For years writer and artist Sophie Campbell has been building up a huge and dedicated fanbase thanks to her distinctive voice and art style, penchant for writing and drawing terrific and diverse female characters and the rich, drawn-out worlds she creates. She also came out as transgender earlier this year, and so a lot of her earlier work has become a little, well, outdated. I’m extremely proud to have not only the exclusive announcement of Oni Press’ re-release of Volume 1 of Wet Moon, but also the reveal of Annie Mok’s cover art for the new release. All volumes, as they’re re-released, will feature Campbell’s correct name and new art from Mok.
You can preorder this new version of Wet Moon at your local comic shops using Diamond Order Code JAN148145. The cutoff for preorders on this book is April 4th, 2016. It will be available in comic shops on April 27th and will be available on Amazon two weeks later. It will also be available digitally on Comixology and Kindle. Oni Press plans on re-releasing more volumes every six to nine months after that.
Wet Moon tells the story of Cleo, a new college student in the town of Wet Moon and the people in her life. Cleo is moving into her new dorm at the art school she’s attending, hanging out with her friends Trilby, Audrey and Mara, finding “Cleo Eats It” written all around the town and trying to deal with past trauma. The story is a little weird, sometimes kind of creepy and often funny. The art is unique — even early on in her career (this book was originally published ten years ago), Campbell had a way of drawing women that is rare in the world of comics. Many characters are overweight or fat, the ones in this book are goths or punks; they stand out. The re-release of this book is actually really exciting — not only are we seeing a company step up to recognize one of its artists as the person she is, but we get to see one of the early works of a terrific, influential and distinctive creator celebrated and re-printed in a brand new special edition. Oni Press Editor-in-chief James Lucas Jones shares my excitement.
The first thing I ever read by Sophie Campbell had me bawling like a baby. It was just a few pages long with no text but by the end I felt like I knew this girl. That girl was Cleo and I had no clue what Sophie Campbell had in store for her or me. WET MOON is a work unlike any in comics or any other medium. The narrative Sophie has crafted is so evocative and affecting and her characters so varied and engaging that they leap off the page and into your heart. To this day, Sophie is one of the only cartoonists who can make me both laugh and tear up multiple times over the course of a single book. For more than a decade the WET MOON books have been an essential part of the Oni Press library and with these beautiful new editions designed by Annie Mok we know a whole new generation of readers will be drawn into the triumphs and tragedies of Cleo, Mara, Trilby, and the rest of Wet Moon’s eccentric residents. We’re so incredibly proud to have introduced Sophie’s work to the world at large and feel so incredibly lucky that Sophie introduced the world of WET MOON to us.
To help get new readers familiarized with the series and make fans even more excited, I talked to Campbell about Wet Moon and what republishing it means to her.
Mey: So, for someone who’s never read Wet Moon, what do they need to know before they pick up this re-release of the Volume 1?
Sophie: Hopefully nothing! I hope the first book lays out everything a reader would need to know, although it’s been many years since I wrote it so it’s probably not as successful as I would like to be. Maybe I would say readers should keep in mind that Wet Moon moves very slowly and not to expect a big plot-driven sort of story.
Mey: For longtime fans of the series, what new things can they look forward to with this re-release?
Sophie: The new cover and my updated name are the main things, I think we’re working on including a fan art section in the back of either volume 1 or 2 but I’m not sure yet. I wish there were more new things, I would have loved to go back through the book and tweak dialogue and things like that, but that’s a never ending rabbit hole if you let yourself get sucked into something like that! Actually another big thing, for me at least, is that the original volume 1 print run had a bunch of misprints caused by the printer, so it’ll be so cool to see the book as it was supposed to be.
Mey: How does it feel for you to have these comics re-released with your correct name and new cover art?
Sophie: It’s so great, I can’t tell you! I didn’t think I’d get new editions this early, I thought I’d have to wait a couple years for the next printing to roll around to get my name fixed, so it’s awesome getting it this soon after I came out. And having the new covers is really great too, I like that they differentiate the new editions from the old ones, for me it feels like a specific, clear divide between now and then.
Mey: How exciting was it to work with Annie Mok and see her new cover art?
Sophie: Definitely awesome. I was surprised when she emailed me about it and when I saw her initial mock up image, I knew we had to do it. I met Annie years ago at SPX so it’s super cool getting to work with her after all this time.
Mey: What has the reception from long-term fans been like after you came out as trans? What about new fans who discovered your work from Jem & the Holograms?
Sophie: It’s been better than I ever could have imagined. Honestly I had no idea how things would go, and I’m a bit of a pessimist so I was expecting the worst, but it’s been the complete opposite. Everyone who I’ve heard from was so supportive. New fans have been supportive too, they’ve all seriously been perfect across the board. It’s more than I could ever ask for.
Mey: Wet Moon has a lot of queer characters, and its focus is on female characters; was it a way for you to explore those identities before you could come out?
Sophie: I’d say yes. I don’t think I realized it or understood it at the time, though, but there was definitely a strong personal connection happening that I didn’t yet understand. Looking back on it now I feel like it was there all along and Wet Moon was my way of working it out by living vicariously through the characters.
Mey: There’s a lot more to explore in the world of Wet Moon and some unanswered questions in the series. Do you think you’ll be working on releasing a new volume soon?
Sophie: I hope so! I’ve been chipping away at volume 7 over the past couple years, I have some pages drawn but it’s slow going because of the other projects I need to juggle, as well as personal issues I’ve been dealing with, of course. It’s also the longest book I’ve ever written so it’s a big undertaking!
I’m finally in a personal place, as well as financial, where I feel more than ready to work on it again. I’m excited about it, some of it is darker stuff dealing with the fallout of volume 6 but other parts are more upbeat and I’m hoping to get into lighter, nicer territory. Part of the story also takes place in my hometown of Rochester, New York, which is fun. I can’t say what it is but there should be an announcement about volume 7 soon!
This is an extremely exciting time for fans of Campbell’s older work. Not only is Wet Moon being reissued, but there’s currently a Kickstarter campaign underway to help print a full-color trade paperback collecting the first 370 pages of her webcomic Shadoweyes. According to the Kickstarter page, Shadoweyes, which Campbell started in 2010, “stars Scout Montana, a slight and fragile teenage girl with dreams of defending her city as a masked vigilante. But one night, close on the heels of her cruelest defeat in the streets, her body inexplicably changes shape, becoming tiny, blue, super-strong, super-fast, and utterly un-human. Amazed and intrigued by her powers, Scout embraces her strength and new-found ability to fight for good… but things get complicated when she becomes stuck in her new, monstrous form.” Like Wet Moon, Shadoweyes is filled with a diverse cast and features Campbell’s distinctive art style. There are still a little over two weeks for you to support this project, so if you want to see another terrific project by one of the most talented and unique artists and writers in comics today, you should head over and support it.
Mey: Will fans of Wet Moon or your work on other comics like Jem & the Holograms or Glory be interested in Shadoweyes as well?
Sophie: Even though Shadoweyes is a bit different from Wet Moon, I think fans of Wet Moon would like Shadoweyes too because the tone and the characters and my writing style are all similar. I’d like to think that fans who like the richness and ‘feel’ of the Wet Moon characters would also like the cast of Shadoweyes. I’m not sure if fans of my work-for-hire comics would be into it, though. There’s some crossover with fans who discover me through Glory, Jem, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and then seek out my creator-owned solo work, but my writing style is much more niche and might not appeal to them. Which is okay! Not everything is for everyone. But I do think that people who like my TMNT and Glory work in particular might like Shadoweyes. Regardless, though, if fans of my other work like the sort of characters I draw, then they should check out Shadoweyes, it’s full of moody punky stylish girls.
Mey: Again, how does it feel to be able to republish some of your earlier work now after you’ve come out and been able to work some more on it?
Sophie: It’s awesome! I love it. It’s really fulfilling and satisfying. I wish I could republish everything instantly with my name adjusted and everything, but I know it’ll take time.
New Releases (November 11)
Adventure Time #46 (Boom!)
Tomb Raider Vol. 3: Queen of Serpents TPB (Dark Horse)
Zodiac Starforce #3 (Dark Horse)
Catwoman #46 (DC)
Starfire #6 (DC)
X-Files Season 11 #4 (IDW)
The Wicked + The Divine #16 (Image)
A-Force Presents Vol. 2 TPB (Marvel)
All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 (Marvel)
All-New Hawkeye #1 (Marvel)
All-New Wolverine #1 (Marvel)
Darth Vader #12 (Marvel)
Infinity Gauntlet #5 (Marvel)
Spider-Gwen #2 (Marvel)
Ultimates #1 (Marvel)
Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.
If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.