Reading Lightfall seemed fated for me. First someone in my critique group mentioned it. Then the next day, it comes across my feed on Twitter.
Sometimes you just have to go with whatever the universe wants. In this case, the universe wanted me to read and enjoy Tim Probert’s Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian.
Deep in the heart of the planet Irpa stands the Salty Pig’s House of Tonics & Tinctures, home of the wise Pig Wizard and his adopted granddaughter, Bea. As keepers of the Endless Flame, they live a quiet and peaceful life, crafting medicines and potions for the people of their once-prosperous world.
All that changes one day when, while walking through the woods, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. Cad believes that if anyone can help him find his missing people, it’s the Pig Wizard.
But when the two arrive home, the Pig Wizard is nowhere to be found—all that’s left is the Jar of Endless Flame and a mysterious note. Fearing for the Pig Wizard’s safety, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light.
Will these two unexpected friends find the beloved Pig Wizard and prevent eternal darkness from blanketing their world? Or has Irpa truly seen its last sunrise?
What really caught my eye was an animated short called The Ballad of Bea and Cad. It was made in 2018 as a proof of concept and there hasn’t been any further info (I guess it’s stuck in production hell). I watched the short and immediately sent it to one of my kids to watch. I would LOVE to see this as an animated series.
Check it out:
Cool, no? I liked the short so much that I knew I’d like the book – and bought it instead of waiting for it from the library (though I do have a handy World Cat link for you at the bottom of this post).
The book’s blurb knows who it’s audience is and namedrops Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet – and they got a quote from him to put at the top of the cover. Fans of Amulet will like this book for sure. And if they’re like me, they’ll be wishing Volume II was already available.
It’s hard not to like a good magical romp with lovely art.
Bea & Cad are two distinct personalities with a bit of an Odd Couple vibe that work well together. The overall story is not very heavy (though I can see if being a bit like Harry Potter and getting more serious as the story progresses). The art makes for a beautiful, immersive world.
The book is enjoyable, engaging escapism (and sometimes it feels like there’s not enough of that in the world).
What about the craft?
You know I can’t read a comic without noticing how it’s made. Tim Probert is an ‘illustrator, animator, and visual development artist.’ He’s illustrated a couple of chapter books (including covers) and Lightfall appears to be his first graphic novel.
As a relative noob, his mastery of the craft is impressive – perhaps with a hand from his animation background.
He’s panel choices and layouts are consistently creative – he’s not limited to a specific grid, by any means. There’s a strong manga influence in how he occasionally slows down to focus on little moments. And his expressions are fantastic for driving the story.
I particularly liked these two early pages of Bea and her gramps (the Pig Wizard) talking. It can be a challenge to make two people talking seem interesting but Probert nails it with how he varies each panel:
Lastly, Probert did a bang-up job with the lettering by creating a custom font. Some comics have lettering that’s so different from the art that it’s jarring (I’m looking at you, The Okay Witch). Other comics have lettering that melds perfectly with the art – like This Was Our Pact and Lightfall.
His word balloons are nice and consistent too (that’s a major flaw in New Kid).
Overall, Probert’s craft kicks ass.
In summary: Lightfall rocks!
If you like stuff like Amulet, you’re gonna enjoy this too. Check the buttons below to buy it or find it at your local library.