Jim Zub is a Canadian comic book writer who has written for Image, DC, IDW, and more. He frequently writes about the comics industry and the economics of creator-owned comics at his website jimzub.com. His latest creator-owned book is Glitterbomb, which will be released September 7.
Tim: Glitterbomb is skewering the entertainment industry. How hard are you trying to bite the hand that feeds?
Jim: I don't think that Hollywood feeds. I know a lot of people are looking at the movie industry's interests in comics as some sort of salvation, but I think it's a mistake to think Hollywood is the only reason to do comics. Don't get me wrong, I'm all well and good with media. I love seeing some of my favorite characters and properties turned into TV and movies, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be critical of it. If anything, I think Hollywood has proven time and time again that you can skewer it and they don't mind. It's all entertainment. They can point the gun at themselves. They're as deserving of scorn as anyone else and shallow fame obsession and 24 hour entertainment news reflects culture, but it also changes culture and that's worth talking about. That's worth tearing a pound of black-hearted flesh out of.
Tim: Can you tell me more about Farrah Durante, the lead. She's aging in an industry that glorifies youth.
Jim: She's someone who had a fleeting moment of TV fame, but it was quick and she got a taste of what that could be, the success she could have. A mixture of things come about, I don't want to reveal too much, and that sort of takes it away from her or she sabotages herself. Then it's really about those kind of people who obsess over something they can't have, like those people who feel their high school years were the best years of their lives.
Jim: It's sort of like that. A lot of stories are about the 1 in a 1,000,000 or the person of destiny, and Hollywood loves those stories. But for every 1 in a 1,000,000, there are 999,999 people who don't get to be special, who don't get to be a big deal or a celebrity or be famous. That that's how most of us go about our lives. You can let that destroy you or figure out what happens next. That's sort of where her mentality is. She's trapped in this cycle of wanting to be more and not knowing how to get out of it.
Tim: She's planning to take down Hollywood by literally eating the rich. Will this be by traditional monster standards like werewolves or demons?
Jim: Again, I don't want to show my hand too much. There's a level of ambiguity there because I don't want people to be like oh, we're doing a lizard person story or a vampire story because that's not what it's all about.
Tim: The monster isn't the point.
Jim: The monster is literal, but it's also a metaphor, so it's more about what it does, not necessarily "what is its weakness? If we use an iron cross, will that take it down? Sprinkle salt in a circle?" It's not about the codification of a myth. It's an emotional backlash to an idea.
Tim: Once Hollywood is torn down, where will we get our entertainment from? Comics?
Jim: Absolutely! What else is there? Well actually Hollywood gets its entertainment from comics, so I feel like we're already well in hand.
Tim: You've done fantasy in Skullkickers and touched on some horror themes in Wayward. Why go full on horror in Glitterbomb?
Jim: I think, honestly, it's something that's been percolating for awhile and it's my own frustrations about 24 hour fame culture and news, and the shallowness of people's obsession with wanting to be famous. But also my own fears of failure and of success. Aspirations versus reality sort of thing. Channeling that through the most extreme example I could think of is Hollywood. Hollywood and that celebrity thing. Like all the stories I write, it's a bit of me, but placed in a different context or exaggerated to make it bigger and more dramatic.
Tim: Can you talk about why you chose that title?
Jim: That's a weird sort of thing. Like most of the titles I put together, it's trying to get something that sounds interesting, but isn't necessarily literal. I don't want it to be just a character's name. "The name of the book is Farrah" or whatever. So it's what can we say that has an interesting hook to it, rolls off the tongue, and intrigues people. When I say 'Skullkickers', you get a feel for what that's about. It's going to be chunky, pulpy, and violent. When I say 'Wayward', it's a little more mysterious sounding, but it still has a broad kind of component and a traveling component. That feels like it dovetails into what we're doing. And 'Glitterbomb' is just that. Something shiny and beautiful, and I want to destroy it.
Tim: How did you and Djibril Morissette [artist on Glitterbomb] get together?
Jim: Marguerite Sauvage did an alt cover for us on Wayward. I was at Montreal Comic Con last year, and she said "I know you're an art teacher when you're not doing comics. Would you critique my friend's portfolio?" I looked through his stuff and my critique was "let's do a book" because he's brilliant. At New York Comic Con, I walked into a 15 minute meeting with Eric Stephenson and said "This is what I want to do". He flipped through it and gave it the green light. It's the fastest pitch I've ever had..
Tim: How many issues will it be?
Jim: The first arc is four issues, but the first issue is double-sized, so it's sort of like five issues of material over four months. We tell a complete story, but there's a lot of threads there. The market is crazy right now, so you never know what's going to work, so I'm trying to make sure readers get a complete story. As long as it does well, we keep it going and do more. The response so far has been strong so I feel pretty confident, we'll be doing at least two arcs, if not three or four.
Tim: So you're planning it as an ongoing.
Jim: Yeah. There's going to be gaps, like all the Image books right now. A story arc, a break, and then more.
Tim: And it comes out September 7?
Jim: September 7th. Make sure you pre-order because I think it's going to go fast.