Pictures Made Of Light – frustrating and fascinating stuff…
“A man sits alone in a movie theatre, watching a film that may be more than it seems.
A silent movie. A family melodrama. An optical allusion.
It’s not only the images on the screen – we are all pictures made of light.”
Well this is going to divide people. It divided my own opinions for a start. It’s a gorgeous little DVD booklet sized 20-pager written and illustrated by Andrew Cheverton (writer of the brilliant West series) that’s actually a short adaptation of a prose piece written for the Elephant Words website. And if you’re after an idea off what Pictures Made Of Light is all about, or more accurately a description of the individual scenes in the comic, I’d suggest heading over and reading that for Cheverton’s lyrical descriptions.
His art in this one is lovely, pages of black and white art with lovely tone work alongside the angular linework. But it’s not the art that’s causing the problem. It’s the story. Or is it a story? It’s more truthfully a fragment, a tone piece.
Read it first time and you wonder what it means, wonder if it even means anything. Read it a second, third, fourth time and you’ll still be wondering if it has any meaning, but by that stage you’ll be ascribing meaning to it, and then you may start to believe it’s not about the meaning, it’s about the meaning that you bring to it.
You are the one to eke meaning out of the imagery, you create a story around the short scene Cheverton produces here with a dual narrative – the first being the man entering the cinema unexpectedly alone, the second the tense, dysfunctional family around the table on the cinema screen.
Now, whether you actually enjoy this will depend purely on whether you enjoy this sort of deliberately open-ended, questioning non-narrative or not.
I’ve read the prose and I’ve read and re-read the comic. At times I think it’s brilliant, a tone piece, designed to be open to my interpretation. At times I think Cheverton just had a hankering to put a few pretty pictures to a short, unfinished piece he’d written.
In the end, I just don’t know, I really don’t. It’s a frustrating thing and one I’m in two minds about. But in the end, just for the fact it looks great and it practically forced me to re-read it several times, possibly the best way to describe it is an intriguing mix of frustration and fascination. I do know one important thing, with people like Cheverton and Douglas Noble creating books like this to make us think, to question, it makes the comic medium of the UK an incredibly broad and diverse thing – and that in and of itself is a good, good thing.
But if anyone fancies coming here and giving me their take on it, you’re more than welcome.
Pictures Made Of Light is available from the Angry Candy webstore.