FanExpo Boston 2018: Jim Zub Talks Rick And Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons

by Tito W. James

I had a superb conversation with Jim Zub about his work on comics based off of animated television. Last time we talked about Samurai Jack. This time we dive into Rick and Morty!

Tito W. James: Can you tell me a little bit about Rick and Morty Vs. Dungeons & Dragons?
Jim Zub: Ever since the fifth edition of D&D launched, I’ve been writing the comic series for IDW. I love Dungeons and Dragons, it’s very near and dear to my heart. I wouldn’t be a writer today without D&D. As a kid, it really ignited my imagination and made me want to tell stories.
I was approached almost a year ago by the guys at IDW and Oni who had come up with this crazy idea of combining Rick and Morty with Dungeons and Dragons. Because I was already writing the D&D comic, they asked if I was interested. I said “Sure, but it’ll never happen.” I thought, “There’s no way Adult Swim will approve this, there’s no way Hasbro will approve this.” Lo and behold, months and months later, it all gets worked out.
Pat Rothfuss (The Name Of The Wind) and I, are co-writing the comic and Troy Little is illustrating it. It’s going to be an insane mash-up of gamer-culture and Rick and Morty’s loving nihilism. The dimension-hopping element is going to make things extra crazy because then we can delve into the strangest corners of the D&D canon. It’s like a love letter to what’s wonderfully odd about D&D, why people like to game and spend time with each other.

TWJ: Do you have a message to aspiring creators?
JZ: I think the stuff you’re into as a kid is like a primordial part of who you are going to be. There are some comics that are so near and dear to me that every panel is burned into my brain. They inform my storytelling sensibility, my sense of drama and character. Now, I don’t want to copy those things. Don’t be a passive viewer of your entertainment. If you like something, then try to learn why you like it. How can you inject that sort of excitement into your own work?
Another question I get a lot from inexperienced writers is–at what point do you get over writer’s block? The myth is that once you’ve been writing for as long as I have, that you’ll never get stuck again. That’s not true. There will be moments in every story where you’ll get stuck and feel like a terrible writer. The difference is that with experience you’ll remember that this is just part of the creative process because you’ve gotten through it before. You’ll go “Oh yeah, this is the part where I think my writing sucks.” You may never stop getting writer’s block, but you won’t let it intimidate you or keep you from finishing your story.
I’d like to thank Jim Zub for taking time for this lengthy interview. If you want more advice on how to break into comics you should check out Jim’s personal blog.

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