The sleeper hit of 2010 concludes this week on comiXology with issue #6 readying for release tomorrow! In honor of this occasion series creator and writer Jim Zubkavich was nice enough to answer a few questions about the series, it’s creation and the rpg games of olden days that helped influence the awesome comic that is Skullkickers!
comiXology: Thanks for your time, Skullkickers is quite possibly one of the most exciting fantasy comics to hit stands in the past year! What do you think of the representation of High fantasy and sword & sorcery in the sequential art medium currently?
Jim Zubkavich: Fantasy is generally underrepresented in the comic market, which always boggles my mind, but I’m hopeful that we’re heading in to a new trend of increased demand for fantasy-centric books. The genre is tailor-made for comic storytelling with big colorful visuals and imagination-laden settings.
comiXology: How did this project come about in the first place and how did you first meet your fellow creators?
JZ: Skullkickers originated as a couple short stories put together for Image’s Popgun anthology series, and they’re available for free on comiXology as Skullkickers #0. Those two self-contained short stories were about a pair of monster killers without any morals and readers responded well to them, so Erik Larsen (Image Publisher at the time) expressed interest in seeing more. It took a couple years to finally pull together the creative team and get the book organized, but I’m obviously happy now that we’re putting out regular issues.
Edwin Huang, our line artist, is a recent art school graduate who originally applied for a position at the UDON studio, where I work on video game and movie art projects, and I was impressed with the quality of his work and professionalism. The studio didn’t have a space for him at the time so I stayed in touch and gave him extra feedback on his portfolio. Soon after he and I were teaming up on Skullkickers.
Misty Coats, our colorist, came on board the team after being recommended by another illustrator I’ve worked with named Emily Warren. Misty’s sample pages were so on target and perfect for the series that they’re actually in the first printed issue practically untouched.
Marshall Dillon, our letterer, is an old friend who has lettered comics at UDON for years. His natural sense of storytelling and well thought out sound effects make the whole ting come together.
Working on a creator-owned book like this is a delight and having such professional people to collaborate with makes it even better.
comiXology: Often it seems that traditional table-top gamers and comic book fans stand at opposite ends of the same spectrum, any chance you could elaborate on the balance Skullkickers seems to so effortlessly achieve in appeasing both sides of fandom?
JZ: I think the key to Skullkickers straddling that divide is that we’re tapping in to the feeling of RPG-style adventure rather than focusing on stats and specific in-jokes. The book is purposefully inclusive and plays with bigger fantasy and action movie tropes instead of catering to gaming fans only. Readers who game will enjoy the familiar elements we poke fun at while non-gamers can just dig into a wild action-filled ride.
JZ: It’s not a very dramatic origin, I’m afraid, but that’s oddly appropriate given how the characters tear holes in standard epic fantasy tales.
Chris Stevens, the original artist on the Popgun short stories wanted to draw a fantasy short story, but didn’t want it to be the typical ‘knights in shining armor’ kind of stuff. I came up with the idea of these two mercenary morons and we were off to the races.
Although they have similar violent attitudes, I wanted to make sure they otherwise contrasted each other – different sizes, voices, outfit colors, hair choices (or lack of hair)… easy to describe and easy to visually pick out on the page.
comiXology: In a standard d20 gaming system how would their stats read?
JZ: Funny you should mention that – I actually got Robin Laws, RPG designer guru, to stat up the boys as bonus material in the back of our fourth issue. They’re stated up more like a pair of monsters than heroes, which is pretty on target considering the havoc they cause.
We’ll be back with Jim later this week. Luckily we were able to score a copy of Baldy’s steller stat sheet. Check it out and go download issues #1-5 while you wait for issue #6 to drop this wednesday!
Tagged: Interview · Jim Zubkavich · Skullkickers
1 Comment »