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zubkavich
20 May 2012 @ 01:47 pm
After many, many years of posting here on LJ, I think it's important for me to migrate over to a dedicated blog for my personal and professional use. Please head on over to the newly built

www.jimzub.com



to keep up on my thoughts and projects by bookmarking or following the RSS feed there. I've carried over the entire archive of old blog posts (which start all the way back in March 1999, 13 years!) and they're now easily searchable.

Thanks for your support!
 
 
zubkavich
17 May 2012 @ 08:57 am
Now that the news about me writing the upcoming Pathfinder comic series for Dynamite and Paizo has gone far and wide, I figured it was a good time to update my blog with some thoughts about the series and my overall plans.

For anyone who’s not aware, Pathfinder is an award-winning tabletop role-playing game and fiction setting that grew from the roots of the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition Open Gaming License. The Pathfinder fanbase is huge, dedicated and loves classic fantasy. Needless to say, with my lifelong love of RPGs and sword & sorcery storytelling, I'm a big fan of it as well.



The iconic characters at the heart of Pathfinder’s setting, a cast of diverse and well designed heroes, have never been fleshed out beyond their appearance and a few sentences about their personality. Paizo and Dynamite have given me the distinct honour of expanding upon that base, building stories of these amazing characters adventuring together and growing as a group.

When I was approached about pitching for the gig, I did some brainstorming and outlined important aspects I'd emphasize if they wanted me at the helm:

• The series had to be non-gamer friendly and work as a self-contained unit. Comic readers and people who have never heard of Pathfinder before should be able to pick up this story and get everything they need to enjoy it on its own merits. This doesn’t mean I intend to ignore the fanbase, not in the slightest, but I wanted to make sure the comic functioned well as an entry point to the world and characters, not just an offshoot of other products.

• Characters come before world-changing plot. As incredibly detailed and impressive Golarian (the world of Pathfinder) is, outside readers won’t give a lick if they don’t get attached to the characters. Making them come alive with personality, entertaining interactions, relationships and engaging goals is paramount to bringing in casual readers and keeping long time fans attached to the series after the initial excitement of new Pathfinder stuff has worn off. Stories grab people, but engaging characters keep fans dedicated to ensemble casts in this vein like the Lord of the Rings, the Dragonlance Chronicles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Avatar the Last Air Bender.

• It should feel like the best fantasy tabletop role-playing session played out before your eyes on the page – adventure, big action, fun banter and unexpected little turns that keep readers entertained. A mix of swashbuckling-tinged joy and serious stakes as the story moves along.



There was more, but those three points were at the heart of my pitch. If Paizo and Dynamite liked the sound of that, then I was their man. If not, then I wouldn’t be able to put myself into it and it wouldn't work for me. Thankfully, they loved the sound of everything I proposed and were really in sync with those ideas.

Pathfinder gives me a chance to dig in on a story that balances fun and character-driven storytelling together. It’s classic fantasy with an awareness of modern storytelling sensibilities and strengths. As I write this I have the first story arc all mapped out and I’m scripting issue #3. The character voices are getting stronger as I work away and I’m enjoying writing interplay between the different personalities in the group.

In August you’ll be able to read the first issue and can let me know if I’ve hit the spot with it. Until then, I hope you're excited and looking forward to the release.

 
 
zubkavich
15 May 2012 @ 07:07 pm


Wonder Momo launches today on Namco Bandai's ShiftyLook website!

Written by Erik Ko (UDON Chief) and Jim Zub (Street Fighter Legends, Makeshift Miracle) with artwork by UDON mainstay Omar Dogan (Street Fighter Legends, Girl 7), Wonder Momo is an anime/j-pop/sentai mash-up of epic proportions!

Momoko is a young idol hopeful who wants to be famous for singing, dancing and acting, but fate and a bumbling alien have a different role in store for her. Read Wonder Momo twice a week at Shifty Look by bookmarking the site or adding it to your favourite RSS reader!
 
 
zubkavich
Another project to announce, what the heck is going on?! You didn't think I was resting on my laurels, did you?

Today Dynamite Entertainment and Paizo have made it official: I'm the writer of the upcoming Pathfinder fantasy comic series starting in August!

Check out any of the following press sites for preview pages:
The Beat
Bleeding Cool
Comic Book Resources
Comic Buzz
Crave Online
ICV2
Major Spoilers
MTV Geek
Sequential Highway



PATHFINDER, THE BEST-SELLING RPG, IS NOW THE ULTIMATE FANTASTY COMIC BOOK!

CREATIVE TEAM OF JIM ZUB AND ANDREW HUERTA ANNOUNCED!

COMING OUT IN AUGUST FROM DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT!

May 14, 2011, Runnemede, NJ – Paizo’s incredible award-winning, best-selling fantasy world, fiction line and tabletop RPG is now the ultimate fantasy comic from Dynamite Entertainment, hitting stores in August! Dynamite is proud to announce that the ongoing series is written by Jim Zub with art by Andrew Huerta, with covers by Lucio Parillo, Matteo Scalera, Dave Dorman, and Erik Jones!

The iconic heroes at the core of the Pathfinder’s world are brought to life for the first time in a brand new story full of charm and high adventure that will please fans and entertain new readers alike. Issue 1 clocks in at 40 pages (and remains $3.99) and includes over 10 pages of character profiles and Pathfinder RPG game statistics, plus an EXCLUSIVE removable, playable tactical map and poster. Be sure to pick up Pathfinder #1 from Dynamite, coming this August to comic stores everywhere!

In issue #1, Valeros can rely on only his sword arm and his friends, the mysterious and beautiful sorcerer Seoni and silver tongued quick-witted elven rogue Merisiel, but nothing can prepare him for the dangers that lurk ahead. The scattered and chaotic goblin tribes of Varisia are changing, growing in power and unifying in ways no one has ever seen before. At the heart of this strange evolution is an ancient evil looking to establish itself anew.

“Pathfinder has blazed new trails in gaming and fiction, winning over thousands of fans all over the world. I’m absolutely thrilled to add to its mythology and flesh out the iconic characters at the heart of the Galorion world,” says writer Jim Zub. “Sword and sorcery adventure pumps through my veins and I can’t wait for readers to experience what Dynamite and I have planned.”

“I am thrilled with the work Jim Zub and Andrew Huerta have put into the Pathfinder comic book,” adds Paizo Publisher Erik Mona. “Jim and I go way back to my time as Editor-in-Chief of Dragon Magazine, and his experience with fantasy and gaming make him the perfect writer for the series. Andrew’s pencils are absolutely amazing, and bring an exciting and fresh new look to the characters, monsters, and lands of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.”

“From day one of when we were awarded the license for the Pathfinder comic we knew we had only one chance to make a great first impression for Pathfinder and comics fans – Jim and Andrew are the perfect team for the series. It is great to finally have the opportunity to publish these wonderful comics,” adds Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci. ”I also finally get the chance to work with Jim Zub, a writer whom I have the utmost respect for, and Andrew’s art is nothing short of breathtaking. And these covers by Lucio Parillo, Matteo Scalera, Dave Dorman, and Erik Jones are just astounding!”

 
 
zubkavich
09 May 2012 @ 01:40 pm


It's official! I'm part of a huge group of comic creators participating in Namco-Bandai's official Dig Dug 30th Anniversary Celebration this summer.

Jeff "Chamba" Cruz and I (the team on Sky Kid) are doing a one-shot comic strip as part of the festivities. It's going to be a blast.

 
 
zubkavich
09 May 2012 @ 09:20 am


Nominations for the 2012 Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Awards are out and I'm nominated in the 'Outstanding Writer' category for my work on the Skullkickers second story arc.

Winners won't be announced until mid-September, so I'll hold off finger crossing until the end of the summer but I'm excited to see how it goes!
 
 
zubkavich


This Saturday, on May 12th, I'll be appearing at the award-winning Strange Adventures comic shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a signing.

I'm excited to be visiting Halifax for the first time since I worked and lived there back in 2002-2003. Come out, say "hi" and get your copies of Skullkickers, Makeshift Miracle or Street Fighter signed.
 
 
zubkavich
07 May 2012 @ 12:11 pm


TCAF was stellar, as expected. The crowds were deep and really enthusiastic with longtime fans and new readers alike.

The Makeshift Miracle book debut went amazingly well. A lot of people were drawn to it by the beautiful artwork and I happily autographed a bunch. It was great having both Skullkickers and Makeshift at the same show, appealing to different audiences.

The social was phenomenal too. Seeing old friends, meeting new people, feeling excited about comics and storytelling.

I'm really tired, but happy too. It was a great weekend.
 
 
zubkavich
04 May 2012 @ 09:37 am


This weekend is the wonderful annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival and I'm proud to be there!

TABLE 213





Come by to grab a copy of Skullkickers Treasure Trove or my brand new graphic novel, Makeshift Miracle: The Girl From Nowhere, which is debuting at the festival!



On Sunday, you can also attend a spiffy panel on comic writing I'm a part of:

Sunday, May 6, 2012
Ristorante Fortuna - Google Map
12 Cumberland St
Toronto, ON M4W 1J5

2:00 – 3:00 – Writing Pictures with Words: Comic Writer’s Craft
Brainstorming ideas, describing scenes, building plot and creating dialogue. Learn comic writing techniques and tips from prolific comic pros Becky Cloonan (Conan, Wolves), Ray Fawkes (One Soul, Possessions), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time) and Jim Zub (Makeshift Miracle, Skullkickers).
 
 
zubkavich
03 May 2012 @ 11:39 am


The short version is that the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo kicked all kinds of ass. I brought a slew of Skullkickers and sold out of it all by Sunday afternoon, giving me a few hours to browse the show riding a wave of good feelings and enthusiasm long after my weary head wanted to lie down. Also, money.

The long version is that the Skullkickers webcomic initiative (man, that sounds too formal) is working.

It’s not pageview numbers versus print numbers. It’s much bigger than that.

I’ve effectively created a whole new audience for Skullkickers. After exhibiting at 4 conventions over the past 5 weeks, I can see already see the trend because of it. There are two audiences now.

Skullkickers is a moderately successful Image Comic series. We’ve shipped 13 issues (our 14th arrives next week) and our monthly sales numbers keep the series very much alive but aren’t anything to write home about. We do much better in trade, where our value-priced $9.99 softcover volume 1 and new hardback volume 1 & 2 combo book (dubbed ‘Treasure Trove’) are doing quite well in comic and book stores.



Skullkickers is now also a webcomic. I started serializing our early issues, one page every weekday, so that readers could discover us, start from the beginning and grow attached to the series, giving us outreach far past comic shop shelves and retailer ordering concerns. I’m thrilled to say that over the past 3 months we’ve generated 1.7 million+ pageviews to 96,000+ unique visitors. That is about twenty times our monthly issue audience and reaches people in places that don’t have comic shops at all.

So, reaching people is great and all but how does that translate to actual sales? If most are getting the milk for free, will they buy the cow?

Good news: Serializing the issues hasn’t negatively affected our sales one bit. Our trade sales through comic and book stores are up, steadily climbing. Making more people aware of the series has made them want the current material more, not less. Quality and good word of mouth is helping build our readership in shops bit by bit.

Better news: At conventions I’m selling a lot more. I’m not twice the sales person I was last year, but I’m selling more than double the number of books since we started serializing online. 9 times out of 10, I’m selling it to people who read the series online. I asked almost every person who came to my table if they’d heard of Skullkickers before. No word of a lie, when they said “yes”, 90% of those folks also said they were reading it online. It shocked me.



Some people were surprised we were being published by Image or that there were physical books at all. Most didn’t care that the comic is put out by the third largest comic publisher in North America. That had no bearing whatsoever on their purchase. They read the series online, enjoyed it, I was at the show, they bought books. Done, done, done and done.

The people who buy Skullkickers in comic shops buy every issue. It's their little joyful adventure hit every month. They bring the issues up to be signed when they see me at shows. Signing 13 issues in a stack is a thrill and I add a little note or joke statement to each one to make them extra special. I usually end up chatting with our comic readers about other creator-owned books they should be buying or upcoming Image titles that look exciting. Our print readers are very valuable to me. I don’t want any of things I’ve said above to give people the impression that isn’t the case.



The comic shop audience is not the web audience. Those two audiences don’t seem to mix much at all. They’re two distinctive audiences and they’re both valid, especially when they’re both growing. One group spends money every month on issues and some in trade, the other is larger with patrons who almost exclusively spend money on collections over a longer period. Putting content out to both doesn’t cannibalize either audience.

The bottom line is quality and availability, not web versus print. The more platforms, the more options, the better. People read comics and support creators either way.

Everybody wins.