Some time ago we took a look at writer Neil Gibson’s TWISTED DARK, three volumes of interconnected short horror stories, created in partnership with a variety of artists. The results were as impressive as they were eclectic (see here and here for our reviews), and demonstrated Gibson’s commitment to both the comic book medium and the storytelling process. The talented writer’s next project is both more conventional and more ambitious; illustrated by frequent collaborator Caspar Wijngaard, TABATHA is a four issue thriller with pronounced horror overtones, presented in US comic book format and, a first for Gibson, in full colour.
Although TWISTED DARK’s eclectic and esoteric narratives often intersect, TABATHA represents by far Gibson’ longest sustained storyline. The story incorporates several familiar horror tropes, most of them associated with the serial killer subgenre, but also involves elements of crime, relationship drama, and humour. As ever, Gibson writes well, effortlessly establishing both personality and context, and creating a flawed but likeable cast of characters. No sooner has one scenario been set up than it’s knocked down, as the admirably brisk pace and wealth of twists ensure the next surprise is just around the corner. We’re never quite sure what’s going on, which is a good thing (are the paranormal elements a reality or merely a trick of the light?), and Gibson is entirely willing to subject his characters to some very unpleasant treatment. It all adds up to an engaging and intriguing reading experience that draws us into a fully-realised world. Sympathetic characters and unexpected plot developments hold our attention, and the cliffhangers leave us wanting more.
Impressive as the story is, Wijngaard’s art is able to hold its own. The artist stood out in TWISTED DARK, but his colour work is even better. His characters are consistent and distinctive, his backgrounds detailed, and his page layouts frequently inventive. He conveys both action and humour with aplomb, and doesn’t shy away from the horrific elements when events take an unpleasant turn.
The first two issues of TABATHA are available, and issue 3 is currently being produced. Head over to the project’s Crowdfunding page for all the details –
or check them out on Facebook –
It’s also worth noting that digital copies of TWISTED DARK are available on Amazon for a ludicrously low price (were talking pence, people). At that price you’d be crazy not to give them a try.