Category Archives: Wayward

Wayward #23 Reviews

Wayward #23 arrives in stores and the response has been great!

Geeked Out Nation: 8.6/10 “The quality of artwork felt movie-like and that is what captivated me the minute we stepped into this situation with Ohara.”

Nothing But Comics: “If you have fallen off of Wayward I suggest jumping back on. It has been consistently great”

Outright Geekery: 9.5/10 “another stunning issue that delivers on great characters and leaves you wanting more.”

Snap Pow: 8.5/10 “the creative team has maintained a high level of quality through out their run and the latest issue is no different, as it more than earns a recommendation from me.”

Wayward the Board Game Report 1: Prototyping

Wayward the Board Game was announced back in May and game testing continues on track as we look to a Spring-Summer 2018 release. The game is designed by Jon Gilmour, co-designer of Dead of Winter and Wasteland Express Delivery Service, and will be published by IDW Games. It’s a co-operative board game with players taking the role of our teen protagonists fighting Yokai in Tokyo. We’re currently play testing the rules and I want to talk about this phase of development as it’s something a lot of people, even board game fans, may not have had much experience with.

Prototyping is crucial in game development. This involves putting together a rough playable version of the game so rules can be tested, options can be explored, and parts can be ditched without spending time/money on graphic design or artwork that may not be used in the final release. At this stage, the game is entirely made up of cardboard counters, print outs and placeholders. In our case, since the game is based on an established comic property, Jon dropped in art from the series to make it look more enticing, but it’s still all temped.

Printouts, cube counters, card sleeves, and tupperware: Welcome to the testing phase.

As testing continues, we look at how the game runs with the following questions in mind:

Do the core rules work?
Does it make sense?
Does it fit with the setting?
It is easy to explain?
Is it challenging to master?
IS IT FUN?

If the game works well with all these placeholders, then we’ll be ready to beautify it up with great graphic design and new art: The polish.

Let’s talk about how Wayward the game plays so far. To win the default scenario (there will be several to choose from with varying difficulties in the final game release), players must slay Yokai and keep them at bay, building up character abilities and energy points to shut down five power locations called the Goshiki Fudo. As the game progresses, the Weave (mystic strings of power and fate most people cannot see) will destabilize, unleashing more power to the players but also unlocking more powerful creatures. “Solving” one area means letting other spots get worse. Winning requires strategy, synergy, well-timed sacrifice plays, and some luck. The game is lost if the Weave unravels completely.

Here’s a game in session. Again, everything is temped right now.

Although the play strategy is quite different from Pandemic (a stellar co-op board game already on the market), there’s a similar build up of tension as the game opens: Multiple locations are under siege. In the first few turns creatures arrive faster than they can be dealt with and it can feel quite bleak. This is by design. Our wayward teens are under pressure and need to work together to start pushing back against the threats building around them.

Character actions are fueled by energy points and those points can only be gained in one of three ways: adding new creatures to the board, using creatures on the board to attack our heroes, or drawing energy directly from the Weave (which moves the game closer to its end). Energy is then spent to attack creatures (individually or in groups at each location), shop for items, heal, use special abilities (unique to each character), or shutdown a location. Shutting down locations moves the group closer to victory, but it also means there are fewer locations for Yokai to spawn, so they build up faster in each remaining spot.

Combat in Wayward is quite different from the typical D&D-style “roll a die, hit a creature” mechanic. Players bid energy points in a “betting pool” and creatures are represented by the dice. The creature dice are rolled and compared to the amount bid and, if the amount is equal to or less than the combat pool, the creature is killed. Heroes gain re-rolls or other bonuses to reduce the monster roll total as the game progresses. Using less energy for an attack could pay off, allowing you to perform more actions per turn, but a bad die roll means you’re ineffective or injured. Some players will want to play safe and use more energy to ensure victory, but then they’re doing less per turn and the creature build up might outpace them. It’s a risk-reward mechanic that throttles quite well as play progresses and is different from most other games I’ve played.

Yes, our prototype dice are regular dice with paper squares glued on the sides.

Characters don’t die in Wayward, but when their stamina is depleted they become far less effective: Movement costs extra energy and, most importantly, they can’t stop damage being done directly to the Weave. The more damage the Weave takes, the more difficult the game becomes and the closer to losing our heroes get. Tougher characters will tend to “meat-shield” the Weave, blocking damage while other characters build up larger pools of energy to use their special abilities or shut down locations.

Ayane quickly moves between locations and attacks frequently. She has less re-rolls baked into her abilities but gains attack bonuses so she can bet lower energy amounts with more confidence.

Emi is the toughest character (with her limbs of stone or steel). She absorbs extra damage taken and traps creatures in sinkholes, temporarily taking them off the board.

Shirai absorbs energy from slain Yokai and uses his spirit power to heal himself. At higher levels, he can also heal other characters at his location.

Nikaido is the weakest physically but he can shift energy between characters and move creatures to different locations, which can be crucial.

Rori gains extra energy by tapping directly into the Weave and can hurt multiple creatures at locations with spells of destruction.

Rori’s prototype character sheet. The final will have all new art and design that makes gameplay choices clear.

Part of our goal at this stage is to see how the characters work, individually and together, to make sure game balance is maintained and that there are fun combinations of powers being used in concert with each other. The character abilities need to be interesting and appropriate while also fitting the play mechanics Jon has built.

Testing out Wayward has been an amazing experience so far. I try to look at it as both an avid board game player and also the license holder of the property being adapted. First and foremost, I want Jon and the IDW Games crew to make a great game. The best advertisement I could ask for is a top-notch co-op game that stands on its own enticing people to start reading Wayward the comic. Jon’s been wonderful about incorporating key aspects of the series and I’ve been helping him attach story concepts and themes to those game mechanics so it all fits together well.

I’m hoping to write more reports about the game as we continue development. Thank you for all the enthusiasm and interest so far. I can’t wait to see the final release head out to stores next year.

Arriving in November- Wayward #25

Arriving in November-
WAYWARD #25
STORY: JIM ZUB
ART / COVER: STEVEN CUMMINGS, TAMRA BONVILLAIN
VARIANT COVER: YUMI YAOSHITA
NOVEMBER 22 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

Our fates are tied together…

Celebrate 25 issues of Image’s supernatural sensation as another arc wraps up and the group is tested once more.

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!

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!

Arriving in September: WAYWARD #23

WAYWARD #23
STORY: JIM ZUB
ART: STEVEN CUMMINGS & TAMRA BONVILLAIN
COVER A: STEVEN CUMMINGS & TAMRA BONVILLAIN
COVER B: CARLOS VILLA

SEPTEMBER 20 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

Ohara’s power reflects the manmade world around her…and it’s out of control!

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

Wayward the Board Game!

IDW Games to Release Board Game Based on the Wayward Comic Series

San Diego, CA (May 18, 2017) IDW Games announced today that it is working closely with writer Jim Zub and illustrator Steven Cummings on an upcoming Wayward board game. Designed by Jon Gilmour, co-designer of Dead of Winter and Outpost: Siberia, Wayward is a fully cooperative board game where players assume the roles of the comic’s heroes working together to defeat villains controlled by the game itself.

Set in modern Tokyo, Wayward is an ongoing series published by Image Comics featuring teenagers imbued with supernatural power defending the world from Yokai, Japanese mythological creatures and spirits. Since launching in August 2014, Wayward has gained critical acclaim and a dedicated readership. The first volume of the series, “String Theory,” made the Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2016 List of ‘Great Graphic Novels for Teens’ and has been favorably reviewed by many outlets, including Kirkus. In addition, Wayward was recently optioned by Manga Entertainment for development as a television series.

Jerry Bennington, VP of New Product Development, said, “IDW Games is ecstatic about working with Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, and Jon Gilmour on a project with as much recognition and fandom as Wayward. As a lifelong tabletop gamer, Jim’s creativity goes beyond just managing the IP. His input and feedback about gameplay and design have been invaluable to us, and will surely produce a product that embodies the soul of the comic series.”

Jim Zub said, “Wayward is a passion project for Steven and I, and games are near and dear to our hearts, so getting the chance to bring both of those wonderful elements together with Jon and the rest of the IDW Games crew is an absolute thrill.”

Zub is a Harvey and Shuster Award-nominated comic writer (AVENGERS, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, SAMURAI JACK, FIGMENT), and the creator of the original comic series GLITTERBOMB and SKULLKICKERS.

Cummings is an American comic book artist based in Japan (DEADSHOT, LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT, STREET FIGHTER, FORAGER).

IDW Games is well known for its excellent tabletop adaptations of beloved intellectual properties. Their licensed board games include X-Files, Back to the Future, and the upcoming Planet of the Apes and Atari series of games.

Just To Clarify – I’m Not Rich

Yesterday’s announcement about Wayward being optioned for TV development by Manga Entertainment was an absolute whirlwind. I received dozens of messages from friends, family, colleagues, retailers, long-time readers, and complete strangers congratulating myself and the rest of the team. It’s a big milestone and one I’m certainly not taking for granted. However, I do want to clarify some important things because I’m already noticing people making assumptions about what this means or where we’re at:

A media option does not mean a dump truck of money showed up at my place.

I’m not rich.

Creator-owned comics are still an uphill climb.

Let me clarify what an ‘option’ is and how it works in broad non-contract specific terms:

An ‘option’ means a company is reserving the opportunity to purchase media rights to a particular property in the future. They do this so they can confidently seek out possible production partners and financing without wondering if it will be worth the trouble or what it will cost later. The contract we’ve signed includes terms that specify what rights they would be able to secure, what it would cost, our particular involvement if that purchase is executed, and how long they have to do all of that before the option lapses and we’re free to negotiate with other parties. In short, they’ve paid to secure our interest for a set period of time. It’s a crucial first step in media development.

Most entertainment companies don’t option properties unless they feel they’re something worth investing in. There are stories of properties being optioned just to keep it out of other people’s hands or to bury it so it can’t compete with similar productions already in development but, thankfully, that’s not the case here. The gang at Manga are aggressively pursuing Japanese production partners and are using the extensive network of contacts they’ve built up over the past 26 years to make that happen. Once they’re able to get those details nailed down, ideally, they execute the option purchase and we go fully into production.

What’s immediately beneficial to us right now is the visibility boost that comes from this announcement. In a very crowded comic market, we’re able to stand out a bit more than before. That will hopefully lead to increased interest and sales so we can keep the book rolling and deliver the best story possible. Making Wayward the comic is our top priority.

Can this media thing fall through?
Yes, but so far all signs are moving in a positive direction. We wouldn’t have signed this deal if we didn’t think it would move forward and neither would Manga.

Have you been paid?
We’ve received a small amount of money for the option. The majority of that has been put into our ‘war chest’ to pay for future comic production.

So you’re not quitting your day job?
Correct. Still working away. Lots to do.

They didn’t bring a dump truck of money to your house?
Also correct. No dump truck.

Can you turn my idea into an anime?
No. I don’t even know how to do that. This is all new for me too.

Please?
No.

I can’t go into the specifics of our particular contract, but I will give some broad tips:

Every media development deal is different. If you’re fortunate enough to be approached about an option, don’t let anyone tell you there’s one boilerplate ‘media deal’ and you have to sign it as-is. Everything is negotiable. Seriously. There are elements I didn’t think would be possible that we put right in the deal in black and white.

Common sense and good intentions are not a contract. Everyone can get along well and want the same things at the start, but these kinds of deals are signed with companies, not people. Companies change. People leave. The only obligations a company has is what’s outlined in the deal you signed. Don’t make assumptions. Make sure the terms and obligations are clear for all parties involved.

Don’t sign anything without getting legal advice. Even if a contract looks straight forward, they can be surprisingly complex and have ramifications you never imagined at the time. The more I learn about this aspect of the business, the more thankful I am that I have good people helping me navigate these waters.

Be willing to walk away. If you can’t make the above work, you have to be willing to let a deal go rather than sign a bad one. Patience, persistence, and a level head are crucial when going into this kind of stuff. This particular conversation about Wayward media rights started in August of 2015 and didn’t really start coming together legally until about 6-7 months ago. It can take a while and you need to stay focused on what’s important.

I feel incredibly fortunate that we’ve made this step forward and I’m hopeful about where it’s all headed. As soon as I can reveal more about the future of Wayward the TV Show, I definitely will. Until then, please keep telling people about the series and if you’re not caught up on the story, consider snagging our collected volumes or catching up digitally on comiXology.

Otherwise, thank you for all the kind words and encouragement! None of this could have happened without support from readers and retailers like you!

WAYWARD Comic Series Optioned for TV by Manga Entertainment!

WAYWARD Comic Series Optioned for TV by Manga Entertainment UK Ltd.

Writer Jim Zub and illustrator Steven Cummings’ WAYWARD, an ongoing comic series published by Image Comics, has been optioned by UK-based Manga Entertainment for development in television as a Japanese animated or live action series. Zub and Cummings will act as creative consultants on the project, including development of the initial story treatment along with character and creature designs.

WAYWARD is an action-drama set in modern Tokyo where Yokai, Japanese creatures and spirits of legend, battle against teenagers imbued with newfound supernatural power. The series launched to critical acclaim in August 2014 and is currently available in monthly comic format and four collected trade paperbacks, with a new deluxe hardcover collection arriving in July. WAYWARD’s first volume, ‘String Theory’, made the Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2016 List of ‘Great Graphic Novels for Teens’ and has been favorably reviewed by many outlets, including Kirkus.

Zub is a Harvey and Shuster Award-nominated comic writer (AVENGERS, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, SAMURAI JACK, FIGMENT). His other creator-owned titles, GLITTERBOMB and SKULLKICKERS, are also published by Image Comics, the third largest comic publisher in North America and publisher of The Walking Dead.

Cummings is an American comic book artist based in Japan (DEADSHOT, LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT, STREET FIGHTER, FORAGER).

Jerome Mazandarani, COO of Manga Entertainment, said, “We are very excited to be working with Jim and Steven to bring the characters and world of Wayward to life for the screen. Jim and Steven have managed to create a truly unique high stakes action-drama that feels fresh and authentic in its mixture of Japanese and Celtic mythology. We are very confident this story will connect with audiences across Asia and the rest of the world.”

Zub said, “As soon as Jerome and I started talking about a collaboration, I had a good feeling Manga Entertainment would be the right place to develop Wayward. The crew at Manga intimately understand the anime market and have helped popularize some of the biggest brands in that space. As Japanese art and animation continues to go global, co-producing Wayward at a Japanese studio with Manga taking the lead is a natural choice.”

Founded in 1987, Manga Entertainment began as a producer, licensor and distributor of Japanese animation in the United Kingdom, quickly earning its reputation as the UK’s largest anime distributor with revered anime brands including GHOST IN THE SHELL, DRAGON BALL Z, NARUTO, ONE PIECE, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE. Headquartered in London, Manga Entertainment continues to specialize in the licensing, marketing and distribution of Japanese animation and other beloved new/classic pop culture franchises like HALO, TRANSFORMERS, POKEMON and YU-GI-OH!

Zub and Cummings are represented by APA.