I've always loved comics. From the moment I learned how to read as a child, I would often dedicate whole days over summer break to reading the entire catalogue of strips like Calvin & Hobbes, FoxTrot, or Bloom County. For a while I dabbled in superhero comics, but it wasn't until a friend showed me Sandman after college that a new world opened up and I began devouring graphic novels. Around the same time someone introduced me to webcomics as well, and I discovered yet another passion (one that eventually ended up with me being involved in the infamous Machine of Death, alongside some of the giants of that field). To this day, Paizo Editor-in-Chief Wes Schneider and I have a tradition of buying each other comics we think the other should read (or more often, that we want to read ourselves), and Publisher Erik Mona frequently unbars the door to his comic vault to educate us youngsters what clearly don't know nothin' yet. ("Grant Morrison? Who's that?")
Yet as much as I adore comics, not since high school days spent tracing friends' sketches during class (yes, I was one of those weirdos who wanted to be an inker) had I ever considered the possibility of someday being involved in comics. That whole industry was forever a mystery to me.
That curtain began to pull back, however, when we partnered with Dynamite Entertainment to do the Pathfinder comic. Suddenly, I was getting to edit real, honest-to-god comic scripts, see how words become sketches and then finals, and meet some of the awesome creators and editors who make it happen. Talking with the people involved, I started to see how things worked. And I knew, without doubt, that if given the chance, I would be all over that.
Fortunately for me, that chance came with the announcement of the Pathfinder Goblins! miniseries. Erik and Dynamite were kind enough to give some of us at Paizo the chance to pitch story ideas, and as luck would have it, Wes, Erik, and I all found ourselves added to the writer lineup alongside comic heavy-hitters like Adam Warren, Charles Soule, Ray Fawkes, and more.
I was there. I was writing part of a comic book.
Now I just needed to learn how to write a comic book.
Fortunately, I knew just where to turn. If you didn't already know, in addition to writing the main Pathfinder comic, Jim Zubkavich also does Skullkickers, one of the funniest and most creative fantasy comics around, as well as a wide variety of other work. More importantly, he's also a really nice guy. So nice, in fact, that he's written up a whole series of tutorials on how to write comics professionally. With his tips and tricks guiding me, I sat down and took my shot.
The resulting story, "Magic Pig," has just released in Pathfinder Goblins! #2, and I couldn't be happier. At one level, it's a story about a pig. At a deeper level, however, it's about a magic pig. And at another, deeper deeper level, it's a story about the problems with giving goblins magic items. Getting to work with artist Sean Izaakse to bring that story to life was a joy, and I can't tell you what a thrill it was to open the sketch file for that first page and see Magic Pig in all his ceremonial finery.
I hope you all enjoy the story as much as I have, and if you haven't already, go check out Erik Mona's pug-tacular goblin adventure in issue #1 and Wes Schneider's encounter with the Sandpoint Devil in the upcoming issue #3!
James L. Sutter
Fiction Editor/Senior Editor
Art by Sean Izaakse