Category Archives: Uncategorized

Long Time Coming

Short version: Submitted my grades and my teaching sabbatical starts TODAY.

Long version: In 2018, I was co-writing Avengers, writing Champions and Dungeons & Dragons, and wrapping up Wayward.

Quite a few industry friends told me it was ridiculous that I kept my full-time teaching gig at the college. Clearly it was time to quit. I mean, damn, I was writing Avengers as the Infinity War movie hit theaters. There were project opportunities and conventions aplenty.

And yet, I couldn’t help but keep going with the pragmatic approach that got me to that point.

Juggling full-time teaching with a full-time writing slate has been stressful. Most evenings after school I have dinner with Stacy and then write until late at night. Most weekends are writing days instead of social time.

Even still, having both jobs has given me financial and creative freedom. Bills being covered by teaching income meant I couldn’t be forced to take a writing project I didn’t want or an insulting page rate.

Having creative projects kept teaching from feeling stagnant. Teaching kept my creative batteries charged with student enthusiasm and made me a better communicator.

In 2020, I finally had my finances set up so I could take an extended teaching sabbatical. One job instead of two. Better work-life balance and more travel for fun. The world spun off its axis and that didn’t happen.

When a bunch of projects crumbled and my regular writing gigs had ‘pencils down’ for 6 months during the pandemic, I was okay. Teaching came through. My pragmatic approach kept things steady despite the crunch.

I see so many creative people, incredible creators, sideswiped by layoffs or let go from dream projects and I am so, so thankful I’ve been able to weather the storm.

Starting today, I’m finally taking that teaching sabbatical, exactly 4 years after the original plan.
16 months away from teaching.

I know I’ve worked hard to get to this point, but it also feels strange. I have to keep telling pragmatic Jim that the plan is solid.

I feel happy, I feel a bit guilty, I feel relieved, and a bit paranoid.
It’s a maelstrom of feelings, if I’m being honest.

So few people get a career they love that fills them up and I have had two. It really is a blessing.
But I also need a break to make sure I don’t burn out.

Conan the Barbarian (and related Hyborian projects) charges forward for the foreseeable future. The D&D Young Adventurer’s Guides continue and a couple other fun projects are in the wings.

On the creative freelancing front, things are as solid as they’ve ever been.

There are so many factors out of our control, especially in creative careers where every part of the process (opportunity, execution, the market, the audience, timing) can make or break a project.

• Celebrate victories when they happen but don’t let them make you cocky.
• Shake off losses as best you can and don’t let them make you bitter.
If you figure out how to consistently do both those things, tell me your secret. 😉

11 years ago, I was unceremoniously dumped from writing Birds of Prey on the New 52 before a single issue saw print. At that moment, I was 100% convinced my career in comics was done.

But, I bounced back – Samurai Jack, Figment, D&D, Wayward, and a bunch of others.
Some amazing projects. Other deep disappointments.

At this moment, things are damn good.
Thank you for reading and helping me build this little dream. I try not to take any of it for granted.

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for helping make this year such an amazing one.
Here’s to an epic 2023!

The Legend of Dripwell the Dwarf

*Guy on the subway sees my Dungeons & Dragons jacket*

GUY: Heeeey~! D&D! D&D is the best!

ZUB: Yeah!

GUY: I had the craziest D&D thing happen to me…

I assume we’re going to talk about his current campaign or playing when he was younger.

GUY: I got in a bar brawl for real.

ZUB: Like, in real life?

GUY: Yeah, yeah, YEAH! A for real bar fight and, as it was happening, all I could think was “Awww shit, this is just like D&D!!”

ZUB: Okaay~

GUY: So I’ve got two dudes ready to kick my ass and I’m strategizing like it’s all a game. Y’know, improve my armor class or disarm ’em or just anything!

ZUB: How’d that go?

GUY: HAHAHA, that’s the craziest part!
In my head’ I’m freaking out but I’m also thinkin’ like “What would Dripwell my Dwarf do”, y’know?!

ZUB: Sure.

GUY: Well, Drips would fuckin’ go for their legs

ZUB: So you-

GUY: So, that’s what I did!

ZUB: Really?

GUY: Yeah, man and it was a nat 20! A complete tackle to the ground and that dude went down like a sack of potatoes!

ZUB: What about the other guy?

GUY: As soon as the first guy went down, I scrambled over him and ran right the fuck outta there!
Drippy knows when to get the fuck out of a bad situation. Move those dwarf legs and ruuuuuun, amIright?

ZUB: Wow. I, uh, I’m glad you didn’t get hurt.

GUY: My shoulder hurt for a couple days. Adrenalin and all that.

*Dude glances around and sees what station we’re pulling up to*

GUY: Oh shit, this is my stop. Gotta go.

ZUB: Thanks for the story.

GUY: One more quick thing – Wanna know why my guy was called “Dripwell?”

ZUB: Sure.

GUY: Because he had a huge dwarf DICK yoooo~!

He steps off the train, but turns back to look at me with a big smile and a fist raised as he yells “D&D!!

Everyone else packed on the train during rush hour looks at me like I’m insane.

Today is starting off strong.

Rick and Morty VS Cthulhu Launches in December!


Just When You Thought Cthulhu Was All Played Out in The Pop Culture Ecosystem!

September 19, 2022 (PORTLAND, OR) – Oni-Lion Forge, in collaboration with Warner Bros. and Adult Swim, announces the release of a new Rick and Morty miniseries, Rick and Morty VS Cthulhu, launching December 7, 2022. This first installment of the four-part miniseries journeys down the Lovecraft rabbit hole, reuniting the Eisner-nominated creative team from Rick and Morty VS Dungeons & Dragons — writer Jim Zub, illustrator Troy Little, colorist Leonardo Ito, and letterer Crank!

Fans of Rick and Morty have spent the past few years speculating on the almost-century-old cosmic villain as all episode’s opening credits feature a quick glimpse of Cthulhu, and more recently “Baby Cthulhu,” in the closing credits.

“Lovecraft horror has stuck around for decades because it asks important questions like ‘Does humanity matter in the face of an unfeeling unknowable universe?’” waxes creator Jim Zub. “Rick and Morty asks equally pertinent questions about ourselves, our existence, and the jerks who create our pop culture, so I figured it was time to peanut butter that chocolate and take a big bite.”

Returning to the creative well is Troy Little. Zub says, “Troy is one of the absolute best cartoonists in comics. His ability to take every over-the-top moment I write and translate them into jaw-dropping pages full of humor and emotion made Rick and Morty VS Dungeons & Dragons and its sequel a huge hit. Now we’re back for a third interdimensional outing, but this one is even more messed up than before. Troy’s spin on Lovecraft’s tales of cosmic horror will bust guts and break minds. You are not prepared.”

“… If you are reading this, I’ve already succumbed to the madness,” shares illustrator Troy Little. “As a comic artist, I believed I had some innate ability to cope with insanity, but the depths of the horror I have been forced to illustrate have tested my very limits. I only hope that this warning reaches you in time. If you have access to a portal gun, do not hesitate to flee into any other dimension.”

Little warns of cocreator Jim Zub, “His phosphorus yellow eyes… I still see them in my waking dreams. The words written with cryptic symbols only I can understand. I am compelled to draw these indescribable beasts and bear witness to the fate of Rick and Morty. This madman the ancients call ZUB weaves a tale so moist you can feel it. For this wordsmith I would sacrifice my sanity. All for ZUB.”

story by Jim Zub
art and cover by TROY LITTLE

What could be worse than an off-planet sugar deal gone wrong? Tripping through a Lovecraftian hellscape with the Smith family as they fight, uh, cosmic sentient color and racist fish people? That can’t be right…

History is History

I’ve been teaching Layout + Design and Animation History at Seneca College since 2004. I’ve taught a bunch of other courses, but those two have been constant.

Today is my last Animation History lecture and that feels so strange.

Seneca’s Animation program is undergoing a major curriculum overhaul in September. The new streams look amazing and will keep our grads on top of the changing industry but within that new structure Animation History as its own course is being phased out.

Concepts and examples from Animation History will be incorporated into drawing and design courses where relevant, but it’ll be different from filling a lecture hall, watching each age of film and analyzing them.

Gathering films from the past has been a hobby and a vocation.

Digging in to understand how innovators and inventions have changed art and entertainment has enriched me in so many ways.

I’m going to miss it a lot.

At the start of each term I’d stress to students that we only had time to skip lightly along the surface to give an overview and inspire them.

For every film we watched there were hundreds more worth finding and learning from, but hopefully this would spark that discovery.

Once you decide to tell stories or make art for a living you can’t be a passive viewer of your entertainment. You have to take everything apart and learn from it. You have to be critical and deepen the pools of inspiration you draw from.

History isn’t just facts and dates.
It’s context and connectivity.
It’s emotional and humorous.

I strived to make Animation History fun and engaging, peppering each lecture with unexpected asides, useful comparisons and as many jokes as needed to get through the boring bits.

If I inspired students to be more curious, keep learning on their own, and remember key creators and films because it felt relevant and poignant to them, then the course was a success.

Now it’s the end of an era.
History is history. 😜

Thanks for giving me such a unique opportunity, Seneca.
It’s been a blast.

Kinetic and Wondrous

Multi-pose panels with ghosted figures are one of my favorite ‘pure comics’ storytelling devices.

When I started collecting comics, this panel from Amazing Spider-Man #231 drawn by John Romita Jr. (inked by Jim Mooney with colors by Bob Sharen) blew my mind.

I was hooked.

It’s a moment frozen in time, but also animates back and forth in my mind.

Kinetic and wondrous.

I hope a comic I’m involved with makes that same kind of magic for a young reader, spurring them on to read and create.

It’s also the reason why I want to write Amazing Spider-Man some day, to try and capture and share a tiny spark of that same magic I felt as a reader and collector.

The Trials of Mount Tiamat – Group 2 Session 3

I’m playing Minsc, the infamous Human Ranger, as part of the new Idle Champions – Trials of Mount Tiamat liveplay D&D game running on Monday nights for the next two weeks. Here’s our third episode!

B. Dave Walters is our Dungeon Master.
Hope LaVelle plays Penelope, a Halfling Druid.
Meagan Kenrekt plays Widdle, a Dhampir Wizard.
LaTia Jacquise plays D’hani, an Aarakocra Monk.
Shareef Jackson plays Shaka, a Tiefling Warlock.

The Dream Team – Advising a New Creator

I’m an industry expert on The Dream Team episode 5, a new series available on CBC Gem right here:

I advise Tate Ovbiagbonhia, a young comic book creator from Brampton, on how to take his superhero story to the next level.

Making Comics Interview – Writer Jed Mackay

In addition to tutorials, I’m starting to put together some interviews with other comic creators to talk about process. First up is Jed Mackay, writer on Moon Knight, Black Cat and Magic: The Gathering.

We talk about how he broke in, his scripting process (including some sneak peeks at script pages) and more. Check it out!

Wizards & Wordsmiths – Episode 1

I Dungeon Mastered a special 3-part Dungeons & Dragons adventure for a group of authors we call Wizards & Wordsmiths!

Join me, Kevin Hearne (Ink & Sigil), Adib Khorram (Darius the Great Deserves Better), Andrea Robertson (Forged in Fire and Stars), Sherri L. Smith (The Blossom and the Firefly), and David Yoon (Frankly In Love) as we embark on a culinary and creepy adventure in three parts!