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DF Interview: Jim Zub swashes his buckle with Conan, Sonja, Simone
By Byron Brewer
They were the two mightiest warriors of their time in the great Hyborian Age, yet their recorded meetings were few and far between. It has been 15 years (our time) since the Cimmerian and the She-Devil with a Sword have been seen together by comic book readers.
Writers Jim Zub and Gail Simone and artist Dan Panosian are going to take care of that in just a few months with an adventure unlike any other as Conan and Red Sonja team up against sword & sorcery menaces again in a four-issue mini-series from Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment.
Dynamic Forces caught up with Zub near the area of Khitai and discussed the adventures to come. Here is what the scribe revealed.
Dynamic Forces: Jim, tell us about how this unusual book got its start and how you came on board.
Jim Zub: The Conan-Red Sonja crossover event was announced at San Diego Comic-Con in 2013 and I don’t know much about how that evolved until Gail asked if I’d be interested in co-writing it with her late last year. Since then we’ve been plugging away on it bit by bit.
DF: How has it been working with Gail Simone?
Jim Zub: Gail’s a great storyteller with a strong understanding of character and drama. She pushes to get the best out of the story and I’m learning a lot working with her on this. I think we’re both striving to create something really special on this project and that’s a very exciting process.
DF: Tell us a little about what we will be reading.
Jim Zub: I can’t reveal too much at this early stage, but we’re reinventing the first time that Conan and Red Sonja meet, first as rivals and then showing how they become allies ... and maybe more. (smiles)
Suffice to say, the stakes are high and the action will be epic.
DF: In what time period does this occur in the lives of out heroes?
Jim Zub: That’s the great part! Gail brought in the idea that we could carry the story over a longer period of time. Instead of having to choose just one period of time with Conan and Sonja, we’re seeing three different points in their lives and seeing how they grow and change with each new meeting between them. It gives the story a lot more weight.
DF: Like Same Time, Next Year? Cool. And the big-bad?
Jim Zub: Well ... let’s just say that a certain snake god is watching the proceedings closely, plus a scourge of pirates, thieves, gladiators and creatures will be around to keep the blood flowing.
DF: Jim, you do a lot of sword & sorcery. Afraid of being type cast, like one of those whiny actors in Hollywood? Lol
Jim Zub: A little while ago I worried about that very thing, that I was pigeonholing myself as the “sword & sorcery guy”. Now I’m less worried about it. Good stories come first, regardless of genre, and I think that shows through. I get a lot of fantasy project offers, but I’m building other stories outside of that genre as well.
DF: From Howard to Thomas to Busiek, there are a lot of iterations of our barbarians. Any particular writer of Conan that you favor over the others?
Jim Zub: Gail asked me to channel Roy Thomas-style intensity and gravitas for this story. We want to really make this an epic event in the style of Superman VS Spider-Man or X-Men VS Teen Titans of the 70’s and 80’s, a story that everyone will talk about once it's released.
I’m an all-around Conan fan and I think the character lends himself well to different approaches so I’m not settled on one writer trumping the others (though obviously Howard created the source material the others are channeling).
DF: It's hard to believe this is the first meeting of Conan and Red Sonja in the comics in 15 years. Why did it take so long?
Jim Zub: I don’t know the ins and outs of license negotiation but, from what I know, the two license holders just had different outlets for their comics and, even though Sonja’s stories take place in Hyboria, that didn’t mean they could crossover at will. I’m obviously glad it all got worked out for this event.
DF: Have you seen any of Dan Panosian's art for the book? Why is he right for this series?
Jim Zub: Dan’s just getting underway on the project so I haven’t seen pages yet, but if you check out his website his Conan work is just stellar. His style really lends itself to that gritty-earthy style sword & sorcery material.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Jim Zub for taking time from his busy schedule to answer our questions. A Conan/Red Sonja mini-series is expected to be released by Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment in January 2015!
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