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DF Interview: Jim Zub brings a new character into the weird world of Wayward
By Byron Brewer
Wayward #12 from Image Comics hits stores today, and so does a new character for the series: a shape changer named Inaba. Writer Jim Zub tells Dynamic Forces that “she's going to make a big splash. Her outfit is distinctive, her personality is fiery, and she has an important role to play moving forward.”
I didn’t mean to start the interview before we … er uh, started the interview. So here’s Jim Zub with an earful (eyeful?) of enlightenment.
Dynamic Forces: Jim, congratulations on the success and fan interest in Wayward. For that valued “new reader”, can you briefly explain to us the concept behind Wayward and where we are roughly in the book’s storyline?
Jim Zub: Thanks! Wayward is a teenage drama about myth in the modern world. It’s a bit like Buffy in Japan.
In the first story arc, we introduced readers to Rori Lane, a young half-Japanese girl moving to Tokyo to be with her estranged mother. When she arrives, she gets drawn into a strange supernatural conspiracy orchestrated by the Yokai, traditional Japanese creatures and spirits. She’s drawn to other outsider teens with strange powers and together they try to fight back against the Yokai.
In the second arc we switched up our focal point character and showed the story of Ohara Emi, a Japanese teen living a far more traditional life than Rori. As she was pulled into the group we saw the similarities and differences between her and Rori. By the end of the second arc, our group of wayward teens gathered more allies, but the stakes in the battle they’re fighting were also raised.
Currently we’re midway through the third story arc. Things are intensifying as the supernatural battle that’s been in the shadows is spilling out into the public and that will change everything.
DF: Did I hear something about a new character?
Jim Zub: Yes! A new character named Inaba joins our cast in issue #12 and we think she’s going to make a big splash. She’s a kitsune, a shape-changing fox girl but, unlike the other kitsune we’ve shown that are obsessed with tradition and the past, she’s unpredictable, rebellious and quite modern.
DF: What role does Inaba have in the plot moving forward, if you can tell us non-spoilery?
Jim Zub: Inaba is “ronin,” a warrior without a master. When she sees the supernatural strength of our teens, she believes she’s been on the losing side of the war to come and that decision to switch sides will have severe ramifications for the future of the story.
DF: What has it been like working with Steven Cummings?
Jim Zub: Steven is a consummate professional. Getting the chance to build this sprawling supernatural story has been a dream project for both of us and we couldn’t be happier with how it’s going. Although I have the overall plot worked out, Steven’s input and collaboration is invaluable. He helps ground the character drama in real places in Japan and provides a ton of cultural nuance to the big ideas I’m putting into play.
DF: Did Steven design Inaba? That outfit is very extraordinary, to say the least.
Jim Zub: Steven did the line art based on the personality and overall description I sent and then I put together the color palette for her outfit, so it was a real collaborative effort. We can’t wait for people to see her in action.
DF: Jim, what else are you working on in addition to Wayward?
Jim Zub: I have a new creator-owned project I’m ramping up production on for release in mid-2016. I can’t say too much about it yet, but the artist is a newcomer and his work is going to knock people out.
In addition to that, I have some new sword & sorcery writing on the horizon that should please readers who have followed along with my other fantasy projects. 2016 is looking exciting, that’s for sure.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Jim Zub for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Wayward #12 hits stores today!
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