Review: Skin & Earth #1
Skin & Earth is an innovative comic project that crosses real life, comics, and music to create a multi-dimensional fantasy realm. Musician Lights is the backbone of this project, and the inspiration behind the main character of the comic. She is releasing music from her upcoming album in coordination with the issues of the comic series, so fans of the project can follow both projects as they develop and intertwine. Based on Skin & Earth #1, the comic and the music, thus far, have many similarities. The tone of the book and the music feels the same, and many of the themes, locations, and characters of the comic are present in the music video. This is a huge undertaking for any artist, but Lights seems to be on the right track to developing something innovative and beautiful.
The story, art, and lettering are all done by Lights herself, resulting in a cohesive book that truly embodies the project. Taking on an entire comic, from concept to completion, is an intense undertaking for even the most professional comic artist. Nothing about this book feels unfinished or inexperienced— it truly is beautiful.
You can view the Music Video for “Giants” by Lights, the first single from her Skin and Earth album.
The story in Skin and Earth #1 develops naturally and flows very well. This introductory issue is packed with information and exposition, but it does not feel rushed, incomplete, or over-crowded.
The juxtaposition of wealth and poverty, health and sickness, hope and fear, is stark and realistic. Following Red on her journey from one life to another is beautifully demonstrated through her inner monologue and well-developed flashback sequences. Red’s narration and the dialogue that makes up a large portion of the book are both well-executed, and the shift between space and time is conveyed well.
With a first Issue this heavy with information and world-building, the delicate nature of the developing plot is exquisite and impressive. There is enough romance, intrigue, and exposition to make this issue stand in its own right, and enough subtle suspense and set-up for future issues that readers will be waiting for the rest of the series.
Lights does all the artwork for this series, as well as the writing, so it comes as no surprise that the two work seamlessly together. The pastel tones, modern design, and delicate line work perfectly suits the pace and tone of the story. This comic explores the divide between two worlds: the wealthy, futuristic Pink District, and the post-apocalyptic, impoverished desert of the Red District. The art is dynamic and represents all the settings in a distinct style.
The lettering is light-handed, which adds to the delicacy and detail of the art. The long, thin tails add some whimsy to each page. There is a lot of dialogue, but the balloons are arranged thoughtfully and don’t interfere with the beautifully rendered landscapes and art.
Overall, this series is an interesting modern idea. The layered concepts of comics and music come together to reveal a story steeped in depth and beauty. I did not have much knowledge of Lights’ musical career going into this, and I would read the comic apart fro its inclusion in this project; it stands well on its own. This is an excellent first Issue that introduces the characters and the world, and sets the series up for success. I look forward to the development of religious cult themes, the downfall of humanity, and the hope (or lack thereof) that binds us all together.