Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Review: SKIN & EARTH, VOL. 1 by Lights

Rating: 5/5 stars

This was incredible!

Lights is one of my favorite musical artists. I’ve listened to her for many years, and her 2017 album of the same name, Skin & Earth, has been her best one yet. Somehow, though, I never managed to read the comic that goes along with the album until now.

Skin & Earth, Vol. 1 was way cooler than I expected it to be. It’s set in an apocalyptic world a few hundred years in the future where there is only a small area of inhabited land left and all the people are slowly being poisoned by the toxic waste being produced by a mining corporation that’s taking over the city. I’m already sold on the premise alone, but then add in the fact that we have a gritty but awesome female protagonist (Enaia) who wants to help save the environment, a bad boy who’s not what he seems, a mystical goddess, ritualistic tattoos, and the fact that Lights wrote, drew, colored, lettered, and made the entire comic all by herself?? Yes, please.

I devoted four hours to reading this comic, way longer than it should have taken me, but I was immersed in the world and was very invested in everything Skin & Earth. I had a really great time though so it was all totally worth it.

Each chapter in the graphic novel is named after a song on the album, and each chapter has a snippet of lyrics from that song. Or vice versa; I don’t actually know if the song lyrics were written first or if the comic was written first. But either way, they shared a few lines here and there, and I loved trying to find the hidden lyrics throughout the book. What’s more, each song perfectly aligns with the atmosphere of its matching chapter. I listened to each song on repeat while I was reading that song’s chapter, and that is absolutely how I would recommend reading this book. 

The album is amazing on its own, and the graphic novel has a story that would be amazing on its own as well. But mix them together and you have a whole new kind of experience. I’ve never seen a song match a story so well as this entire album matched this entire book on every page. Each lyric felt like it was perfectly chosen to be about this scene or that character, and I was honestly floored at how well it all went together. 

The reason it took me so long to read the book though is that I didn’t spend that whole time reading. I took breaks to investigate the map, and I watched all the music videos for the Skin & Earth album, which perfectly go along with the scenes from each corresponding chapter. Especially the “We Were Here” video—I love how well it shows exactly what Enaia and Mitsuki were doing at that point in the story.

Plus, the best part of all is the insane amount of bonus content that Lights has created to go along with her story. If you go to @skinandearthworld on Instagram, there is an interactive map that tells you about all the different sectors and areas in their world. If you click around on it and follow links to all the pages Lights has created, you will learn so much about the world of Madison City. I’m truly stunned at how much work she has put into creating Skin & Earth for us. The best part is that there is a pop star in the world named Lūn, and she even has her own Instagram and her own music that you can listen to! (I mean it’s all by Lights anyway but it’s still cool that she has this new persona now.)

Lights is truly a one-of-a-kind artist, combining art and music and more in a way that’s never been done to this extent before, and I love it so so much. Skin & Earth was only one album and one volume of the comic. I can’t wait to see where Enaia’s story takes us in volume two, especially since the story took a direction I did not expect at all, and I can’t wait to see if Lights’s next album is also a concept album that’s a continuation of this story.

Even without all the cool connections to the album and all the bonus content, I still loved the first volume in the Skin & Earth graphic novel series. The story was right up my alley and genuinely surprised me at times, and the art was pretty neat and matched the mood of the story well. I’m very much looking forward to the future of this comic series and all it has to offer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment