Author Archives: Jim Zub

D&D: Evil At Baldur’s Gate Begins in April!

Geek & Sundry has the scoop – the fourth Dungeons & Dragons mini-series, titled Evil At Baldur’s Gate, begins in April!

This time we have a series of five one-shot stories that focus on different characters from our cast, delving into who they are while also showcasing some aspects of Dungeons & Dragons that has never shown up in the comics before. Head on over to Geek & Sundry to read an interview with me where I talk about what’s in store and also talk about why tabletop gaming is so much fun.

Glitterbomb Interview on The Beat

I spoke to Matt O’Keefe at The Beat all about developing Glitterbomb, the wave of harassment being revealed in Hollywood, and my own personal low points in my writing career. Lots of material to cover here. Check it out.

Avengers #675 Reviews

Avengers #675 arrived in stores last Wednesday, the beginning of our 16-part/16 week story line. What did reviewers think of it? Let’s find out…

All-Comic: “The artwork is on fire here as penciller Pepe Larraz and colorist David Curiel are fantastic. Each page is a visual treat”

Alpha Comics: “By and large this is a great place to jump into the Avengers series if you aren’t already on board. And for those who are already fans: get ready for a wild ride!”

Bleeding Cool: “with a plot this massive, it’s impressive that it manages to remain as character-focused as it does.”

Adventures In Poor Taste: 8/10 “A good first issue that has an event-vibe and stuffs a lot of characters into it.”

Chuck’s Comic of the Day: “…it’s a very entertaining mystery (the best kind!), and I’m in for the long haul.”

Comic Book University: B+ “This is a fantastic comic book.”

Comic Buzz: 8/10 “It’s a fun start to this story and I hope it can keep up this momentum.”

Comic Crusaders: 8.8/10 “It’s an intense issue and great reading!”

Comic Pop: “Written by three different people but manages to maintain a single voice.”

Comic-Watch: 9/10 “This is exactly what you want from a superhero story. The world is in danger and the heroes have to come together to save it.”

Comics Beat: “The art was on point throughout the issue. It’s nice when comic artists take the time to draw big splashy moments and fight scenes as well some more subtle, nuanced stuff for older readers. There is much to love here”

Comics the Gathering: “If you’re looking for an exciting, visually appealing book, this crossover is the one for you.”

Comicosity: 8.5/10 “This is a great start, the weekly pace should battle any story or memory atrophy, and the character assortment has enough for every reader to find an anchor.”

Comicsverse: 8.2/10 “I’m excited for the next issue, so at least that’s a good thing to take away. A weekly series needs to be anticipated, so let’s hope that stays true in the weeks to come.”

Critical Blast: “We still have a long way to go with No Surrender, but I really enjoyed this first issue. Great art, exciting story, compelling character moments, and a lot of mysteries left to be answered. “

Diskingdom: 8/10 “This No Surrender storyline kicks off with a bang, with loads of action, loads of heroes and a huge question hanging over the entire Marvel Universe…This first issue completely sold me on getting invested in this story.”

Fandom Post: “The writing by Waid, Ewing, and Zub flows rather well, and honestly came out very cohesive, even if things were happening fast.”

Fansided: “…the first chapter of Avengers: No Surrender gets the pacing right.”

Fortress of Solitude: 9/10 “I’m really excited to see this massive 16-part story play out.”

Graphic Policy: 8.2/10 “I was skeptical about this event series but after this first issue, I’d be lying if I didn’t want to read more. Thankfully with a weekly event, I won’t have to wait long for that.”

Heroic Legacy: 8.8/10 “…this is a promising start. It would be easy for a story like this to start off confusing, but it is actually easy to follow along.”

IGN: “…straightforward and focused more on spectacle than characters, this first chapter starts the crossover off on solid footing.”

The Lost Lighthouse: “Avengers #675 is off to a good start, and with the writers involved and the art so far there is a lot of promise for No Surrender.”

Monkeys Fighting Robots: “This is a big, bold project for Marvel and these creators. Avengers starts its now weekly story in a classic comic book structure and pace.”

Newsarama: “Avengers #675 gives us more questions than it does answers, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a good-looking book that keeps its heroes’ characterization intact.”

Pop Culture Philosophers: “Really cool artwork. Really epic story. Worthy of the Avengers.”

Rogues Portal: “With an interesting plot, appealing art, and a variety of characters both beloved and obscure, Avengers #675 launches the weekly “No Surrender” storyline with a great result.”

Super Hero Nexus: “Great comic. I highly recommend you pick this comic up and join me on the ride “

Talking Comic Books: “With a top notch group of writers and the beautiful artwork from rising star Pepe Larraz, Avengers #675 is a Buy.”

The Mighty Blog (French): “The pacing is perfect, the alchemy between characters is there, and that’s no small feat given the size of the cast.”

Uncanny Nerdverse: 9/10 “A solid start. I’m excited to see where it all goes from here.”

Some Thoughts on Avengers: No Surrender

With the arrival of AVENGERS #675 in comic shops today and the kick-off to 16 weeks of epic Avengers action for our weekly No Surrender story line, I wanted to put together some quick thoughts to celebrate.

Tracking back through my messages, it looks like the first formal email where we discussed the possibility of a weekly Avengers book combining our individual titles was December 19th, 2016. From there, we spent five weeks tossing ideas back and forth (what kind of threat would be big enough to encompass this story, which characters would be at the core of it, etc.). Our story summit was on February 2nd, 2017. That was our marathon brainstorming session in the Marvel office hashing out the biggest parts of the story and building the over arcing structure that would take us from month-to-month.

Tom Brevoort (Avengers lead editor and Marvel Senior VP of Publishing) and Alanna Smith (editor in the Avengers office) built our strenuous schedule. In order to make sure we had enough material in the can for three different art teams to be working simultaneously without compromising quality, our first script was due March 3rd and from then on we had to deliver a script every two weeks through to the end of October.

No Surrender wouldn’t be formally announced until late September, by which time we had 14 out of the 16 issues written. It was a surreal feeling busting away on this massive story in secret. At first it was kind of maddening and I wanted to tell everyone but then, over time, it just became normal. When it was finally announced, so much time had passed that people actually knowing about it felt a bit wrong, like we’d broken the hushed spell that had been cast over it. I’d gotten used to our mysterious project quietly chugging along with a steady flow of writing and art moving back and forth across multiple time zones.

Now, at last, here we are. The first issue is out. Over a year of work put into this and it’s time for readers to see the fruits of our labors and tell us what they think of it – week after week, issue by issue.

At the end of April when we come to the end of this roller coaster ride I’ll have more to say, but for now I just want to thank everyone on our team for their hard work. When we handed in our first script (on time!) Tom told us that he felt it had been a real team effort, “very much in the spirit of the Avengers.” I can’t fully express how much that meant to me at the time and how much momentum it gave me as we looked ahead to 30 more weeks of intense writing along with proofing and revisions that continue even now as each issue heads out the door to the printer.

It may sound a bit silly, but for the next four months we are the Avengers.

I hope you’ll join us.

Glitterbomb: The Fame Game #4 Reviews

The final issue of our second mini-series arrived between Christmas and New Year’s. What did the critics think?

Adventures In Poor Taste: 8.5/10 “Unexpected twists and impressive artwork close this series on a high-note; the Glitterbomb team continues to impress.”

Comic Book Corps: 9/10 “…do yourself a favor and read this. It is entertaining, the art is amazing, and it is also educational due to the informative back matter.”

Horror Talk: 8/10 “…a timely, unsettling look at how we perceive fame in today’s society. It will have you thinking twice before tuning into the local news or clicking on that juicy headline.”

Outright Geekery: 9.4/10 “If you love horror, crime, or suspense this is the book for you. This was tailor made for the mature reader and it’s such a great chance to read something out of the norm.”

Oregon Live: “Glitterbomb has been about darkness, discomfort and dissatisfaction, about how pop culture and tabloid media are a sickness. It’s a depressing book, but it’s one we need right now.”

Avengers Article on Seneca College

Seneca College, where I coordinate and teach in their Animation program, just posted a new article talking about my involvement in Avengers: No Surrender. Getting a shout out from the school was a wonderful way to start off the new year. Thanks, Seneca!

Cliff-Diving

Received a message from a gent in his 40’s asking me for some fiscal numbers to help him decide if he should cash in his 401k (US retirement fund) to become a full-time writer for 3 years so he doesn’t regret not having fully committed himself to it before he gets too old.

Part of me just wants to type “NO” and send it, but that would be crass and awkward.

Everyone is different.
Everyone’s risk/reward threshold is different.
Everyone’s creative needs are different too.
If I had to sum up some advice in this situation, I’d say:
“Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.”

Dude, it’s exciting to imagine it all works out and you have a solid full-time writing income at the end of that 3-year journey, but plan for the exact opposite:
You just blew your retirement fund and have no career to show for it.
How does the future look?

Is fearing future financial disaster the motivation you need to create stories you claim you’ve wanted to do for the past 30 years? I don’t know you, but I’m not buying that.

The romanticised ideal of the inspired artist sacrificing everything as they cast themselves off a cliff waiting for destiny to kick in and save them is Hollywood-esque Survivor’s Fallacy Bullshit™.

Look at the corpses on the rocks below. Chances are that’s you.

On the one hand, I’m sort of thankful this guy is asking me, someone who still teaches at a college full-time while I write 3+ comics per month because I don’t want to financially hook myself when it comes to creative endeavours. When it comes to crazy comic dream sacrifice plays, I’m about as pragmatic as you can get. If I was a superhero, my name would probably be Schedule Guy. Asking me if you should expose your financial underbelly for the Arts is not going to go far.

Dude, I’m writing the Avengers and I still haven’t quit my day job.
Cash in your 401k? Fuck, no.

“If only I had time-“
Make time. Set an alarm and wake up an hour early or spend an hour each night before bed. Write.
Make it 2 hours on Saturdays. That’s 8 hours per week.

“If only I could dedicate myself-“
You can and it doesn’t have to be with the shadow of financial ruin looming over you.

“I’ve always wanted to-“
Cool. Do it. Make a thing. Finish it.
Learn from it. Do it again. Keep doing it.

You can’t control how people react to the work or where it ends up taking you, but you can control your ability to do it or not. That’s the baseline.

Fully committing” to a creative pursuit means doing it despite other distractions in your life, not futilely trying to create a fantasy where you’re insulated from real world concerns while your future stability disintegrates.


(-Built this post from a Twitter thread because it seems like the kind of thing I’ll want to point to at a later date and because Storify is going bye-bye in the near future-)

Year In Review

As I’ve done in years past, I try to sum up the year that was in a post here on my site. 2017 was a strong year for me on a personal level and that felt a bit odd compared to the tumultuous and difficult state of the world at large.

We celebrated 10 years at our house in Toronto. I can’t believe it’s been a decade living downtown at the same address. It’s our home base in the middle of the city and, now that the subway extension to York University is finally up and running, it’ll be even easier for me to get to school without worrying about traffic snarls and parking hassles.

Speaking of school, teaching at Seneca was unexpectedly rocky with the Ontario College Teacher’s Strike lasting five weeks, throwing our schedule and finances for a bit of a loop, and creating challenges for the many students I coordinate in Seneca’s Animation program. Keeping our facilities open with computer labs and life drawing sessions running helped give some semblance of structure to the strike period and that helped our students weather the worst of it, but there are still ripple effects to the curriculum and schedule that will make the Winter term more hectic than usual. Thankfully we have a wonderful staff and community of students working together to move things forward.

On the creative front, I made deeper strides at Marvel, wrapping up Uncanny Avengers and plugging away on Avengers: No Surrender, a special weekly story line that starts January 10th, co-written by industry superstars Mark Waid and Al Ewing, with art by Pepe Larraz, Kim Jacinto, and Paco Medina, with editors Tom Brevoort and Alanna Smith keeping the whole thing running smooth. It’s the biggest project of my career so far and, with the extra attention being shown to the Avengers leading up to the May release of the Avengers: Infinity War movie, I’m hoping No Surrender does well with new fans and old. Beyond that, I have a new monthly Marvel series I’m taking over in April that should be announced soon. Exciting times!

Wayward was optioned by Manga Entertainment for a possible animated or live-action series and is being turned into a co-op board game by Jon Gilmour and the crew at IDW Games. I don’t have any more official news on the show front, but everything seems to be moving forward bit by bit. All this media stuff takes time to get rolling, even in the best of scenarios, so I’ve learned to just let it happen at its own pace while Steven, Tamra, Marshall, and I stay focused on building the comic.

The Glitterbomb: The Fame Game mini-series just wrapped up this week and we’ll have a collection for it in the new year. With so much abuse and harassment in Hollywood finally coming to light we struck a chord with readers, but those collection sales will determine whether we’re able to come back for a third and final mini-series in the Fall of 2018. Whether or not we do, Djibril and I are talking about working together on future projects.

Working on the Dungeons & Dragons comic series has been a blast but getting the chance to spend a few days in the D&D offices brainstorming story material for an upcoming RPG product was an extra-surreal thrill. I’ve always felt closely connected to the RPG industry and having another chance to make new friends in that space and find like-minded storytellers passionate about what they do is always inspiring. There’s more good stuff coming on the D&D front in 2018 and I can’t wait for you to see what we have planned.

Stacy and I are in Japan for the holidays and that’s come with its own set of challenges. On the morning of December 24th she took a bad fall and injured her back and we’re still riding out the aftermath of that as we get ready to head into New Year’s Eve here in Tokyo. Stacy’s injury put a damper on part of our trip, but thankfully we’re here for each other and in the end that’s what matters most. Together I know we can overcome any of life’s many challenges.

On the whole, I’m heading into 2018 hopeful and thankful – Hopeful about where things will go and thankful for the wonderful opportunities and events happening in my life. I hope your holidays have been relaxing and prosperous and that the year ahead looks bright.

Avengers Sketchbook: The Lethal Legion

Pepe Larraz, the artist for the first month of Avengers: No Surrender, has a great interview on Marvel.com where he shows off designs for the new Lethal Legion, a team of villains we created for this storyline. It’s always cool seeing process stuff like this and Pepe’s designs really level up the character ideas Mark, Al, and I had so go on over and check it out!

Glitterbomb is One of B&N’s Top Comics of the Year

Glitterbomb Vol. 1: Red Carpet was picked as one of Barnes & Noble’s Best Comics & Graphic Novels of the Year:

Jim Zub and newcomer Djibril Morissette-Phan’s Glitterbomb is a horror story for our times, and one that becomes sadly more relevant every day: it’s set in modern-day Hollywood, where washed-up actress Farrah Durante is trying to get by despite being one of the worst things you can be in the entertainment industry: a middle-aged woman. Worse: someone who’d been a little too vocal in rejecting the advances of a popular co-star. Then, a dark power finds her and feeds on her repressed rage in order to enact brutal revenge. When we say dark, we mean it: the book is fueled by a righteous anger at the things the famous and entitled think they can get away with.