Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Initial Popgun Pitch

Thanks to everyone who’s been spreading the word about Skullkickers and pre-ordering the first issue at their comic retailer!

I’ve been getting quite a few e-mails from people asking about how we were able to get our comic published by Image Comics, so I wanted to touch base on that and give a bit of insight in to the pitching process.

Image is the only premiere comic publisher that accepts unsolicited pitches for new projects. What that means is that other large comic publishers (Dark Horse, DC, IDW and Marvel) won’t look at your original ideas unless they’ve specifically asked you to send them.

Image has a pretty extensive section explaining how to submit proposals to them. Keep in mind that hearing back from them can take a while and that they might not give your proposal the thumb’s up, but at least there is an avenue.

So, without giving away surprise story elements to come, how did I pitch Skullkickers to Image?

Here’s the initial outline I sent in to the editors on Popgun explaining the concept. Back then it was called “2 Copper Pieces” instead of Skullkickers:


Pitch:
In a backwater fantasy world filled with all manners of magical beasts, poverty, disease and other horrifying threats, it’s a daily struggle to survive. Most people keep their head low, stay in the village they were born and eke out a life as a farmer or simple trades person. The only people strong enough to have anything else are protected by sorcerous powers or in the employ of the demonic.

Except for our two protagonists – They thrive by being stubborn and tough as Hell.

No one knows where this human and dwarf came from or how they’ve survived so long without using a speck of magic. They travel the land slaying every kind of beast in their path with sheer physical grit and vicious trickery. They’re not heroic or even nice – in fact they might be two of the most irritating and ornery $%&@ to ever heft a blade. No matter how obnoxious they may be, no one can argue with their results and the huge trail of corpses left in their wake. In a world of the weak, they’re fighters.

Some folks despise them, others praise or even worship them – they don’t care.
They’d kill anything for 2 copper pieces.

Overview:
2 Copper Pieces is a fantasy parody on steroids. It revels in the clichés of sword and sorcery while injecting them with an extra spark of sass and violence. It’s not deep and meaningful by any stretch, instead keeping readers engaged with snappy dialogue and inventive use of monsters. Like Ash from Army of Darkness, our “heroes” are so full of themselves and capable that readers will like them even when they’re being absolute jerks.

That’s it in a nutshell. That little chunk is only 280 words. It doesn’t have to be long and involved, in fact being short and to the point probably helps. Make a solid statement about what you want your concept to feel like and make it clear.

After that overview of what 2 Copper Pieces was all about I had another 100-150 words about the specific story, outlining what would be happening, trying to make it all sound exciting. The editors liked it and I wrote the first short story (which you can read in our free zero issue online) with these characters for Popgun volume 2.


I Want to Buy Skullkickers!

The new Diamond Previews catalogue comes out tomorrow, but we’ve already got the order code here for retailers. With that in mind, I’ve put together a handy image you can click on, print out and take to your local comic retailer as a simple way of reserving your copy of issue #1.

Skullkickers Pre-order FAQ

Q) How do I pre-order Skullkickers?

A) Just print out that handy-dandy coupon image above and take it to your local comic retailer. If you don’t have a printer, just write down the Diamond Order Code for the book and give them that instead: JUL100392

Q) Why should I pre-order? I just go to the comic book store and buy issues as they come out.

A) Pre-ordering lets retailers know what titles are of interest to their customers so their orders are more accurate. In addition, you’re guaranteed to get the book you want. With a new series like this it’s difficult for retailers to know how many they should bring in or if it’s a title worth pushing. Your pre-order can bring interest to Skullkickers. It makes a big difference, believe me.

Q) I wish there were more awesome fantasy comics!

A) That’s not a question, but I whole heartedly agree! If you’re a fantasy fan, I’m hoping you’ll support this book and show comic retailers and publishers that fantasy is a bad ass genre worth investing in.

Q) I’m a retailer. Why should I order your Image book?

A) It’s a fun comic with solid art in a genre that isn’t over saturated. It’s great for your long time customers and also good for new readers who love fantasy, D&D or movies like Army of Darkness. More importantly, the first issue is complete, coloured and lettered, so you can be assured that it will ship on time. I know that’s something a lot of retailers worry about, especially with new untested books.

Q) This FAQ is just a promotional ploy, right?

A) This whole blog is for promotion, so “Yes”!

All I know is that I have to do something to raise interest in this book or else I’ll feel like a fool for letting this chance slip by me. I want this comic to make it in a market that eats up and spits out a lot of titles. Image believes in it and I hope, over the summer reading this blog, you will too.


Gem of the Month

Diamond, the distributor for Image comics (as well as every other major publisher in the industry), has a sneak peek of their new catalogue coming out this Wednesday with products that will ship in September.

Skullkickers #1 is listed under their ‘Sneak Peeks’ and ‘Hottest Items’ sections while also garnering ‘Gem of the Month’ status.


Hulk Homage Cover

If you saw the solicitations for Image comics shipping in September that included Skullkickers #1 you may have noticed a neat alt cover previewed there as well.

Chris Stevens (Skullkickers’ fantastic cover artist) and I were talking about homages, riffing on famous comic covers using our two mercenary boys and when I went looking for classic issue #1’s I came across the iconic Incredible Hulk #1. The fact that it had ‘FANTASY AS YOU LIKE IT’ written on it was too good to be true. Chris and I had a winner.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Original by Jack Kirby, homage by Chris Stevens. The distressed nicks, scratches and discolouration to make it look like an old comic was masterfully done by Steven Finch.

We thought it would be a fun nod to the past and a way to entice the superhero buffs to try out our comic. I hope you like it.


Skullkickers #1 Solicitation

Here’s the official Diamond Previews Solicitation listing for Skullkickers #1, arriving in September:


In Shops: 9/22/2010
Item Code: JUL100392


SKULLKICKERS #1
story JIM ZUBKAVICH
art CHRIS STEVENS, EDWIN HUANG & MISTY COATS
cover CHRIS STEVENS
SEPTEMBER 22
32 PAGES / FC
$2.99

“ONE THOUSAND OPAS AND A DEAD BODY”
No one knows where these two warriors came from. The only thing that’s clear is that they’re two of most ornery, trouble-making $%@# that have ever lived.

SKULLKICKERS is a fantasy action-comedy: Two mercenaries are entangled in a high-class assassination plot and nothing—werewolves, skeletons or black magic—will stop them from getting paid. If you love tabletop fantasy RPGs or movies like Army of Darkness, SKULLKICKERS is waiting for you!

COVERS:

PREVIEW PAGES:


Skullkickers Press Release Makes the Rounds

Wow!

Thank you so much for the messages and goodwill that came our way yesterday after the Skullkickers announcement went out. A slew of outlets carried the press release and there have been other promising enquiries in terms of media requesting more information and interviews. We are pumped!

Here are just a few of the sites who helped announce the comic:
Angry Zen Master
Digital Spy
Comic Book Resources
Image Addiction
ComicList
Hypergeek
Comic Box
Bloody Disgusting
Pop Culture Zoo
The Joe Schuster Awards blog

in addition to the many Tweets, Facebook Shares and other pushes on forums and online communities.

Thank you!


Interview- Newsarama

Comic industry mega-news site Newsarama just updated with a feature interview introducing Skullkickers. The article includes exclusive preview pages and a look at the cover art for issue #1.

Click here to check out the interview!


Press Release – Kick to The Skull

KICK TO THE SKULL
Image Comics revives fantasy-fueled action comedy with SKULLKICKERS

Berkeley, CA – 15 June 2010 – In September, Image Comics brings you fantasy as you like it — hilarious and action packed — with SKULLKICKERS, an all-new ongoing series. Written by Jim Zubkavich with art by Edwin Huang, Chris Stevens and Misty Coats, SKULLKICKERS promises to turn any fantasy motif on its head.

“I love sword and sorcery novels and role-playing games,” says Zubkavich, “so I wanted to use those as a jumping off point and marry them with a slightly sarcastic self awareness of fantasy clichés. At its core, the book is about fun characters and wild adventure, with witty banter thrown in to keep it all clipping along at a healthy pace.”

SKULLKICKERS is fantasy action-comedy. Two mercenaries are entangled in a high-class assassination plot and nothing — not werewolves, skeletons or black magic — will stop them from getting paid. If you love tabletop fantasy RPGs, buddy stories involving a big guy and a dwarf, or movies like ARMY OF DARKNESS, SKULLKICKERS is the book for you!

SKULLKICKERS #1, a 32-page full color comic book for $2.99, will be in stores September 22, 2010. Readers can get a taste of Skullkickers in POPGUN, VOL. 2 (MAY082176) and POPGUN, VOL. 3 (JAN092368). Follow the Skullkickers blog at www.skullkickers.com.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of four major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.


Welcome to Skullkickers.com

Welcome to the blog!

This the site for info on Skullkickers, a brand new fantasy-comedy comic series being published by Image Comics starting in September 2010.

My name is Jim Zubkavich (almost everyone just calls me ‘Zub’) and I’m the writer on Skullkickers. Rocking out the fantastic art on this series are newcomer Edwin Huang, colorist Misty Coats and cover artist Chris Stevens.

I’m hoping you’ll use this blog, site and RSS feed as an easy way to keep track of our progress on the series and enjoy some behind-the-scenes looks at the comic, our influences and other related fun stuff.

I also hope you’ll add us to your favourite feed reader or come by to visit often as things ramp up. We’re incredibly excited about this summer as we bust out the first few issues and September when everything will kick in to high gear as the first issue hits the stands.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.


About

This is the official site for Skullkickers, a fantasy-comedy comic series being published by Image Comics that launched in September 2010.

Two hard-headed mercenaries kill monsters and cause havoc in their search for money, fame and adventure.

If you love fantasy, action-comedy, a touch of black-hearted violence and movies like Army of Darkness, then Skullkickers is the book for you!

The first Skullkickers trade paperback, collecting issues #1-5 and extra short stories, has been released. Click HERE for ordering information and cover art.

For media/licensing inquiries related to Skullkickers, please contact:


Elan Freedman
Surge Licensing, Inc.
elan@surging.com
516-939-2226