Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: As the founder of T Publications, a UK-based comic book publishing company, what inspired you to launch the company, and what makes you stand apart from other publishers?
Neil Gibson: I was inspired to launch the company, because when my first book came out, I was offered deals with some publishing houses, but I felt what they were offering was exploitative. I figured it would take some work, but I could establish my own company, which paid people royalties on the work they contributed to. What make us stand out? Well, I think it is our mission. We firmly believe in the comic book medium and want to encourage others to experience it. We actively try to convert new readers to comics – even if they aren’t our comics. We do this because we care. It seems to work because we estimate that a quarter of our readers had never read comics before.
BD: T-Pub, as it has often been referred to, has released two graphic novels, Twisted Dark and Tabatha. For our readers who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about these books?
NG: We actually have 4 titles released so far and have several more in production.
Twisted Dark has 3 volumes out so far out of a planned series of 10. (Volumes 4, 5 and 6 are in production right now.) The series is a collection of short stories similar in nature to The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, only all the stories are very real and could happen. The kicker is that every story connects to the other stories, so when you come to re-read the series, you spot all these connections that you would have missed on the first reading. A lot of fans comment about how satisfying they find this.
Twisted Light is released next week and is the counter foil to Twisted Dark. It is the same concept of interlinking stories, but the difference is that instead of each story shocking you, each story leaves you smiling in a happy way.
Tortured Life is our first paranormal one about a poor chap who gradually develops the ability to see how people are going to die and how that affects him.
Tabatha is about a mailman in LA who uses his mail route to see who is not collecting their mail. Then, he comes back and robs those houses, because he knows the home owners aren’t there. Things turn dark pretty rapidly!
Our future titles include: Twisted Sci-fi, Theatrics, Traitor, Trickster (with Conor McCreery of Kill Shakespeare fame), and The World of Chub Chub. I guess I am writing a lot!
BD: Twisted Dark was the number one graphic novel on the UK Kindle, which firmly demonstrated its popularity with readers. Given that you are based in the UK, have you been able to glean audience reaction to Twisted Dark from both the UK and the US?
NG: Audience reaction has been fantastic. We have a document where we list all fan reactions, and it goes on for pages and pages. It is quite humbling to see that so many people enjoy our first creative work. I do treasure feedback, but at the start I listened to feedback a bit too closely which resulted in Volume 2 being a bit lighter than perhaps it should have been. I have corrected this for the future volumes, and now although I always listen to feedback, I do choose to reject some comments, because I cannot please everyone and shouldn’t try to.
BD: What has been the most challenging aspect of being a comic book writer? The most rewarding?
NG: Most challenging? Answering interview questions from the pesky folks at Fanboy Comics. Most rewarding? Cracking lame jokes. Lame jokes aside, the most challenging aspect for me is getting people to try reading comics (even if they aren’t mine). The most rewarding aspect is getting thank you letters from people who ‘discover’ comics thanks to us and are now exploring all the great works the medium has to offer.
BD: What can you tell us about the other members of T Publications’ creative team and the contributions of these individuals?
NG: The team is amazing! It really is a team effort, and we all have a great time together. We all cook lunch in the office everyday, and we have cocktails in the studio every Friday. There is a Google-like feel to our working day, and we have a joke board where we give points for the best and worst jokes. In terms of contribution, everyone does what they need to do to make and sell the best comics we can.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your favorite comic books and graphic novels?
NG: Don’t get me started - I’ll chat for days! My current favourite title is Locke and Key. Watchmen is a MUST read as are the Sandman books and the first 11 volumes of Fables. (I still read the rest, but the first 11 are something truly special.)
BD: What is the most important piece of advice that you can offer to comic book fans of all ages who aspire to work in the comic book industry?
NG: If you want to do it, do it.
BD: On that same note, which creators have inspired your work?
NG: Ah, interesting question. Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore inspired me to read comics and that changed my life; however, I don’t really think that any creators inspire my actual work. I feel awkward saying this, because every other writer I know can easily mention their influences, but I genuinely think that other writing (though brilliant and immensely enjoyable) does not have much of an effect on me.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about T Publications and your graphic novels?
NG: The first volume of Twisted Dark is over 200 pages, and you can buy it for less than 50p on the Amazon kindle or for 99 cents on Comixology. Rather than listen to me prattle on about the stuff we make, why not try it for that insanely cheap price? There must be a reason we keep getting such good reviews.