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.
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.