Moana is one of the latest notches in the current Disney Renaissance. It tells the story of an enterprising protagonist’s mission to find and conquer new lands— I’m not talking about Disney’s assimilation of every existing franchise, though the description would be apt too. Moana, like everything out of the Disney and Pixar factory these days, was an instant commercial and critical success. The movie won a mandatory Oscar for Best Animated feature. Disney practically has a permanent reservation on that category it seems, but it’s often well deserved. Moana is a gorgeous and well told, with the full talent of its production team on display in every frame. It boasts a strong vocal cast, including Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Auliʻi Cravalho.
The film’s most impressive aspect may be its songs, though, which is owed to the inimitable Lin Manuel Miranda. As you will tell from the gushing words of this article, we like him. We like him a lot. How Far I’ll Go anyone? HAMILTON, ANYONE? Interestingly, The Rock believes that voice acting is the hardest form of acting. Did you know that he would consistently ask his co-stars to tell him whether or not he was giving a good performance? Not many actors would believe voice acting to be the hardest, nor would many be so humble as to ask for honest feedback. As you can see, we like The Rock here too. We like these comics, even more though. I hope you enjoy these fine fan comics.
24 Cheat Day For The Rock
Art by: ihlosih.deviantart
This is based on The Rock’s own life. I’m talking of course about Cheat Day. It’s a vacation that many stars such as The Rock and Terry Crews absolutely love. The beefiest boys packed on muscle through sheer discipline, hard work, and rigid dieting— dieting might even be the thing that’s the hardest to master for most. From what I’ve read about this “exercise” thing, the workouts themselves are painful but even enjoyable after a time. But the beefy boys wouldn't have those cheese-grater abs without shedding pounds. That means giving up all the most delicious yet malnutrition pleasures in life— pizza, donuts, and what have you. But these people aren’t really demigods in real life. They still have cravings that it’s important to satisfy every now and again. As Terry Crews says, “life is meant to be enjoyed” so he endorses eating that muffin now and again. You may be stuffing your 5th muffin of the day down your gullet as you read this, in which case you agree. The Rock also has a Cheat Day like Maui here. There are pictures of The Rock going to town on deserts and junk foods of all kinds for one day after completing a major milestone.
23 Anyway Here's Water Wall
Art by: fra-gai.deviantart
This is some truly fantastic Moana art. Ever since the movie came out, fans have been quick to point out the similarity of millieu between Moana and The Little Mermaid. The reason being… water. Yeah water. That’s pretty much it. Both movies… yeah both movies take place near water. But think about it. You never really get a solid bead on where The Little Mermaid takes place, at least I don’t think you do. It could easily take place in the Pacific. Maybe not. Anyway, fans have flocked to deviant art to draw Moana and Ariel meeting. Since the ocean loves Moana and Ariel is a staple of aquatic life, it really was a simple sell. Out of all the many images depicting meetings between Ariel and Moana, this image is one of the best. In the beginning of the film, Moana ventures out to the beach and the water reacts to her. It clearly has a life of its own. She tries to wade into the shallows but a wall of water forms up around her and protects her. She’s the chosen one. There are some very cool creative image possibilities inherent. Ariel could be living in that wall of water, as we see here.
22 The Heart Of Maui
Art by: magicfishhook.deviantart
This is a simple comic, but dang is it ever well-drawn. Moana seems to have Maui wrapped around her little magic hook. All she has to do is say, “Maui, pleeeeease” and he succumbs like a dad who knows their little girl is going to get her own way. That’s a far cry from their relationship early on in the film. At the beginning, Moana sets out to find the demigod Maui because he stole the heart of Te Fiti on her island. When Moana meets Maui, the trickster demigod is just the prankster he’s reputed to be. She has to trick him into helping her. He also only does so when he thinks there will be something in it for him.
Moana eventually steals Maui’s heart just like he stole the heart of Te Fiti.
To make matters worse, he also tries to her chicken friend Alan Tudyk. That’s not really the name of the chicken, that’s the name of the extremely talented voice actor (did you know that Alan Tudyk has voiced a role in practically every one of the last Disney movies? It’s true!) It’s a happy ending all around!
21 Moana From Dad's Point Of View
Art by: Ugly Sweater
Not all parents are created equal. In this case, some dads might quite content to see their daughter go off on an adventure of her own. It means more quality time with being alone. That’s a dream most parents won’t ever realize until their kid goes off to college— and then they’ll be broke paying off their kid’s college tuition. In Moana, the central conflict arises when Moana wants to sail away from her island to fulfill her destiny. Her island is non sustaining itself anymore. She’s also got a severe case of wanting to go traveling. Most American young adult girls get a trip to Mexico or Europe to go backpacking by then. Moana sings about how she craves the open sea and how it calls her. Literally. The sea is an anthropomorphic character that has chosen Moana. It wants her to sail across it. Whenever Moana falls into the water, the sea spits her back out. It’s a phenomenon that Maui can’t figure out. Moana’s dad understandably loses his mind when she wants to go. That’s him though. This laissez-faire dad is all about getting his kids out onto the open sea as fast as possible.
20 Modern Moana
Art by: Skydrathik
Here’s some art that shows what Moana and Maui might look like if they lived in modern times. Also I suspect that Maui is not a demigod in these photos. I absolutely love the art style that the artist chose. The fashion choices for Maui and Moana are both superb too. They both look like hip and happening cats, ya feel me? I wonder if the artist used Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as an inspiration for Maui’s warddrobe choices, but I’m wondering where the fanny pack and black turtle neck is. In the second panel, they look like they’re at a concert or something judging by the beams of light in the background. I don’t know what kind of weird concert they’d be attending but since this movie is heavily inspired by New Zealand culture and folklore I’m going to go with Flight of the Conchords. Oh my goodness, the entire casting of Jermaine Clement suddenly just made sense to me. I am not a smart man. Thor Ragnarok director and longtime Conchords collaborator Taika Waititi was attached to write Moana for a time until he bailed to work on his vampire movie instead.
19 The Scariest Sea Creature
Art by: Berds And Nerds
Few things are as terrifying as monsters on the open sea— I’m talking about cruise ship tourists of course. During Moana, Maui and Moana do battle with these strange little coconut creatures who are also pirates? Much worse, though, are tourists. Imagine is Maui and Moana had crossed a massive cruise ship with a bunch of buffet-stuffed foreigners who won’t stop taking pictures and telling Moana how “authentic” she is. Shudder. It’s a fate worse than coconut creatures. Moana is obviously set in the distant past, but part of the film’s charm is that we’re never really sure when it takes place. Sure, it’s broadly Polynesian so we know it’s somewhere in the Pacific. But we knew that much about the Lost Island. And look how that turned out for everyone on board. Actually, Moana and Lost could easily be taking place at the same time. Who is to say that it isn’t the same island? Maybe Moana is the story from the Others’ perspective? History is written by the victor, as they say. Far more believable, though, is Moana’s past-setting. They venture out into the open world at the end of the film, but we’re never treated to what they find. That’s as it should be.
18 A Smug Demi-God
Art by: Mieldemapleparahotcakes
Bang on. If it’s not obvious yet, I am a big… big fan of Moana’s soundtrack. The song “How Far I’ll Go” is by far my favorite on the album, owing to the fact that I have a soul and a working heart just like everybody else who can’t stop but hum that melody. I’ve been staring at the edge of the water/Long as I can remember, never really knowing why/I wish I could be the perfect daughter/But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try. Ahem. Sorry about that.
No one knooOOOoooows. Ahem. I’m done for real this time. One line in the song goes, “See the line where the sky meets the sea?” That’s a really long way of saying the word “horizon.” Now plainly saying “horizon” would, y’know, ruin the entire meter and the delicate poetical quality of the other words— though it is accurate. Maui, being such a devilish so-and-so, points that out smugly. He then adds, “you’re welcome.” That recalls his own musical number in which he enumerates all the wonderful things he’s ever done for Moana and her people and keeps saying “you’re welcome.”
17 A Cluckin Genius
Art by: frandemartino.deviantart
In Moana, the chicken plays the part of the bumbling sidekick sorta. He doesn’t exactly talk. He walks around dumbly and tries not to get eaten. There’s a recurring joke where Maui says the chicken will make a good snack. Moana also has a pet pig. There’s a clever moment in the film where they reconcile the tension between having a Disneyfied pet with eating meat— Moana takes a bite of pork and mentions how good it is. The film then cuts to her pet pig, who shivers in fear and sadness. Moana apologizes. It’s not just a one-off goof. It’s a brutally honest jab at the cognitive dissonance that permeates our favorite childhood films. As for the chicken, the recurring joke that he’s an idiot is made funnier by this comic. You can see that he’s not as empty-headed as we might have believed. He’s busy discovering Einstein’s famous formula E-MC squared. In fact, the chicken came first (har har). Einstein wasn’t even born yet in the time Moana is set in. Maybe the movie would’ve been even funnier if we saw the chicken doing these insanely smart things every now and then. He does help out Moana at one point, of course, showing some degree of smarts.
16 The Real Beauty
Art by: ihlosih.deviantart
Everyone remembers that classic scene from The Little Mermaid. You know the one, Ariel is on top of the rock singing about how she would love to live with people. The waves break against the rock and spray her, providing the perfect cinematic backdrop. Only— it’s not that accurate in terms of physics. Many people have pointed out that the waves would likely send poor Ariel face-first into the water due to their sheer strength. Regardless of physics or not, I think we can agree that it’s one of the film’s most memorable scenes. Now, what would happen if we substituted Ariel for another one of the characters in Disney’s other-sea based films? Say, Maui from Moana for instance? Chances are the scene in question wouldn’t be quite so near and dear to our hearts. Being the brash demigod he is, Maui would likely shove Ariel straight off her perch to claim it for himself. This is the guy who stole the heart of Te Fits after all. He’s not going to care what some little mermaid thinks about him. Poor Ariel is left floundering like her pal Flounder after her unfortunate encounter with the demigod.
15 Alarm Bells And Sebastien
This is simply fantastic. As we have seen, artists are quick to compare the films Moana and The Little Mermaid because they’re both sea-based Disney films. It’s even possible that they could take place in the same universe. Both movies also feature crabs… except the crabs in each film are sliiiightly different in terms of temperament. Exhibit A: Sebastian is Ariel’s lifelong companion and tries to protect her at every turn. Exhibit B: Tamatoa the glam crab tries to eat Moana and Maui. They’re not exactly the same. Another way both films are similar? They each feature awesome memorable songs. In The Little Mermaid, Sebastian sings about how Ariel should kiss Prince Eric during the memorable sequence where they’re in boats and not really kissing. But what would happen if the crabs were switched? Here we see the same scene but with Tamatoa. He’s notably less… subtle in his approach. The giant crab would likely grab Ariel and Prince Eric and force them together like dolls and try to make them kiss. Poor Sebastien would be traumatized in the Moana world. Did you know that Lin-Manual Miranda was reportedly inspired by The Little Mermaid as a kid, which influenced his entire career? He even named his son Sebastian after Ariel’s companion.
14 How Far I'll Say No To This
Here is a Lin-Manuel Miranda comic that bears more relevance than all my other Lin-Manuel Miranda ramblings before. As you may or may not know, Lin Manuel Miranda is the iconic composer and writer and star of Hamilton, which you may have heard of. He also wrote all the songs in Moana. This comic should make sense for anyone who has seen both, the film and the Broadway show. Since you can’t get Hamilton tickets until the year 2338, I’ll explain this. No, I haven’t seen the Broadway show either but I’ve listened to the soundtrack and I’ve done my research. At one point during Hamilton (and at one point during the real Alexander Hamilton’s life), he began a relationship with another woman. The entire song Say No to This is about Hamilton’s conflicting feelings. You see some of the lyrics here. Only this time, it’s Moana… sorta. Lin-Manuel Miranda —or Hamilton— is cruising along the Polynesian coast. The temptress has somehow transported him to a land of vibrant Disney colors. We can see why he would be tempted to leave dreary early colonial life for the beach.
13 Friends For Life
Art by: youkaiyume.tumblr
A stunning piece of work. Do yourself a favor and google Moana comics or Moana fanart and it’s pretty much guaranteed this comic will pop up. It was made by the artist Youkaiyume. If you like her stuff, I highly encourage you to click through to her Tumblr account. It’s a mark of a strong comic — never mind a fan comic — that it can elicit such strong emotion. In ten panels, Youkaiyume manages to do it. There’s not even that much dialogue either because there’s not a big need for it. Moana is seen yelling at Maui about something— it doesn’t matter what; any numbers of reasons will do. They’re often at each other’s throats over any one of their many differences. Maui turns into a giant bird and flies off rather than face Moana. Moana waves her fist at Maui angrily (there aren’t many who wave fists happily). The rest of the comic shows the aftermath and the time where they both cool down. They realize how important they are to each other. They’re reunited in the final panel and they embrace.
12 A True Artist
What a lovely image. Despite the man’s many shortcomings, Maui has a big soft spot. He stole the heart of Te Fiti but he didn’t need to do that— he’s got a big one of his own. Yeah, he might look like a big dumb brute at first but he’s got a sensitive soul. Why would he have all those tattoos otherwise? That’s right— Maui is an artist. What else can a demigod be called? In Maui’s song “You’re Welcome” he takes credit for creating the natural world for Moana and her people— that is to say, the earth, the waters, and the stuff that goes in them.
What is a demigod if not an artist?
You think he simply waved a finger and made it all happen? Not so. It took God seven days to make the earth and he has full seniority. There’s nothing demi about him. So it’s extra impressive that Maui was able to perform such similar feats, though he never mentions how long it takes him. Being a trickster god, he may very well be lying about his feats or exaggerating them, but given his other extraordinary powers, it’s not out of this world
11 You Got A Friend In Maui
Art by: daniela-miha-arts.tumblr
Here’s a piece of well-drawn art that should make you feel something, robot. There’s nothing funny about it. There’s no gag here. Only a couple of besties who cherish and love each other. Sometimes that’s all you need. I mean, that’s what I need. I’m still waiting on a bestie or anyone really. Ahem. Back to Moana. Maui must have been gone on a trip for some time, seeing as how Moana missed him so much. The nature of their relationship isn’t quite clear from this comic. In the film, they are strictly friends. Although Maui is an ageless demigod, Moana is a sixteen-year-old girl and that would be weird. Maybe they will become something more when she gets older, but I really think they have more a best friend or even father/daughter vibe going. It would be weird if they got into a relationship. Still, Moana is not shy to embrace Maui in a big hug. He’s clueless and notes, “Moana?” He has no idea what has come over her. Since absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that— or so I heard— then Moana may have realized what Maui means to her in the time he’s been gone.
10 Without A Paddle
Art by: metallovecake.deviantart
Here we have a grown-up version of Moana. Maui is already a grown-up, or at least he’s a demigod. Not being a mortal, he doesn’t really have an age. Many fans have speculated whether there’s a romantic connection between Moana and Maui but I think it’s safe to say they’re just friends. However, this comic seems to portray them in a romantic light. They look like they’re dancing with a paddle. I’m not really sure how the paddle figures into it but maybe it’s a dance move that’s part of the Moana’s tribe. I can’t understand these things. Throughout the course of the movie, Maui is pretty mean to Moana. It takes a long time for him to warm up to her. By the time the credits roll though, they’re bosom pals for life. That’s why it would be quite strange if they were to date later on. They’ve got a best friends/father and daughter-type vibe going on. I know some people still see them as a couple but I think Disney would make it official that they aren’t. Also don’t you love how Maui’s hair flies in his face in the last panel? He doesn’t have the grace of his girl Moana.
9 Maui's Backstory
Art by: hooked-wayfinder.tumblr
One of the most creative parts of Moana has to be Maui’s tattoos. They’re a super neat visual device to add color and backstory to the movie. Instead of an overt joke, at least we can say that it’s subtle. Whenever we need a bit of exposition in the movie to explain past events, Maui’s tattoos tell the story in a fun and inventive way. This is the sugar that makes the medicine go down.
Did you know that the director regrets not including that joke in the movie? Did you catch it? Maui literally has a backstory!
Far too often in movies, exposition is handled in a spooned obvious sorta way. Great movies feed you information without you even knowing you’re being treated to exposition— whether through cool visuals or some other sleight of hand. Famously, the scene in the first Indiana Jones movie with the bomb under the table is a good example of how adding tension to a scene helps the exposition go down. Indy and pals were sitting around talking, which might have been boring if not for the added stress of a bomb. Similarly, Maui’s tattoos are bursting with personality and distract from the information they provide.
8 A New Kind Of Princess
Art by: kapalsky.deviantart
One of the best parts about Moana is that her role as the new village chief is taken for granted. She’s seen as the obvious successor to her father and she’s naturally suited to the job. We’re even treated to some scenes of urban planning where she decides to plant new crops— thus proving that she’s a good leader! That makes her likable! Screenwriting! Seriously though, any other film— even recent Disney films— would have drawn undue attention to the fact she’s a woman in charge. Instead of spotlighting their stance, Disney simply let it breathe. But Maui obviously didn’t get the message. He tells her that she’s got a cute animal sidekick and so he thinks she’s just a regular ‘ol Disney damsel. That comes with a whole set of expectations. He thinks she’s supposed to be subservient and waiting on a prince to come kiss her and save her life. Not so in this movie. Another reason why Moana is great is due to the lack of a romance plot. So many movies shoehorn in needless romance stories. Maui and Moana are good friends despite what some fans think and/or want.
7 She Restores Our Hearts
Art by: white-magician.tumblr
While this isn’t necessarily sweet or funny or whatever, it is pretty awesome. Wouldn’t you love to see an entire comic of Moana drawn in this style? Patrick Belmore knows he does. That’s me. This comic perfectly captures Moana’s confidence and determination. In the movie, she goes on a quest to find the demigod Maui who stole the heart of Te Fiti. She plans to order him onto her boat so he can come and save their ailing island. We’re treated to Moana rehearsing her speech to Maui from the beginning. She psyches herself up, even though the idea of facing down a demigod and making demands of him is a bit scary. We can totally relate though. We may not have a faced down demigods, but we have all done things that feel the same way. The movie’s writers rely on that empathy for us to relate to Moana and thus care about her quest. When it comes time to face down Maui, Moana isn’t as scared as she thought she would be. She’s brave and delivers her words with real confidence behind them. It isn’t her fault that Maui disregards her anyway and traps her in a cave.
6 New Addition To Pocket Princesses
Art by: Amy Mebberson
Amy Mebberson is the author and illustrator behind Pocket Princesses. Any self-respecting fan of GameXpert and Disney comics should know her name. Pocket Princesses re-imagines the Disney princesses (and some men too!) as roomies all living under the same roof. The results are often funny and always endearing. The “pocket” part of the title refers to how they’re drawn as chibi characters.
They’re cartoonishly miniature, only adding to the cuteness by a factor of several Olafs.
They could also be called “pocket princesses” because they’re all sharing one roof and they sorta fit into your pocket. The name recalls having a dollhouse where you play with all your toys. It doesn’t matter that they come from separate universes during playtime. Here we see the princesses mixing with some of Disney’s boys, including recent movies like Moana. Maui has come along way from stealing the heart of Te Fiti. Now he’s rubbing shoulders with the likes of Beast and Rapunzel. From the looks of it, it’s going to take some time before he warms up to them like he did to Moana. Poor Prince Eric has become a merman, somehow to appease his wife. Maybe they switch between being bipedal on odd days.
5 Te Fiti Hearts
Art by: Gabitzart
No, but really, that’s exactly what’s going on. Sora travels to all these different Disney worlds. In the original PlayStation 2 game, he traveled to the worlds of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Alice in Wonderland to name a few. With the gap between Kingdom Hearts II and the fabled Kingdom Hearts III, Disney has only added more worlds to his roster through their conquering of the Hollywood landscape. Tangled is a confirmed world in the next KH game. It’s not impossible to imagine that Moana would be a world too! Wheeee.
Kingdom Hearts is about an aging millennial who tries to fill his heart through desperate trips to the worlds of his childhood.
That would almost be too fantastic. Imagine it: Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive at Te Fiti. Dwayne The Rock Johnson lends his voice to the game. It’s not impossible to fathom. There would be even be some amazing boat segments too. The heartless monsters could be those little coconut guys. The big boss would be that evil Volcano. Man, I’m really selling MYSELF on this. I hope someone at Square Enix is listening up. Hire me, Mr. Square Enix. You know I can do this.
4 Sora And Moana Sitting In A Tree
Art by: Gabitzart
Here’s the second part from the same series as the above comic. Not only do Square Enix have all these new Disney films to choose from, this entry is going to be a list of all the other franchises/studios they now control Thanos-style. Speaking of Thanos, they control Marvel. We could feasibly See Sora in an Iron Man costume fighting alongside The Avengers. What else you ask? Disney never did much with their Pixar purchase in terms of the Kingdom Hearts-verse. That is, until Toy Story and Monsters Inc. footage emerged in trailers recently. There could also be a Frozen level. Sora could get dressed up in winter clothes courtesy of Oaken’s Big Summer Blowout. He could fight snowmen heartless and— SPOILERS— he’d fight Prince Hans of the Southern Isles for a boss. What else you ask? There’s also STAR WARS OF COURSE! Fans have freaked out over the idea of a lightsaber keyblade. I’ll say that again. Lightsaber. Keyblade. Hmmm, I wonder who Sora would fight in a Star Wars universe. Alright, it probably would be Kylo Red because those are the new Disney films. Still, Disney controls the franchise so seeing Darth Vader would not be unfathomable.
3 Flight Of The Crab Chords
Art by: johannesviii.deviantart
One of the best characters in Moana has to be the glam crab, Tamatoa. He’s the giant bejeweled crab that almost eats Moana and Maui when they go looking for Maui’s magical old fish hook. When they dive into the secret portal down the mountain that brings them to Tamatoa’s lair, Moana and Maui discover a wealth of jewels.
The crab loves collecting bright and shiny things. He ought to be featured on Hoarders.
Anyway, we discover that Maui and Tomato have a rocky relationship, to put it mildly. Tamatoa then does what every self-respecting character in the Moana ‘verse does— he breaks out into song. Fortunately, that song is sung by Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Concords fame and written (I believe) by the film’s rockstar composer/coolest guy in the world Lin Manuel Miranda. Clement— I mean Tamatoa sings about how he used to be a drab crab until he got a taste. This comic imagines what it must’ve been like when he was “drab” and what the beef between him and Maui might have been like. Leave it to the deviant artists to always drum up a creative interpretation of Disney’s canon.
2 Moana Meets Hamilton
Art by: cprartsalot.tumblr
It’s impossible to talk about Moana without bringing up Lin-Manuel Miranda. I’ve only mentioned him about a gajillion times in this article alone. It seems that artists can’t make comics without referencing him either. There are so many fun Moana/Hamilton parallels to be made. It must be said, though, that only the most twisted minds would make them. That’s why I’m so into them! The two pieces are extremely different. First of all, they’re two entirely media— one is a Broadway show and the other is a dang Disney film! The Broadway show is incredibly acclaimed and it won a Pulitzer. It also deals with some scary big person themes we can’t talk about because they’re too upsetting. Moana is way more our speed. But what would happen if Moana were too suddenly transition, Freaky Friday style, into one of Lin’s other projects? She would be transported on stage in full dress as one of the Hamilton women. She might also become Kvothe from the Name of the Wind TV series that Lin Manuel Miranda is hard at work on. For those who don’t know the Patrick Rothfuss legendary bestseller, you must get on that now.
1 Past Your Bedtime
Art by: Daniela Miha
As everyone knows, kids find it gross when they see their parents holding hands or kissing each other on the cheek! This comic tells the follow-up story to Moana— what happens between Maui and Moana after the closing credits. It seems that they’ve started a family. Like any island family and unlike any American one, their kids never want to leave their side. The island paradise boasts a strongly knit community. We can see by the way Moana cares so much about her grandmother early on in the film. That’s not to say that American kids don’t care about their grandparents, but they usually have other best friends. Moana’s got to hang out with her grandma and that’s pretty much it. It makes talking about boys a bit awkward. Moana and Maui’s kids want to stick around and hang out with their parents past bedtime. Since they’re going to kiss each other on the cheeks, that’s too yuckity yuck for any kid to watch. Much better to suck it up and get a healthy night’s sleep begrudgingly. Curse these parents who love them and want them to be well-rested.
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