Monday, November 14, 2005

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.


DerikB said...

That's up at the top of my review pile of minis. Maybe I'll just link over here instead.

I didn't make the Castle Waiting connection though. I'm looking forward to the reissue as I hear good things about it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just a quick note that you may find interesting. This is a sequel of sorts to JP's "Untitled (Blue)" mini. If you've got ahold of that check it out!

- Joey

Shawn Hoke said...

It's a good one, Derik. It kind of reminded me of some parts of Nilsen's "Big Questions."

Hey Joey-JP sent a big package of minis, I'll check if that one was in there.

jp said...

Wow!! That's crazy that you said it reminded you of Big Questions!! Linda and I talked a lot about 'acting' in comics around the time she did this... something Anders Nilsen does so well [probably his strongest skill, besides maybe pacing].

You can really see that she was looking at Big Questions in the drawings of the house.

Thanks so much for looking at this stuff Shawn!

Shawn Hoke said...

"Big Questions," which is one of my favorite mini-comics(although now I guess it's no longer a mini) of all time, was the first thing that popped into my head. It just felt the same way and "moved" in a similar manner. "Untitled" just feels very natural when you read it.

JP did you get that picture of our cat reading your comics? He's a big One Percent Press fan.

jp said...

I did get the picture!! thanks!

It's nice to know that we get some love from our less verbal friends.

I will post the picture next time I update the website, for sure!!