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Trick of the Light

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TXFHero cover
Writer: Stefan Petrucha
Artist: Charles Adlard
Publisher: Topps Comics
Series: Topps TXF #-1
Published: March 1995
Date(s): March 5–10 1995

SummaryEdit

Inside a house in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 2 a.m. on March 5, 1995, a young boy is reading a book in bed, with a flashlight under a sheet, when an immensely bright light suddenly grows in intensity, nearby. The boy screams.

The next day, FBI Agent Scully watches Agent Mulder pin a photograph of the boy next to several similar photographs, in Mulder's office at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.. Mulder implies that the boy is one of a series of people who have gone missing but Scully, who suspects that similarities between the people are coincidental, states that she thinks a conclusion of alien involvement would be incorrect. Due to a lack of evidence, Mulder admits that Scully is probably right but then notices, outside, a billboard featuring the boy.

On the following day, Scully and Mulder visit Intricate Designs Art Agency in Madison, Wisconsin, where they speak to a woman who has many artful clients. When the woman mistakenly wonders if the FBI's intentions involve promotion, Scully reveals the real reason why she and Mulder are there, asking to talk with one specific client who, the agents have learned, did the artwork for the billboard. The woman remarks that her client, Herbert Thurber, is weird. She immediately assumes that he is guilty of something, but Mulder clarifies that he and Scully are uncertain whether that is true and asks if the woman has a copy of the artist's portfolio.

Having returned to FBI Headquarters, Scully passes comment, at 10 p.m. that night, on the discovery that other pictures created by Thurber match the photographs on Mulder's bulletin board. Scully is convinced that Thurber is responsible for the disappearances but Mulder suggests, mentioning that the artwork has preceded each disappearance, that the artist could be psychic. Scully refutes this possibility due to a lack of evidence.

At 5 p.m. two days later, the duo arrive at Thurber's home in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and both agents remark on the eccentric design of the artist's abode. Mulder introduces himself and Scully to the artist, showing his badge to Thurber. With a stutter, the artist reluctantly talks with the agents, cryptically claiming that the faces of his subjects simply come to him when he sees pictures in his mind and that, when he closes his eyes, there is a blackness but he is not alone and it is not dark. Mulder accompanies the seemingly tense artist through the house to a seat while Scully, following close behind them, hears a peculiar scratching noise. Thurber, now seated, continues telling Mulder, allegedly from personal experience, that what a person sees can likewise see its witness and can then come for that person. As the artist tells Mulder that these things like to collect humans - possibly because the unnamed group enjoy hearing people scream upon being poked by the anonymous group - and the strange scratching continues, Scully opens a trapdoor in the floor and finds the boy.

Later, the agents stand outside Thurber's home, as a dig proceeds there. Mulder recounts to Scully that the artist testified he was protecting the boy, Jack, from the unnamed group but Mulder admits to the seeming probability that the artist was guilty, the same conclusion that Scully came to, earlier.

At 2 a.m. on the following night, the artist, in confinement at St. Paul Correctional Facility, murmurs in his sleep, pleading to be left alone and allowed to open his eyes. Scully and Mulder are led down a corridor by a guard, Mulder stating that the dig was unsuccessful and the guard skeptically recalling that the artist was crying on the previous night that aliens were coming. The group find that the artist has disappeared from his cell.

At 1 p.m. two days earlier, at a reputable comic publisher in Manhattan, New York, a package is handed to a man who has been looking for it and is amused when he is told that it was found on his own desk. While opening the package, the man describes its contents as Thurber's artwork for new Mars Attacks cards and informally notes that he has not had contact with the artist. Sitting in shadow, the man criticizes the artwork, seeing that the artist used himself as his own model and holding an image of Thurber being abducted from his own cell.

Background InformationEdit

  • This stand-alone story was originally released as a special mini-comic in March 1995, in an issue that also had an interview with writer Stefan Petrucha, entitled "Scully & Mulder's X-ellent Adventures". This was bagged with the Direct Market edition of Hero Illustrated #22 from Warrior Publications. The story was reprinted and re-released in September 1996 in an issue sold by American Entertainment and containing an additional feature titled "The Making of the X-Files Comic Book Series". Only twenty-five thousand copies of this edition were printed. As part of anthologies, the story was released in July 1995 in The X-Files Collection #1 and in 2005, as part of The X-Files Volume #3.
  • The first edition of this comic features The X-Files logo outlined in gray on a white background, with the story's title and credits. The 1996 reprint was released with two different covers; one is white with a pale blue X-Files logo and the other is silver with a white logo.

CreatorsEdit

  • Based on The X-Files created by Chris Carter
  • Writer: Stefan Petrucha
  • Artists:
    • Charles Adlard (interior art)
    • John Workman (letterer)
    • George Freeman (colorist)
    • Digital Chameleon (separations)
    • Jim Salicrup (cover art)
  • Editors:
    • Jim Salicrup
    • Dwight Jon Zimmerman

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