A ‘Twisted’ Chat with Neil Gibson

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a stall that had a huge and beautifully grim looking banner reading ‘Twisted Dark’. Intrigued, I picked up a copy, and have been hooked ever since. The fantastically dark interconnected stories grabbed at my imagination and pulled me in with their unexpected twists and turns. Since then Neil Gibson (the creator and writer) and the team at T Publications have continued the Twisted series, with a further 2 ‘Dark’ Volumes and the all new ‘Twisted Light’, but in between those projects, a wonderful new creation was born: Tabatha.

Tabatha tells the story of a house-robbing postman named Luke, whose night-time house calls take an unexpected turn one night when he picks the wrong house. Things quickly begin to spiral out of control, as Luke and his accomplices are left with a burning question: who is Tabatha?

Tabatha is a dark and unpredictable thrill ride, filled with twists and turns that will have its readers screaming with both fear and pleasure. It is without a doubt one of the best ongoing independent series that I have had the pleasure to read, and with the Twisted Dark guys back in town for this winter’s MCM Comic Con, I had to grab writer and creator Neil Gibson for a few words.

NICK: Neil, For those who have yet to discover the Twisted Dark series, can you please tell us a little bit about it?

NEIL: If superheroes are your world, you probably won’t like it! But if you like thought provoking stories with unexpected endings then this might be the book for you. Critics compare it to Stephen King, The Twilight Zone and Roald Dahl’s serious work. It is a series of interconnected stories which explore the dark side of human nature. Volume 1 was the first book I ever wrote and I was amazed when it went to number 1 in the kindle charts.

NICK: Twisted Light has also found its way out into the world. How different is it from its darker brother?

NEIL: At a convention, one lady screamed when she read the last page of a Twisted Dark story, then laughed and wanted to read more. But just 5 minutes later another lady read the same story and shuddered saying it was too dark for her and that she preferred happy, funny stories. It really made me think. My mission in making comics is to bring as many people as possible into the world of comics and I need to approach people of different tastes, so the concept of Twisted Light is again a series of interconnected stories with twists, but all the stories are designed to leave you laughing. I believe you are a fan of the light story, no?

NICK: Actually Tabatha is possibly my favourite series of yours. How did that come about?

NEIL: Caspar was one of the first artists I found and I really liked working with him. We were on our way to a comic book competition last year and on the train we just sketched out some story ideas that turned into Tabatha. I feel sorry for the other passengers on the train who had to listen to us talk about monsters, psychopaths and people losing limbs as we pitched different ideas back and forth.

NICK: I understand that you have been using crowd sourcing to keep the project going, can you tell us a little about how we, the readers, can get involved?

NEIL: Well, we did fund Tabatha that way, and learnt a lot from the experience. We will shortly be launching a kickstarter campaign for Tortured Life and we’ll fill you in with the details for that. In fact, I am just going to finish writing the very last issue for that as soon as I finish this interview. I like to have a full script before we pitch for money, because I want to be sure that I have a good story before I ask people to part with cash to help us make it.

NICK: When can we expect the Tabatha trade?

NEIL: By the end of the year.

NICK: What and who inspired you to start Twisted Publications and become a comics writer?

NEIL: I guess it was Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore. They are the ones who made me love the medium, but I never really thought I could write comics. Twisted Dark was the first thing I ever wrote and it only came about because I was posted to a project in Qatar and my friends and family were back in the UK. Rather than just watch TV in the evenings I thought I would try writing a story and to my surprise and delight, people liked the stories I told.

NICK: What advice would you give to those who are looking to break into comic writing?

NEIL: Get your stories finished. Ask friends for feedback. Ignore mean people who do not give constructive criticism. 

NICK: Do you enjoy interacting with fans and new readers of your material at cons such as this?

NEIL: Are you kidding? I love speaking to them and hearing what they like and what they want more of! Feedback is a gift and though you can’t please everyone (and shouldn’t try), I do think you should listen to everyone’s opinion, because they may give you ideas on how to get better, and I want to go on making better and better comics forever.


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