of the “Cleo Eats It” flyers and graffiti all over campus?

Wet Moon is the sort of book that you’ll really want to read twice. The first time through, you’re just enjoying the interplay between Cleo and her friends and getting a feel for all of the characters. This alone is enjoyable; Cleo, Trilby, and Audrey really sound and act like college students, and their banter and mini-adventures together are amusing. Campbell’s got a good ear for dialogue, and it’s enough to pull you into the book. The second time that you read it, though, you’ll start to catch lots of things that might not have hit you the first time. There’s the almost reptile-like Fern and her interest in Cleo, or how Myrtle and Cleo’s lives are mirroring each other even as they keep narrowly missing actual contact with each other. There’s a lot going on under the surface of Wet Moon waiting to be unearthed by the reader, even while on the surface you can just enjoy reading about the lives of several friends.

Campbell’s character designs for Wet Moon are, in a word, outstanding. Campbell has a real eye for the fashions and trends that Cleo and her friends would wear. From piercings and spiked bracelets to tank tops and cute shoes, everything’s been picked out carefully for the characters to help them all look distinct and different. Wet Moon is one of the few books where fashion isn’t an afterthought but an actual, vital element of the book. The characters that wear the fashions are all drawn sharply as well, mind you. Campbell’s usage of body language comes across very naturally and realistic; Cleo’s face and entire body just lights up when something good happens, and from just the way she carries herself you can tell how happy she is. Conversely, her body seems to almost fold in on itself when the mysterious Vincent appears, or when she’s in a strange social setting. The same’s true of the other characters, who move across the page as if they are in fact real people. Campbell has a real eye on how to draw people, and reading Wet Moon is like you’re getting a glimpse into someone else’s life.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with Wet Moon Vol. 1: Feeble Wanderings but I’m delighted with the end result. It’s almost like a strange little diary of a group of friends’s lives, letting you spy on their inner thoughts and secrets. The book meanders and weaves back and forth, but the more you read it, the more purposeful you discover its path really is. The book’s pacing might throw off some casual readers, but to me Wet Moon is near-perfect. Even the book’s physical design is nice, down to the spine and back cover having an attractive layout and presentation. Campbell already has one definite reader for Wet Moon Vol. 2 in the form of myself, and I suspect once you’ve read the first volume, you’ll quickly join those ranks. Fantastic.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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