One thing you have to understand about The Life of Nill is that it is adorable and fascinating, but don’t let the adorableness of Nill and Lueb fool you; there are frightening images scattered throughout of the melted bodies of the different candles who have burned out their wicks traveling back and forth through the dark. Initially, it doesn’t seem to be upsetting until you realize that those candles are still semi-alive, trapped in the dark with no mobility and reaching out for help. That is terrifying, and I don’t care if the candle is bright blue and looks sweaty—this is the thing that nightmares are made of.
Terrifying implications aside, this world is uniquely formed. There is a whole hierarchy in place, with implied alliances and political aspects that don’t bog down the story. In fact, it’s these aspects that continue the story, as each city appears to have similar rules, yet with different goals in place. This is especially evident after a particularly traumatic event. (I was so engrossed with the characters and story that it was difficult to witness its impact.)
That’s what makes this a great comic, though; it doesn’t hold back. Everything from the story to the art is utilized to its fullest extent. The minimalist artwork is utilized well throughout the two issues. The white space may appear to be overabundant, but when you realize how empowering the darkness is, everything that isn’t the black, lightless space is treated as a treasure.
The idea of these candles attempting to keep their lives going by keeping their wicks unlit is a dynamic and fascinating premise into the existential dilemma of fulfilling your purpose and following your orders. It’s a story that you never realize you’re drawn into until you pull yourself away from the panels. We’re currently in the process of waiting for the next issue (being released in 2019, so soon I hope). This is what creator-owned comics are all about: fantastic stories with unique art that just pull you in and never want to let you go.
Creative Team: Helen Boyle (artist, writer), Jaime Boyle (writer, letterer)
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