The second graphic novel in his Light series, Lost by Rob Cham takes two friends down a rabbit hole of silent and colourful self-discovery.
Buño, September 29, 2020
Originally Published by Anino Comics, 2016
Two companions: one black, wielding a spear, the other all white, toting a backpack and a sword, venture off into a forest where they come across a large bird. Their hunt leads them deep into a twisting forest and a tangle of vines that they fall through and into the depths where they are quickly separated by the strange, kaleidoscopic forces that reside below.
Like its predecessor, Lost is a book without words, leaving much to the reader’s interpretation through a journey that lasts for almost one hundred pages. Without words to guide the reader, Cham’s imagery works extra hard to set the tone, pace, and mood from page to page, panel to panel. The simplicity of the character design is reminiscent of Bone by Jeff Smith, but the lack of narration and dialogue allows the reader’s imagination to make the story as simplistic or as complex as they desire, perhaps even reflecting their own personal journeys of self-discovery and of finding the way back to home and to friends and (found) family.
The two main characters, Backpacker and Tear, each have a different story to weave within the whole. When Tear is torn away from their friend, Backpacker enlists help to try to rescue them, but soon winds up alone for a time and has to navigate the darkness through their fear. Meanwhile, Tear finds support when they meet creatures who seem very much like themself. Both friends fight their own battles along the way, facing fearsome monsters and strangeness, before ultimately finding each other again and discovering how their journeys have changed them.
Simple panel structure shifts from full page to even, four-panel spreads as the two friends deal with their respective adventures. These pages are often sharply contrasted in black and white, as colour — or the lack thereof — also plays a significant role in the storytelling. The opening pages are vibrant shades of dusk, with colour leeching away as the friends tumble into the depths. But they do not remain in darkness. Colour is interjected at significant moments in varied ways and in varied tones. Some pages feature vibrant colours while others are softer and more muted monochromatic pallets. Warm pallets and cool pallets carry the weight of several emotional scenes.
Though it is the second in the series, you don’t necessarily need to read the first to appreciate the story told in Lost. Lost holds its own, though, undoubtedly, the award-winning Light is worth the read to add further depth to Lost.