A book to be on the lookout for today is “Twisted Dark Vol. 3” from T Pub. Written by Indie writer Neil Gibson and illustrated by an army of artists, the “Twisted Dark” series has garnered critical acclaim. Many consider the stories in “Twisted Dark” to be some of the best writing in indie comics. I think it’s some of the best writing in comics period. You can find the indie book listed in last week’s Previews World dump listed near the bottom. That’s because it’s from an indie publisher T Pub but that’s no small accomplishment. Getting an indie book listed in Diamond means a dedicated creative team and a powerful enough story to get listed for comic retailers to give an indie book a shot.
The thing about the powerful enough story portion of “Twisted Dark” though is that the books are anthologies. Some of the characters show up again as over-all interconnectedness to the stories plays throughout the volumes. The primary focus of each story being a truly twisted tale that readers will recognize being somewhat in the vein of “The Twilight Zone” genre of stories. Browsing the ComiXology listings for each volume bring up similarly twisted stories like “Wonderland”, “The Boys”, and “Rat Queens”.
Readers have universally appreciated the tension in “Twisted Dark”
The art of each volume is black and white with grey tones for emphasis. The result is an eerie feel to most stories that helps to heighten the tension. One of my favorite artists with works in each volume is Caspar Winjgaard. Caspar’s style is what catches my eye. As a fan of “Chew” by John Layman and Rob Guillory, I can’t help but get a small sense of Guillory’s artistry in Winjgaard’s art. That feeling is especially present in T Pub’s other hit comic with an equally dark sense of humor to the “Twisted Dark” series, “Tabatha”.
Readers have universally appreciated the tension in “Twisted Dark” with volume 1 being a best seller through the Kindle app. The digital versions of the book come in under 7 US dollars and for that price readers get terrific art, compelling writing, and 197 pages of it. Comic book fans will instantly see that as a terrific deal but for those that like what paper does for the senses while reading, the trade paperback version out today is listed for the low price of $15 dollars.
Gibson left his day job to pursue his passion in storytelling and the comic book medium. He’s chasing a dream many others in this day and age can chase because of the opportunities the Internet and digital publishing provide for those tired of waiting on traditional publishers to take a chance. Gibson is taking that chance himself with T Pub and his stories. The effort has not gone unnoticed as others, me included, are emulating Gibson’s passion and drive. Few of us though can match his storytelling ability or his growing fan base across comic book aficionados and celebrities alike.
It’s not often that I’m a fan of an indie creator. I have a fat stack of indie comics from Kickstarter, conventions, and a collection of indie books through ComiXology’s Comixology Submit program but the gems are often needles in a haystack. Although this time period in comics allows for wish fulfillment creators to produce the comic they always wanted to, not every creator is willing to continually work on their craft like Gibson has.
The refinement is evident as you read through each volume. Neil has gone from an excellent indie writer to a sophomore storyteller and he’s taken many fledgling artists along with him. The result is an anthology that would shock the average consumer when they learn it isn’t from a larger publisher. The quality and care put into the almost perversely witty stories of “Twisted Dark” is excellent and is well worth any reader’s time.
Mark Avo AKA Zendobot can usually be found reviewing comic books and picking out his favorite moments every week for “Five and Three” right here on Big Shiny Robot. You can also find him writing and inking The Salt City Strangers comic book or pretending he’s an expert for The Undead Soup Podcast (http://undeadsoup.com/undead2/). You can delight or even heckle him with your tweets @MarkAvo and he’ll be totally thrilled.