Zub at Gen Con 50 in Indianapolis!

It’s time again for North America’s largest tabletop, card, and board game show, GEN CON in Indianapolis, Indiana! This year is extra special because it’s the 50th anniversary of the show, so it’s looking to be bigger and better than ever.

Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance, Ravenloft), Howard Tayler (Shlock Mercenary, Writing Excuses) and I will be set-up together at BOOTH 1549 in the main exhibit hall, ready to sign and sketch for readers.

If you’re headed to Gen Con, it would be great to see you there! It’s one of my favorite shows each year. Getting the chance to promote my comic work and also dig into the latest and greatest the gaming industry has to offer is a wonderful opportunity.

Arriving in October- Wayward #24

WAYWARD #24

STORY: JIM ZUB
ART / COVER A: STEVEN CUMMINGS & TAMRA BONVILLAIN
COVER B: ERIC KIM
COVER C (WALKING DEAD #47 TRIBUTE VARIANT): STEVEN CUMMINGS & ROYCE “FOORAY” SOUTHERLAND
OCTOBER 25 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

The source of Ireland’s magic is a hidden land of breathtaking beauty and unimaginable danger. Death arrives armed with delicate blades and fae-tinged curses.

WAYWARD has been optioned for television development in Japan by Manga Entertainment. Get on board now and see what all the excitement is about!

Arriving in October – Glitterbomb: The Fame Game #2

GLITTERBOMB: THE FAME GAME #2 (of 4)

STORY: JIM ZUB
ART: DJIBRIL MORISSETTE-PHAN & K. MICHAEL RUSSELL
COVER A: DJIBRIL MORISSETTE-PHAN
COVER B: SEAN IZAAKSE & K. MICHAEL RUSSELL
OCTOBER 25 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

Kaydon’s tragedy-touched fame is a vortex pulling her ever deeper, and something else lurks there with her in the darkness…

DANGER DICE GANG Ep 9 – Always End Up Do

In this final episode of our first season, The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, the party heads down into the belly of the Sea Ghost. They meet another potential Ned, prepare to face off against the Dread Pirate Captain, and finally, Tuggra asks an unfortunate gentleman a question.

And with that, we’ve wrapped up our first season of The Danger Dice Gang! We will be taking a short hiatus while we edit and put together the second season, so please subscribe to our podcast and stay tuned for the return of Arlen, Keth, Oleg and Tuggra!

Thanks for listening, and as ever, keep on rolling!

Uncanny Avengers #25 Reviews

IGN: 8/10 “Almost everyone gets their moment to shine in the script, even Rogue’s unlikely criminal companions.”

Columbus Comics Corner: 9.5/10 “The book is a non-stop sequence of high pace action and great comedic relief from Rogue’s side plot with the villains. It’s hard not to spoil the amount of goodness placed in just this one issue.”

Comic Book University: B+ “This was really fun!”

Comic Buzz: 8/10 “It’s a lot to take in for a writer new to a title, but [Zub] holds his own wonderfully.”

Bleeding Cool: 7/10 “The team of Kim Jacinto, Jahnoy Lindsay, and Juanan Ramirez have made an absolutely gorgeous book here.”

Arriving in October: Uncanny Avengers #28!

Editor Tom Brevoort and I spoke to the gang at Diamond Previews all about UNCANNY AVENGERS and the return of Beast and Wonder Man as part of Marvel Legacy. Give that interview a read and then check out the advance solicit for the issue:

UNCANNY AVENGERS #28

(W) JIM ZUB
(A) SEAN IZAAKSE
(C) RB SILVA

STARS AND GARTERS
Part Avengers and part X-Men. Two of Earth’s mightiest heroes and two of Earth’s mightiest friends. And when it comes to super-heroics, Wonder Man and the Beast have seen it, done it, and they got the T-shirt. When the world throws you cosmic conflict, global calamity, death, rebirth and heartache aplenty, it’s important to remember where your friends are. Join us for “A Pint or Two,” won’t you?

Getting Covered: Effective Comic Cover Imagery

Let’s talk about comic covers.

A strong and evocative cover with a well-designed logo grabs attention and builds anticipation for the story inside. It’s your eye-catcher, sales pitch, and branding all wrapped up in one illustration. When it comes to creating your comic, the cover image may be your only chance to entice a retailer or reader to invest in you. It’s a crucial part of the whole package.

Sounds great, but with so many other comics on the shelves and colorful artwork vying for customer attention, how can you stand out in such a crowded field?

I’ve seen a lot of great looking artwork gracing the front cover of independent books, but many of them aren’t effective as cover imagery. Too many lack focus, clarity, or a visual hook and they don’t compel a new reader to pick it up and start browsing.

When you start putting together ideas for a cover, pull back and think carefully about the first impression you want to make.

• What is the genre?
• What is the mood?
• Who/what is most important?

In short, what do you want to communicate right off the bat about this story and what’s the clearest way of showing that?

No matter how complex or in-depth the story inside is or how many characters are in the cast, you need to simplify. The cover for a brand-new project you’re trying to sell is not the place to have a crazy montage of characters or a jumble of imagery all at once. A postage stamp collection of visuals isn’t direct and doesn’t stand out from a distance, which is what you need when people aren’t already aware of the creators, the characters, or the story.

Let me give you some examples from my creator-owned series:

Glitterbomb is a Hollywood horror story, but I wanted to emphasize the “horror” aspect for our first cover.

What did we want to communicate?
Otherworldly, possession/transformation, foreboding

That’s exactly what Djibril Morisette-Phan, my wonderful collaborator on the series, delivered.

Here’s another crucial element – the cover is an iconic composition that can be identified from 6-10 feet away.

When designing a cover and trade dress, print it out the same size it will be as a book, go to your local comic shop and put it on a shelf full of other comics, then take 5-6 steps back…

• Is it visible?
• Does it stand out?
• If someone was looking for it, would they find it?
• Could it grab the attention of a new customer?

Glitterbomb #1 communicates the mood of our series and grabs attention. Farrah, our main character, stares right at the reader, compelling you to stare back. It’s arresting and full of atmosphere, eye-catching and memorable.

Almost every cover for Glitterbomb communicates similar ideas. Some lean on the Hollywood elements but all of them have a sense of horror/foreboding. They prepare readers for the journey:


Artwork by Marguerite Sauvage, Vivian Ng, Djibril Morisette-Phan, and Trevor Jameus.

Also note that even with these thumbnails before you make them full size, you can easily identify the subject and the logo stands out. The core shapes that make up the design and the colors aren’t muddy or indistinct. Clarity is crucial.

The third cover for The Fame Game our second Glitterbomb mini-series (shown here publicly for the first time) is one of my favorites so far:

The California sunlight should be warm and inviting, but it contrasts with the creepy supernatural eyes and expression to turn that sunlight into something harsh. It’s a great mix of our horror & Hollywood themes.

Compare those Glitterbomb covers to some of the best ones from Skullkickers, my action-fantasy sword & sorcery series, also published by Image:


Artwork by Chris Stevens, Edwin Huang and Espen Grundetjern, and Chris Stevens with Saejin Oh.

What do they communicate?
Violent but whimsical, fantasy, comradery, adventure.

What you see on that cover is what you get within the pages. Our best covers exemplified those core ideas while teasing events happening inside. Simple and direct, but also telling the reader if this book might be for them.

A great cover for a new property is more than a montage of characters we don’t yet know or care about. It’s more than a character looking cool without any context.

I think the most effective cover on a creator-owned book I’ve worked on has been Wayward #1, by Steven Cummings with colors by Ross A. Campbell:

Supernatural. Teen. Ready to kick ass.

That powerful image coupled with our elevator pitch that Wayward is like “Buffy in Japan” did wonders for our series launch. It branded us and brought in readers in a big way. I can’t even count the number of people who have stopped to browse and buy Wayward Vol. 1 thanks to that killer cover.

“Oh wow, what is that?”
“Who is she?”
“Kitties!”

It’s been powerful mojo for us. It breaks the ice and invites inspection.

Our best covers have created a similar feeling of teenage supernatural adventure taking place in Japan:

Artwork by Alina Urusov, Takeshi Miyazawa, Phillip Tan, and Jorge Molina

Here are some other creator-owned comic covers that showcase clarity and concept. Each one brands the series and prepares the reader with subject and mood. Each one is inviting and visible from across a room:

Artwork by Skottie Young and Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Gabriel Rodriguez, Stjepan Stejic, and Fiona Staples

I don’t think there’s only one way to do covers. You can have storytelling-centric covers, design-based covers, abstract high concept covers, or anything else you want, but in each case you need to grab attention and deliver a sense of what readers can expect inside.

The cover is an airlock that separates our real world from the world within those pages. It communicates a feeling and prepares the audience. Do it well and you can bring in complete strangers who might otherwise have passed you by.

If you found this post interesting, feel free to let me know here (or on Twitter), share the post with your friends and consider buying some of my comics, donating to my Patreon, or buying comics from me in person if you see me at a convention.

WAYWARD #21 Reviews

Wayward is back for a fifth story arc as issue #21 hit stores last week. Here’s what reviewers thought of it:

Geeked Out Nation: 8.6/10 “Steve Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain knock it out of the park”

Horror Talk: 9/10 “This is a gripping character-driven series containing action, horror, and good old-fashioned teen drama.”

Multiversity: 7.5/10 “The consistency of this series continues as it returns for its fifth arc.”

Team Ashen: “The writing has been spectacular. The art is amazing.”

TM Stash: 10/10 “Wayward is one of the most beautifully written and illustrated books in comics today…a rich world filled with Japanese and Irish folklore combined with characters drawn from today’s culture.”

Under the Comic Covers: “It’s so great to have Wayward back.”

Dynamic Forces Interview About Wayward’s Fifth Story Arc

I spoke to Byron Brewer at Dynamic Forces all about Wayward’s fifth arc and the exciting things coming down the pipe for our story. Give it a read!

DANGER DICE GANG Ep 8 – Rumble in the Barracks

Welcome back to the resolution of last episode’s cliffhanger! With the party split up, will Keth survive his tactical blunder? Will Arlen be able to survive a close quarters combat with a group of pirates? Will Tuggra be able to climb down a rope without falling? Will Oleg have time to make out with Will? Find out, dear listener, in this latest episode of The Danger Dice Gang!