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Year in Review

As I’ve done in years past, I try to use this post to sum up the year that was. 2016 was such a strange and turbulent time around the world and that made it even more surreal as I personally had a banner year in my work and personal life.

In May, Stacy and I traveled to Japan for a 6-week sabbatical, mixing in a few work-related events with an extended stay in Tokyo along with a half dozen other locations. It was something we’d been planning for the past two years and really was the trip of a lifetime. So many wonderful experiences and such meaningful time spent together, it’s hard for me to even describe. It strengthened the bond between the two of us and got us thinking about future travel opportunities.

After the big course curriculum changes in 2015, this year was way smoother by comparison. It’s my tenth year as Coordinator of Seneca’s Animation program and so I have a pretty good feel for the hills and valleys that come up as each term rolls along. With a record number of applicants to the program, the current group of students is one of the strongest we’ve ever had the fortune of teaching. I’m excited to watch their skills develop.

Comic-wise, I thankfully had far more highs than lows. I finally had the chance to tackle a monthly superhero series at Marvel with the new Thunderbolts, and the repercussions of delivering on that looks like it’ll ripple into 2017 and beyond. More news on that as we head into the Spring.

Launching Glitterbomb, a new creator-owned comic series at image, was an especially wonderful opportunity. Pushing my storytelling skills with something unexpected and working with rock solid newcomer Djibril Morissette-Phan has been a blast. We’ve got fun plans for the second arc arriving later in 2017.

Wayward continues and the whole team has been so incredibly consistent and wonderful that I need to make sure I don’t take any of it for granted. In an industry where even Marvel and DC series can struggle to make it past issue 12 we’ve just sent our 20th issue off to press, which is a heck of a milestone. On that front as well, we’ve got exciting plans I can’t wait to share with all of you.

Dungeons & Dragons, Street Fighter Legends: Cammy, the upcoming Freelance series and Monsters Unleashed: Avengers – I feel like I’ve hit a good groove in terms of material that exemplifies what I do best and collaborators who I work really well with.

I feel so incredibly fortunate to be able to teach, write and create, working with and meeting so many amazing people. I know things look bumpy for the year ahead, but my fingers are crossed that we’ll all be able to weather the storm. Wishing you and yours a very happy and prosperous new year.

Happy Anniversary, My Love


It’s still Saturday in North America but, here in Japan where I am right now for a business trip, it’s Sunday so I’m putting this message out early.

Happy Anniversary, Stacy!

Marrying you and our time together has been the best part of an ongoing adventure I never want to end.

Your kindness, enthusiasm, and intelligence inspire me and give me the strength to never give up. Your beauty, in appearance but also the warmth you bring into our life together, engages and renews me day after day.

It’s you and me, lover, and I can’t imagine things any other way.

I’ll see you soon and we’ll celebrate another wonderful year of being ridiculously, delightfully together.

Some Thoughts on the DC Writers Workshop Results

Lots of chatter about the DC Writers Workshop announcement.

I have no idea how many entries they received. In the press release they say “thousands” and that doesn’t surprise me.

When I posted I was looking for a colorist for a pitch I received hundreds of portfolios. With DC’s size and reach, thousands seems right.

So, with thousands to sift through, I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been to narrow the selection to 8. Just bonkers.

When you’re dealing with those kinds of odds, any tiny thing can demote a proposal just to try and get it down to a manageable number.

It sounds callous, but it’s true. I sort hundreds of portfolios each year for the Animation program where I teach. It’s a bit maddening.

You want to spend time with each one because they each represent a person – Their hard work and aspirations laid bare for you.

But then the sheer volume starts to overwhelm and you realize you have to filter. You have to start cutting. Dreams will be crushed.

You try to be as rational and fair as possible, and every little tidbit of information becomes a way to promote or demote a choice.

If I saw a bunch of established professionals in that mix, some award-winning, many quite accomplished in other fields, that would be tough.

It sets a really high bar but, given the massive amount of submissions, it makes sense.
I don’t envy anyone in that situation.

But, here’s the other important thing –
With that competition, it’s also hard to take it personal if you didn’t get in.

No matter how you feel right now, let me assure you:
A failed submission does NOT define your creative career unless you let it.

I’ve worked on amazing projects and worked on crapola.
I’ve been hired, fired, and black listed.
I’ve screwed up and been screwed over.

What matters is that I kept my integrity and kept creating.
I’m not the best writer, not by a long shot, but I do not give up.

That doesn’t mean I’ll get what I want when I want it (does anyone?) but it does mean I’ll keep creating and be ready for opportunities.

It’s 100% fine to feel crappy because something you wanted didn’t go the way you hoped. That’s real.

But, after you finish that browbeating and regret, decide what’s the next best step to creating work you’re proud of and build toward that.

(Taken from my Twitter thread and archived here because Storify went kaput.)

Good-Bye to the Family Cottage

Our lives are changing and the travel bug has bitten Mom and Dad, so they decided to sell their cottage up north. With the closing date imminent, we pulled the family together for a quick overnight trip to see the place one last time.


I have so many memories of going up to the cottage each and every summer as I grew up.

Work and play, family and friends.


In the daytime my brother and I would help Dad clean up the property or go for a hike and then jump in the lake.

In the evening we’d play card games or Scrabble…lots of Dungeons & Dragons too. I’d dream about swords and sorcery and how I might impress my brother with derring-do in our next gaming session. This is where I learned to tell stories.


Lots of happy times were shared there. Lots of tears too.

It was creaky and musty and full of critters, but it was our place on the lake.


As we got older it became harder to fit cottage trips into our busy schedules and the place sat empty longer and longer each year. I know Mom and Dad have made the right choice but it was still really emotional saying good-bye.


Onward we go.



I’m sure I could pull out every cliché imaginable as I try to sum up four decades of being me but, for at least once in my life, I’ll try to go for brevity over blather.

If I’ve learned anything up until this point it’s that learning is everything; Learning about the world around me means learning more about myself. Learning, growing, accepting, and continuing to move forward.

Here are a few other things I’ve learned:

Friendships matter more than competitions.
Experiences matter more than objects.
Kindness matters most of all.

I feel incredibly fortune in love and life – a strong relationship and a fulfilling creative career. I know neither would be possible without the steady support and enthusiasm of family and friends who encourage me and keep me in their thoughts.

Thank you for being part of the journey. Let’s keep going.


Zub on Patreon!


I decided to take the plunge and start a Patreon page:


Patreon is a fundraising site where you can become a patron of the arts, donating a bit of money each month to show your support for online content you value.

Quite a few people I’ve met at conventions or interacted with online have told me that they’ve enjoyed the comic writing tutorials I’ve made and that they’d “buy me a beer” if they could. Well, with this site you can kind of do that and get access to comic scripts, pitch documents, and sneak peeks at my upcoming work while helping fund my future creator-owned comic projects.

The first post, with the full scripts for SKULLKICKERS #1 and WAYWARD #1, is already up and absolutely FREE so you can get a feel for the kind of content I’ll be sending to supporters each month:

If you join now at the $3+ level you’ll already have access to the original pitch document and full script for the first issue of SAMURAI JACK.

If you’ve found my articles helpful in your own creative process or just want a look behind the curtain at how comics are written, I’d be thrilled to have you on board. The tutorial articles I write will always be free and available on my site, this is just a way for me to give a focused look at the writing process and help fund my future creator-owned projects at the same time.

Whether you donate here on Patreon, read my work in print/digital, or share my comics and articles with others, THANK YOU for your continued support!

Tutorial: FAQ Round-Up

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:


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: Once you get a ‘green light’ on a comic project, then what happens? What’s the next step?

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: How do I get started with making my own art?

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: How do you come up with character personalities and develop them? Any tips?

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 you balance writing minority characters with respect for their cultures?

Q: How do webcomics differ from print comics?

Q: I want to be a comic writer but I feel like I’m running out of time. Should I call it quits?


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?


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: Do you get invited to comic conventions you attend? How does that work?

Q: How do I become a comic colorist?

Q: Do you have any advice on where to start/any good articles on lettering?

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. 😛

Year In Review


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.

5 Years Married


Five years ago, Stacy and I started on a whole new adventure.

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has flown by, but here we are. Still growing together. Still building something wonderful.

This week has been a really tough one, with bulging disc pain in my spine flaring up so badly that I could barely walk for two days but it’s also been a way for me to see how strong the bond between us really is. “In sickness and in health”, as they say. Stacy has been there for me and her strength helped carry me through a really nasty period of pain and frustration. I’ve always known we’re a team, but watching her shoulder this really drove that home for me at a crucial time.

I never thought I was the “marrying” type, but being with Stacy has proven me so very wrong.
She’s my best friend, my companion, my lover. I’m so incredibly fortunate to have her in my life.

I love you, Stacy. Here’s to many, many more years together.

The adventure continues!

PS: We’re 5th level now, so it’s time for the good spells and magic items. When do we get Fireball?


WAYWARD #12 Arrives in December!

Arriving in December. Pre-order now!


DECEMBER 16 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.50
No more hiding. The new gods of Japan are on the attack and Tokyo is caught in the middle.
JIM ZUB (SKULLKICKERS, Samurai Jack) and STEVE CUMMINGS (Deadshot) continue their acclaimed supernatural spectacle.