The Previews Party: Skullkickers is your action comedy take on the fantasy genre. For someone totally new to the book, what is it all about, and why should readers try the new Uncanny or Mighty Skullkickers books?
Jim Zub: Skullkickers is like The Hobbit meets The Hangover. Two monster-mashing mercenaries get themselves in big trouble and need to kill their way out. It’s an action-centric comic that destroys and deconstructs everything people love about sword and sorcery stories. Uncanny Skullkickers is the first part of our fourth story arc, and it’s a new, reader-friendly spot to jump on board. We have a recap of the events that have taken us to this point and quickly jump into new terrain.
The Previews Party: You are also close to wrapping your first arc of Pathfinder for Dynamite, with a hardcover collection and a new arc coming out in April. What makes the Pathfinder world and characters so cool and unique? Why should new readers jump in for the second arc?
Jim Zub: Pathfinder is the best-selling and award-winning fantasy tabletop RPG, and the comic series is the perfect introduction to the world and characters. It has a lot of classic fantasy elements, but the cast of colorful characters helps it stand out with loads of personality. The second story arc has a new and much larger threat looming for our adventurers as they’re drawn into an elaborate trap laid by their enemies. A mysterious creature that’s been hunting livestock outside of the town of Sandpoint seems like a simple monster hunt-style quest, but the end results are anything but.
The Previews Party: In some ways Skullkickers and Pathfinder are similar, and in other ways they couldn't be more different. What is it like writing these series back to back?
Jim Zub: It’s fun building two fantasy stories simultaneously, one taken in a very ‘straight up’ manner that’s loyal to the genre, while the other one bulldozes through those same ideals and lays bare the structure of them. I’m obviously a big fantasy fan, so it feels a bit like I get my cake and can eat it, too.
The Previews Party: You've recently been very informative on your website about the challenges and benefits of being an indie comic creator. How can fans get more involved? What should we be doing to ensure the success of our favorite books?
Jim Zub: Being vocal about what titles you read and enjoy is paramount. The more people know about creator-owned books and spread the good word the better it is for everyone. Indy titles have a hard time standing out side-by-side with worldwide icons like Spider-Man or Batman, so it’s crucial that readers tell their friends about the comics they love. Pre-ordering issues rather than waiting for them to hit the stands is another very helpful tool. If retailers see guaranteed sales on a title and feel it has momentum, they’ll order extra copies and give it extra promotion in the shop. That kind of grassroots promotion is incredibly helpful when establishing a new creator-owned title.
The Previews Party: Since this is The Previews Party, what books would you suggest that people should be reading and adding to their pull list?
Jim Zub: I’m a huge fan of creator-owned titles like Locke & Key, Atomic Robo, Chew, Courtney Crumrin, and The Sixth Gun. If you haven’t read them, then I’d recommend any of those as a way to try something new and entertaining.
The Previews Party: Okay, pitch time! Why should The PREVIEWS Party's readers be telling their retailer to “make mine ZUB?” Why should you get a coveted spot on their pull list?
Jim Zub: Skullkickers is the kind of title where you finish reading an issue with a big grin on your face, because it’s an all-around damn good time. The frantic fun we put into making the book carries through to the page issue after issue, and I’m very proud of that.
The PREVIEWS Party would like to thank Jim Zub for taking the time to answer our questions. Uncanny Skullkickers comes out this Wednesday, and the new story arc of Pathfinder starts this April, so it is currently available to pre-order. So, make sure you check out these awesome books!
Until next time, keep reading.
- Jason Enright