Writer and Artist: fantakoi
Published at: tapas.io
A review by Christoph Staffl
One thing I like about webcomics and websites like tapas.io is the connection you have to the creators and the additional content they provide. The main story sometimes feels like a byproduct, compared to the bonus content we get. In case of fantakoi, those are not just limited to drawings when he reaches a milestone or when a holiday is around the corner. We get detailed character sheets, short bits that tell us more about the everyday life of our main characters, and much more.
What intrigued me the most though was the prototype fantakoi published as an introduction to the world we are going to see. The prototype tells the whole story but compressed into a single one-shot. It gives you an idea of where the story is heading. Though, it may give away some bits of the story, it is engaging to read nevertheless. The destiny of our characters is not the main part, but their journey to that particular point and fantakoi incredibly fleshes out the protagonists.
The main characters of the story are Noah (19) and Robin (23). They are best friends since their childhood and though they had to spend some time apart, never really lost touch. Both of them are queer (one more confident about that then the other) but never were in a relationship with each other – just best friends. Robin works in a vet clinic and also studies the subject. He has an apartment from his parents which is important for the further development of their relationship.
Ghost Lights is a fantasy story, but Noah mostly provides the fantasy part. He has weird dreams and what you might call visions (?) since he was a child. I am not sure what to call them because sometimes it is difficult to distinguish dream and reality. The first incident we witness seems to be a dream, but has significant ramifications in reality as well and kicks off the story. In addition to that, Noah can sometimes see things which are not there or at least not visible to others. Since the visions become a reality (sometimes at least) I have two theories: Either he can see and feel things how they once were, so he is connected to nature in a specific way, or he can look through a barrier into another world, which overlaps with ours. It is a fascinating concept.
I especially love the artwork of Ghost Lights. It has a very watercolor-y look to it, which fits perfectly with the weird visions of Noah. It also adds to the dense atmosphere of the story. I would describe it as melancholic, depressive, with a pinch of salt (aka fun). The melancholic part I take from the flashbacks we get of their childhood, which also plays into the current events.
The depressive part I receive from the emotional stress and restlessness Noah has because he does not know what is happening to him. You just want to hug him and tell him everything is going to be ok. And finally, we have the fun part. Noah and Robin might be best friends, but there is potential for a relationship. It is fun to watch them grow closer throughout the story and the way it is told, you are not so sure if they get together, which is appreciated.
Read it! Ghost Lights is one of the most exciting webcomic I have read recently. There are rules in this world, we just cannot get a hold of and to accompany our main characters as they try to figure out what is going on is just wonderful. The additional content we get rounds up a terrific reading experience.