Review by Frank Plowright
The five year interval separating the publication of Tales of the Full Moon from its predecessor, Love Potions, is a sure fire indication that Melusine’s English language sales are lagging well behind her popularity in Europe. This revival came with an elegantly redesigned logo more representing the idea of a teenage witch in a mystical world.
Another difference is that instead of dotting around the year or so of originally serialised strips, these are now presented more or less in chronological order. This is a definite improvement, as some strips have a natural connection, and the same theme is explored over several consecutively, such as Melusine’s ghostly boss being insecure about her immaterial status.
Other matters remain resolutely the same. As this selection is from several years into the strip’s run there are more laughs to be had from François Gilson’s scripts and some unpredictability, rather than the nod of acknowledgement that you’ve once again seen the punchline coming. Even his perennial weakness, the longer story, shows signs of improvement, although only two extend beyond the single page, so it’s hardly a representative sample. Gilson’s also introduced some new recurring themes, such as Melusine and her friends having a fondness for the games they played in childhood, and fairy tales read by Cancrelune. While there’s probably nothing but coincidence connecting them, there’s a similarity to the stories Little Lulu concocted, and once that’s imprinted so is the vast gulf in quality between the two features.
In terms of art the gulf between Melusine and Little Lulu diminishes. Clarke’s charming and expressive cartooning raises the feature well beyond the writing, and every page looks great. Beyond that there’s a lovely illustration of Melusine as Spirou to round out the book.
Tales of the Full Moon is named for the four page finale, the best of these to date, managing jokes throughout rather than 23 panels leading up to a gag. As such, and given that Clarke has been good from the start, this is the book to sample if wanting to give Melusine a try. It’s followed by In Witching School.