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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 6
Moondog 1 _ Moondog 2 _ Moondog 3 _ Moondog 4
Moondog #1
Moondog #2 Moondog #3 Moondog #4

1970-1980 / The Print Mint - Last Gasp

Most underground comic creators were in their early to mid twenties when the revolution began in 1968, but George Metzger was pushing 30. He had already crafted a certain reputation in mid '60s fanzines and then served in the National Guard before moving to Santa Cruz and later to San Jose. He contributed some pretty cool comics to Gothic Blimp Works in 1969, the year before Moondog #1 came out from The Print Mint.

Despite occasional forays outside his specialization, Metzger was a pure science fiction/fantasy cartoonist. He was geeking out at Star Trek from the day it debuted in 1966 and even attended Trekkie parties every Wednesday when the show was on. But he wasn't a typical Trekkie, as he rubbed elbows with many underground creators, enjoyed slugging down a flask of brandy with a toke of weed, and was friends with the Grateful Dead and various local bluegrass and country musicians.

Metzger began working on Moondog in 1967 and it became his signature work, though he contributed to several other comics. Moondog is a sci-fi fantasy series that features a blind shaman (named Moondog) in a postapocalyptic world that has completely broken down and hosts only small groups of survivors and survivalists. Moondog leads his followers on a journey towards some sort of utopia and encounters various mystical adventures along the way.

There is some interesting writing and innovative comic illustration in the four issues of Moondog, but ultimately it doesn't engage quite as well as some other works in the same genre (The First Kingdom comes to mind). After closing the series with a belated fourth issue in 1980, Metzger moved to Canada and worked for several animation studios in Vancouver.

I am not a big fan of most of Metzger's work, though I did like a lot of his stuff in Gothic Blimp Works, Fog City, Little Green Dinosaur and especially Juice City #1. In fact, the further Metzger moved away from his science fiction obession, the more I liked it. And Moondog, though clearly sci/fi fantasy, offers several enjoyable "pure underground" passages throughout the four-issue series. Just not enough to convert me into a big fan, or for that matter, convince me that Metzger was an exceptional sci/fi fantasy comics creator (a genre that I actually enjoy very much, as demonstrated by my reverence for Heavy Metal).

But don't take my word for it. Moondog opens with a strong first issue, has a loyal cult following and provides plenty to chew on, so by all means every fan of sci-fi/fantasy should give it a shot.