White Box Hero: Light by Greg Irons
Everybody here at "Are You A Serious Comic Book Reader?" is the type of comics nerd to spend two hours flipping through a quarter box of comics with the hope that there will be at least something sorta cool in there. Every once in a while, the nerdity pays off and you end up with something greater than you could've ever expected...a white box hero!
Honestly, I can't remember if I pulled this out of a dollar bin or it was part of some half-off sale, but with a cover like that, made all the more alluring by a bright green ADULT sticker on the bag, how could I not purchase it?
That beginning quote, and some other excerpts which are later used to create a sort of wrap-up or epilogue, are from Tom Veitch's Luis Armed Story. Tom and his brother Rick have worked for both Marvel and DC, but have also experimented in the underground comics scene (as this is certainly a product of) and through other forms of literature as well. This quotations used in Light are all from one of Tom's experimental novels. From what I can gather from what appears in the comic, it's all about post-apocalyptic America, and it's pretty easy to see how this would appeal to Irons (who was actually a tattoo artist as well as an illustrator) and the sort of crowd who would've bought this back in the day where it was still just 75 cents.
The first half of the comic is a series of sequential illustrations which meld and build upon each other as they advance. The backgrounds go from a light blue to darker blues, then to purples, brown, and finally to black right before the center spread, where everything explodes into a mass of writhing protesters in this gnarly scene of cosmic violence. It's loosely narrative, in the sense that we get the idea that as "light" fades away and darkness takes over, things get progressively more scary and fucked until it destroys everything. Whatever you want to define the light as, it's a pretty universal idea that suits its audience well. That audience being any sort of rebellious youth or participant of the counterculture of the 70s, which of course, includes but is not limited to stoners and all the dudes freaking out on LSD at the time. I'm not trying to put this in a box and say those are the only people to which this would have any appeal, but the aim is undeniable.
Unfortunately, the colors that are showing up really don't go justice to how vivid they really are.
You get the idea. As darkness progresses we see the horse and griffin type thing emerge more, and the woman's hair turns from fire into the wings of the beasts. The skull we can see descending from the head on the bottom continues to fall. On the next page, the animals turn to a menacing, serpentine lizard, and the negative space that was once between is changed into the head of a what looks like a hybrid between a beetle and a camel. The fire and wings from the previous image are still basically the same, but in the next page they ignite in a blaze around the bug/camel thing, which now has branches or antlers protruding from it. The lizard has wrapped itself up and encircles the fire in a form of an ouroboros. The person's head from the beginning is still visible, but on the next page he begins to be overtaken by a weird rocky mass. The fire and snake turn into a sun with a sort of pissed off snake head at the top, and the weird head with antlers or branches starts to take the shape of a scarab, which we see clearly on the next page. The rock has totally enveloped the man's head and there is a sort of a face of a skull coming out of it.
The last two pages don't seem to flow as well as the other pages had up until this point, both in style and given that the background here changes from this brilliant violet to dookie brown. As if any of the rest of this made sense, this one is actually difficult to explain. The rock has formed a rough orb, which later smooths out and becomes a planet, and more than describable figures, things have mostly changed to forms defined by shapes of color. There is, however, this viking-like helmet thing, which then turns to hold a scale, while Adam and Eve float around in space inside of these circles that showed up on the last page.
Again, the colors are a little bit better in real life, and the scanner I'm using it making it really hard to get two pages together, but this is the center spread. After that, you turn the page to get THIS
It's probably my favorite page of the whole thing, mostly because that red is so intense, and really, you have no idea from this scan. Particularly after turning the page from the last image, being in the mindset that each picture is formed from the last, getting this solid wave of red and that creeper in the corner literally has this heavy impact where you feel the color. I'm not saying that from like a stoner point of view, but more like the point of view of someone who occasionally wants to cry in her Venetian painting class when looking at the treatment of color in devotional images. Though it's color conveying an entirely different message, I had a bit of the same feeling towards this polyptych of the resurrection by Titian.
Forever with the poor representations of original color, but you really can't tell how blue the sky is behind St. Sebastien and how bright and delicate the highlights are in Christ's panel. The dynamism of Titian's figures and the image of Death in Light help also to the visual intensity of both pictures. And now getting back to Light, I especially like how you can see that the printing is a little out of line, and there are accidental streaks of magenta, yellow and white around Death, which help set him apart even more, and plus, give a sense of the process of printing these underground comics.
The rest of the pages are just single images that don't relate to one another, but are all equally awesome in their own right. Explaining them all individually might take too much time, but this is undoubtedly the best: