Untitled (Lightbulbs) by Linda Medley
Most people know Linda Medley’s name from her Castle Waiting series, but this mini-comic is something completely different. Untitled is a wordless twenty page black and white comic that cleverly explores the creative process. In this mini, a young man sits and thinks until a light bulb appears over his head. Something isn’t quite right, however, as the bulb isn’t working properly. It floats white against the black background, but it doesn’t shine. He examines it cautiously and polishes it with a rag. He taps it, shakes it, unscrews it, screws it back in, but still something is keeping the bulb from illuminating the night sky. Finally, the young man accepts his failure and tosses the defective bulb into a garbage can – a can that’s already full of discarded bulbs.
It doesn’t end like that. Another light bulb appears, and when that bulb appears, it illuminates the creative process. A smile breaks out on the young man’s face as he discovers that this idea just might work. He laughs open-mouthed as moths circle the bulb in a frenzy. Here, Medley borrows an obvious metaphor and makes it work with a minimal bag of tools. She crafts an effective story without using words, except for sound effects, or color. The background is a simple black that almost threatens to envelop the white of the character, his makeshift perch, and the bulb that hovers above his head.
Untitled is one of those mini-comics that use less to make an impact. Medley plays with the concept of a light bulb as an idea and explores the creative process in just twenty silent pages. It’s more immediate and effective than a long essay on the same subject might be and Medleys shows considerable skill and restraint in constructing her story.
You can grab a copy of Untitled at One Percent Press for only two dollars. While you’re at it, check out the rest of the mini-comics available from JP Coovert. Look for reviews of other One Percent Press titles in the future.