“Well, I never wanted to be a writer, I just loved comics and wanted to be involved in some way” comic book writer and author of the Twisted Dark series, Neil Gibson, says on his career as a comic book writer so far.
Neil is the founder and editor in chief of TPub Comics, a British independent comic book publisher that aims to introduce more readers to the comic book medium, no matter what the genre. Neil himself is an avid advocate for the medium of comics to be taken more professionally.
Among other titles such as Tabitha, Twisted Light, Turncoat, and The World of Chub Chub, TPub’s best selling anthology series Twisted Dark has been hailed as a fresh voice on the comic book medium. I was introduced to this particular series at MCM Comic Con, and last year I recommended that anyone who is interested stories that detail the darker side of humanity should check the series out. For me, Twisted Dark proved to be one of the most interesting independent comics that I have read so far, and I was incredibly honored to have the pleasure of recently conversing with Neil Gibson, where he discussed the Twisted Dark series with me, as well as chatting about his career into the comic book medium.
“Hi there! Thank you for agreeing to this interview. You started off as a management consultant, I believe. What inspired you to pursue a career in the comics industry?”
Well, I never wanted to be a writer, I just loved comics and wanted to be involved in some way. When I was stationed on a project in Qatar I had some free time so I thought I’d try making some comics and I was pleasantly surprised to find people really liked my work.
“You are the founder of TPub Comics, and I was just wondering if you would be able to tell me a bit more about how that came about?”
When the first book came out I was approached by a couple of publishers which was nice. But I looked at the deals they were offering, but I didn’t really like the terms. I thought I could form my own company. It’s been very rewarding, but 10 times the work!
“Who would you say has had the biggest influence on your comic’s career, and why is that?”
Very difficult question – I don’t really know! I don’t really try to emulate other creators, but I do enjoy reading their work.
“Your anthology series, Twisted Dark, is described as a supernatural thriller. What was it that particularly attracted you to this genre?”
Well actually it is a psychological thriller – everything is very realistic and there are no monsters or supernatural elements. It appealed to me because Twisted Dark is the first thing I ever wrote and I was terrified of being boring! I figured if I wrote slightly dark, creepy stories.
“For me, one of the most interesting aspects of Twisted Dark was the storytelling’s ability to get under your skin. Did you have any specific influences for the stories told within the series?”
Not at all. Twisted Dark was both the first comic I ever made and my first piece of writing. I just love comics and seem to understand the medium.
“So far I have only read Volume 1, but I do know that the rest of the stories in the series are to be interconnected. Was this your original idea all along, or was that something that developed during the writing process?”
I had planned for them all to connect, but originally it was going to be 7 volumes, but now it’s looking much bigger!
“Twisted Dark incorporates a variety of different styles and different artists for each of the stories. How involved were you in the process of selecting new artists, and how did you go about choosing the correct artist?”
I picked artists whose style suited the feel I was going for in the story. When I like an artist I usually ask them what they like drawing and try to give them something that they would enjoy. I also sometimes give them a choice of stories to pick from so they can work on their favourite.
“The stories contained within the series deal with some sensitive themes – how do you go about writing these stories?”
I just write about things that interest me and that I think will make a good story. I have over 100 more Twisted dark stories that haven’t been drawn yet. Some are too dark even for my taste and I saved them in a folder called Twisted Darker.
“You made no secret of your desire to see comics treated more professionally, may I ask where this desire stems from?”
Because I HATE it when people who think comics are inferior to other mediums! I used to get embarrassed reading comics in public in my early 20s. Can you imagine someone being embarrassed to be seen reading a book? Now some comics are trash as are some books, but comics have also won Pulitzer prizes but not many people seem to know that.
“You have attended comic cons both in the UK and the US. Have you noticed any differences in the comic scene over in America, compared to here in the UK?”
Well the comic cons there are bigger (but then I only go to the big ones!) but also more people there tend to actually read comics. In the UK a lot of people are just there for a day out. Nothing wrong with that at all! But in the US more people seem to know their comics.
“Do you have any plans for the future that you are able to share?”
Lots and LOTS of new titles coming out and plenty of free stuff to read at http://www.tpub.co.uk
Lastly – What is the best advice you have received in terms of making your own comics, and what advice would you share with aspiring comic book writers?
Best advice I heard was to spend the money to get a good artist. My advice for new creators is to start small. Try a 4 page or 10 page comic first before you start a graphic novel, but whatever you do choose to do, DO IT! It doesn’t matter if you have the best idea in your head, until it’s made, nothing counts.
You can read the online version of Twisted Dark here , which I do highly recommend if you cannot get your hands on a copy. You can also keep up with Neil himself and his work over at twitter. Or you can check out the TPub official website and their own Twitter page here .