Brian Bendis used to write and draw black-and-white crime comics. I remember having a booth opposite him at San Diego Comic Con once, I really liked his work. It was dark and funny, had good human ear, great twists and a deadly sense of reality. But he was clearly not the kind of person destined to write superhero comic books.
Until, of course, he was. Both Todd McFalane and Joe Quesada saw his transferable skills and he became one of the most successful comic book writers of the past decade.
Yesterday I read Neil Gibson’s third volume of Twisted Dark short stories. I’d read previous books and enjoyed them but volume three was something else entirely. A series of short stories with a variety of artists, I was struck by how much more I was enjoying this one. Human lives steeped in tragedy but very relatable, lots of twists, lots of pull-back-and-reveals, but unlike previous volumes, these were less likely to be the ficus of the stories. What I got was real, intelligent, human drama… and melodrama., all set in the same world.
And exactly the same feeling I had reading Brian Bendis’ comics seventeen years ago.
Neil Gibson has a booth at NYCC. He can be found online here. If you are a reader, this is a perfect time. You get to say “I knew Neil Gibson before he wrote…”
And if you are an editor or a comic publisher, it’ your duty to make that time gap as short as possible.