PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Moon Girl

Johnny Zito and Tony Trov have mastered what the legendary Will Eisner called the art of comics as a 'literary staple'.

Comics: Moon Girl
Publisher: Comixology
Length: 6 pages per issue
Writer: Johnny Zito and Tony Trov
Price: $0.99
Publication date: 2010-02

Johnny Zito and Tony Trov's Moon Girl is most likely the closest thing available today to experiencing the kinds of comics of the pulp generation that ran from the late '20s to the early '40s. It is already a classic, just two issues in, or soon destined to be. It certainly deserves to be one.

There is an energy to this work, a freneticism, like the original pulp stories starring the Harry Steeger creation, the Spider. It is the ongoing gospel of action. And yet, a cold, cool, investigative distance to the stories also. Not at all unlike the Chet Gould stories that populated his police procedural newspaper strip, Dick Tracy. And in addition to all of the above, there is a sensation of the growing darkness that is just now beginning to instill fear. In this respect Zito and Trov tap the essential quality of the world as dangerous conspiracy mastered by Walter Gibson in his Shadow stories.

But of course, Zito and Trov do not simply present a rehash of long-gone pulp tropes. What makes their Moon Girl completely engaging is the quality of their looking back in time, not nostalgically, but filtered through the opinions of our own time.

The story is unfolded slowly, methodically and above all meticulously. Readers immediately get the sense that there is a broader tale to be discovered here. But this is a story that needs to be excavated through the hard and diligent and above all careful reading of the clues already strewn liberally in the story. So Moon Girl readers properly episodically, like the best parts of Milt Caniff's Steve Canyon or Terry and the Pirates. The first issue is a prime example of this. There is an extended fight scene, sure (in fact, readers are thrust into this scene from the explosive first splash page of Moon Girl herself crashing through a window to attack her foe, Satana). But the real drama does not reside in the balletic kineticism of the fight choreography, rather in the aggression that can only be fueled by a bad history between Moon Girl and the woman who claims to be her mentor.

The in media res assault works perfectly as an opening gambit. Readers are given a sense that this is already a complete world, that already they are at the end of, or perhaps on the cusp of, a world that already has a fully-fleshed out history. And yet, this history is something they must discover for themselves. Who is Moon Girl? Does she really hold a royal title? How could things have come this far between her and Satana? With incredible skill, Zito and Trov are able to suggest a fully-developed world in the space of just six pages.

The second episode pulls no punches. The appearance of a new villain, the Sugar Plum Fairy, occurs in the wake of the power vacuum created by Moon Girl herself, specifically by incarcerating Satana. This consequentialism seems to be central to Zito and Trov's view of the world of Moon Girl. Actions have consequence, even the best of actions executed with even the best of intentions.

With just two issues released thus far, it becomes hard to see the full scope of Zito and Trov's work. That is a question to be answered by generations to come. The writers' mastery of the episodic nature of the pulp medium will command a certain faith in readers. Do readers trust Zito and Trov enough to commit 99c to the weekly purchase of a Moon Girl strip? They certainly should.

Zito and Trov's mastery of their art recalls a recent comment made by Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Warren Buffett, on Charlie Rose:

And every year of my life, I could sit down at the start of the year and write on a pad a dozen things that were looming over the economy. When people say, 'I'm not buying stocks now because times are uncertain', I say to them, so, I say to them, 'well, on September 10th, 2001, were times certain?' You thought they were certain, but you found out the next day they weren’t. On October 18th, 1987, before the -- the day the Dow took that 22 percent -- things are always uncertain in the short term. What really is certain is the things that worked over time will continue to work over time. So the next day is always uncertain. The next hour is always uncertain. The longer term is pretty darn certain.

In the same way, Moon Girl introduces an entirely new generation to the power of what the legendary Will Eisner referred to as 'a literary staple that is made from our daily lives'.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.