Miguel Sepulveda

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Exclusive: Jim Zub unveils the plot behind his grave work coming in Shadowman Halloween issue

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Remember on Seinfeld where Kramer wrote a book about coffee tables and the book actually became a coffee table? Well, that is kind of what you get in the special Halloween issue of Valiant’s Shadowman #11.

Acclaimed writer Jim Zub (Skullkickers) teams with CBN fan fave cosmic artist Miguel Sepulveda (The Thanos Imperative, Stormwatch, Red Lanterns) to present one terrifying tale of ghosts, ghouls and goodies as Jack Boniface tries to survive his first All Hallow’s Eve in the Valiant Universe!

To capture the spirit (lol) of this ghostly offering, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer made his way by night to a certain old castle in New Orleans where he exclusively caught up with Zub and got the bone-ified truth about this special Shadowman issue.

Cosmic Book News: Jim, this is your first work for Valiant, I believe. How has the experience been?

Jim Zub: It’s actually my second Valiant project, but my first full issue. I wrote the “Who Will Lead the H.A.R.D. Corps?” back-up feature that ran in all the July Valiant issues and that was a lot of fun. Anyways, it’s been great. The Valiant crew’s done a great job relaunching their old titles and updating them without just retreading the same material. I’m thrilled to be able to contribute.

CBN: Tell us how Shadowman #11, a special Halloween-oriented issue, came about?

Jim Zub: Jody LeHeup, one of the Editors at Valiant, was the one who approached me about the H.A.R.D. Corps back-up story and it went really smoothly, so he told me he’d look for other writing opportunities for me at Valiant. When the idea for a done-in-one Halloween issue came up for Shadowman they dropped me a line. Pretty straight forward.

CBN: What can you tell us about the story?

Jim Zub: Halloween in New Orleans is probably the craziest the city gets outside of Mardi Gras. Combine those parades and crazy costumes with supernatural trouble and you’ve got an environment that’s ripe with possibilities for a wild Shadowman story.

I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice to say that with all the other weird things happening that night Shadowman doesn’t have to stay as hidden as he usually does.

CBN: Was Shadowman a character you were already familiar with? Any favorite Shadowman stories?

Jim Zub: I knew about Shadowman but honestly hadn’t read the original comics until I started doing research to write for Valiant. I dived right in and read both the original issues and the current series. I was really impressed with how the new team has kept key elements of the original but freshened up the concept. 

CBN: I heard you love New Orleans. How did it feel to use that city as your backdrop?

Jim Zub: New Orleans is probably the most unique city in America. It has such a unique blend of culture, architecture and history. While doing extra research on the city it was so easy to imagine the story playing out along the streets of the French Quarter. It really is a perfect setting for Shadowman.

CBN: Jim, would you say this issue is a good jumping-on point for new readers?

Jim Zub: Absolutely. That was part of the plan right from the get-go with this issue. Valiant asked me to put together an issue that quickly brings new readers up to speed before we dive in to a fun Halloween adventure. You don’t have to read any previous issues to enjoy this one.

CBN: You are just doing this special issue, I believe. Would you like to do more with this character?

Jim Zub: Absolutely. Writing this one up was a blast and I hope I get a chance to write more of Jack Boniface’s adventures down the road. All the Valiant characters are cool in their own way, but now that I’ve gotten my feet wet with Shadowman I’m definitely game to come back to the Big Easy and cause more trouble for Jack.

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CBN: Is it true the issue’s cover converts into a Halloween mask? (laughs)

Jim Zub: It’s true! They just sent me the version that will be going to print and it looks awesome! I’m going to need to snag some copies for my family, because it’s a really fun little extra. I don’t know who at Valiant thought that up, but it’s a great idea. Something fun and different that will help grab attention for the issue when it comes out.

CBN: How was it working with Miguel Sepulveda? He has been doing a lot of cool space-oriented stories for Marvel and DC. Why was he right for this book?

Jim Zub: I’ve only seen a handful of pages by Miguel at this point but they’re looking awesome so far. His storytelling is really sharp and he’s doing a great job at setting the scenes. He’s not just drawing generic buildings, he’s really going the extra mile to make it look like New Orleans.

CBN: Jim, any new projects coming up you want to mention?

Jim Zub: I’m writing the upcoming Samurai Jack comic series from IDW that continues where the cartoon left off. That’s also coming out in October. I’m still writing the Pathfinder comic series for Dynamite based on the award-winning RPG. My creator-owned series Skullkickers is also continuing at Image. All in all, lots of projects on the go and my fingers are crossed for more fun stuff in 2014.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Jim Zub for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. We would also like to thank Valiant’s Hunter Gorinson who helped make this interview possible.

The Halloween-centric “Shadowman” #11 hits shelves October 2nd!

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Review: Stormwatch #4

  Even with the sad news that, with the New 52 and this title only four months old Paul Cornell will be departing as writer with #6, he is leaving his successors with a lot of cosmic meat and reams of work to do on this non-superhero team, as Stormwatch #4 attests. Right away the …

Review: Stormwatch #4 Read More »

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Review: Stormwatch #3

Surprise on top of surprise greets the lucky reader who started this super-cosmic book when the New 52 arrived in September, and Stormwatch #3 keeps up the space action and suspense as the covert group of anti-heroes try to protect mankind and Earth while seemingly out to implode their own team. Apollo really cuts loose …

Review: Stormwatch #3 Read More »

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DC Comics Flashpoint Covers

A few days late, but here they are nonetheless.

DC Blog The Source revealed eight covers along with their creative teams on their Flashpoint related titles.

Note: The cover for “Legion of Doom” is from Thanos Imperative artist Miguel Sepulveda who worked on that with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. DnA are currently said to be penning two Flashpoint books.

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Review: The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1

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Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Artist: Miguel Sepulveda

Colorist: Rain Beredo

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover: Alex Garner

Editor: Bill Rosemann

Publisher: Marvel

Release Date: January 5th, 2011

 

With The Thanos Imperative: Devastation, Abnett and Lanning begin to distance themselves from the previous five years worth of Annihilation-era cosmic stories we all have been accustomed to. As seen in the last issue of The Thanos Imperative, Peter Quill, leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Richard Rider, leader of the Nova Corps, have been seemingly wiped off the face of the Marvel U. As with the two Marvel Cosmic mainstays, for the past three years at least, Nova and Star-Lord join their respective titles, Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, — into Oblivion.

Fan-favorite canine, Cosmo, is used to ease the changeover between the old guard and the new – or perhaps “convince” would be the better word. I can’t help but think, when Cosmo is describing the Guardians of the Galaxy to be a band of misfits that aren’t the very best, that it is more Marvel selling us as to what is to come; as if to say, “sorry these guys weren’t good enough, BUT these are.”

It almost comes off as offensive; the Guardians of the Galaxy was one of my favorite titles and a book I felt to be one of Marvel’s better reads. I only wish the top Brass agreed. As we get inundated with Marvel Studios movie tie-ins – that do not sell any better than Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy – I feel as if I am being treated like a second class reader. Marvel’s answer to more cosmic is cosmic with their popular characters (Thor, Cap, X-Men). When the Marvel Cosmic I do enjoy is proven to be a seller, we are only given IFs, something akin to a handicap or poor man’s bread. Meanwhile, across the street, the direct competition is set to premiere the biggest blockbuster of the year – a cosmic movie.

As Cosmo makes his way from Annihilator to Annihilator, the group finally comes together to repel the advances of the cowardice (ex?)-leader of the Negative Zone, Blastaar. As seen in the recent issue of Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four (#586), Annihilus is back to bug our heroes. Perhaps, the rest of the story will be told there, or perhaps not as another quality Marvel Cosmic title meets it’s doom.

Speaking of the FF, we see in the recent issue of Avengers (#8), Medusa informing Mr. Fantastic, that her husband has perished.  Mr. Fantastic, the last to know of the events that went down at the creation of The Fault, as surely most were informed by Nova or perhaps by any of the Mighty Avengers or Star Jammers. However, I do not think Professor X even realizes the person he shares a life-long bond with has met her demise, as well. Can we expect The Annihilators to have a role in the next Marvel Event described as bigger than Civil War? Furthermore, will Ed Brubaker be informing Steve Rogers that his first choice of a cosmic assembler has fallen?

We are witness to flashback scenes where the original idea behind the Annihilators is revealed.  Sadly, this person shall not be a member of the Galaxy’s Mightiest; the same can be said for his fallen comrade. As the Annihilators made their way annihilating Blastaar, a sense of absence lingered – Nova and Star-Lord not being a part. The two characters that readers most heavily invested in – go out in a blue blaze of wasted glory.

In the end, we see the emergence of the team leader. Gone are the two brothers-in-arms of the Annihilation United Front. Gone is the father-daughter -and lover- team of Drax, Moondragon and Phyla-vell. Gone is the most dangerous woman in the Universe, Gamora. Gone is the Wonderful Warlock known as Adam. Rocket and Groot shall be heard from again come March – but for how long after, I do not know.

Overall, The Thanos Imperative: Devastation was a nice follow-up to the events that transpired in Imperative. Sepulveda’s art adequately brought that greatness forth required by a team of heavy hitters such as this – he will be missed. Abnett and Lanning, once again, provided us with a very enjoyable book filled with twists, turns and a great cliff-hanger – leaving you longing for more. I can’t help but feeling, with the inclusion of Nova and Star-Lord as part of the future of Marvel Cosmic, it would have been that much better.

I do feel as if Marvel passed on an opportunity with these fantastic books and characters that Andy Schmidt and Keith Giffen bestowed upon us all with Annihilation. A book that critics hail as better than Civil War; a book that didn’t get all the hype and promotion that comes with being an Editorial favorite.

Obviously, this will all come off as a bit negative – but I do look forward to The Annihilators as it does star one of my fav’s. In addition, it is being written by a team of writers that I have the utmost respect for, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

I just hope this time around, The Annihilators do get the full backing from the new chief; anything else would be devastating.

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