The webcomics blog about webcomics

It’s A Zub, Zub, Zub, Zub World

This dayin Great Outdoor Fight history: The presence of tick-pimps, boilbacks, and yard-sleepers quite frankly raises as many questions as they answer. Such as, how many were made into cowboy sauce? I’m going to guess 250-300.

  • We’re getting down to the end times here — from issue #1 in September of 2010 to issue #100¹ in August of last year, to the final wind-down of the rerun as a webcomic, Jim Zub’s Skullkickers is reaching a milestone. For the first time, it’s going to be complete for all new readers; a significant portion of his audience never picked up the dead-tree floppies, and only knows Skullkickers as a webcomic; for the first time, it’s going to be there as a complete story, with no new updated on the next Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

    It’s the comic where he really made his bones and his reputation as a journeyman that can write anything for anybody, 1000 pages a year. It’s the comic that launched a series of tutorials on creator-owned comics, whether the economics of such, tricks for promotion, pitching, you name it. In a lot of ways, it’s always going to be the Zubbiest comic of his career¹ other works since have incorporated some of the madcap insanity of Baldy and Shorty (okay, Rex and Rolf), and have tried to do as ambitious things with the nature of stories, but only here did all of it come together.

    I’m just saying, Wayward and Thunderbolts and Samurai Jack and Makeshift Miracle and Baldur’s Gate and Pathfinder and Batman and Figment and all of the others? Excellent writing, in every genre for every possible audience, but they lack something essential. They have far less mayhem, far fewer crotch-kicks, and as a result are thus only partially Zubby. Zubbish? Zublike? Whatever the adjectival form of Zub is, less of that. He set out to tell as big a story as he could², with as much fun as possible along the way, and he succeeded admirably. It’s a Zub world, and we’re lucky to be living in it.

  • One really cool thing about Skullkickers was how Zub treated the character of Kusia, the elven assassin. She wasn’t just the major female character, but just generally a more competent and likable character than the putative leads. In a testosterone-fueled genre (six of them, actually), she was the rational touchstone, and she got to argue that just because the eternal archetypes of adventure are male shouldn’t mean that there’s no place for women protagonists. Then she dragged the eternal archetypes into something resembling gender parity and it was cool.

    I’m thinking about this, because it’s rare for male cartoonists to actively seek out reasons to have female protagonists³ but female cartoonists aren’t so blind to the ability of women characters to anchor a story. It’s not even so much that women cartoonists create women characters at the expense of men — it’s that they know that including a mix of both reflect the real world, even when nearly every form of entertainment and social interaction results in dudes thinking women are overrepresented and dominating a story when they hit a ratio of about 1 in 4.

    And seeing as how it’s International Women’s Day, The AV Club has done us the favor (as in past years) of pointing out some great women in the comics and cartoon sphere that you may not be familiar with (not to mention names that you should already know — like Fiona Staples, Emily Carroll, Kate Beaton, Jillian Tamaki, Raina Telgemeier, Eleanor Davis, Meredith Gran, Emma Rios, and Noelle Stevenson — who are recapped in the intro). As is happening in a lot of capital-c Comics, women are making the biggest inroads into indie and webcomics because there’s nobody there to tell them they can’t or that there’s no audience for their stuff.

    Read the article; get to know the names. In a couple of years, these ladies will be as dominant as the now-familiar creators in the intro. Don’t believe me? Take note of the fact that DC Comics lost its position as the biggest vendor of graphic novels last year to Scholastic. And Raina Telgemeier by herself was responsible for about 6.5% of all comics sold through bookstores last year. Sisters and Smile are bigger than Batman, and all the women coming up now are going to get to the top by walking past increasingly less-relevant cape comics. Rock on, ladies; you rule.

Spam of the day:

Gorgeous Kitchens – Check it out.

Attention Brett g Porter; it’s not XTC or Zappa or Pynchon, but I believe this is of interest to you.

¹ The precise moment when he shifted his professional name from Jim Zubkavich to Jim Zub is less important than the debut of Skullkickers #1; that is the moment when he shed his former identity and became who he is.

² With, it should be noted, the likes of Edwin Huang and Misty Coats, without whom the end result would lack a significant amount of Zubness. He has a knack for picking collaborators that get him and bring out all that he envisions in his brainmeats.

³ cf: Zub’s Wayward, where the current group of nominal heroes is 4 women (or at least female monster-type creatures) and 2 men; the major antagonists are one each male and female with a male junior villain. It feels ordinary in the context of his story, but it’s far from common in comics.


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