Review: Tabatha #1

Being a mailman means you probably run into some strange people during the course of your workday. In this story's case, sometimes strange translates into a living nightmare. I won't say much more about Tabatha in terms of plot, since the whole book from a certain point on seems like spoilers, and in yet another rare case, I actually sort of like this indie book. Presentation wise it's wonderfully professional. The cover is immediately striking, from the excellent minimal title logo to the simple but arresting artwork. If I saw this on the con-floor I'd pick it up in a heartbeat just from the promise that care for design entails.

Tabatha---Issue-1-Cover-10.6.14The premise, which again I won't elaborate too greatly on, hooked me in at first too. Writer Neil Gibson seems to have some fun horror concepts to play with and leaves the book on a note that definitely throws things up in the air as to what comes next. Strangely, this issue actually came off like a one-shot, and it actually might still be despite the 'Issue One' on the cover. How the story delves into the horror is a now familiar set up, which I can think of two prominent recent mainstream film releases that started on the same note, but the characters and Gibson's little details are enough to look past this. If there was a prominent weak spot in the writing it would have to be the attempts at humor. A couple jokes land, but for the most part the humor was cut and paste comedy. One scene involving the protagonist's mailman route crush was the first big ding in the comic's quality. I actually audibly expressed disappointment at this point, the whole exchange is a Harold and Kumar joke cut six or seven times with tap water. Still, overall a pleasant reading experience.

The real winner here is the art. Caspar Wijngaard's figures are stylish and expressive, faces with tiny eyes and broad features. It's stylized, not aiming for realism but avoiding wacky excesses. And lo and behold, very pretty indie colors! A collaboration between Wijngaard and Anja Poland, the colors are bright with a warm palette that help elevate the lines. Even the lettering is almost invisibly great. Overall the art and design is borderline Image quality and goes the distance to earn your dollar.

It's hard to tell how to react to the end without guaranteed knowledge of a continued story; if it doesn't go any further than this works as a lukewarm full-length Tales of the Crypt style story. I can't say that it's ever scary or very clever, but the final pages imply some grisly mysteries that might be worth following up on. At worst it's a convention purchase that doesn't disappoint and knows what a professional publication should look and read like. Keep an eye on T Pub Comics, they might become something pretty cool soon.

Score: 2/5

Writer: Neil Gibson Artist: Caspar Wijngaard Publisher: T Pub Price: $0.99 Website