Some of you already know that Paizio has teamed with Dynamite to create a Pathfinder comic book series. The story is going to start with 3 heroes uncovering an evil plot that involves goblins. More specifically it involves the unification of tribes. I am guessing their quest is to uncover the madness behind the growing threat to Golaria. I don’t know about you but I am excited.
The creative mind behind the story telling is Jim Zub. Jim has already had an extensive career, you can read his bio here. Lets not waste anymore time.
Through Gamer Goggles (TGG): I am curious about your operation. Do you work alone? That is do you do all of the art, fiction and editing?
Jim: Not all. I’m just the writer on the Pathfinder comic series. There are all kinds of other people involved in the development of this comic series. We have an art team (line art being done by Andrew Huerta , colors by Ross A. Campbell), an editorial team at Dynamite Entertainment (the comic publisher) and the team at Paizo (creators and publishers of the Pathfinder RPG). My job is to create a storyline for the comic series and to develop the back story and motivations for Pathfinder’s “iconic” characters, the core group that has been used to visually sell all of the Pathfinder RPG products but have never been fleshed out in terms of history or personality. TGG: What kinds of guidelines have been given to you for the story?
Jim: Paizo asked for me to develop their iconic characters and create an enjoyable and entertaining fantasy adventure story. I stressed that I wanted the comic to stand on its own as new reader friendly, so that people who have never even heard of Pathfinder and have never played the game could pick it up and get involved with the story right off the bat. Beyond that, Paizo was quite happy to let me create a storyline that felt like it fit well within their world. They’ve been great to work with, letting me guide the overall story while making great recommendations on how to tie in subtle elements that Pathfinder fans will appreciate.
TGG : What is the staging area for the party in Golaria?
Jim: The story begins in Sandpoint, which is the classic Pathfinder starting spot. There will be lots of familiar elements gamers will recognize at the start, but it strikes off in its own direction later on. We’re not adapting any of the published Pathfinder adventures, this is a whole new storyline.
TGG : Does the journey start with our heroes at 1st level, or ” inexperienced”?
Jim: The core cast are essentially 1st level characters. The story begins with 3 of them already adventuring together, so they have done a little bit, but it’s quite early in their questing career. Later on readers will find out more about their history and what’s brought them to this point, but the first issue is about jumping in to the action and moving forward with adventure.
TGG : What is your approach to find inspiration for the series?
Jim: I want to channel classic sword & sorcery storytelling alongside great character ensemble entertainment like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly or The Legend of Korra, great group dynamics where people grow attached to the cast and follow them through their ups and downs.
TGG : Would you say that the story is going to be more character driven then?
Jim: Pathfinder is definitely a character-driven comic. In that way it reflects its tabletop gaming roots well. Most great role-playing campaigns focus on a great cast of characters and I aim to do the same here. Building up a group that readers can really get attached to and watch grow.
TGG : It seems to me that comic books are far more about the struggle of the individual or hero that the comic is based upon. Is that true?
Jim: Comics are a storytelling medium not a genre, so I don’t think it’s fair to paint them all with one broad brushstroke in terms of their content. It’s like saying “movies are all summer blockbusters” or “all books are romance novels”. Pathfinder is a fantasy story, first and foremost, it just happens to be a comic as well.
TGG : How do you plan on tackling some of the obstacles that involve defining a party of characters?
Jim: The important part is making sure the reader gets to know these characters through their words and actions – what drives them and how they interact. Even if the reader doesn’t like every single one of the cast, they should have a clear sense of who they are by the time this first story arc is complete.
TGG : Does that mean you are going to create one character that will appear to be more dynamic than the others? Do you have a plan on how to make that happen?That is do you have a solid outline for your direction?
Jim: Pathfinder is about the group as a whole, not one major heroic individual at the front of the pack. If the series has a good long run I’d like to spend time focusing on each character at different times, shifting that emphasis depending on the current adventure. In the first story arc Valeros, Seoni and Merisiel probably receive the most attention, but the rest of the group carries their share. As far as plans after this first story arc, they’re not set in stone just yet but I have a bunch of possible leads for where the group will travel to next.
TGG : Do you role play on a regular basis?
Jim: I used to all the time and would do so now if I had more time in my schedule. Unfortunately my work schedule is really intense, so I only have time for the occasional board game night or one-off RPG session rather than the extended campaign play I used to be a part of back in high school or college.
TGG : Do you take time off for the conventions?
Jim: Unfortunately, no. Convention travel has to be juggled alongside everything else and deadlines get even more difficult to maintain when you’re on the road in the summer time. Last year I attended 14 different conventions and had to balance that alongside a slew of freelance projects underway at the same time. It becomes all encompassing.
TGG : Is there anything you would like to share about the comic book that you haven’t mentioned yet?
Jim: I hope people give Pathfinder a shot, whether they’re regular gamers or not. We’re putting together a really accessible and entertaining series and I’m hopeful that it will go over well.
If anyone wants to follow along with my work, you can read up on my latest news at www.jimzub.com or follow me on Twitter at @jimzub. The Pathfinder Comic book will be available for the in August. I am told you will be able to pick it up at Gen Con Indy.