Arriving in May – Conan The Barbarian #11


CONAN THE BARBARIAN #11
Story – Jim Zub
Line Art – Roberto De La Torre
Colors – Diego Rodriguez

MAR240475 – COVER A – Alex Horley
MAR240476 – COVER B – Richard Pace
MAR240477 – COVER C – Sean Galloway
In Shops: May 22, 2024

BEYOND FLESH. BEYOND DEATH. BEYOND TIME.

Conan has travelled far and seen much in his legendary journeys, but nothing he has experienced thus far can prepare him for a quest to lands beyond to answer dark riddles of the past.

Unexpected allies await, fierce enemies loom, and the strange power of the Black Stone stirs in THE AGE UNCONQUERED!

Zubby Newsletter #50: Value-Packed Anniversary Edition

Wait a sec, newsletter #50! Oh geez, this should be some kind of anniversary-sized special release…Bigger page count and a higher cover price, right?

Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay double for this installment, my friends…Double that $0.00 price tag and I’ll make sure you get everything you paid for. 😉


Delivering a Delve

Speaking of people getting what they pay for, I’m deeply disappointed that backers, creators, and a charity were misled by the Tales From the Quarantine comic anthology.

My longtime collaborator Max Dunbar and I put together a single page story for the anthology right at the start and have kept it under wraps this whole time, hoping the campaign would complete delivery to the many people who backed it in good faith, but that now seems incredibly unlikely, so here’s DELVE, a little fantasy story created during lockdown, with hopeful sentiments about the future despite dark times-

Story and Lettering by Jim Zub. Line Art and Colors by Max Dunbar.


Haunted By That Slogan

I had a really bizarre dream earlier in the week-
In the dream, the Wisconsin dairy council asked me to write an epic based on a new dairy superhero they developed called MIGHTY MILK.

I had to include their new slogan
“Milk is also in man”.

I told them the slogan was awful. They told me it was mythic and powerful.
The rep kept saying the slogan slowly, emphasizing different words-

“Milk is also in man.”

“Yeah, I get it, but it’s still awful.”

I told them I probably wasn’t the right fit for this project, but they were insistent that it had to be me. Like most dreams, it just vaporized unresolved, but I wanted to share so all of us could be haunted by it together from now on.


Honoring the Past


Hayden Mears from Starburst Magazine (the longest-running magazine of fantastic media) and I talked at length about Conan the Barbarian as an icon of prose and comics. There’s a lot of good ground covered here in terms of Conan’s pulp roots, mythic storytelling, Robert E. Howard as an architect of the original ‘multiverse’ concept, and how our creative team is trying to honor that in the new comic series-


A Page (and Series) I Love

On Thursday night on Comic Art Live they ran a piece I recorded with Kevin Sharp for a segment called A PAGE I LOVE-

I dug deep into my excitement for DOCTOR STRANGE #55 Page 13 from 1982, a stone cold classic written by Roger Stern and illustrated by Michael Golden:

Doctor Strange #55 is a masterclass in writing and drawing superhero comics, a done-in-one story that delivers on every page. You can still find it in back issue bins for cheap, which is great, because everyone should have a copy and every aspiring creator should study the hell out of it.

This issue is also Aldrin “Buzz” Aw‘s favorite comic and he has (wait for it) over 3000 copies! I love this video rundown on how this issue 55 collection began and his excitement as he walks through its quality and how it influenced the biggest artists of the ’90’s.

Doctor Strange is a bucket list character for me to write, and a big part of that is due to the quality of this era. Editorial can sometimes be cagey about giving writers their favorite characters because sometimes they’re such diehard fans that they don’t want to take big narrative swings or shake up the status quo, but if I ever get the chance to pitch on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme I think I could honor the past while pushing out in unexpected directions.


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

Feb 29-Mar 3, 2024 Emerald City Comic-Con Seattle, WA, USA
Mar 16-18, 2024 Founders & Legends Lake Geneva, WI, USA
Mar 21-24, 2024 Gary Con Lake Geneva, WI, USA
Apr 25-28, 2024 Calgary Expo Calgary, AB, Canada


Have a great week!
Jim

Conan the Barbarian: Bound In Black Stone – Now In Stores!

CONAN THE BARBARIAN Vol.1: BOUND IN BLACK STONE is now available in bookstores and comic shops everywhere fine books are sold!

In bookstores you’ll find the cover by Dan Panosian. In direct market comic shops you can also choose covers by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau or Mike Mignola.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I am so incredibly proud of this book and thrilled at the response we’ve seen from readers, reviewers, and retailers. Thank you for reading and sharing your enthusiasm.

Comics Beat: “…a great entry point for anyone interested in reading Conan comics. The writing is extremely well done, and the art is stunning. Conan is a captivating character and the standard bearer of Sword and Sorcery stories for a reason.”

Eternal Crusader: 10/10 “This team is creating compelling and often breathtaking visuals that can both rival the beloved classics from the past and newer renditions by Dark Horse, Ablaze, and Marvel…the hype is true.”

Mr. Multiverse: “I really do love this comic…I also love the artwork in here by Roberto De La Torre. It’s beautiful. It reminds me of the classic Conan stories and also the Prince Valiant stories.”

Near Mint Condition: 10/10 “This is perfection. This is some of the best Conan the Barbarian I have ever had the pleasure of reading…I cannot wait for the next book.”

So Wizard: “The action in this book is amazingly done. It’s brutal, fun, inventive, exciting, fast-paced and, most importantly, plentiful. The action almost doesn’t stop.”

Stygian Dogs: “This is a must-have collection at a great price, so I encourage you to pick it up.”

Trans-Scribe: 8/10 “Fans of the fantasy genre will feel right at home here, and whilst I can’t talk for long time Conan fans I can at least say that it was an enjoyable experience throughout, and one that I’d happily recommend to others.”

Tripwire: “Bound in Black Stone needs to be read, shared, taken back and selfishly read again and again until the binding wears out.”

Zubby Newsletter #49: Time Flies

Dungeons & Dragons posted a new 50th anniversary tribute video online and it was a nice little surprise to see Stacy and I briefly appear during a montage section of community moments.

I have so many incredible memories of that D&D Live event in Los Angeles. Mind boggling to me that it was almost five years ago.

At that moment, live TTRPG play games like Critical Role were taking off, Stranger Things was a cultural phenomenon, and it felt like the creative and corporate forces needed to shepherd a major brand like D&D were working in tandem, despite a growing awareness by the Powers That Be at Hasbro that they had a Golden Goose in their midst. I know that might just be pre-pandemic nostalgia, but the excitement and optimism that weekend really was contagious.

I hoped D&D Live would become an annual celebration I could be a part of, a way to bring together different fan and professional forces under a single tent of gaming and good times, but it didn’t work out that way. There’s still a lot to be proud of on the big anniversary, but quite a bit of melancholy as well. Controversies aplenty, impossible corporate benchmarks, and ruthless holiday layoffs have stolen some of the magic on what should have been a triumphant victory lap.

It’s also a distinct reminder to mark special moments when they happen, because they’ll slip through your fingers if you don’t.


Bound For Your Bookshelf

Speaking of marking big moments – This week, CONAN THE BARBARIAN Vol.1: BOUND IN BLACK STONE is available everywhere fine books are sold. Check out our new book trailer!

In bookstores you’ll find the cover by Dan Panosian. In direct market comic shops you can also choose covers by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau or Mike Mignola.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I am so incredibly proud of this book and thrilled at the response we’ve seen from readers, reviewers, and retailers. Thank you for reading and sharing your enthusiasm.


Traversing the Stars

I spoke to Jeff Haas at Traversing the Stars all about writing Conan – The character’s literary legacy, working with an icon, collaborating with incredible artists, and more.

“If you make a superhero and you make distinct choices, you’re making those choices in comparison to Superman. When you make choices about sword & sorcery and that singular hero, they’re in comparison to Conan. That’s a very powerful thing.”


Talking Around the Campfire

On Sunday, February 25th just after 2pm EST I’ll be chatting with writer Kurtis Wiebe (Rat Queens) all about storytelling and creativity as part of the Campfire Stories online convention he and his crew at Vast Vision Publishing are putting together.

Vast Vision has a new Discord community where they’re assembling all kinds of different creative people from publishing and other media and they’ve already posted up a great interview with Nick Pitarra and legendary artist Frank Quietly you should check out.


Bad Dinner Guests

On my Patreon you can now find the full script for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: FORTUNE FINDER #2.

Finder’s mysterious journey continues, right into Dungeonland! There are over 300 scripts available in my Patreon archive, available for the price of a fancy coffee.


Clearer Skies

Bluesky, a Twitter alternative, is now out of beta and open to the public. I’ve been there for a while, so if you’re making the move you can find me HERE.


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

Feb 29-Mar 3, 2024 Emerald City Comic-Con Guest Seattle, WA, USA
Mar 16-18, 2024 Founders & Legends Guest Lake Geneva, WI, USA
Mar 21-24, 2024 Gary Con Guest Lake Geneva, WI, USA
Apr 25-28, 2024 Calgary Expo Guest Calgary, AB, Canada


Links and Other Things

The Glass Cannon Network crew played the Marvel Multiverse RPG again and I couldn’t make it, but it looks like they had a blast anyways. The system is so good! I hope I get a chance to bust out big Marvel action with them again.

• On Friday I made Broccoli Tempura and it turned out great. Ordering tempura for takeout or delivery is always disappointing because it loses crispiness so fast if you don’t east it fresh, so learning to make it at home is a nice addition to my cooking skillset.

Have a great week!
Jim

Conan the Barbarian #7 Reviews


Our second story arc, Thrice Marked For Death continues. What did the critics think? Let’s find out-

Big Comic Page: “…there’s a convincing concern etched across the Barbarian’s face throughout this white-knuckle ride which tells of the heavily-muscled man’s uneasiness when confronted with the mysteries of the Afterlife, and his sheer desperation to avoid being mutilated by the grey-skinned ghouls he’s desperately battling against.”

Black Comic Lords: “If you like sword and sandals-type stuff, this is the type of book for you. If you like the first Conan movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is a book you will definitely enjoy.”

Comic Book.com: 8/10 “The more recent issues have excelled at delivering on some fantastic supernatural elements. Conan the Barbarian #7 brings those things together for arguably the most compelling issue of the series so far.”

Comical Opinions: 9/10 “For Conan fans, this comic has it all – a deep, gritty, dark, thought-provoking atmosphere, intense swordplay, and ample gore. Jim Zub’s writing captures the essence of a serious, no-nonsense Conan.”

Grimdark Magazine: “This issue is full of both action and supernatural menace, giving both artist Doug Braithwaite and colorist Diego Rodriguez quite a workout. This is perhaps the goriest installment of Titan Comics’ Conan the Barbarian yet, with numerous limbs lopped and even a severed tongue.”

Hither Came Conan: “Just when I thought this title couldn’t get any better, Jim and the others come along and throw issue #7 at me…I am never more excited about Conan than when I read one of these Titan issues.”

Infinity Flux: “Just continues to be awesome…The art continues to be fantastic.”

Kabooooom: 10/10 “I could speak at length about the vivid details of Doug Braithwaite’s pencils or the delicate craft of his inks. I could wax at length about Diego Rodriguez’ colors and the palette changes indicating subtle shifts between flashbacks, outdoor scenes and indoor scenes.”

League of Comic Geeks: 10/10 “Great story telling both with art and words. This is exactly what I want from my Conan comics and they’re delivering! Keep this up and I’ll never leave!”

My Kind Of Weird: “The colors and vibrancy alone waste no time transforming this Conan the Barbarian story arc from a fantasy story of swords and steel into a horror-fantasy epic that pulls absolutely no punches…It’s absolutely outstanding and is something you should pick up when it’s released.”

Pop Culture Philosophers: “Another super-satisfying issue of Conan the Barbarian. The writer, Jim Zub, has done a fantastic job of capturing that old school feel with a bit of a modern approach…I’m just super diggin’ it.”

Scifi Pulse: 9.7/10 “Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez do a brilliant job of the artwork in this issue. Braithwaite’s line work captures the action beats perfectly while Rodriguez’s color work enhances the action. The panels at the start of the book where we see the twisted and possessed version of Chaundra attacking Conan are genuinely horrific as they should be.”

Set The Tape: 10/10 “[Zub’s] collaboration with artists Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez feels like a return to the golden age of Conan Comics, and it has to be hoped that Titan Comics realise what a phenomenal title they currently have on their hands.”

Stygian Dogs: “Yet another fantastic issue. What else can I say? Jim Zub has given us something incredibly dark and violent, taking his time over 3 issues to set up further mystery, including that ultimate name drop…This readers can’t wait.”

Thinking Critical: “I do love that we’ve got great action, great blood, and some hot chicks…The cliffhanger at the end of this, I flippin’ love! I cannot wait to see where we go to next. I cannot recommend it enough.”

Todd Luck: “The artwork on the inside continues to be fantastic. The writing continues to be solid. This is a dark, bloody tale.”

Wakizashi’s Teahouse: 9.5/10 “I couldn’t stop reading it! It was so, so good…This is one of the best series being published. It’s a huge recommend.”

Zubby Newsletter #48: Dungeons For Dinner


Over the weekend, Stacy and I watched all six of the released Delicious in Dungeon episodes out so far on Netflix and it is a strangely accurate representation of an actual Dungeons & Dragons campaign-
Foolish characters with poor impulse control doing weird stuff and losing track of the core plot while they obsess over random encounters. 🙂

Like many anime series, you have to buy into the trope-y character parts, otherwise it’s a non-starter.

That said, the creature ecology and cooking bits are fun and the rest bounces between cliche and amusing. Almost every episode had a part where I thought “That’s inventive and interesting” and another part where I thought “That is absolutely moronic”.

Again, I must stress how accurate this is to tabletop gaming with friends. Improv at the table can be ridiculously brilliant or just ridiculous, usually multiple times per session. Kudos to manga creator Ryōko Kui on capturing that vibe.

Delicious In Dungeon is low stakes silly fantasy fare obsessed with food. If you go in expecting a cute-silly anime and RPG-style logic, you’ll probably have a good time.


Format and First Impressions

Speaking of anime and manga, over on my site, I recently posted up a new tutorial article called Don’t Fight the Format, all about manga pacing and making sure a story is paced and priced properly for your intended audience.

When I was first getting rolling with my comic writing career I posted up all kinds of different tutorials and there are over 50 of them for free on my site if you’re interested in a behind the scenes look on how comics are made.


Comic Chatter

With the imminent arrival of Conan the Barbarian Vol. 1: Bound in Black Stone, I’ve been promoting the series in recent interviews-

It was an absolute pleasure returning to the mighty Cromcast to talk all about how the Conan relaunch went and big plans for the future. The enthusiasm those guys have for all things Robert E. Howard is electric and it’s a great conversation. Make sure you give it a listen.


Then I spoke to World At War Comics about my career as a whole, how I got my start, and the things I’ve learned making comics, and going to conventions. Lots of great discussion here too.


Lastly, I received a Golden Grant award from Geek Hard and J. Torres presented me with it during the latest episode of their podcast. If you want to pop ahead to our chat, it starts at the 31 minute mark of the episode.


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

Feb 29-Mar 3, 2024 Emerald City Comic-Con Guest Seattle, WA, USA
Mar 16-18, 2024 Founders & Legends Guest Lake Geneva, WI, USA
Mar 21-24, 2024 Gary Con Guest Lake Geneva, WI, USA
Apr 25-28, 2024 Calgary Expo Guest Calgary, AB, Canada


Links and Other Things

• Want to see superstar Conan the Barbarian artist Rob de la Torre sketch our favorite Cimmerian? Damn right you do.


Katie Cook (My Little Pony, Nothing Special) and I are bringing back our annual Convention Horror Stories panel to Emerald City Comic Con this year. The gut-wrenching embarrassing tradition continues!

Have a great week!
Jim

Don’t Fight the Format

I’ve recently read some comics that are clearly influenced by manga and webtoon, which is not a bad thing at all, but when coupled with their format, release schedule, and price point it makes things more difficult.

Manga or webtoons with a more rapid release schedule can lavish page-panel count on small moments or more drawn out plot movement per chapter because of their frequency. The readership gets a steady flow of material to keep them on board and invested.

In addition, the price point on manga or webtoon per chapter is either incredibly low or free. Even if a reader occasionally feels like things are moving sluggishly, the overall frequency and value is more than worth it.

If your comic intended for North American comic shops has 20 pages of sloo~oow burn introduction for $3, $4 or more, it’s a much harder ask for that audience/that frequency/that price point.

Many manga settle into a drawn out storytelling style/pacing after they introduce a killer hook at the start:
• An incredibly charismatic main character.
• An unusual premise.
• A wild genre twist.
• A deeply compelling mystery.
• A bombastic art style.

Some of these awkwardly paced comics I’ve recently read come off the starting blocks decompressed out the wazoo but haven’t established enough engagement to earn my interest, loyalty, or money.

You’re giving me the storytelling equivalent of the dramatic slow burn first 10 minutes of a movie, charging me $4 and telling me I’ll get 15-20 minutes more…in a month.

If you have a self-contained graphic novel with 140+ pages you can absolutely use 10+ pages to slowly ease us into a sense of place or set up the mundane before something engaging happens. I have the whole story, I’m in for the whole ride. If that same concept makes up half of an opening issue and that’s all I get for my cover price this month, you’ve probably lost me.

First impressions are everything and format-pacing is a huge part of that impression.

You may have an epic long term story in mind, but you’ll never get to it if the value vs entertainment doesn’t work.

If you want that slow burn, maybe you need a ‘stinger’ style opening instead. Every story is different, but it’s something to consider. Think James Bond or Raiders of the Lost Ark – give us a bombastic opening before you settle in for the simmer.

When I pace out a 20-24 page issue, I write a numbered list so I can easily see how much space each part takes up and account for each page, page turn, and scene. Every damn page has to justify its existence – what happens, what do we learn, what gets revealed? On a single issue, I’ve got those 20 pages to earn the reader’s trust and cover price.

If I write a longer graphic novel, I can slow that down and pace information/mood/reveals over larger blocks of pages and scenes. If it’s a short story, I have to double or triple stack info/reveals far more, stripping away all extraneous stuff to focus the value-per-page.

Format determines pacing.

Don’t forget that genre and intent matters too!

If you’re writing a horror story, how many pages deliver dread, mystery, violence, shock?

The same goes for a romance, action-adventure, fantasy, or any other genre.
Are you dedicating enough of your page count to the core experience your readership expects?

Some of these poorly paced comics I’m reading feel like they’re actively fighting against their format, their genre, or their audience.

Surprising a reader with more than they expect is good. Actively giving them none of the promise of the premise is deeply unsatisfying, especially if this is the first issue!

I get it, the more well worn the genre and tropes are, the harder it can be to escape those confines.

How do you give people what they want and surprise them?
How do you deliver something familiar and new?

That’s the struggle.

No, not “struggle” – Challenge.
It’s a challenge you work to overcome.

Your try to please yourself and deliver the goods in a way that works with the story, genre, format, schedule, price point, budget, and audience.

And, if it’s a monthly comic series or weekly manga – you have to do it on 4-5 issues/chapters simultaneously in different stages of the production pipeline. As one goes out, another one enters.

That’s the job.
Get to work.


If you found this post helpful, feel free to let me know here (or on Twitter), share the post with your friends and consider buying some of my comics or donating to my Patreon to show your support for me writing this tutorial post instead of doing paying work. 😛

Zub Comics Arriving April 2024


CONAN BARBARIAN #10
(W) Jim Zub
(A) Rob De La Torre
Cover A – Alan Quah
Cover B – Erik Gist
Cover C – Rob de la Torre
Cover D – David Aja
In Shops: Apr 24, 2024

BEYOND FLESH. BEYOND DEATH. BEYOND TIME.
Conan has traveled far and seen much in his legendary journeys, but nothing he has experienced thus far can prepare him for a quest to lands beyond to answer dark riddles of the past.

Unexpected allies await, fierce enemies loom, and the strange power of the Black Stone stirs in THE AGE UNCONQUERED!

The triumphant new era of Conan continues in this a brand-new tale of brutal heroic adventure from acclaimed creators Jim Zub (Avengers, Dungeons & Dragons) and Rob de la Torre (Invincible Iron Man, King-Size Conan)!


DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: THE THIEF OF MANY THINGS
(W) Ellen Boener & Jim Zub
(A) Eduardo Mello
Cover A – Max Dunbar
Cover B – Jesse Lonergan
68 Pages • $9.99

The Deck of Many Things is the most infamous item in the Dungeons & Dragons canon. Any one of its cards could throw the world into chaos or, in the wrong hands, end it all together. This mega one-shot reveals fresh lore tied to the Book of Many Things Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook and brings the legends of the Deck to life. Our quest follows two ex-romantic rivals who team up to steal the cards, risking everything for the chance to save the lover they lost.

Dungeons & Dragons icon Jim Zub (Rick & Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons, Uncanny Avengers, Conan) joins forces with up-and-coming writer Ellen Boener (Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves—The Feast of the Moon) and artist Eduardo Mello (Dungeons & Dragons: Mindbreaker, DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War) for this new Baldur’s Gate tale.


SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #2
(W) Jim Zub, Patch Zircher
(A) Patch Zircher, Richard Pace
Cover A – Dave Dorman
Cover B – Nick Marinkovich
In Shops: Apr 24, 2024

THE RETURN OF A CULT CLASSIC TITLE!
THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN continues its triumphant return from Heroic Signatures and Titan Comics!

Featuring a new CONAN epic from writer Jim Zub and artist Richard Pace, the exciting continuation of writer/artist Patch Zircher‘s SOLOMON KANE tale, spectacular covers from Dave Dorman and Nick Marinkovich, jaw-dropping art pin-ups, and more, THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #2 is an onslaught of awe-inspiring adventure.

Zubby Newsletter #47: Savage Stirrings

Superhero Hype has more preview artwork from SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #1, the magazine-sized black & white epic that launches in late February. I have a short prose story in the first issue and comic stories and more in upcoming installments.

Heroic Signatures and Titan are currently lining up six issues (released every other month) worth of content, but if sales numbers are solid they’ll keep it going, so make sure you get your pre-order in now.


Near Mint Condition

A week ago I had a great time chatting with the Uncanny Omar from Near Mint Condition and answering questions on their livestream. So many Conan fans popped by!

Anecdotes and answers aplenty HERE.


Fantasy Flourish

A slew of new fantasy comics have been announced recently. It really feels like we’re moving into a new era of sword & sorcery comic storytelling. A few notable ones that have popped up on my radar-

When the Blood Has Dried from writer Gary Moloney, artist Daniel Romero Ulloa, and letterer Becca Carey, with a main cover by Marco Rudy published by Mad Cave Studios arrives April 3rd.

Heartpiercer from writer Rich Douek and artist Gavin Smith published by Dark Horse Comics arrives May 15th.

• I’m also thoroughly enjoying The Hunger and the Dusk series by writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Christian Wildgoose published by IDW, which launched in 2023. Five issues are available so far.


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

Convention season 2024 is finally getting going! I’ll add more as events get confirmed, but here are 3 events to get things started-

Feb 29-Mar 3, 2024 Emerald City Comic-Con Guest Seattle, WA, USA
Mar 16-18, 2024 Founders & Legends Guest Lake Geneva, WI, USA
Mar 21-24, 2024 Gary Con Guest Lake Geneva, WI, USA


Links and Other Things

• Comic creator Rob Guillory has a new YouTube channel and it’s off to a solid start. Looking forward to seeing what he posts up next.
• Cartographer and artist Mike Schley has a Patreon called The Epic Atlas where he posts up incredible maps and fantasy art. Well worth checking out.
Snipe and Wib discuss the unusual origin of the Githyanki in Dungeons & Dragons.

Jim

Zubby Newsletter #46: Definitely On Board


Last week, the latest Kickstarter campaign for the Conan Board Game by Monolith launched, based on Red Nails, one of the finest Robert E. Howard Conan tales, and it’s been crushing its way through stretch goals aplenty. Although the campaign has a bunch of new material available, they also have a ‘New Recruit’ pledge so you can get the original game flush with extras as well.

Obviously, I have a vested interest in all things Conan right now but, honestly, I think the board game is great on its own merits, and I enjoyed playing the heck out of it even before I started writing Conan on a regular basis. This isn’t a sponsored thing. I’m not being paid for this and Monolith doesn’t know ahead of time that I’m putting this ramble together.

Let me tell you why I think it’s good stuff-

The Conan Board Game has a Rich Thematic Feel

Conan is a skirmish-style board game for 1-5 players. In the base game, one person takes on the role of the Overlord and controls the creatures, traps, and other trouble in the game. The other players are heroes of the Hyborian Age – usually Conan and his allies – on a mission to stop the Overlord’s machinations. After the initial release, Monolith released rules that can automate the Overlord role allowing full co-op and even solo play if that’s something that interests you.

The game design, rules, and different scenarios do a wonderful job at creating a proper atmosphere for big bloody adventures in a world where survival or slaughter are a sword stroke away.

Each turn, players have to decide if they’re going to store up their energy or go for broke with bold movement and attacks. Instead of being stuck with arbitrary turn order and sometimes not knowing what your allies are doing until after you get to go, player actions happen in any order. That means you can send a character into a dangerous situation, see how it goes, and then adjust strategy based on how the dice roll. This keeps everyone at the table engaged as they look for ways to play off each other and assist instead of players feeling disconnected as they take their turns.

The best defense tends to be a strong offense, but you also need to hold some energy back to protect yourself because damage taken equals energy lost. Getting hurt doesn’t just tick down a pool of hit points, it lowers the overall pool of energy your character has access to for the rest of the game (unless you find healing, which is few and far between). The push and pull of offense vs defense, when to unleash brutal attacks and when to back off or protect your allies, keeps things dynamic as each mission plays out.

The Game Variety is Fantastic

There are a bunch of different missions in the Conan base game, a lot more free ones online, and even more with expansion material released since the game launched in 2015. Some missions are assaults where the players attack the enemy in their lair. Others are defensive, with the players protecting a location from invading hordes, assassins, or creatures. There are escort quests, treasure hunts, creature ambushes, bar brawls, and a lot more.

The base game started with missions that were all done-in-one play session, but now there are also missions that link together to tell a larger story. I’ve run scenarios for board game enthusiasts and friends who aren’t into TTRPGs and they had an absolute blast kicking down doors, gathering items, and slaying evil.

The Components Look Great

The artwork is top notch, the boards and counters are evocative, and the multitude of miniatures are really high quality. I’m obviously crazy-busy right now, but I’m looking to carve out some time this summer to start painting the characters, creatures, and bad guys aplenty so my set has even more ‘table presence’.

That said, even if you’re not up for painting, the sculpts look sharp. When you put a Giant Snake or Dark Demon on the table, it gets a great reaction.

Alright, hopefully that overview gets you pumped for Hyborian Age adventures at the table. If you need more info on how the game plays and what it looks like, check out these videos – one and two. I’m excited to crack open the new set when it arrives.

There’s only one week left to back the campaign and get a Conanza of extra stuff.


Conan Previews Aplenty!

Speaking of Conan-
• Kabooooom has preview pages and an advance review of CONAN THE BARBARIAN #7 (and they gave it a 5/5!).

• Newsarama revealed advance artwork for CONAN THE BARBARIAN #8 with interior pages by Doug Braithwaite and covers by Ashleigh Izienicki, Patch Zircher and Greg Broadmore.

• Popverse revealed cover artwork for CONAN THE BARBARIAN #10 by Rob De La Torre, Alan Quah, Erik Gist, and David Aja.

Patch Zircher spoke to David Brooke at AIPT all about working on Solomon Kane as part of the new Savage Sword of Conan series, and in that same interview they revealed fantastic new cover art for SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #2 by Dave Dorman and Nick Marinkovich.


The Thief Many Things Arrives in April!


I thought Fortune Finder might be my last D&D comic for the foreseeable future, but in April there’s one more in the mix.

Ellen Boener (writer of the recent Feast of the Moon D&D movie tie-in story) and I came up with a wild one-shot story with D&D’s infamous Deck of Many Things, a magical artifact that can create or destroy in an instant. Ellen took that core and has scripted up a tale of bombastic adventure and breathtaking betrayal. Eduardo Mello, who absolutely crushed it on the D&D: Mindbreaker mini-series I wrote, is back illustrating this one and delivers the best pages of his career so far.

Look for it in April. Solicit info below-

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: THE THIEF OF MANY THINGS
STORY: ELLEN BOENER & JIM ZUB
ARTIST: EDUARDO MELLO
COVER A: MAX DUNBAR
COVER B: JESSE LONERGAN
68 Pages • $9.99 • APRIL 2024

The Deck of Many Things is the most infamous item in the Dungeons & Dragons canon. Any one of its cards could throw the world into chaos or, in the wrong hands, end it all together. This mega one-shot reveals fresh lore tied to the Book of Many Things Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook and brings the legends of the Deck to life.

Our quest follows two ex-romantic rivals who team up to steal the cards, risking everything for the chance to save the lover they lost.

Dungeons & Dragons icon Jim Zub (Rick & Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons, Uncanny Avengers, Conan) joins forces with up-and-coming writer Ellen Boener (Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves—The Feast of the Moon) and artist Eduardo Mello (Dungeons & Dragons: Mindbreaker, DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War) for this new Baldur’s Gate tale.


Oshawa is…Gone?

For years, Ed Brisson and I have joked about which of us was the more ‘famous’ comic creator from Oshawa, Ontario, “The City That Moto-vates Canada”. Ed’s now put his thumb on the scales in a way I can’t match by making Oshawa the core of his latest creator-owned series.

Well played, Brisson.

As always, Ed delivers a compelling story, grounded characters, and a killer hook, and the art by Luca Casalanguida and Dee Cunniffe looks great…I’m not jealous at all.

Pre-order cut-off on The Displaced #1 is Monday, January 22nd, so let your local shop know you want one…even if you’re not from Oshawa. 😉


Links and Other Stuff

• Who is the most popular American to ever work in comic books? Matttt has the answer and it’s ridiculously compelling. This guy’s YouTube Channel doesn’t have many videos, but every single one of them is a banger.

• This CBC News report on the ways food companies pass along costs to customers summarizes a lot of good info. With grocery costs on the rise, it’s good to keep an eye out for these manipulative changes so you can make more informed choices.

Have a wonderful week,
Jim