The gang at Pulpcast lucked out when they interviewed me last week. I’d booked the podcast date with them weeks earlier and my new Thunderbolts gig was announced a few hours before I went on air. In turn, they’ve got my first interview about Thunderbolts (though admittedly, I’m not able to say too much about it yet). We also chat extensively about Wayward, Skullkickers, and the state of comics as a whole.
WAYWARD #13 arrived in stores on January 20th. Let’s see what reviewers thought of our latest action-packed chapter…
• Big Glasgow: 10/10 “Jim Zub is a master at catching the interest of the reader and not letting it go and the art is fantastic, too.”
• Bleeding Cool: “It’s clear that things won’t be the same after this, but I’m truly looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.”
• Comix I Read: 10/10 “Not only does the series continue to be amazing, the latest issue of Wayward is actually a halfway decent place to jump into the story.”
• Fandom Post: “…it’s a very fun ride that’s made all the more engaging thanks to Cummings artwork”
• Geeked Out Nation: 8.4/10 “The clash certainly did not disappoint either as the new gods are in their element.”
• Omni Jer Bear: “It’s like X-Men for the new millennium.”
• The Pulp: “Wayward makes action an artistic dance that leaves you with your jaw on the floor. “
• Reading With a Flight Ring: “Every month I’m constantly amazed by the quality of the interior artwork here.”
• Snap Pow: 8.5/10 “absolutely continues the brilliant trajectory of the franchise without missing a beat.”
• TM Stash: 10/10 “It’s a story that is appointment reading for this reviewer each month, with some of the most beautiful artwork in comics today by Steve Cummings, with colors by Tamra Bonvillain.”
• Under the Comic Covers: “This was, from beginning to end, brutal, exciting, beautiful and horrifying at the same time.”
With my current work schedule it’s been difficult to put together the kind of tutorial articles I did a year or two ago. Even still, I try to keep up with questions from aspiring creators on my Tumblr page. If you’re not following me there you might have missed some interesting information or helpful advice.
I’ll use this post as a hub to paraphrase the best questions and point you toward my answers:
SUBMITTING YOUR PITCH/PORTFOLIO
Q: For email submissions, what format should I use?
Q: Is it better to submit a mini-series or ongoing series?
Q: Is it better to release one graphic novel or a mini-series and trade collection?
Q: Is it okay to pitch a book you already self published?
Q: Do you worry about a publisher rejecting a pitch and then stealing the idea?
Q: How many “no’s” did you get before finally getting something published?
Q: When did you realize you’d “made it” in the comic industry?
Q: How do I get started making my own comics?
Q: What are the most common mistakes you see from new comic creators?
Q: Did you go to school for writing?
Q: What do your comic scripts look like?
Q: How long does it take to write a comic?
Q: I’m having trouble getting my ideas down and organized. What do you suggest?
Q: What advice would you give to someone working on their first ongoing title?
Q: What things make up a great first issue?
Q: Do you have any advice on how to make a comic book adaptation of a novel?
Q: How do you come up with titles for your stories?
Q: How do you structure a short comic story?
Q: How many panels should I put on a page?
Q: Do comic writers have to use sound effects?
Q: How do I get feedback on my comic writing?
Q: How do I critique my own work?
Q: Do you have advice on co-writing a story with another writer:
Q: How can I improve gender-racial equality in my writing?
Q: How do webcomics differ from print comics?
Q: Is it better to buy single issues or trades to support a creator-owned series?
Q: What’s the difference between self-publishing and being published by Image?
Q: How much money do creator-owned comics make compared to working for Marvel/DC?
Q: Could you provide any advice on copyrighting or trademarking your work?
Q: Do I have to pay to print my own book if I’m published by Image Comics?
Q: What’s the proper percentage breakdown for profits between a writer and artist?
Q: Do creators always control their work with creator-owned comics?
Q: How much flexibility are you given on work-for-hire projects?
Q: How much interaction do you have with the art team when you write work-for-hire?
Q: is it normal for DC/Marvel to approach you instead of you approaching them?
MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRY QUESTIONS
Q: How can I find an audience for my work?
Q: How do you work on multiple projects at the same time?
Q: How do I get involved with the social side of the comic industry?
Q: Is there anywhere I can see what a professional contract looks like?
Q: If someone had a great comic story idea and you liked it would you consider co-writing it with them?
Q: I hear about writers needing other jobs to make a living. Is that true with writing comics?
Q: How do I become a comic colorist?
Q: Have you ever had a comic or project you were involved in turn into a disaster?
Q: What do you think of the diversity trend in mainstream comics?
If you found the above Q&A links helpful, feel free to let me know here (or on Twitter), share the post with your friends and consider buying some of my comics to show your support for me answering all these questions instead of doing paying work. 😛
The announcement just went out today so it’s official: I’m writing a new THUNDERBOLTS monthly series for Marvel Comics! Working with the Avengers editorial team and artist Jon Malin to bring this team back into the spotlight is going to be a blast.
The Thunderbolts have been around in a few different configurations since 1997, but if you’ve never read their adventures I’ll give you a quick overview: They’re a team of heroes who haven’t always been heroic. Many of them are actually villains in search of redemption and the tough choices they make will define their heroic or villainous legacy.
The new team, lead by the Winter Soldier, will be emerging out of an Avengers-centric event starting in April called Standoff. Reading Standoff will be a sweet introduction to the new Thunderbolts, but I’m also aiming to make the first issue of Thunderbolts very new reader friendly so you can get on board without needing an encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Universe. If you’ve been a longtime Marvel reader, you’ll find lots to enjoy here. If you only know the Winter Soldier from the Captain America movie, this will still be easy to dig into.
I can’t go into any more detail beyond the above right now, but expect more details soon.
As always, thanks for the enthusiasm and support!
I spoke to Comics Alliance about the new DUNGEONS & DRAGONS comic series I’m writing that launches in April (pre-order now!) Check it out! So much good stuff coming down the road…
I’m thrilled to announce that DUNGEONS & DRAGONS comics make their triumphant return in April and I’m writing the new series! The gang at Wizards of the Coast have been incredibly supportive and we have tons of great stuff planned. Make sure you pre-order it from your local comic retailer.
Here’s the solicitation to the first issue:
Dungeons & Dragons #1
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Nelson Daniel
Cover: Max Dunbar
MINSC AND BOO ARE BACK and things have never looked more dire, as mysterious forces draw the legendary ranger and his crew of adventurers to RAVENLOFT, the Realm of Terror… where they find themselves face to face with undead horrors in the land of eternal night!
Full Color • 40 pages • $4.99
• Jim Zub (Wayward, Samurai Jack) returns with a perfect jumping-on point, continuing the adventures of the team introduced in the hit Legends of Baldur’s Gate!
• Introducing the dramatic style of artist Nelson Daniel (Judge Dredd)!
• Minsc and Boo are cult favorite characters from the best-selling Baldur’s Gate video game series which has sold millions of copies around the world.
• Variant cover of amazing Ravenloft art featuring Count Strahd von Zarovich!
Yesterday saw the arrival of Figment 2 #5, the final part of the Legacy of Imagination mini-series, wrapping up my story of Dreamfinder, Figment, and their new friends.
When Bill Rosemann first contacted me back in December 2013 to see if I’d be interested in brainstorming material for a possible comic based on Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination attraction, I had no way of knowing how enjoyable a ride we were about to embark upon. Working with the Disney Imagineering team, collaborating with amazing artists Filipe Andrade, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, John Tyler Christopher, and Ramon Bachs to build a new mythology for Disney World’s gleeful adventure-seeking mascot…It’s been a blast.
Between the two mini-series we utilized almost all the story material I brainstormed for my initial pitch to Bill. Having both stories be so well received by Disney fans, the Imagineers, and the original creators and actors of the attraction has been incredible.
Thank you to Bill Rosemann, David Gabriel, Mark Basso, and Emily Shaw at Marvel and Brian Crosby, Tom Morris, and Josh Shipley at Disney for their support and guidance.
Putting together a whimsical adventure story like Figment that can be enjoyed by kids and parents alike pushed me as a writer more than I expected. Underneath my pragmatic and cynical defenses I found my own well of creative inspiration. I won’t soon forget that.
There aren’t any current plans for more Figment comics, but the hardcover collection of the second series arrives in March. I’m hoping continued interest in the story from Disney and the Disney World fan base will keep both books in print for many years to come. Thank you for supporting the series so enthusiastically and sharing it with your loved ones.
Here we go again, a look at my year in review. I’ve been doing this on my blog for the past few years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). It’s a nice way to sum up my thoughts on the year that was and take in the ups and downs that came with it.
2015 was a bit bumpy in spots, but on the whole things are rolling along. It felt like a transitional year, building momentum for new things to come in 2016.
Stacy and I are doing really well. Having a bit of time over the holidays to step back and realize how fortunate we are was really nice. Our marriage is strong and that stability permeates so many other aspects of our life.
Throwing my back out in October (after struggling with aches and pains through August and September) was a wake up call on my health. Physiotherapy and regular stretching is helping a lot and it doesn’t look like I’ll need back surgery. I need to make sure I don’t ignore my body in the future. I’m turning 40 in 2016 so it’s something I need to pay a lot more attention to. Message received.
Over at Seneca we rolled out the biggest curriculum change since I took over as Coordinator of the Animation program back in 2006 and, barring a few equipment/technical glitches it seems to be going really well. The faculty are easing into the adjusted schedule and students seem to be enjoying the new options we have available to them. I’m teaching the new Portfolio Development course for the first time starting in January, so that should be a neat challenge.
On the creative front it was all about wrapping things up. The final issue of Skullkickers arrived in August (though it will keep serializing for free online until March 2016), completing a five year journey with Edwin, Misty, and Marshall that’s really changed my life. Building that body of work and proving I could deliver a professional quality comic has lead to dozens of other freelance opportunities and been an incredibly creatively fulfilling experience. It felt strange to finally finish it off, but also very satisfying.
Samurai Jack also wrapped up with #20. At the time it looked like that issue might be the last that people saw of the time-traveling samurai, but earlier this month Cartoon Network surprised everyone with an announcement of a new season coming next year. What that means for the comic stories or my involvement is still up in the air but, as both a fan and a small contributor to the whole, I’m excited to see what Genndy and company has planned.
Wayward continues at a good pace and all of us on the team are pumped for people to see what we have planned in the new year. The story is a roller coaster ride of ideas, the hardest thing I’ve written so far, and knowing that we’re building this without the safety net of an established property is scary and exciting. Although I have an end in mind as we work away on the series, I don’t have a set number of issues for the middle. Our fingers are crossed that reader support continues and we can have a long and healthy run.
I have a new creator-owned project that’s been percolating since September and is now gaining momentum. The story and mood are something really different from what I’ve done before and the artist I’m working with (a newcomer) is going to knock people’s socks off. I also have a couple work-for-hire commercial projects in development and I’m pretty sure one of those will be announced in the next few weeks. Good stuff coming in the spring and summer.
Otherwise, Stacy and I are planning a major trip for the summer. Every fourth year at the college I get a sabbatical term, four months to step away from teaching. We’re planning to head to Japan for over a month, doing research and working on our creative projects, but also settling in a bit and enjoying the day to day life in one of our favorite places. There’s a ton of work to get done before then, but I know in the back of my mind I’ll be quietly counting down the days.
Two goals for the new year:
• Focus on what I can do instead of things out of my control. It’s so easy to get pulled into a whirlwind of frustration and regret wondering why things aren’t going the way I expect or wishing things were different, but it’s not productive. Next year I want to make an even greater effort to stay focused on my own growth and let the rest roll on.
• Make sure my family, friends, and collaborators know they’re valued. I work and spend time with so many amazing people and it’s important to let them know how important they are to me. I always feel it but next year I want to make greater efforts in expressing it.
As 2015 comes to a close it was a real pleasure seeing some of the comics I worked on this year pop up on annual ‘Best Of’ lists. Here are a few standouts:
• Comics Alliance nominated WAYWARD in two categories for their Best of 2015 awards: ‘Best Fantasy Comic‘ and ‘Best Comic For Teens‘. SKULLKICKERS was nominated for ‘Best Comedy Comic‘.
• Comic Attack nominated the WAYWARD creative team for ‘Best Indie Artist‘, ‘Best Indie Writer‘, ‘Best Ongoing Indie Series‘, and ‘Best Colorist‘, the end of SKULLKICKERS for ‘Best Comic Moment‘ and SAMURAI JACK for ‘Best Licensed Series‘.
• Bleeding Cool included WAYWARD Volume 1: String Theory on their ’11 Best Graphic Novels of 2015′ list.
• Review aggregator Comic Roundup listed their 20 Highest Reviewed Comic Series for 2015 and WAYWARD made the list at #9.