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DF Interview: Jim Zub’s Wayward wraps another arc, sees TPB in March
By Byron Brewer
Jim Zub’s longtime (at least for today’s comics market) Wayward is ready to wrap another arc, and will see a new trade paperback on sale thereafter.
At this time in the title’s history, we thought we would catch up with the creator/scribe and see what is going down Wayward’s way.
Dynamic Forces: Jim, I would say that 2016 was certainly a banner year for you. You launched your creator-owned Glitterbomb at Image, experienced the joys of doing a superhero mag for the House of Ideas with Thunderbolts, and those among other achievements bleeding into 2017 (Freelance, Monsters Unleashed: Avengers). But Image’s Wayward has really been your linchpin of late. Tell us about what it means to be putting out your 20th issue of the series.
Jim Zub: It’s a real milestone for us, particularly in this market. The North American comic industry has been going through quite a bit of upheaval, with relaunches and rebranding aplenty and many titles from the Big Two don’t get past issue 12. Putting out a consistent creator-owned title and making it past issue 20 feels great.
I love working for Marvel, DC, IDW, and other companies that are doing work-for-hire, and contributing to shared universes and established brands is fun, but having my own creator-owned titles where the team and I can really be unfettered and build something our own from scratch is something of a blast.
DF: What can you tell new readers about the current arc in Wayward? What do they need to know to enjoy issue #20 as that arc dramatically comes to an end, as the spirits lay their claim?
Jim Zub: The original ‘elevator pitch’ we used for Wayward was “Buffy in Japan” and that’s a good way of describing arcs 1 and 2 of the story, but we’ve moved into some very different territory with arcs 3 and 4.
The larger themes of ‘generational divide’ and ‘mythology’s place in the modern world’ are more apparent. We purposefully play against type by having the ‘team’ not be a team. We break the group apart constantly and have them move in and out of circles of engagement in ways that are messy and carry tough choices. Characters are manipulated, they make bad decisions, and the forces acting upon them aren’t as simple as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Here’s what people need to know to get on board Wayward: A new generation of supernatural power is rising in Japan and it carries with it sweeping changes. Several teenagers have emerged with unusual powers and, before they can lay claim to their place in our modern world, the mythological forces of old are trying to use them or wipe them out. Teen drama slammed into mythology with unexpected twists and turns.
DF: Taking an overall view of the book as your creative team reaches a milestone 20th issue (something the Big Two have problems with these days), look back at the series/characters and tell us the high points and low points for you. (It is close enough to New Year to still do, lol.) Is it/are they where you thought they would be in terms of story/development?
Jim Zub: No plan survives execution. That’s both the good and the bad. The minute you start to build an outline into actual scenes and write that script you start to see problems and possibilities. Early on in my writing career (well, it’s still early in my career, but let’s say ‘earlier’) that was one of the things that would make me neurotic. I’d hit those speedbumps and would think I was doing it ‘wrong’ and that I hadn’t planned well enough. It’s a natural part of the process and it happens to pretty much everyone. Having a structure is important, but you need to be able to move away from that plan when inspiration strikes or unexpected problems pop up. The storyline I planned back before the series launched is still there, but with lots of wonderful additions/adjustments.
The sweeping big picture elements can sometimes overwhelm our character story, and I have to watch that the emotion doesn’t get ground under by overall plot progression. With so many characters some move in and out of the spotlight, and that’s natural. With the upcoming fifth story arc, I’m giving some characters who haven’t gotten their ‘due’ extra attention, and I’m excited by that.
DF: Is Wayward going on a little hiatus after #20? I notice it’s missing from Image solicits for February and March. If so, when will it return?
Jim Zub: Image’s standard now is to have a three-month break between arcs so the creative team can get reorganized and get extra material ‘in the can’ before the next arc. We wrap up this arc in January, so February is a gap, then the trade arrives in March, and another gap in April. We’ll probably be returning in May, but that might slip to June as we have a couple of other things happening behind the scenes (exciting things/good things) that require attention as well.
DF: What can you tell us about Wayward’s Volume 4 trade, “Threads and Portents”? And include those great extras!
Jim Zub: The Wayward trades collect each arc, obviously, and “Threads and Portents” brings together our fourth arc in a sweet little package, perfect for reading all in one sitting.
Our monthly issues always have cultural essays by Zack Davisson or Ann O’Regan and a couple of those will be in the trade, along with pronunciation guides for Japanese and Irish words/terms used in the series and creature profiles of the mythological monsters that appear in the fourth arc. The back matter about history, myth, and culture adds a lot to anchor the fictional story and readers have responded really positively to all of it.
DF: Over on your “Zub Tales” blog, you said that “we’ve got exciting plans I can’t wait to share with all of you” about Wayward. Anything you can let us in on now? (smiles)
Jim Zub: Nothing yet, unfortunately. I’m hoping to have some Wayward-centric announcements in the spring/summer.
DF: Jim, I’ve pretty much gone over your itinerary for the rest of the 21st century. But just in case, tell us about your current and near-future projects please.
Jim Zub: Here’s what I have on tap for 2017 that’s been announced: Wayward arc 5 and Glitterbomb arc 2 at Image, Thunderbolts for Marvel, Dungeons & Dragons: Frost Giant’s Fury for IDW, and Freelance arc 1 at Chapterhouse which I'm co-writing with Andrew Wheeler
Beyond that, I have more Marvel work coming and other fun stuff in the mix. It’s an exciting year.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Jim Zub for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Wayward #20 hits stores today, Jan. 25th and then its trade is on sale March 1st, all from Image Comics!
For more news and up-to-date announcements, join us here at Dynamic Forces, www.dynamicforces.com/htmlfiles/, “LIKE” us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/dynamicforcesinc, and follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dynamicforces
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