A quick chat with Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons
Meet the latest addition to Dark Horse’s stable: Publicity Coordinator Jim Gibbons. Recently tapped to handle PR chores for Hellboy, Buffy, Conan, the Goon, various Sith and Jedi etc. following the departure of Jacq Cohen for fellow Pacific Northwest publisher Fantagraphics, Gibbons is the latest in long line of former Wizard staffers whose exit from that company gave them an entrance elsewhere in the industry. The transition for Gibbons, however, was just about as seamless as it gets — cross-country move excepted, that is.
I had a quick email exchange with Gibbons — a friend and former coworker — that should be of interest to anyone who’d like to get to know the guy who’ll be helping you get to know Dark Horse’s comics in the weeks and months to come.
Robot 6: Jim, how’d you land this gig?
Jim Gibbons: A few days after I was let go from my job at Wizard, my good buddy — and CBR Staff Writer — Josh Wigler sent me a link to the jobs section on DarkHorse.com and suggested I apply. I believe the end date for resume submissions at Dark Horse was set for about a week after I had lost my job, so it seemed fate was smiling upon me and where one door had closed, another had opened… and numerous other cliches. But, in all seriousness, things had luckily lined up for me in an oddly fortuitous way. Not only was there an opening at an amazing comic company right as I’d lost my job, but I had just written Wizard‘s Book of the Month feature on one of my favorite Dark Horse titles, Conan the Cimmerian. I guess I was a victim of some of strange but really good timing.
So, I wrote my cover letter, sent in my resume, didn’t make an ass out of myself in the interviews, thankfully had some fantastic people I had met during my time at Wizard put in a good word for me and was lucky enough to become a publicity coordinator at Dark Horse Comics.
What do you dig most about Dark Horse?
You mean aside from being a huge Conan fan, an avid Buffy enthusiast and a fervent Fear Agent follower? Well, getting to work at a comic book company that you respected and enjoyed as a reader and journalist is quite a thrill. But I think the thing I enjoy most about Dark Horse — its comics, in particular, but all its products as well — is the level of quality they strive for in all their work. It’s high. I’ll go back to Conan, because it’s a good personal example for me, but that was a character that I could just never get into — until I gave the Dark Horse run a try. Long story short, the effort poured into that book (and still being poured into it), not to mention the strong creative work, attention to detail and reverence for the rich source material delivered what I came to see as the true and interesting version of a character who had previously just been shallow and cheesy in my eyes. That kind of pursuit of high quality work in every project is what I really love about Dark Horse Comics.
Are there any upcoming DH projects you’ll be particularly excited to get the word out on?
I’m quite jazzed about Mass Effect: Redemption. I think video games have become such rich venues for storytelling over the past couple of years, it only makes sense that comics covering those worlds would be enthralling. And I think Dark Horse is really kicking things off right with this book by getting the head writer of Mass Effect 2, Mac Walters, to play such an active role in the comic. I think that shows how serious and committed DH is to their licensed properties — something I think will help set this book way above other video game comics. Big Buffy fan that I am, as I mentioned before, starting at Dark Horse just as Season 8 is nearing its endgame is pretty extraordinary as well.
Also, I was a massive Star Wars fan as a kid, so working at a company that actually gets to tell stories in the Star Wars Universe is incredible and surreal in its own right.
Wizard alums and ex-pats are all over the place these days. I’m here at Robot 6, Kiel Phegley is CBR’s new News Editor, Rick Marshall edits MTV’s Splash Page blog, Ryan Penagos and Ben Morse are editors at Marvel.com, Alejandro Arbona is an editor at Marvel, Brian Cunningham is an editor at DC, Zach Oat is an editor at Television Without Pity, Rob Bricken runs Topless Robot, and the list goes on and on. How do you feel your time at Wizard impacted you or prepared you for the new gig?
My time at Wizard was pretty integral in getting to Dark Horse, I think. I met so many people, learned so much about the comics community and picked up many of the skills I need for my current gig while I was there. When I took the job at Wizard, I was a comic fan with a journalism degree who hoped that job would be the first step into a career in comics. Now I feel like I’ve taken the next step and it feels pretty good.
You had to schlep all the way from the New York metro area to scenic Portland, Oregon to take the job. How are you handling the move?
The move went pretty well. Portland is really a fantastic city, and the fact that my lovely girlfriend was willing to make the 3,000 mile cross-country trek with me has only made it all the more delightful (She’s amazing!). Given, pulling a U-Haul trailer from Atlantic to Pacific is a bit stressful and I’m glad all the box carrying is done, but the friendly people, good food and great beer I’ve already experienced here has been incredible. Growing up a Midwesterner, New York City was a great place to live and experience for two years, but Portland seems much more my speed. So far, so good!