Author Jim Zub on Pathfinder Comics

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Adapting source material to different mediums can be really difficult. Each form of entertainment has its own strengths and weaknesses. Movies aren't books, games aren't prose, and comics aren't video games. When you move between mediums, you need to understand what the essence of the source material is and do all you can to keep that core intact while adjusting the rest around it.

When Erik Mona invited me to pitch Paizo a plan for the Pathfinder comic series I was thrilled and intimidated at the same time. The Pathfinder setting is robust and detailed, filled to the brim with incredible story potential. Thousands of gaming groups have taken the world of Golarion and made it their own, populating it with characters and events from the sourcebooks while using it as a canvas for their own creativity. How could I filter all that great material down into a cohesive and engaging comic that would work for longtime fans but also be new-reader friendly?

I banged it around in my brain for a while and honestly thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew, until I realized the essence of what makes Pathfinder, and tabletop gaming as a whole, so great.

It's the characters. It's always been the characters.

We play these wonderful games because we want to connect with characters and with each other. The characters we make, PCs or NPCs, are storytelling avatars that empower us and entertain us.

If I could create a cast of characters that felt genuine and had the kind of playful interaction I enjoy so much around the gaming table, then it could work. Of course, all the details and rules would find their way into the comic too, but they'd be there reinforcing that core of character interaction.

Using the beautiful visual designs established for the iconics by Wayne Reynolds, I started to brainstorm who they were: their goals, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies. Once I figured that out I felt confident I could create a comic that felt like gaming with friends, regardless of where the actual story went.

When I get a chance to meet readers of the Pathfinder comic at conventions and they tell me they enjoy it because it reads like a great gaming session, I know we've done our job well. The essence is intact even though it's been adapted to a new medium. I'm proud of the series and excited about our second story arc arriving in 2013. If you haven't had a chance to check out the Pathfinder comic, I encourage you to browse the free samples posted here online (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) or order the upcoming hardcover collection for Dark Waters Rising.

I hope you enjoy reading the Pathfinder comic as much as I'm enjoying writing it. Getting the chance to flesh out the Pathfinder iconics has been a real honor. I can't wait to level them up for many more adventures to come.

Jim Zub
Pathfinder Comics Author

Jim Zub is a writer, artist and art instructor based in Toronto, Canada. He juggles his time between being a freelance comic writer, Project Manager for UDON Entertainment and Program Coordinator for Seneca College's award-winning Animation program. His current projects include Makeshift Miracle, a modern day fable, Skullkickers, a sword & sorcery action-comedy, and Pathfinder, the comic series based on the best-selling tabletop RPG.

Pathfinder Volume 1: Dark Waters Rising, the first Pathfinder hardcover graphic novel, is available to pre-order now and will be released June 2013.

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Tags: Pathfinder Comic

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hi Jim,

I enjoyed Dark Waters Rising ... and was wondering ... in future story arcs are you going to "play" with other iconics, or use the same "main" cast throughout with "special guest star(s)" peppered in here and there?

Looking forward to many more stories!

Dean

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I really enjoyed the story of the comics, I found the characterization and flow really well put together. Unfortunately, I was never able to get past the art, there is nothing wrong with the art per-say, it is well executed, and a novel style, but it isn't in the style of Pathfinder products. When Wayne brought to life in picture the Iconics, he didn't just set my impression/expectation of what those characters would look like, but also the look and feel of Pathfinder products in general. While there are some deviations, I think more often then not the grit and refinement of most art in Pathfinder products bares striking similarity to Wayne's work. So the comics I find the deviation from that style a real challenge to emersion. It is always so jarring from expectation that I'm unable to get fully into the comics.

It is really going to be the barrier between liking and loving them.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Galnörag wrote:
I really enjoyed the story of the comics, I found the characterization and flow really well put together. Unfortunately, I was never able to get past the art, there is nothing wrong with the art per-say, it is well executed, and a novel style, but it isn't in the style of Pathfinder products.

I'm sorry to hear that Andrew's art didn't strike a chord with you. The second story arc has a new artist on board and you can see some samples of his page art on his art page here:

http://jakebilbao.deviantart.com/gallery/

I hope you like what you see there and are willing to give the series a chance with the second story arc starting with issue #7+.

Contributor

The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:
in future story arcs are you going to "play" with other iconics, or use the same "main" cast throughout with "special guest star(s)" peppered in here and there?

Paizo has asked me to stick with the 6 iconics we have in the party for now so we can develop their personalities and histories more fully, but I'd like to include more of the other iconics later on, as guest stars or as regular cast members, as the series continues. Fingers crossed.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jim Zub wrote:
The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:
in future story arcs are you going to "play" with other iconics, or use the same "main" cast throughout with "special guest star(s)" peppered in here and there?
Paizo has asked me to stick with the 6 iconics we have in the party for now so we can develop their personalities and histories more fully, but I'd like to include more of the other iconics later on, as guest stars or as regular cast members, as the series continues. Fingers crossed.

Dang thats actually quite disapointing was hoping to see more Lini soon. Cant say I'm that huge of a fan of the current 6 and would have been nice to get a bit more veriaty in.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hi Jim,

Thanks for posting, and while I'll echo Kevin Mack (above me) somewhat, I don't mind another arc with the current cast, I'll cross my fingers with you and hope you can play with additional iconics as the series continues.

Dean


More Jim Zub comicky goodness here on the Know Direction podcast/vlog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDk9pnz-qIw&feature=em-subs_digest

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Jim Zub wrote:
Galnörag wrote:
I really enjoyed the story of the comics, I found the characterization and flow really well put together. Unfortunately, I was never able to get past the art, there is nothing wrong with the art per-say, it is well executed, and a novel style, but it isn't in the style of Pathfinder products.

I'm sorry to hear that Andrew's art didn't strike a chord with you. The second story arc has a new artist on board and you can see some samples of his page art on his art page here:

http://jakebilbao.deviantart.com/gallery/

I hope you like what you see there and are willing to give the series a chance with the second story arc starting with issue #7+.

No offense was intended to Andrew, merly a clash of expectations. Jake's work seems interesting, and I can't wait to see it inked and in color.

It is interesting to read the 'script' (if that is what it is called) associated with each panel, and the notes therin that the faithful around here take for granted like:

Quote:

(note that Pathfinder goblins look different from typical fantasy goblins, so match the

world style).

Further notes for the artist is that Pathfinder Elves aren't Tolkien Elves, but have creepy space eyes.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I also can't get past the current art style (sorry but, to be blunt, I kind of hate it). I actually picked up the first two issues but the art turned me off so much I gave up on the remainder of the series.

I think what you posted of the new artist's work looks too be a pretty big imporovement though. Really interested to see it inked and in color

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Jim Zub wrote:

I'm sorry to hear that Andrew's art didn't strike a chord with you. The second story arc has a new artist on board and you can see some samples of his page art on his art page here:

http://jakebilbao.deviantart.com/gallery/

Yeah, that looks *far* more appealing to me. :)

Sovereign Court

Kevin Mack wrote:
Jim Zub wrote:
The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:
in future story arcs are you going to "play" with other iconics, or use the same "main" cast throughout with "special guest star(s)" peppered in here and there?
Paizo has asked me to stick with the 6 iconics we have in the party for now so we can develop their personalities and histories more fully, but I'd like to include more of the other iconics later on, as guest stars or as regular cast members, as the series continues. Fingers crossed.
Dang thats actually quite disapointing was hoping to see more Lini soon. Cant say I'm that huge of a fan of the current 6 and would have been nice to get a bit more veriaty in.

Here's hoping to see Lem and Alain in future issues. Perhaps a bit if Alain vs Merisiel rivalry going on ...


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

I, for one, have really enjoyed the series and the characters. I wanted to see more of Lini, but I have a soft spot in my heart for gnome druids. My favorite character I played in a homebrew was an amazingly overpowered 3.5 gnome druid.

I'm looking forward to the continuation of the series with the different artist.

The art for Dark Waters Rising was not bad. I felt a strong anime/manga influence in it, but I thought it was fine. I'm in it for the story, and I've been enjoying the story!

-Aaron


Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Jim Zub wrote:
Galnörag wrote:
I really enjoyed the story of the comics, I found the characterization and flow really well put together. Unfortunately, I was never able to get past the art, there is nothing wrong with the art per-say, it is well executed, and a novel style, but it isn't in the style of Pathfinder products.

I'm sorry to hear that Andrew's art didn't strike a chord with you. The second story arc has a new artist on board and you can see some samples of his page art on his art page here:

http://jakebilbao.deviantart.com/gallery/

I hope you like what you see there and are willing to give the series a chance with the second story arc starting with issue #7+.

I had a stronger negative reaction to the art than Galnörag did, but I am very glad to see the new artist and am going to resubscribe because of him.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Thanks for your support, Mair! There's some incredible stuff coming in the future. You won't be disappointed.

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