Making Comics: JIM ZUB’s Tips to Newbies

As part of our continuing collaboration with the MAKING COMICS folks, we’re running pros’ critiques of students’ pitches. Here’s writer Jim Zub:

The advice is specific to this pitch — but universal to all those trying to break into the field, so take a look!

Jim Zub on Andres Cubillos and Juan Eduardo Castellon’s Land of Tomorrow

First off, the general concept is OK. The visual potential for prehistoric creatures and jungle-style survival set in a ruined Manhattan is pretty neat. That visual hook works and has potential.

I appreciate that they have broad ambitions for the series, but no publisher or media company is going to approve an epic trilogy like this. As we’ve always said, start small and focus your first idea on something focused and achievable. 95% of this pitch should be about the first story, with only the tiniest hint that they have ideas for more beyond that if it does well.

Mika´s map

What is it about this story that makes it unique? With survival stories like The Walking Dead, The Last Of Us, 28 Days Later, and post-apocalyptic dino stories like Cadillacs and Dinosaurs already out there, what is it about this story that will really grab readers? Is it just the visual hook of the Manhattan backdrop?

The main character needs to survive and she discovers there’s a reason for this apocalypse scenario, but she’s not defined as an actual person. What is her personality? What does she want? Why should we follow along with her?


The theme they mentioned: “The search for one’s identity and the acknowledgement of our abilities in life” is incredibly generic and doesn’t reflect anything fundamental to that story. You might as well say “it’s good versus evil”.

The pitch has merit but it needs to have a clearer character at its core, a stronger theme, and be far more concise in order for it to deliver the goods, in my opinion.

For earlier critiques and coverage of the MAKING COMICS MOOC, click here.



Author: 13th Dimension

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