Glitterbomb Interview Part One w/ Jim Zub
ALL-COMIC.COM got the chance to talk with the creators of the hit horror comic Glitterbomb, just in time for the release of Volume One: “Red Carpet”. In part one we sit down with writer and co-creator Jim Zub. Glitterbomb, co-created by artist Djibril Morissette-Phan, is a horror comic worthy of the classics, but more than fitting for modern audiences. It’s a great read and we highly recommend it. Now for the interview!
ALL-COMIC.COM: We really appreciate you taking the time, Jim! What got you into comics? Were you a fan before going pro?
JIM ZUB: I grew up reading comics and they’ve always been a part of my reading pool, but I’ve gone through a bunch of different “phases”, if you can call them that. I started off reading Marvel comics, G.I. Joe and Spider-Man, eventually a bunch of different Marvel superhero titles. In high school I shifted over to Vertigo titles and indie black & white titles like TMNT and The Tick. Soon after that I discovered manga with Appleseed, Akira, Video Girl Ai, and Ranma 1/2. By college I was voraciously reading webcomics. Taking in so many different comics helped open me up to different genres and reading experiences. It inspired me to want to create a wider variety of stories.
Glitterbomb is a fantastic horror comic, but’s its also a collaboration. First, without giving too much away, could you tell us a bit about the story in the first volume?
JIM ZUB: Glitterbomb is a horror-tragedy. It’s about the hollow Hollywood promise of fame and fortune and what happens to the people who aren’t the one-in-a-million success. Farrah Durante is our main character, but the things she experiences channel frustrations I think a lot of people can empathize with.
Not that you’d know it from his artwork, but Djibril Morissette-Phan is a newcomer. How did you come to join forces on Glitterbomb?
JIM ZUB: That’s right. Marguerite introduced me to Djibril at Montreal Comicon and I was blown away by his confident line work and subtle storytelling. I asked him on the spot if he wanted to work together on a project. He’s one of the most skilled young artists I’ve ever worked with. As much as it’s been great to launch his comic career with an Image book, I feel like I’m the one who lucked out.
You’re one of those eclectic writers that can tackle any genre. Any particular reason you’re doing horror this time or was it always part of the Hollywood concept?
JIM ZUB: The concept grew out of broader feelings of fear and failure I was going through when I originally brainstormed it. The Hollywood angle came a bit later. The setting just felt like the right fit, a really fertile spot to explore ideas about success and failure under so much scrutiny. Celebrity culture has become so much more all-encompassing and it gave the big themes I wanted to explore even more bite.
As for horror, it was something I wanted to test myself with. I’m known for fun stories, action stories, generally light-hearted fare. I wanted to push and see if I could connect to something unexpected and darker. It was a real challenge and I’m thankful it worked out as well as it did with such a great team.
“I wanted to push and see if I could connect to something unexpected and darker.”
What was your process like working together as co-creators? Was there a clear moment when you each handled your own part separately or were you both more hands on throughout?
JIM ZUB: For my Image books I tend to act as the de facto project manager so I’m pretty involved in every aspect of production. I gave Djibril guidance on what I was looking for, but he and Kurt hit the ground running and I really didn’t have to do much to make it sing. Djibril really understood what I was going for in terms of the grounded nasty reality of the series and Kurt’s color palette enhanced that even further.
Djibril’s an absolute workhorse. I’ve never worked with someone who asked me specifically to include more pulled back location shots so they could draw city scenes. Normally that’s the kind of stuff artists try to avoid. Not this guy. The scene in issue #2 where Farrah and Dean are drinking beers looking out over LA, that was in there because Djibril wanted to show more of the city and it’s one of my favorite scenes in the whole first arc.
Glitterbomb is the perfect kind of horror story. It’s believable to a point and the characters are engaging, but everything else is bold by contrast. What are some of the challenges to striking that balance so well?
JIM ZUB: Thanks. The key for me was that the horror was a reaction to real emotion and trauma, not just a gore fest. Glitterbomb is a character story where anguish erupts into something monstrous. If you don’t care about the characters then it doesn’t matter. That emotional weight keeps it grounded even when crazy stuff is happening.
The cover art for this series is intense, haunting even. What was the process like coming up with the images for the main covers?
JIM ZUB: I was pretty heavily involved in the cover process. Getting really strong iconic covers is crucial to standing out on the crowded shelves during release time. We went back and forth quite a bit nailing down the look and feel for each one. The cover to #4, with Farrah on the red carper dripping blood, came first. That iconic shot was used for the announcement as well. It summed up the whole look and feel we were going for.
Volume one ends with, “To be continued…” How different, or similar can we expect the next arc to be? At your discretion, of course!
JIM ZUB: I don’t want to spoil too much, but the second arc has a heavy focus on Kaydon, the babysitter, as she’s pulled into fame through the tragedy we saw at the end of issue #4. Other characters from the first arc will be involved as well, but Kaydon will be at the center.
Thanks again, Jim and congratulations on all of your success. How can our readers follow you online and are you working on any other projects you want to promote?
JIM ZUB: Thanks so much for the high praise on the series. It’s been amazing to work on. I’ve got quite a slate right now. In addition to working on the second arc of Glitterbomb, I’m also plugging away on Wayward arc 5 at Image, Thunderbolts for Marvel, and Dungeons & Dragons: Frost Giant’s Fury for IDW, with a couple other projects in development hopefully to be announced over the next few months. If your readers want to see what I’m up to, please visit www.jimzub.com or find me on twitter at @jimzub.