Tpub Comics 2019
Created & Written by Neil Gibson
Created & Illustrated by Tasos Anastasiades
Coloured by Jan Wijngaard
Lettered by Hass Otsmane-Elhaou
The Traveller is a Steampunk adventure comic about Iosef, a poor shepherd from Georgia at the turn of the 19th century. Lonely and depressed, with only diseased sheep to his name, Iosef decides to end his life. Before he can pull the trigger, though, an otherworldly traveller appears before him. In a panic, Iosef shoots and kills him. Searching through the visitor’s possessions, Iosef accidentally puts on a gauntlet that clamps to his arm, binding to him. In a panic, he accidentally activates the gauntlet and is pulled into a parallel world. In exploring many worlds, he tries to find somewhere that he can be happy and find his true calling – but the results aren’t what anyone would expect.
Well I dunno about the Steampunk aspect of all this but I will say this the premise and the way this is being told is extremely well done. I am intrigued by this and I look forward to the next three issues as they flesh this out so like a flower it blooms into something beautiful. I do like the way that this is being told and it's not just the opening either because usually that's what we get to draw us in and encourage the reader to keep going. This whole issue feels like an introduction to Iosef and his life leading up to the last page.
This is told as a narration in the form of a letter to a woman whom he could have loved but didn't turn to him in the end. As much as this is a goodbye letter it's also something that apparently Iosef needs to get off his chest. What is crystal clear here is the way Neil is bringing the characterisation to us. This runs the gamut of emotions for both Iosef and for the reader as we cannot help but empathise with him and feel his loneliness as if it were a physical weight. That is one of the most powerful things about this issue is how well Neil actually brings us these feelings and emotions and how can engage the reader in such a way as to make them feel these emotions as well. That is not something too many can do at this level and in this way so I recommend you find out why I hold him in this high esteem.
This is my introduction to Tasos and his work and it's really pretty okay. The one thing I always say is to utilise backgrounds, they expand the moment and bring a size and scope to the story. It feels like there's a lot of blank empty space here that could utilised better. While I love the way that we Iosef's face and facial expressions and the linework that is utilised to create that attention to detail I do wish we'd see that in the sheep or the other characters we meet. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a solid eye for storytelling. The colour work is nicely done and I like the swirling colours and how we see the light sources create shading and shadows.
So I really have to wonder what was the breaking point for Iosef before he finally left where he was and moved on? Was it the illness he can't fight or the woman who chose to seek safety in someone else's arms? Then of course there is that whole be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. So what's next for our intrepid Traveller who knows but from the looks of things he's found some like-minded individuals but looks can be deceiving. Can't wait for next issue to see what is going on next!