By Jarrod Jones. Your favorite thing in the whole world, right now. Let’s talk about it. ’10 Things Concerning…’ is the latest DoomRocket interview series, where we discuss your absolute favorite comic book, film, television show, or video game. Think of it as the only stop for your geeky confessional.
This week, I’m talking with Jim Zub, all-around nice fella and freelance comic book writer of Image Comics’ ‘Wayward’, the upcoming ‘Thunderbolts’ revival over at Marvel Comics, and IDW’s ‘Samurai Jack’. We discuss Jim’s all-time favorite cartoon series, ‘Samurai Jack’, which is pretty damned fitting, all things considered.
1. Describe your first experience watching this show.
I remember flipping through the channels, and Samurai Jack just jumped out at me. I’m a big animation guy — my background is in animation — and I was rocked to my core. It was so visually different than anything I’d seen on television before. It was big and broad, colorful and graphic; totally confident in its visual presentation, rather than filling the air with a lot of voice acting in order to make it look like things were happening. It just had a real purity, a visual aesthetic that I deeply appreciated. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
2. How many times have you sat through this entire series?
I’ve watched the entire series three times. First two times for fun, and the third time for research — I was prepping to write the [Samurai Jack] comic series.
3. Favorite episode, please.
Oooh. There was one called… um… oh, great question. [Laughs] I’ll try not to pick a really obvious one. The episode titled “Jack Vs. Mad Jack”, where Jack ends up fighting an angry part of himself, and he has to find his inner peace in order to stop the rage. That seemed like the most deep thing I’d seen in a kid’s show at the time. [Laughs] And I loved that Samurai Jack could have these ludicrous slapstick episodes, then these Buddhist, zen-mastery episodes, and they totally seemed like they were contained in the same structure.
4. Trivia time — Jack, as you know, doesn’t say very much. But when he does speak, who’s putting words in his mouth?
That’s Phil LaMarr. Meeting him was an absolute thrill. I was at a Washington, D.C. comic convention, and I was gonna seek him out to ask if he liked the comic. And he came to my table, and asked me to sign his book. It was the dorkiest, most wonderful thing, because I was just sitting there freaking out. Everybody’s looking around, like, “wait a minute — is that…?” and I’m like, “yeah…” [Laughs]
5. Favorite project by Genndy Tartakovsky, aside from ‘Samurai Jack’?
Genndy’s done a lot of wonderful things. He did this other show called Sym Bionic Titan, which didn’t get what it was due. It was a really fun, cool show that had an even shorter run than Samurai Jack.
6. You are a grim warrior stalking your quarry in a dystopic wasteland. What weapon do you carry?
Probably a knife. I’d likely just mess myself up with a sword. [Laughs] I know it doesn’t seem good for distanced fighting, but I could use the knife for survival skills and also to mess people up. Like a big bowie knife.
7. As a warrior, you’ll be facing an endless horde of enemies. How do you rest? Or do you?
Oh, god. I would just cover myself with loam and dig myself into the earth. Dig myself a little hovel. I’d get close to the earth and hope it doesn’t rain too much.
8. It gets lonely in this wasteland. Do you bring a companion?
Honestly, I probably would have already eaten them for food. [Laughs] It’s the apocalypse, man! What do you want from me? [Laughs]
9. Samurai Jack falls in battle. Which great end awaits him?
Well that depends. Wow, I’m about to get all “deep and meaningful” here. There’s the idea of whether or not he truly belongs to the future, or whether his soul would return to the past — whether he’d be enshrined along with his ancestors in the past, or if he’d be trapped in the future for all time. But as a Warrior True, you’d hope that he’d get his much-deserved rest.
10. Favorite ‘Samurai Jack’ quote?
There’s this episode where Jack is taken with the plague, and he’s being eaten alive… and he just screams. He just says “No,” and there’s this unbelievable fervor in his voice. And it drives him to fight on. It’s so simple, but it’s awesome.
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