Reviews: D&D #1 and Samurai Jack #13

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Ain’t It Cool News: “Zub’s writing allows us to imagine Minsc’s voice in our heads; it sounds just right, and the lines he gives Minsc are hilarious.”

Comic Bastards: 4/5 “No knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons or Baldur’s Gate is needed. Just a fun book with action and interesting characters.”

Comic Book Bin: “I want to try the next one or two issues in order to see where this goes.”

Deadshirt: “This issue is a breathless roller coaster ride that promises intriguing follow-ups, and perfectly captures Minsc’s trademark bizarre grammar and daffy heroism.”

Fanboy Nation: “Jim Zub clearly loves the D&D world and has produced an enjoyable comic about everyone’s favorite Rashemen ranger.”

Fellowship of the Geeks: “This issue is an adventurous romp from start to finish, with equal parts combat and comedy.”

Fangirl Nation: “One issue alone and I’m ready to follow Minsc’s adventures anywhere.”

Geek Retreat: “It has the look and feel of Baldur’s Gate games, with its specific brand of humour and dialogue, so luckily they haven’t messed with the formula”

Geeks With Wives: “If you haven’t experienced Dungeons and Dragons, this comic is a great way to see the source material come to life in an artful comic.”

Kastor’s Korner: “Never fear! Jim Zub’s mastery over medieval fantasy storytelling is here!”

Merric’s Musings: “it’s a nice, entertaining start to the series, and I look forward to reading the next issue.”

Nerdy-But-Flirty: “I’m very excited that this comic exists, and my only complaint is that I wish it was longer! “

Outhousers: “From the first panel (maybe the second), this comic will grab you and hold on with its stone claws.”

Sound On Sight: “Zub uses Minsc’s lack of intelligence to make many wordplay jokes, and Dunbar shows his skill with the blade as he impales everything in sight and then some.”

Unleash The Fanboy: 8.5/10 “the kind of fun, exciting comic that any fanboy will love”

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IGN: 9.3/10 “This comic is worthy of the source material in every way.”…”An actual TV continuation would be hard-pressed to outdo this comic.”

Comic Bastards: 5/5 “…with the action and themes of each issue, Samurai Jack is something anyone can enjoy.”

Outhousers: “Samurai Jack #13 is a blending of genres including the spy-like hiding of Jack, his Japanese-tinged flashbacks and high fantasy and mythology seeing the gods.”

Rock! Shock! Pop!: “The saga of Jack and the broken sword continues as things intensify once again in this third chapter.”

WAYWARD #2 Sold Out! 2nd Print Rushing To Press

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WAYWARD #2 has sold out and is being rushed back to press to meet retailer and reader demand! Here’s the new cover by Steve Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain and press release from Image:


WAYWARD Praise Goes Viral

The second issue has sold out and is being rushed to a second printing

The second issue of Jim Zub (SKULLKICKERS, Samurai Jack) and Steve Cummings’ (Legends of the Dark Knight, Deadshot) ongoing supernatural adventure series WAYWARD resonates with readers in search of myth, monsters, and magic. The second issue has sold out completely and is fast-tracked for a second printing to meet demand. Fan praise for WAYWARD has lit up social media and gone viral.

In WAYWARD #2 Rori’s uncanny senses lead her to a classmate with a dark secret… one he’s willing to kill to keep hidden.

“Steve and I are ecstatic about the response so far to Wayward,” said Zub. “This has been a dream project for both of us and knowing that the readership is engaged and growing helps us keep working hard.”

Fan praise for WAYWARD:
“I loooove Wayward, manager at this local comic store recommended it and so I got the first issue and found myself needing more, went back the next day and just had to grab the second issue. Really enjoyed the work gone into this, keep on keepin’ on!” —level9lamewad

“Wayward is one great comic. Two issues in and I’m wanting more and more.” —@JoshuaCoast

“Jim Zub’s Wayward comic is brilliant and beautiful.” —@wordwill

“Wayward is basically Buffy directed by Miyazaki. It’s the best new comic I’ve read in ages. It’s going to be huge.” —@samashurst

“If you’re not already reading it, give the comic Wayward a read. Definitely deserves more attention!” —@couragebatou

“Love this comic.” —@Mer_Ault

“A really cool fusion of Western comics & manga.” —thegamingkoala

WAYWARD #2 has completely sold out at the distributor level, but may still be available in comic stores. It is currently available digitally on the Image Comics website (imagecomics.com) and the official Image Comics iOS app, and on Comixology on the web (comixology.com), iOS, Android, and Google Play.

The second printing of WAYWARD #2 (Diamond Code SEP148170) will release on 11/19.

WAYWARD #3 will hit stores on 10/29 and can be pre-ordered with Diamond Code AUG140692. Cover B by Jorge Molina can be pre-ordered with Diamond Code AUG140693.

Super Glyph Quest, With The Skullkickers and Much More!

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My dear friends Leanne Bayley and Alex Trowers have just released SUPER GLYPH QUEST, a fun spellcasting mini-RPG for mobile platforms (iPhone/iPad right now and Android still to come). If you enjoy match-3-style games like Puzzle Quest and Bejeweled, you’re going to love Glyph Quest’s strategic combos and colorful animations.

Even better, Super Glyph Quest includes a special Skullkickers quest against Thool! Yup, Rex and Rolf make their first video game appearance in the cute Glyph Quest style and it’s awesome. If you like Skullkickers you’ll definitely want to check this out.

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Also making our first video game appearance is Stacy and I! Yeah, my wife and I appear in the game as NPCs and our designers are ridiculously cute as well. Check ‘em out!

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Alex and Leanne included many of the long time Animex festival speakers in the game in background roles as NPCs throughout the game. It’s a cute Easter Egg that makes the game even more memorable for our friends.

So, if you want a fun new game title to play on your iPhone/iPad, SUPER GLYPH QUEST is it!

It’s $2.99, the price of a coffee, but it’s also ad free and doesn’t drag micropayment annoyances along behind it. It’s a wonderful self-contained title worth your time and support.

I’m Writing Back-Up Stories for the New Munchkin Comic!

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I’ve joked about becoming an RPG comic kaiju eating all in my path but, with this announcement it feels like that joke is becoming the reality.

I’ll be writing 6 page back-up stories for the new MUNCHKIN comic series starting in January from BOOM!

Here’s the solicit info:

MUNCHKIN #1
Retail Price: $3.99
Authors: Tom Siddell, Jim Zub & John Kovalic
Artists: Mike Holmes, Ryan Sygh, & John Kovalic
Cover Artists: A: Ian McGinty 99% B: Evan Palmer 1% C. Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb (10 Years Cover) INCENTIVE D. John Kovalic INCENTIVE

WHY WE LOVE IT: As long-time fans of the game, we’re jazzed to weave stories out of the world of Munchkin, whether it’s from the perspective of one Munchkin, a gang of them, or even one of the monsters that live behind the doors!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: Kick open the door. Kill the monster. Steal the treasure. Screw over everybody you come in contact with. Welcome to the world of Munchkin, a gathering of stories based on the popular game series. It’s a laugh a minute, pal. Plus, every first printing of every issue will ship with an exclusive card for the game.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Based on the immensely popular card game, Munchkin comes to comics! Munchkin takes place in a very flexible mashup of genres. Originally a satire of fantasy roleplaying, it has since then taken on non-fantasy and non-gaming elements. Characters in Munchkin change constantly but never permanently. What do Munchkins do? They play for the win. They are rules lawyers. They backstab. They gloat. They whine when someone else backstabs or gloats. Munchkins are emotional. Munchkins may be clever, but they are never wise. Munchkins have short attention spans. Munchkins may be brave in the face of awful odds, but they are even braver when beating up crippled goblins for their lunch money. If a Munchkin seems to show mercy, it’s because he was bored or distracted. After all, even stomping an ant helps you level up.

Video Interview From New York Comic Con

The gang from Enchanted Tiki Talk ask me about the Figment series, future comic projects, and Wayward. Check it out.

Welcome To Baldur’s Gate: Thoughts On Writing and RPGs

Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1 arrives in comic shops (and digitally via comiXology) today! Here’s a preview of the issue.

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IDW allowed me to wax gaming nostalgic with a little essay in the back of the issue, reprinted here:

WELCOME TO BALDUR’S GATE

Without Dungeons & Dragons, I wouldn’t be here.

I guess that sounds fairly obvious on the surface. If there was no Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, then obviously there’d be no Forgotten Realms, no best-selling Baldur’s Gate video game series, and no Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate comic book 40 years later…but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I mean me, the writer.

Jim Zub the storyteller exists because of Dungeons & Dragons, the game.

When I was 8 years old, my older brother Joe and cousins Kevin and Mark introduced me to D&D. Even though the Dungeons & Dragons Basic red box set was clearly labeled “ages 10 and up”, I convinced them I was mature enough to be a part of their adventuring group (and, by that, I mean I whimpered and whined until they let me join).

Right from the start, I could tell this wasn’t like any other game I’d ever played before. No cards, no board, no limits. No matter how young or small I was in real life I could create a character just as capable as the adults I was playing with. The Dungeon Master asked us what we were doing and my decisions, along with nerve-wracking rolls of the dice, had as much value as anyone else’s at the table.

After that first taste of adventure, I was absolutely hooked.

Our party delved into strange lairs, slew horrifying creatures, and gathered fabulous treasures. Every choice we made had unforeseen ramifications and not even the DM knew how it would all turn out.

Each turn I’d get a chance to make my mark on our exciting collaborative story. If I did something memorable, the group would laugh and I got to feel like one of the grown-ups. Unexpected banter, battle cries, one-liners – I wanted to entertain everyone and make sure my character left an impression.

As the years went by, I grew up and roleplaying games grew with me. I moved behind the DM screen and started building grand adventures for my friends to quest through. Drama, plot, dialogue, pacing – All those core creative skills were honed by sitting around the gaming table using my imagination.

My writing career is, in many ways, my most ambitious ‘RPG campaign’ yet. It’s new and exciting but, at the same time, I’m still playing the game – Creating characters, coming up with scenarios…doing everything I can to engage an audience. In my head I’m playing through the character interactions and figuring out what comes next.

Roleplaying games are the best entertainment money can buy. They create lifelong bonds between friends and spark our creativity with a framework that encourages the unexpected.

Getting the chance to tell a Dungeons & Dragons story as part of the game’s 40th anniversary, carving out a new chapter in the fabled city of Baldur’s Gate…It’s wonderful, ridiculous, and surreal all at the same time. Somewhere inside of me there’s an 8 year old Li’l Zub screaming with joy as he runs around the house pretending he’s kicking skeletons in the face.

My thanks to Ted Adams, John Barber, Mike Mearls, Greg Bilsland, and the rest of the crew at IDW and Wizards of the Coast for giving me this incredible opportunity. Max Dunbar is a stellar collaborator and I’m honored to see my words brought to life by his appealing designs and confident page art.

As I write the Legends of Baldur’s Gate comic, I try to channel the joyous adventuring spirit ignited in me many years ago by my favorite game. I hope you read our story and feel that excitement coming through.

Roll initiative…Let’s do this!

Jim Zub
September 1, 2014

Zub-IDW Triple Play This Week!

I’ve got three IDW-published comics coming out this week!

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First up is the launch of Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate! This new D&D comic series, celebrating 40 years of gaming greatness and the launch of D&D 5th edition, is a perfect jumping on point for new readers.
Click HERE for a preview.

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Second is Super Secret Crisis War: Cow and Chicken! This one-shot special ties into IDW’s big Cartoon Network crossover and it’s filled with zany weirdness just like the original show was.
Click HERE for a preview.

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Third is Samurai Jack #13, continuing the intensity of our epic “Quest of the Broken Blade” story arc, pushing Jack into uncharted territory.
Click HERE for a preview.

Tiki Talk Follow-Up Interview on Figment

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The gang from the Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast met me in person at NYCC and we did a follow-up interview all about the Figment comic mini-series.

Give it a listen here. The interview section starts at 10:09.

FENG SHUI is Pure Action Overload and You Need It

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I’ve gone on at length about my love of tabletop role-playing games and how I feel they’re the best entertainment money can buy. Sitting down to create a new interactive tale with a group of friends is a joyous experience that few other things can match. Playing RPGs strengthened my storytelling skills and lead me down the creative path to becoming a comic writer.

I want to talk about one game in particular that stands out among the dozens and dozens I’ve played over the years: FENG SHUI.

Feng Shui is an Action Movie Role-Playing Game written by Robin Laws. It takes the heightened intensity of Hong Kong-style action films and, in a simple and cohesive way, creates a storytelling framework that encourages everyone playing to have a great time. It changed the way I played games and, for many designers and players alike, it was a milestone in the way that it injected storytelling ideas into the mechanical components of gaming.

Here’s the thing: In practically every tabletop RPG that came before Feng Shui, there was a distinct divide between narration and action. You could “role play” all you wanted as the story progressed but, once the action kicked into gear, it was time to break out the dice and hope for the best. No matter what you envisioned in your mind as weapons clashed, the rules alone would dictate who hits, how much damage they take, and the end result therein. The narrative component was completely pushed out in favor of cold numbers and probabilities.

What Robin did with Feng Shui was to weave the narrative back into the heart of the action and make it integral to how the game is played. Describing what you’re doing during combat, how you’re doing it, and making it as entertaining as possible grants you bonuses to achieve the very thing you’re describing. Instead of the rules working against your wildest imagination, it propels it forward and makes action scenes a bombastic rollicking part of the story instead of a number crunching speed bump. It’s no longer about min-maxing the stats and hoping the dice play your way, it’s about entertaining the whole table as the Game Master rewards your inventiveness and creativity.

That critical shift in focus made a massive difference in how our group played RPGs. It pushed Feng Shui to the top of the pile whenever we wanted to pull together a game or teach new players what RPGs were all about. It made the mechanical part of the game fun and encouraged everyone at the table to contribute in a way I’d never experienced before.

Feng Shui effortlessly codifies the ridiculous entertainment of action movies and empowers everyone playing to throw down in an over-the-top thrill ride with an infinite production budget. It rewards involvement, energizes storytelling, and never fails to surprise.

Our college gaming group ran a Mission Impossible-style episodic campaign called Agents of Intrigue. It started off as a simple throw-together format to run games when we weren’t sure who would be available from week to week and, over dozens of wild sessions and years of play, it evolved into a sprawling cast of colorful characters and weaving plot lines punctuated with wry humor and bone-crunching action. To this day that campaign is one of my favorite gaming memories.

The Feng Shui 2nd Edition Kickstarter is currently running down its last day of fundraising and I heartily encourage everyone I know who loves games to contribute. Beyond the PDF or physical book of rules, you’re helping support one of the best RPG games of all time while receiving a toolkit for creating new heart-pounding stories of ultimate ass-kickery.

DO IT and tell ‘em I sent ya. :)

I’m Writing Spidey Stories!

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Announced over the weekend, I’m part of the creative team launching a tie-in comic for the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series featured on the Disney Channel.

You can read all about it in our new Comic Book Resources interview.

Amazing Spider-Man was the first super hero comic I ever collected, so getting the chance to write stories for everyone’s favorite web-slinger is a pure delight.