“There’s something in the black hatted western bad-ass that fits McCaw so well” we look at Tim Gibson’s The Reservoir a new Moth City spin-off

The Reservoir Preview coverIf you’re like us and can’t get enough the brilliant Moth City then you’re in for a treat next month as Tim Gibson’s The Reservoir is set to be released on February 5th via ComiXology. Part indie arthouse comic, part Cormac McCarthy style western, The Reservoir is a black and white  one-shot that gives us an look at the origins of Moth City’s dastardly Governor McCaw. Keen to find out more about the back story of the fiendish governor we contacted it’s Kiwi creator and take an exciting first look at this stunning new series.

The Reservoir Preview cover

Tim Gibson’s The Reservoir is a Moth City spin-off that is available on ComiXology February 5th

The Reservoir is essentially a prequel/origin story for Moth City’s Governor McCaw, did you always plan to spin off characters in this way or was it just an impromptu decision based on feedback from Moth City?

TG: Well, two things – first, anyone can pick up The Reservoir and enjoy it without any prior knowledge of the Moth City series. And second, we writers are a little odd, and our characters live outside the panels and deep in our brainy-bits.

As such, I always had ideas about McCaw and Glitter, his daughter, and how they became a weapons manufacturing dynasty in the Orient. Plus that relationship is so weird that it had to start somewhere dark and interesting.

I actually drew it all up some time ago, but wanted to save the release until my main series had gained some good momentum.

The Reservoir preview

The whole story is more like a western than the pulp noir of Moth City are you a big fan of the western genre and what does that setting allow you to do in terms of story telling that you couldn’t do in the 30s? 

TG: I love me a good western, and those themes of isolation, change and forcing desolate nature to do man’s will are a great fit for both Moth City and Governor McCaw. And there’s so much going on in Texas at that time; the start of the oil boom, America’s eventual entrance into WWI and the Spanish Flu that swept through the area afterwards.

Plus, there’s something in the black hatted western bad-ass that fits the nature of McCaw so well.

It really reminds me of Cormac McCarthy’s work in terms of bleakness and pace, but also the use of voice over instead of speech, was that an inspiration and what made you choose to write the book in that style?

TG: I’ve only recently read some of his work so it didn’t have any direct impact. The Reservoir’s text is very hard hitting though, very much the world view of the main character – almost a treatise that McCaw is trying to convince himself of.

I would love to get some artists on board and do black and white preludes for the other characters, each exploring different tones and genres. I think both Jun and Shuang (the working class heroes of the Moth City world) would make great yarns set in old China. How straight-backed Major Hong moved up the ranks of the Nationalist Army would also be fascinating.

The book is black and white and feels a bit looser artistically than Moth City, was that an intentional style choice or the result of you just not filling in the detail with colour?

TG: It’s a combination. I was conscious of getting that stark brightness of the desert sand and scorching sun, so the exteriors are often very blown out, very high-key. The interiors have more darks and are a lot bolder with the ink work than the main Moth City series.

The Reservoir doesn’t feature the Guided View touches we expect from you, was that so you could release it quicker or was it a style choice?

TG: Well, it still has over one hundred and fifty pages, so it wasn’t saving me that much time. No, I’m just playing with a different digital technique, much simpler in a lot of ways, full-screen panels. But it carries a lot of impact, which is great.

Any plans for any more ‘spin offs’ with the characters? And when will we get to see more Moth City?

TG: The final two issues of Moth City are cranking away and looking good. They are very action heavy, which is quite labour intensive, but satisfying.

I would love to do more of these one-shots with other characters. That’s the thing with a multi-viewpoint world like Moth City or Game of Thrones – you don’t get to dwell too much on backstory in the main series, so it’s fun to expand backwards and learn more about the major players of the drama.


Time wise, I want to focus on getting the main story sewn up, so I’d be looking for artists to jump on board if I was to do anymore anytime soon.

The Reservoir is available via ComiXology on February 5th 2014.

Author: Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.