Hey Nerds! Had the opportunity to catch up with Comic Writer extraordinaire Jim Zub recently about his current IDW title Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows of the Vampire. This is Zub’s follow up D&D expedition to last year’s entertaining Legends of Balders’s Gate. Just like with Balder’s, Shadows of the Vampire not only packs in the adventure but also some good laughs. If you’re a D&D or fantasy fan, I’d recommend picking it up.
Anyways, let’s jump into it…
Duff: Hey Jim! Before I ask about Shadows of the Vampire, I have to bring up the Conan/Red Sonja crossover, really dug it. Any chance of you and Gail doing that again?
Zub: No plans right now. Gail and I are both slammed with other projects. It would be fun to write Conan or Red Sonja again at some point, that’s for sure. It was an absolute honor to finally get a chance to write two legends of sword & sorcery and having them both back together for the first time in 15 years kicking butt made it even sweeter.
Duff: Dungeons & Dragons, man, huge fan base. This your second D&D series, is it easier the second go around and how does that very vocal, opinionated base effect your job as a story teller?
Zub: It’s definitely easier to continue with the same established cast of characters and to work with Wizards of the Coast now knowing what they responded to well about the first D&D mini-series. That said, writing D&D doesn’t intimidate me. I grew up playing the game, reading the novels, and imagining my own stories. It just feels comfortable and warm, a really familiar sandbox to be happily playing in. The fans have been very welcoming and enthusiastic. It’s a thrill.
Duff: Some of the same characters from Legends of Baldur’s Gate join Shadows, did you want that continuity?
Zub: Yeah, absolutely. Not having to build a new cast from scratch makes things go a lot smoother. We can concentrate on the current quest rather than establishing every character and their motivations. Even still, Shadows of the Vampire is a clean jumping on point and the cast is clear right from the get-go.
Duff: Nelson Daniels art is fantastic. What direction did you give if any in creating this book?
Zub: With some artists the best thing to do is to just let them loose. I write full script so Nelson knows what I have in mind for the pacing and dialogue. He’s a pro. He can take that base and build on it with his own staging and mood. It’s been a great collaboration.
Duff: I liked how the book has a lot humor in it, kinda like when your playing the game–was this by design or did just happen during the process of putting the story together?
Zub: That’s very much on purpose. One of my goals with the D&D comic has been to give it that frenetic feel of playing a game with your friends. There’s action, banter, and unexpected twists. I very much wanted to channel that energetic gameplay to the comic page. That feels very “D&D” to me and, thankfully, the gang at Wizards of the Coast agree.
Duff: I see your currently in Japan for a bit, how do you think your stay will affect future work?
Zub: Yeah, I’m on a big sabbatical trip in Japan for six weeks over May and June. It’s been an incredible experience, relaxing in spots and exciting in others. I made sure I was on top of my deadlines so projects wouldn’t fall behind while I was away but I’m also doing a bit of work on the road. Nothing too strenuous though. It’s been a great way to recharge my creative batteries and get excited about future projects.
Duff: Last questions; what’s next for you and where can fans keep up with you?
Zub: Right now I have five comic projects on the go at various stages of development or release – Thunderbolts for Marvel, Wayward and Glitterbomb at Image, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows of the Vampire from IDW, and Street Fighter Legends: Cammy coming soon from UDON.
The best way to stay in touch and see what I’m up to is on my website: www.jimzub.com or via Twitter at @jimzub
Duff: Thanks Jim!