From the myths I could find about the Sun and Moon, all were depicted as siblings or family. There wasn’t much of an origin story of how these two sources of light would be enough to brighten the world. They were minor “gods/goddesses” in consideration with the rest. So, I wondered a few things:
- What if the Sun and Moon were star-crossed lovers?
- What would happen if, when together, they were too bright? Would they blind the people around them?
- Could a story be structured with moon phases?
I definitely wanted the Sun and Moon to be relatable. The Moon reflects the Sun’s light. To me, this naturally translated as a relationship where one person leans entirely on the other, and, in-turn doesn’t have a strong sense of self. I’ve seen this happen so much in person, and I knew this was my Moon.
When the Sun and Moon go their separate ways, it would break the Moon’s heart. At the time, I had just learned that this emotional heartbreak was also recognized as a serious heart condition. In 1991, Japanese researchers were the first to identify takotsubo cardiomyopathy or Broken Heart Syndrome. They shared their findings with the world, and soon the Minneapolis Heart Institute did studies to better understand it. When an emotional event happens, the individual may experience sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, even a cold sweat. None of the coronary arteries are blocked, which is characteristic of a heart attack. Instead, doctors look to see if the bottom part of the left ventricle balloons out each time the heart beats. Broken Heart Syndrome isn’t the same as a heart attack, but it’s equally as dangerous. It shows why emotional trauma should be taken seriously.
To read more about Broken Heart Syndrome: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-science-behind-broken-heart-syndrome-201202144256
When the Sun leaves, she starts as a new moon, broken and dark. She would end up in the hospital, in need of a new heart and to try to understand who she even is without the Sun. Slowly, her journey would be to find her own light. The phases of the moon were her stages of recovery as she finally becomes full, glowing at last. I used language that centered around light, darkness, and moon phases. I even thought that I was clever as I weaved, somehow, someway, gibbously. It wasn’t my wisest of choices, but I had fun with it.
Months later, I got the opportunity to evolve this short story into a graphic novel. I thought it’d be an easy transition, but I was very wrong. I did a lot of reshaping that would allow for better visual storytelling. I changed their names to Selena (Latin for “Moon”) and Cyrus (Persian for “Of the Sun”). I wanted to place the story in our world. I wanted the environment to be dark and filled with tension so Selena and Cyrus would shine when making a difference. I realized that the only way two people could light an entire world was by showing others how to be bright too.