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Monday, September 24, 2018

The Waters of Deadmoon (Magazine Serial) (Science Fiction) (Graphic Novel)

by Patrick Cothais & Philippe Adamov

Published: Heavy Metal Magazine (1990 - 1992)

Softcover, each issue 45 pages of story, plus additional material. 

My Comic Shop listingsHeavy Metal #126: 1990 May, 
Heavy Metal #128: 1990 September 
Heavy Metal #132: 1991 May 
Heavy Metal #134: 1991 September
Heavy Metal #140: 1992 September 

Volumes 6-10 are only in French- Amazon France Listing 

This story is arguably the best series ever published in Heavy Metal magazine. That publication remains the story’s only printing in English, hence the individual listings up above. But if you want one of the best dystopian science fiction comics ever put together, then you will want to collect these issues. Unfortunately, only the first five volumes were published in the magazine. There was a total of ten, so I’ve included a link above for those who want to purchase the second half in French.
The world of Deadmoon is in the throes of the Age of Ashes. There are no more countries, only city-states. Communication with the world beyond one’s fief is nearly impossible. Deadmoon was once the city of Paris and is ruled by a decadent prince, who is 107 years old but looks 20. Society is one heartbeat from being destroyed. And with it, comes some good old fashioned end-of the world debauchery.

That last sentence brings me to the one point of caution I have to give about this story. There is a proliferation of penises drawn in this story. It actually outnumbers the amount of vaginas shown. if that’s something which will bother you, do not read. Most the nudity is due to the lack of clothes available to the general populace.
The story takes place in an indeterminate time in the future after all some great, unnamed calamity, where the pollution has blotted out the sun, the oceans have evaporated into the atmosphere, and nearly all other life forms are extinct. This calamity takes place after a giant leap forward in science. Genetic engineering was commonplace and still available to the mighty, but this is the last generation before all fails. Many humans are bred to fulfill a function in society or as transport (now that horses are gone). Other sentient species, accidental creations of humanity, have sprung up to take the dominant role once humanity has died.

The Waters of Deadmoon revolves around the children of the local butcher, Pancras - who serves mostly cats and rats, along with the occasional mutant. The eldest is Volhaine, a prostitute who the Prince of Deadmoon becomes obsessed with. The other is Nicolas, supposedly a deaf-mute, who has the ocean in his eyes. He has some rare ability to visualize the evaporated ocean and then project that stimulus into the brains of any who hears him play music. As the last human powers in Deadmoon gear up to destroy each other, Nicholas’s visions are the only source of hope.
As you can see from the samples provided, the artwork is absolutely incredible. Clear crisp lines, definitive characterizations, an astonishing amount of detail, rich vivid colorizations. There is a not a missed step in this series. I would say Adamov’s work for these albums easily rivals that of Mobius for one of the greatest French comic artists. Unlike the latter, not much of his work has hopped the pond and I think we are all the lesser for it.
Now, even though we English-only readers just have the first five albums, it does have a definite ending. In fact, it wasn’t until a decade and half later did I learn that there was more to the story. Quite frankly the ending presented in these issues was a satisfying enough one. From what I can understand from the French, the fifth issue here was meant to be the last one, but the creative team came back and did five more later on.

For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 


  1. Great review of an excellent graphic novel. I agree, one of the best released in English. Other excellent Heavy Metal stories to check out: Dayak (also by Adamov & Cothias), Juan Buscamares (Felix Vega), Slaine (Bisley & Mills), Korrigans (Civiello).

  2. Filth! Filth, I say! Eat the butler in the caboose, then die in the bellies of intelligent bugs. Incinerate them all with nuclear fire! Toodles!