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DF Interview: Jim Zub’s Skullkickers have ‘a brawl to end it all’ in ‘#100’s’ finale
By Byron Brewer
After eight years, over 30 issues, and numerous short stories, Image's Skullkickers is going out with a not-quite-mathematically-correct bang with this week’s Skullkickers #100.
Sure, May's issue is only #34 -- but with a tongue-in-cheek medieval bar-room brawling epic like this, it comes with the territory.
Dynamic Forces found the writer and creator of this incredible series and put Jim Zub under the microscope for answers to the questions you demanded!
Dynamic Forces: Jim, for the uninitiated, who and what are the Skullkickers?
Jim Zub: Skullkickers is a sword & sorcery comedy comic series about a group of mercenaries with minimal moral fiber who get themselves into trouble. It’s a bit like the Hobbit meets the Hangover.
DF: You have certainly been producing Skullkickers for a long time. Take us back and give us a snapshot of how it came to be, how it survived all this time (unheard of these days) and where we are headed with Issue #34 (AND #100??).
Jim Zub: Skulkickers started as a pair of short stories that artist Chris Stevens and I did for Image’s Popgun anthology. Editor (now Writer) Joe Keatinge approached Chris about doing a story for the book and Chris brought me on board to do a silly fantasy yarn. We had a blast and when Erik Larsen (who was Image Publisher at the time) saw it, he felt it would make for a good series. Chris eventually had to bow out but Edwin Huang came on board and we launched Skullkickers together in 2010.
Our final issue is a whirlwind metaphysical battle for the ages as our archetypical mercenary morons learn about their place in the cosmos. Seriously. It’s silly and also big picture stuff at the same time.
DF: So, as you say according to your long-term plan, Skullkickers ends its adventure August 5th. Can you give us a hint, a taste at what satisfaction awaits long-time readers in this issue?
Jim Zub: It’s the brawl to end it all. I really do feel that this issue puts a button on my feelings on the series and the kinds of entertaining stories that bring me joy. I hope our readers agree that we delivered the goods.
DF: What does this ending of story mean for you, the creator?
Jim Zub: It’s a huge milestone for me. Skullkickers has been a way for me to prove to myself that I could make a professional quality comic story, that I could carry through on my personal creative goals, and that I can take something this big past the finish line. It’s become the foundation of my writing career and a way to show people the kinds of stories that I enjoy.
DF: OK, OK, elephant in the room: How is THIS the 100th issue?
Jim Zub: At the end of issue #33, our “heroes” shattered the dimensional nexus point (that’s also a tavern) where they were fighting, throwing them into an endless void of imagination. In theory, our story picks up later on, right around issue #100. (smiles)
DF: Now that we are closing the book on Skullkickers, were there ever any storylines you wish you had extended, character development you wish you had done (or had NOT done)?
Jim Zub: Once we decided to go past our first arc and I started planning things out I was pretty sure six arcs would be the ideal length for what I wanted to say so most of it has followed that consistent structure. There were some disparate ideas about taking the gang to other locales (a desert, underground) but they didn’t end up proving necessary to finish off the story.
DF: A few words about the great contribution of Edwin Huang?
Jim Zub: Edwin is one of the most hard-working, consistent and amazing artists I’ve ever worked with. Watching his work grow over the course of the series has been a pure joy. I am so incredibly proud of what we were able to build together and I hope we get a chance to create more comic stories down the road.
DF: What has Skullkickers meant to your career in comics?
Jim Zub: Back in 2010, I was pretty much unknown in the business as a writer and now, five years later, I can trace a clear line to so many writing and creative opportunities I’ve had to Skullkickers: Samurai Jack, Legends of the Dark Knight, Conan Red Sonja, Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Figment, Wayward and many more. Skullkickers has literally changed my life.
Dynamic Forces would like to congratulate Jim Zub and thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Skullkickers “#100” hits stores this Wednesday, Aug. 5th!
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