2011 Canadian Comics Wrap Survey: Jim Zub

Jim Zub is the Canadian-based co-creator and writer of Image Comics’ Skullkickers, an action-comedy fantasy series about two monster mashing mercenaries. He’s also the creator and writer of UDON Comics’ upcoming graphic novel Makeshift Miracle, currently serializing online at www.makeshiftmiracle.com. When not writing comics he helps manage projects at UDON and teaches animation-related courses at Seneca College in Toronto.

What was your involvement in comics in 2011?
2011 was a banner year for me as I pushed forward with creator-owned work in a way I haven’t done before. Two Skullkickers trades were published in 2011 (in March and November) and I launched Makeshift Miracle online in late September. To help promote SK and UDON I attended 14 different conventions/events as well as a several comic shop signings. It was a whirlwind.
What was the highlight of the year for you re:
(a) comics publishing in general?
The explosion of new creator-owned series/mini-series and resulting conversation about the importance of creator-owned work. As much as DC Comics New 52 publishing initiative was a financial success and an absolute thrill to watch unfold, I think new creator-owned books are the lifeblood and variety that will keep the industry strong/exciting in the long run.

(b) comics by Canadian creators?
Canadian talent, both at the Big Two and with independents, seems to be at an all-time high.

Francis Manapul taking hold of the reigns on The Flash and launching that title with higher sales numbers than it’s seen in 40 years is definitely a highlight.

Was 2011 a good year for you?
It was, creative and exciting. The whole year was pretty overwhelming in terms of everything going on. Balancing an ongoing creator-owned title with a day job and freelance work was intense, but seeing the final result of blood, sweat and tears be well received is an absolute thrill.

Was 2011 a good year for comics?
It was better than it’s been in several years, but we’re a long way from being out of the woods. Comics are still a niche industry desperately trying to figure itself out and stay afloat while e-publishing and the overall digitization of media threatens to dash it all against the rocks. We won’t know if this was a building year or temporary respite until we’re ahead another couple years and looking back.
Part of being on the scene is exhibiting at public events. Which Canadian ones (if any) did you support in 2011 and how do you feel they went for you? Did you exhibit at any American events?
All three of my Canadian comic convention appearances went well this year – TCAF, the Calgary Expo and Fan Expo Canada. I attended a slew of American shows and also did a few events/signings in England. It was a busy travelling year. The conventions and related pop culture excitement seems to be growing every year even while the publishing end of things sees a lot of instability. Fan culture is at an all-time high and the comic industry needs to take better advantage of it to build the reading audience.

What do you have coming up in 2012? (If you can’t say, then maybe hint at when we may find out)
Makeshift Miracle Book 1: The Girl From Nowhere will be published as a high quality library-durable hardback in mid-2012. Skullkickers receives a volume 1&2 combo hardcover in the spring called Skullkickers Treasure Trove. I’ve written some work-for-hire comic stuff and also have more creator-owned concepts underway that will be announced next year. It should be fun.

Any final comments on 2011?
I can’t believe it’s already December. Where did the year go? How did all this happen so fast? The summer vanished and then, the next thing I knew, everyone was making ‘Year In Review’ articles. Madness.


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