Twisted Dark is a collection of short stories written by Neil Gibson and illustrated by a wide variety of extremely talented artists. In a testament to both its quality and the hard work of Gibson, it recently reached #1 on the Amazon UK Kindle comic book best sellers list. The stories are all stand-alone, but the themes and characters connect throughout the book.
As can be expected from the title, the stories in this book are both twisted and – well – dark (shocking, I know). They tend to start with a seemingly straightforward premise, before rapidly spiralling off into the tragic, disturbing or perverse, leading to a gut-punch of a finish. Having different artists for each tale allows for a wide variety of storytelling techniques, and while certain stories clearly stand above the rest of the field, the quality is of an extremely high standard throughout.
The stories almost read like miniature episodes of the Twilight Zone, with relatively innocent tales that slowly adopt a more sinister nature, and this actually turned out to be a bit of a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, it encouraged me to keep reading, urging me to find out how the next story would end, but on the other, once I’d cracked the ‘formula’ of the stories, some of the later twists don’t perhaps have the impact they would have had if their story was read in isolation.
That said, when judged on their own merits, several of the stories are absolutely stunning, with Gibson’s crisp writing and boundless creativity marrying up perfectly with each of his artists’ own unique styles. “Routine” and “Munchausen’s Little Proxy” were the definite highlights for me, although I won’t spoil the experience for you by delving too deeply into their intricacies.
With a wide variety of subject matter including suicide, bereavement, drugs and crippling bitterness, Twisted Dark could easily have become a bleak and unreadable affair, but there’s something about the set-up for each of the tales that makes you empathise with the character (or some of them at least) and draws you into their individual story.
Honestly, this may be one of the best creator-owned projects I’ve had the pleasure of finding in my inbox, boasting slick presentation, a strong underlying concept, boundlessly creative writing and some absolutely stunning artwork. I really can’t recommend the book highly enough, especially when it can be picked up from Amazon’s Kindle Store for a frankly ridiculous 39p!
Twisted Dark is worth the cover price for the two stories I mentioned above alone, and with a second volume also available (along with a ‘mirror’ series entitled Twisted Light, which features stories with bright, uplifting conclusions), T-Pub is definitely proving itself to be one to watch in the increasingly vibrant world of self-publishing.
Twisted Dark (volume 1) can be purchased from Amazon’s Kindle Store.
The Author of this piece was:
Craig Neilson aka (Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says