It’s National Comic Book Day, and to mark the occasion, there was only one person Playboy could call to help properly celebrate it: Lights. With her groundbreaking album and comic series Skin & Earth, the Ontario-based musician and artist has proven to have superpowers—not unlike Skin & Earth’s flame-haired heroine, En—transcending realms and destroying boundaries in music and comics worlds, and beyond.
Her goals for melding innovative visual art and new soundscapes, she says, have not only been realized, they’ve surpassed her expectations. Her strong female characters and the melodic expression of their thoughts, feelings and stories have clearly resonated with music and comics fans alike.
“It’s recalling the Barbarella vibe, where she was so unwittingly sexy,” she explains further from her home in Canada. “She’s a badass, sexy chick, but there’s kind of a dorkiness to the story because that’s how all my characters are.”
We’d call Lights' characters and stories relatable and real, rather than dorky, but there is a humor and a lack of pretension in her work (both on record and in comic form) that’s inviting and fun to dive into. Even when she explores serious issues and bleak apocalyptic themes, her signature cuteness and sass is palpable.
“Comics are a lifelong career for most people, and here I am, a musician sauntering into the comic world, but it hasn’t been without a lot of passion,” says Lights. “I worked my ass off on [Skin & Earth] and did every single bit of it. What I didn't expect, and what probably surprised me the most, was the acceptance that I got in the community. It's just awesome. It's awesome to see music fans getting brought into that world, too. It's been a world that I've loved for a long time, and deserves as much readership as possible.“
It’s recalling the Barbarella vibe, where she was so unwittingly sexy.
Lights is also currently working on her next music project, which will naturally have an art component. While Skin & Earth had a very specific format and structure—including a track for each part of the story, and every chapter of the comic covered in song—she hasn’t decided yet how she’ll present her latest; it’s about a year away, and right now, she’s just enjoying the creative process.
“It's going to be hard to not want to do it,” Lights says of melding comics and music together in the future. “I've shown myself that I'm capable of something that I've always wanted to do. I think I'll stay with this story and character until she runs dry, or until it's over. And then I'll do another one. And who's to say that it'll always necessarily be connected to music? I'm not sure, but at least I know I have two passions in the art world that people seem to accept.”
She has not only found acceptance, she’s found respect, and though the music business can sometimes put performers in a box, artists like Lights are proving that expression comes in many different forms, and talent can transcend not only genres but mediums. “It’s that the ‘shut up and sing thing,’” she says wistfully. “It’s less now than it used to be, but people can be like, ‘This is what you do, and that's the only thing you're allowed to do … Don't try to do anything else.’ It's been awesome to be able to do both of these things that I love, and it’s actually inspired me to want to do more. I'm now learning how to tattoo! I got a bunch of tattoo machines, and I’ve been tattooing my friends. Why not do all those things you dreamed of, right?”