With more than 26 issues on stands and plenty more on the way, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is one of Marvel Comics' latest success stories.
The comic has especially been a hit with younger audiences, who enjoy Natcha Bustos and Brandon Montclare's take on the highly sophisticated yet socially awkward Lunella Lafayette and her pet dinosaur.
Some fans have theorized that, due to some of the character's interactions with her family, friends, and peers indicate that she could be on the Autism spectrum. Now Montclare is speaking out on the observation, revealing that the influence came from former co-writer and frequent collaborator Amy Reeder.
"It was an influence on Amy’s contributions,” Montclare said to CBR. “She has a nephew with Autism. But it’s also unsaid, because it’s a very real thing and people deal with them in real ways. Our story doesn’t have enough room to properly focus on such an important topic. So it’s just a background influence. But a lot of people have clocked Lunella’s personality and mannerisms as something you might find on the Autism Spectrum.”
In the series, Moon Girl is often butting heads with everyone around her, including fellow superheroes who think they know what's best and her parents who only want to protect her.
"[A] big part of the Moon Girl character is how hard it is for her to connect well to other people. A lot of that Amy Reeder brought to the table," Montclare said. "Lunella was always incredibly smart and can figure out a lot of things, but the one thing she couldn’t figure out was people. Devil Dinosaur really brought her out of her shell."
Lunella's relationship with Devil Dinosaur has forced her to grow in ways she hadn't yet, despite all of her super genius. And it's that relationship that has really pushed her into becoming a superhero in her own right.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #26 will be released next week, with art by Alitha Martinez. The issue continues the "Fantastic Three" storyline as part of Marvel Legacy, co-starring the Human Torch and the Thing.