Theatrics is a graphic novel about Rudy, the king of Broadway and living the American Dream in 1920s New York… until he’s robbed, beaten and left for dead. Horribly disfigured, penniless and broken he finds himself pursuing a new career of blood, sweat and tears.

But with violence dogging his every step, can Rudi still make it as a star?

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Writer Neil Gibson and T Publications have released their latest graphic novel titled, “Theatrics.” The artwork is illustrated by Leonardo Gonzalez, coloring is by Jan Wijngaard, and the lettering is provided by Jim Campbell. With the title of this book, we know this is a story about the theater, but what kind of story can we expect? Given the dark and twisted stories that Neil Gibson is known for, this could be a story that readers may think they’ll predict, or is it something more…something unexpected?

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The story takes place in the 1920’s, in New York City, and we’re immediately introduced to the protagonist of the story, Rudy Burns. He’s a rising star with good looks, and as he sits in a speakeasy with his friend, Sammy, it’s clear he just wants to play the piano, dance, sing, drink, and have fun; enjoy life.

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Like everything in life, all good things come to an end, and once the bar closes for the night, Rudy is inebriated, but well enough to get himself home. Once outside, Rudy trips, fortunately, there’s three men who are nearby, and one of them asks Rudy if he’s alright. The conversation is brief, and unexpectedly, things go south for Rudy…and his life will never be the same again. Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to be wealthy and famous. This concludes the first act.

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The second and third acts (no spoilers) of this story define the rise and fall of a star, an actor who’s on top of his game and falls from grace, and the lesson here is that people shouldn’t take life for granted. Even when someone is at the top of his or her game, life can come crashing down at any given moment, without warning or notice. Cherish the things you have, the life you live, the people that surround you; the people you love, because their true colors will show when you hit rock bottom. How will Rudy’s relationship with Stephanie be impacted? How will his friendship with Sammy be? What about Rudy’s career? Only by reading this story will these answers be revealed.

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Theatrics is a story that sets the tone for an upbeat plot, but then there are heartfelt moments; it’s a harsh realization of the real world, and how cruel it can be. This is a phenomenal story that people should read, even if they’re not into comics, and the beautiful artwork adds extra pizzaz to bring the story to life. Neil Gibson presents another winner with Theatrics, and you’ll never see “The Roaring 20’s” the same again. The webcomic of Theatrics can be read by clicking here. For mature audiences only.

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Copyright © 2017 TPub Comics

**Originally published on July 3, 2016 for Examiner.**