Neil Gibson talks Twisted Dark and other projects

Neil Gibson is the writer/creator of Twisted Dark, an incredible graphic novel of short, beautifully crafted stories. Way back in May last year, whilst attending my first Expo, I bought a copy to keep me occupied on my journey back to Portsmouth. One story in and I was hooked. Three volumes on and Gibson has become one of my favourite writers. So this year, whilst ready to pick up his newest collection Tabatha, I thought I’d pester him with a question or two.

Nick: Let’s go all origin on this. What was the inspiration behind Twisted Dark?

Neil: Oof, long question. Basically I was brand new to comics (I was working as a management consultant at the time) and so I wanted to start slowly as I learnt the craft of comic writing. To make it easy on myself I thought about having a series of short stories which would help me learn to make stories that were quite tight. I also decided on connecting them purely because I love seeing connection in TV shows like Heroes and Lost. Finally I thought that by using many different artists I would be able to find ones I really liked working with which I could then collaborate with on my ongoing series.

Nick: How much of a painstaking process was it to get your ideas down and in print?

Neil: Not that difficult really. I didn’t know what I was doing at the start but I decided I wanted to make a comic, so I did. The hardest part was (and remains) finding artists who are affordable, good, reliable and who listen. I think artists are amazing people. They can create things I couldn’t dream of making, but finding ones that are a joy to work with is difficult – the most common problem is that they do not deliver on time. I feel very grateful for the team we have. I think we have some excellent artists working on Twisted Dark.

Nick: Which story or stories have really made you go ‘wow’ when you saw them brought to life by the artists?

Neil: I really do like the work from all the artists, otherwise we wouldn’t work together. But if I had to pick favourites it would have to be Caspar, Leonardo, Mark O and Atula. They all have very different styles and they are all brilliant. But having said that I now feel guilty for leaving out the other great artists that I like working with. Arrghh! I like them all!

Nick: I love Twisted Dark, but for those who for some crazy reason haven’t had a chance to read them, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Neil: You have great taste! If I had to describe it in one sentence it would be Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected meets Lost. It is a series of short stories that are psychological thrillers. Each story is satisfying on its own, but ALL the stories connect. The series is designed to be read several times so you get more connections on each reading and also more meaning from some of the stories. I like asking people how they interpret stories like LEGACY and hearing vastly different responses from people.

Nick; I understand your new collection Tabatha will be available at MCM Expo; could you give us a little insight into that?

Neil: I think it is the best work we have done so far. Caspar’s art is AMAZING and with the professional lettering and colouring you will see a steep change in quality from our other work. We are clearly moving into the next level with Tabatha. Expect future volumes of Twisted Dark to look better as we apply what we have learnt from Tabatha. In terms of what Tabatha is about, it is a blend of comedy and thriller. It is about a mailman in Los Angeles who uses his postal route to determine which homes are unoccupied and then he robs the houses. It works fine for the first two houses but it goes horribly wrong on the third. To find out what exactly… you need to read it!

Nick: The Twisted Dark stall always seems pretty busy at cons. How do you find that experience?

Neil: It’s great! We sell more creator owned books at cons than anyone else we know. We sold out at New York last week and in Toronto we sold 417 books. It is really rewarding to have people post on Facebook or come up to you at the con and tell you what they thought of the series. I always want to keep doing cons. It gives me a chance to listen to their feedback and hear which characters they would like to see more of.

Nick: So what’s next for Neil Gibson?

Neil: We have a lot of plans. We will release Volume 4 of Twisted Dark, Volume 1 of Twisted Light (uplifting stories for those of you who don’t like bleak tales), The World of Chub Chub (A Calvin and Hobbesesque comic) and the rest of Tabatha. Then we will move on to finishing off Tortured Life and creating a new series called Theatrics and Volume 5 of Twisted Dark. We are also pitching Twisted Dark as a TV series, so stay tuned there. We are also doing some charity work to make London more beautiful through art.

On the 15th November at 7pm we will be doing a talk at the Apple store on Regent Street. I will be talking about why I make comics, how I make them and my life’s mission. I think comics are a beautiful medium which is sadly looked down upon in the UK. When I die, I want to have changed the reading habits of a nation. I really want good comics to be respected for the amazing pieces of work they are. My website lists a recommended reading list of great comics that I think everyone should read – and you’ll note that my comics don’t make the list yet! The event is free and there will be drinks afterwards and some signings. So please come if you can!

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