With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from the industry’s top comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.
This Week’s Book: The Light by Nathan Edmondson and Brett Weldele
The Premise: What if the light was your enemy and the darkness was your only safe haven? When something begins causing anyone who looks into the light to spontaneously combust, an unemployed welder and his teenage daughter set off across Oregon to escape the dangers of an artificially illuminated world. What they soon find out is that the light isn’t the only threat that’s out there.
The Pitch: It goes without saying that a compelling sci-fi thriller that doesn’t require much in the way of creature effects or computer-generated elements is bound to be appealing for studios. Match that with a tense narrative that propels its characters forward at a frantic pace, and it’s easy to why a story like The Light could make a great movie.
In many ways, Edmondson’s story is a lot like Stephen King‘s The Mist, with the main characters facing danger from both the mysterious, external forces out to get them and their fellow humans dealing with this deadly scenario. Coyle, the main character, is an unlikely hero thrust into a situation he clearly has no idea how to handle — forced to play the roles of father and protector for his daughter, and someone who’s looked to for guidance by other people.
A film based on The Light could also provide a nice showpiece for an actor looking to establish his leading-man credibility, as the lack of any major “creatures” leaves the lead actors responsible for conveying the fear, tension, and various other emotions spawned by their characters’ predicament. And while there is some visual element to the “villain” of the story, The Light is the sort of horror story that relies more on its cast and director’s skills (and audience’s imagination) than what appears on the screen.
The Closing Argument: While some might compare it to the upcoming alien invasion film “The Darkest Hour,” a movie based on The Light would offer a decidedly more personal take on the “light is your enemy” tale, with more attention paid to the father-daughter relationship of its main characters than the special-effects elements. The Light is as much a psychological thriller as it is a sci-fi or supernatural horror story. Given the dramatic responsibility of the lead roles, it’s the sort of project that would showcase actors’ talents instead of hiding their shortfalls behind flashy effects.
And while that’s all well and good, the story behind The Light is the sort that will keep its audience on the edge of their seats, terrified by what the story might hold, and making a conscious effort to sleep with all of the lights off for a few nights.