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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
Moonchild Comix 1 _ Moonchild Comix 2 _ not available
Moonchild Comics #1
Moonchild Comics #2 Moonchild Comics #3
REVIEW SCORE: 7
REVIEW SCORE: 7 REVIEW SCORE: ?
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keyline
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Mooonchild Comics
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1968-1970 / Nicola Cuti - S.F. Comic Book Co. - Moonchild Productions

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Nicola Cuti discovered Warren horror comics in the mid 1960s while serving in the Air Force in Europe, which inspired him to submit a story script to Warren that was published in Creepy. Upon his return to his hometown New York, he continued writing scripts for Warren and self-published the first issue of Moonchild Comics in 1968.

Moonchild was a rather bizarre-looking space-traveling pixie/vixen with huge eyes and even bigger boobs. In the two issues I possess, there is one true story (in #2) accompanied by several one-page comic strips and single panel jokes. The third issue (which had a print run of about 100 issues and I don't have) is a bit different than the two I review here, as it brought half a dozen other artists into the fold, including a young Trina Robbins. The sudden influx of artists is due to Cuti's invitation in the second issue for artists to send him "sexy science fiction and fantasy" artwork.

In the two issues reviewed here, the writing is fairly clever, hinting at the considerable wit and skill Cuti would develop in the future. The illustrations also show significant promise, as Cuti demonstrates an innate sense of composition and design that would lead to a more mature style and a successful career in comics and commercial art.

There's no doubt the first two issues of Moonchild possess a certain charm due to Moonchild's unpretentious yet erotic persona, which is clearly intended to be sexy but also is kind of creepy with her child-like eyes and stubby, baby-like legs (yet she harbors these enormous breasts). Cuti himself describes Moonchild as his "intergalaxtic nymph" whose name is "symbolic of love and lunacy [and] the innocence with which she accepts both."

Moonchild Comics #1 was self-published by Cuti in 1968, which makes it one of the earliest underground comics, though at only eight pages it could be considered a precursor to the mini-comics era in the '70s and '80s. But by 1969, San Francisco Comic Book Company would publish the second issue, proving the viability of the character, at least within underground circles.

Cuti would take the title back for self-publishing the third issue in September, 1970, which expanded to 32 pages and included several other comic creators. However, with only 100 copies printed, it seems self-evident that the series would not continue as Cuti moved on to other pursuits, and that the third issue may have been printed just to satisfy the contributors to the book. By 1970, Cuti had established his career in cartooning; working for Ralph Bakshi's animation studio, writing more story scripts for the Warren magazines, and even working as Wallace Wood's studio assistant in Long Island, where he contributed to the strips Cannon and Sally Forth.

Through the 1970s, Cuti wrote hundreds of comic stories for Charlton Comics and Warren Magazines. His illustration skills also matured and he evolved into an accomplished comic and commercial artist.

Along the way, in the early '70s Cuti partnered with Joe Staton to develop an unusual superhero character named E-Man, a guileless alien superhero who developed a loyal cult fan base. E-Man personified Cuti's disdain for stereotypical superheroes and also led to the creation of Michael Mauser, a slimy, unscrupulous private investigator who was a supporting character for E-Man but soon grew so popular he was spun off into a title of his own. Cuti and Slaton collaborate on comics featuring both E-Man and Michael Mauser stories to this day.

At the age of 42, Cuti moved to California in the mid '80s to work on animated TV series for several different studios, including Disney and Universal. He created background and prop designs while continuing to write comic book scripts and produce commercial art for magazines and books. Cuti's most financially successful character was Captain Cosmos, who starred in a comic book series (co-produced by Staton), a novel (Spin a Web of Death), three radio dramas and three short TV films.

Cuti came full circle with his first character Moonchild when she returned to print in two three-part comic series in 1992 and as Moonie in 2003.