Nathan Edmondson and The End of The Light

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Last year, new comics writer Nathan Edmondson launched a unique mini-series entitled Olympus. Focusing on two eternal brothers and weaving Greek mythology throughout the guise of an action story it was a refreshing tale, all aided by Christian Ward’s dazzling, kinetic visuals. Showing his diversity, Edmondson’s next tale, was a different beast indeed. The Light, also by Image comics, tells the tale of Coyle and his angry daughter Avery. Their strained relationship is the prism through which we see the arrival of a destructive virus carried through light sources.

With the world in darkness, the pair encounter rare survivors, witness numerous horrifying deaths of the many infected and try to make sense of the calamity around them, all while avoiding looking into the light. For us readers, looking into The Light, is a grand experience. Combining elements of a travelling adventure, horror, action and drama Edmondson has not given us all the answers, but has constructed an entertaining and fast paced tale. The moody, sublime art of Brett Weldele (The Surrogates) fits perfectly into the madness, heightening the tension on the page and creating an eerie and dangerous world.

With the fifth and final issue of The Light now available, Edmondson reflects on its origins, process and future.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Now that The Light is over, how do you feel? Relieved, accomplished or just eager to get your next story out there?

NATHAN EDMONDSON: All of the above. I want to talk to people about The Light, I want to hear reactions—good and bad both. I enjoy the aftermath. I do think the book is a great accomplishment. I’m overjoyed to have worked with Brett and his work, well, his work on this book speaks for itself. There is also the production side of a book, which goes unseen and untold, and I handled a great deal of that personally this time, so that’s an added sigh of relief. I do have another book already revving its engines at the starting line.  It’s quite different from both Olympus and The Light. More on that to come...

BF: The microcosm of the tale within The Light was a great focus. From the effect the virus had on local birds, to a subtle image of a glowing handprint, there are nice touches of the greater world. How much of that world did you actually have to create before writing the complete story, and was it necessary to have the big picture in mind, even though it may not have reached the page?

NE: It’s impossible to write a good story unless you are “master of its universe.” Whether your story takes place on the Jovian moon Europa in 2500, or in the deep south 1960, you as the writer must know the price of milk for your characters. So that’s a roundabout way of saying that it is certainly necessary to know the whole picture, the whole world, even if you don’t include it in the story. Also, in The Light, there are many subtle hints about the greater world where a mysterious infection is raging, even though this story is really only about a father.

BF: Have you seen The Road, or read the book at all?

NE: Yes, I’m a devoted fan of Cormac McCarthy. His style influences my prose writing in a significant way.  

BF: I know you like the classics when it comes to literature. What are you reading at the moment?

NE: Just finishing a book called Living in the Labyrinth, written by an Alzheimer’s victim, as research for a novel. Also Jack McDevitt’s Chindi, and Henry James’s The Ambassadors.  

BF: Why is it important for you, or any writer, to have a healthy appreciation for stories that have come before? 

NE: Whether it’s fine art, writing, science, tradeskills, or our social structure, we are little if not the product of our history and our traditions. And besides, literature gives the writer vocabulary, it gives you inspiration, ideas, and engages the writer in a lifetime of competition.  

So it’s not just appreciation. It’s scholarship.  

BF: There are a lot of unanswered questions in the series. Did that make it a harder concept to sell to Image?

NE: Not to sell to Image, but we’ll see what the readers think! This is the story I wanted to write; I wasn’t interested in making something like Independence Day; something more akin to, to name a book at hand, The Road.  

BF: Both Christian Ward and Brett Weldele are artists with distinctive work. How does your writing process change when you’re collaborating with talented artists?

NE: Sure; I work harder. I of course always want to work with an artist I can trust to contribute constructively to the process and to the book. Christian and Brett are no exception.  

BF: The Light is quite a unique comic, with its initially unlikable main character, and lack of explanation as to what the light virus really is. Was there any uncertainty or hesitation on your part when you were putting all the pieces together?

NE: Toward the end, when I was watching the discussion and hearing feedback I was, if not apprehensive, then at least quite curious as to whether or not I would be disappointing readers with the narrow scope of the story. But I don’t feel I attenuated the story at all; this is the story. People have been asking about a sequel, and in my mind, if I did one, it would come out as a very different story altogether—perhaps completely divorced from this one. Coyle’s story is now told. If I’m going to continue in the universe of The Light, I’d tell someone else’s story.  

BF: And how have you felt about the reaction to the series?

NE: So far it’s been almost completely positive, and the readers I’ve spoken to have responded to and engaged the story in a strong way.  

BF: So, what’s next for you?

NE: The next thing that will be released is a book with virtuoso talent Tonci Zonjic. It’s a firecracker of a book. Scratch that, a grenade. Think The Bourne Identity meets Fight Club.  We’re nearly through issue one this week and the rest is moving right along.

Check back with Broken Frontier for more info on that...

All 5 issues of The Light by Nathan Edmondson and Brett Weldele are out now, as is the TPB collecting the Olympus mini-series. The TPB of The Light will also be out from Image in December.



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