By Dustin Cabeal
Previously I have talked about Nightlights on our podcast the CBMFP (here). One of the few reasons I don’t like talking about a book on the podcast before writing the review is that I tend to put it off. Point in case here. Something about getting most of the thoughts out of my head before writing makes the return time on the thoughts longer. Which hopefully the visual you just got was clouds of my thoughts shooting out and then slowly returning because that’s a perfect visual for this story.Nightlights follows the story of a little girl named Sandy and while I could give you a synopsis of the story I’m not going to. Instead, I’m just going to tell you what I think this story is about because on the surface it looks like an all-ages book, but it’s anything but.
Nightlights deals with the complex relationship between the creator and the fan. Sandy befriends another little girl that’s a demon of sorts and feeds off her creations. A metaphor for the fan/creator relationship in that demon tells Sandy that “no one will appreciate her work or love it as much as she does.” Something I imagine a lot of artists/creators fear all the time. That is what I got from the story, and it’s all hidden within this almost intentionally vague story about a little girl finding her confidence and fighting off negativity in her life.
With it comes some of the best visuals I’ve seen all year. Creator Lorena Alvarez has a style that’s part Disney, part classic European storybooks and part Hayao Miyazaki. If that sounds fantastic to you, it should. It is fantastic, and I could soak in Alvarez’s artwork all day. Truth be told, I went back and just looked at the visuals after finishing my first read of Nightlights.
I have to point out that it’s not just the linework, the soft features and child’s storybook look of the art, but the coloring. The coloring is some of the most vibrant I’ve ever seen. It’s rich and deep with variations and detail making both worlds come to life in a way only your imagination can. Alvarez colors the way I see things in my head, and that is a rarity to have happen.
Nightlights came at a time when I was really down on the comic industry. I had gone weeks and weeks without reading anything that was any good. At least good and new. I hope that Alvarez has something else in the works because I fell in love with Nightlights. I would highly recommend it to anyone that loves the comic medium or if you’re interested in the complex relationship between the creator and the fan.
Creator: Lorena Alvarez
Publisher: Nobrow Press
Format: Hardcover; Print