Author Archives: Jim Zub - Page 3

Conan the Barbarian #9 Reviews

Our third story arc begins, The Age Unconquered! What did critics think of this bold new chapter that picks up after last issue’s wild cliffhanger?

Comic Book.com: 8/10 “Zub knows what was so enjoyable about the Conan of the past and continues to find ways to tell new stories with the character.”

Comic Book University: “Beautiful book, incredible story. I love what Zub is doing…This one blew my mind.”

Comic Culture: “I love this issue…I’m glad we’re back to basics right now. Conan is a great read.”

Comical Opinions: 9.5/10 “-an enthralling tale of adventure, mystery, and intrigue…this issue is a must-read for fans of Conan and classic sword-and-sorcery tales.”

Comicon.com: 10/10 “It may be my favorite issue of the series so far. It burns with life. I love it, it slays, and I am content.”

Deciptisean77: “I really recommend this, it’s really great. Good art, good pacing, lots of callbacks to other characters.”

Gary B The Casual Comic Guy: “This issue really cemented for me why Titan Comics is a good home for Conan the Barbarian…This title is going great and I can’t wait to see where this is going to continue.”

Grimdark Magazine: “…delivers the thrills, plunging Conan into a desperate new situation in a vibrant and exciting setting.”

Hobbies of a Man: “This was an awesome, awesome issue. It was phenomenal. I had a really fun time with this issue.”

League of Comic Geeks: “Zub’s writing is excellent and De La Torre on pencils just brings back all the nostalgia of the past with a story that keeps true to the Conan character.”

Pop Culture Philosophers: “Jim Zub and La Torre and company – they’ve been killing it in the pages of Conan the Barbarian. I loved this issue. Really excited to see how this develops.”

Sci-Fi Pulse: 9.8/10 “…a strong issue with some bloody brilliant plot developments and twists.”

Stygian Dogs: “Zub has given himself room to play in Howard’s sandbox and he has a demonstrated a knack for doing so in a way that pays meaningful and lyrical homage to Howard’s creations…another must read experience, one that heralds a triumphant close to the series’ first year.”

Thinking Critical: “This was my pick of the week…The linework, the colors, the lettering, everything is top notch and setting the bar as to how a comic book should be produced.”

Todd Luck: “I wish I’d recorded my reactions while reading the issue, because even knowing that this was the premise of this plotline, I was still geeking out while reading it.”

Two Guys and a Stack of Comics: “It’s really cool to see a book that has art and writing so good that it will appeal to non-fans, but if you’re a fan of Howard’s work it honors that as well…This is what comic books should be.”

Void City Reviews: “Much like the first arc, the writing and the art combine into something that elevates them both…The art is just incredible.”

Wakizashi’s Teahouse: 8/10 “De la Torre gives you those chills, those flashbacks, the nostalgia buzz…I haven’t read a bad issue yet so far.”

Zubby Newsletter #56: Preparation and Advice


A fellow writer asked how I prepped for writing Sacrifice in the Sand, the prose short story in SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #1 (and the advice I sent applies to writing the new Conan comic series as well), so I thought I’d share that here:

Glad you enjoyed my story in Savage Sword. It was certainly a challenge, but I’m glad I was able to contribute something a bit different to the relaunch of a series that means so much to so many readers, myself included.

Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan and many other literary characters, wrote over 300 short stories, with just over 20 of them centered on Conan. Before I sat down to try and write a new Conan short story, I re-read all the original Conan tales (and quite a few of his other short stories as well) with a pad of paper and pencil close at hand so I could quickly jot down specific lines of narration or dialogue that spoke to me – the way Howard used language and created flow in his sentences, the lyrical and poetic quality of his words. I didn’t copy any of them in my own story, but I wanted to better understand what made them read the way they did to try and emulate that while writing an original tale.

By listing unexpected or unusual words Howard used to paint a scene and highlighting bits of action I felt were effective at generating momentum and noting down other aspects of structure and pacing, I was able to use that as a baseline of inspiration to build on in my own work.

If I was writing a longer prose story I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to focus on each and every sentence quite as much, but with a short story like this I could really pore over each piece to try and summon that pulpy feel as much as possible. With a bit of luck I’ll get the chance to create more down the road.

Reading for research is different from reading for pleasure and it’s a crucial part of getting ready for any project, especially when I’m building on existing work and well-established worlds.

Two other useful bits of writing advice:
1) Read your writing out loud.

Hearing writing spoken aloud can work wonders for catching mistakes, adding clarity, finding unwanted repetition, giving characters distinct voices, and improving flow.

2) Get an editor and/or trusted reader.

An editor is there to enhance what works and help fix what doesn’t – copyedits, advice, cheerleading. Big picture and small details. A pre-release reader may catch mistakes, but their role tends to be first impression and overall clarity.

If you’re just starting out or losing steam while trying to build up your writing skills, finding (or founding) a ‘creative circle’ to act as trusted readers for each other can be extremely helpful. Set creative goals and motivate each other to meet them. Read work from your peers to help them out and learn from them at the same time.


Starting Your Journey In The Hyborian Age

Speaking of source material, with all the excitement around Conan right now, quite a few people have asked me where to start when it comes to Conan prose stories, since there are 90 years worth of published stories by dozens of authors to choose from.

The original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard are the foundational bedrock of the Hyborian Age and the sword & sorcery genre. Since those tales were written for Weird Tales magazine, almost all of them are short stories that can be read in one sitting. They’re quick and engaging bursts of action and atmosphere.

I quite like the Del Rey three book Conan collection (in print or e-book) that includes every short story and story fragment along with in-depth annotations and some great art. That said, I’m not an ‘edition collector’ and don’t have exhaustive knowledge of Conan books in print, so if there are other great editions currently available, please let me (and other people here) know.

If you want to start reading Conan stories, don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed by the amount of material out there. The character and world is incredibly easy to jump into because the core premise is so straight forward:
Conan is a wandering warrior in a pre-historic time of swords, sorcery, danger and mystery. Wherever he goes, adventure and excitement is sure to follow.

There are all kinds of other details that I and other people working on the property keep track of, but you as the reader don’t need to know or memorize any of it, especially when starting out. Just dive in and enjoy.

When it comes to writing the new Conan comics, the original REH prose stories are the only absolute canon. Everything else, from additional novels, comics, games, movies or other media, are ‘in play’ if we want, but not required. Using material from them is an Easter Egg or knowing nods for the fandom, not pillars of continuity.


Nods To The Past

Speaking of knowing nods (and with slight spoilers for Conan the Barbarian #9), Conan the Cimmerian and Kull the Conqueror duke it out in our latest issue and I couldn’t let such a momentous clash pass by without tipping my hat to writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema who did it first in Conan the Barbarian #68 from 1976.

The whys and wherefores around the two confrontations are totally different, but I managed to weave a couple narrative parallels in for my own amusement.


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

April 25-28, 2024 Calgary Expo Calgary, AB, Canada
June 7-8, 2024 Howard Days Cross Plains, TX, USA
August 1-4, 2024 Gen Con Indy Indianapolis, IN, USA


Links and Other Things

Secret of NIMH is one of my favorite animated films, but I had no idea that Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, and the crew sourced action from other films. It’s not rotoscoped (traced), but you can see that the shot choices and timing are tightly referenced from live action sources, almost certainly films they enjoyed in their youth.

Ian Livingstone announced a new Fighting Fantasy sequel to Deathtrap Dungeon! That book was one of my absolute favorites when I was a kid.

• I like this digital painting video from artist Hardy Fowler. Some great techniques in there and good chatter about deciding who a painting is for and staying motivated.

J. Kenji Lopez shows the difference between baking soda and baking powder when it comes to pancakes and other recipes. The more I cook, the more this kind of stuff intrigues me.

Have a great week!
Jim

Zubby Newsletter #55: Ever Rolling Onward

Three days after getting back from the Founders & Legends-Gary Con 9 day gaming event marathon, I’m still recovering. There are mountains of emails to catch up on and deadlines galore. The next four weeks is looking to be an absolute sprint, but that’s okay because I had a fantastic time at both shows.

Old friends and new. Old games and new.
So much enthusiasm. So many amazing people.

What an absolute joy it was to be part of the big celebration.

I’ve got dozens of amazing anecdotes and trying to summarize it all means I’ll definitely miss some key things, but here are a few of the many high points:

• I playtested my new AD&D 1st edition adventure called “The Crucible” four times over the week, three times with strangers who signed up to play and once with an all-star adventuring party of friends. It was an honor and a blast watching these groups puzzle their way through the tricks and traps I put together. I definitely want to keep building on this foundation and run it again at future tabletop gaming events.

• Playing a cursed marine named Private Zoob in a wonderfully tragic one-shot session of the Mothership RPG, a twisted scenario called Moonbase Blues.

• Trying out Keith Baker‘s upcoming strategic card game called Glim.

• Sketching a first edition-style Rust Monster as part of the Gary Con Artist Jam.

• Late night chatter with The Dungeon Dudes all about the good old-bad old days of tabletop RPGs, before smartphones and social media.

• Making Chris Perkins cackle and get verklempt in the same conversation as we waxed nostalgic.

• Playing a deranged dilettante named Chancellor Longbottle in a spirited game of The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

• Gossip and good times with Erik Mona, Jeff Richards, and Joshua Dinges, nightcaps before we crashed and started it all over again, day after day, game after game.


A History Unfathomed


CONAN THE BARBARIAN #9, the first part of THE AGE UNCONQUERED, arrived today at comic shops nationwide.

Surprises and action aplenty, my friends. Get your copy today! Cannot wait for you to see how it all plays out, with line art by Rob De La Torre, colors by Dean White, and letters by Richard Starkings.

In many ways, this is the biggest issue since our launch, using momentum built in Conan #0-8 to propel us to the end of our first year.

And yes, that says “first year”. We’re not hitting the reset button after issue 12 or anything like that. I have many more stories to tell in the Hyborian Age and our crew is already deep into work on arc 4 and beyond, plus Savage Sword magazine and Conan: Battle of the Black Stone.

If wonderful fans like you keep buying, reading and sharing your excitement, this new era of Conan will keep conquering!


Art of Storytelling Interview Clips

Proko has posted up some new clips from footage I filmed as part of Marvel’s The Art of Storytelling comic creation course. Watch and share:

What makes comics so special as a medium?

Why do I like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange so much?


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

April 25-28, 2024 Calgary Expo Calgary, AB, Canada
June 7-8, 2024 Howard Days Cross Plains, TX, USA
August 1-4, 2024 Gen Con Indy Indianapolis, IN, USA


Links and Other Things

• I made this Chicken Scallopini recipe and it turned out great. I normally use thighs for most chicken recipes, but chicken breast worked really well with this one.

The Comicstorian did a spirited narrative run through of Bound in Black Stone, our first arc on the new Conan series.

Jim

Zubby Newsletter #54: Couldn’t Even See The Bucket


I’m in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for Founders & Legends and Gary Con, celebrating 50 years of Dungeons & Dragons and tabletop roleplaying games alongside a slew of writers and artists who helped build a hobby from the ground up. Two days in and it’s already been a pretty amazing and surreal experience.

Last night someone asked me if getting to write Dungeons & Dragons and Conan the Barbarian and be a guest at events like this were on my “Bucket List” – life goals/dreams someone hopes to achieve.

And, I had to be honest, the answer was a resounding “No”.

These kinds of things weren’t on my bucket list when I was younger because I couldn’t even see the bucket.

I would read comic books, absorb the names of those artists and writers, and wonder if it might be possible to meet those amazing people some day. My brother and I would pore over RPG books, see that an adventure was originally run as a tournament at a convention and dream about maybe someday going to that convention and playing in one of those tournaments. Just getting a bit closer to the people who made the stuff we enjoyed. That was the extent of my nerdy dreams.

The idea that I would ever get to create that stuff, have my name on the cover of a book, be well regarded in that field or be friends and peers with any of those creators would have seemed ridiculously impossible to me as a kid.

Right now, my creative career is so cosmically beyond any bucket I could have perceived that I can’t fully wrap my head around it. It’s special and wonderful even when it can be stressful and difficult and a bit exhausting.

I said something to that effect to the person who asked me and he said “Well, I’m kind of having that experience right now getting to chat with you.”

So yeah, it’s all a bit mind blowing…


The Crucible Welcomes Its First Victims

Speaking of gaming tournaments, this week at the shows I’m playtesting an original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition adventure I put together for fun.

The Crucible is a dungeon crawl tournament-style AD&D adventure for six 3rd level characters. It’s filled with dangerous traps, puzzles, and unusual combat encounters in the tradition of the Tomb of Horrors and Deathtrap Dungeon.

I built the riddles and puzzles so a group can “brute force” their way through if needed, but solving them either nullifies or severely weakens an encounter, giving the party a much better chance of surviving the whole adventure.
The adventure is named after an arc of Conan I wrote at Marvel, a story where our Cimmerian is tricked into competing in a similar deathtrap-laden tournament.

I ran the adventure for the first time yesterday and the playtest crew did really well. Over the course of 3 hours these six strangers came together to overcome five major encounter areas and reach the last puzzle, while roleplaying and laughing all the way. The team made some smart strategic decisions in combat and exhausted all their healing magic to bring two characters back from the brink of death. I’m curious how the other groups fare later this week.

A few people here and online have already asked if I’m going to publish the adventure. Right now it’s a pet project I put together so I’d have something original to run at TTRPG shows and in its current state it’s a series of scrappy notes, handouts and other pieces, not a properly written and edited manuscript. That said, it would be fun to formalize it up at some point and bring things full circle by having an adventure playtested at a game event become “real”.


Coffee & Heroes – Part 3

A few weeks ago I had a wonderful time talking with the owners of Coffee & Heroes in Ireland all about my career in comics. It was a great chat and covered so much ground that they’ve split it into 3 parts.

Here’s part 3, where we dive deep on CONAN THE BARBARIAN, including writing an icon, working on Conan at Marvel during the pandemic, pitching the relaunch to Heroic Signatures, working on the new monthly series, the new Savage Sword of Conan magazine, and more!

(And here’s Part 1 and Part 2, if you missed them.)


Talking AI Art on NPR

I was one of the comic creators who spoke to Jason Burrows at Emerald City Comic Con all about generative AI artwork and the changing industry.

“I’m confused about the desire to have computers make the fun things, and make sure that people are continuing to do the drudgery.”


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

March 21-24, 2024 Gary Con Lake Geneva, WI, USA
April 25-28, 2024 Calgary Expo Calgary, AB, Canada
June 7-8, 2024 Howard Days Cross Plains, TX, USA
August 1-4, 2024 Gen Con Indy Indianapolis, IN, USA


Links and Other Things

Leila del Duca has a Kickstarter running for a beautiful collection of her Sleepless story and, to no one’s surprise, it’s looking incredible.

Kyodokan‘s technique for cooking Teriyaki Chicken is simple and effective. I made it last week following their technique and it turned out wonderfully.

Jim

Zubby Newsletter #53: Marching Onward


Quite a whirlwind this week trying to get caught up on emails and work after Seattle and prepping for my road trip next week to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for back-to-back gaming events with Founders & Legends and Gary Con, celebrating 50 years of Dungeons & Dragons and TTRPGs. If you’ll be at either convention, let me know. I won’t have a booth or table, I’m there to run and play some games, do a few panels and interviews, and otherwise hang out with friends and enjoy. That said, if you have any of my books, feel free to bring them to either event as I’m happy to sign them.

While I was away last week I received notification that my YouTube channel finally reached the threshold for the YouTube Partner Program (ie. I will start receiving a portion of ad revenue generated from video views), which was nice. I haven’t had time to post many videos lately, but past ones about art and writing continue to get traffic. Here are some for you to check out if you’ve never seen them before. Watch and share:

Making Comics – Dialogue Order and Page Thumbnails
Making Comics – Outlining Your Story
Making Comics – Page Turns and Pacing
Making Comics – The Power of Short Stories
Making Comics – Writing Conan the Barbarian


Coffee & Heroes – Part 2


Speaking of YouTube, a few weeks ago, I had a wonderful time talking with the owners of Coffee & Heroes in Ireland all about my career in comics. It was a great chat and covered so much ground that they’ve split it into 3 parts.

Here’s part 2, where we cover omnibuses, Rick and Morty VS Dungeons & Dragons, Thunderbolts, Avengers: No Surrender, Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk pitch, Avengers: No Road Home, the zen of Chip Zdarsky, and more!

(And here’s Part 1, if you missed it.)


Conan Noodles


UDON Entertainment is now offering an exclusive variant cover for CONAN THE BARBARIAN #9, the first issue of The Age Unconquered, our epic third story arc. Cover artist Ickpot has taken an anime approach to the Hyborian Age and it’s a pretty fun fusion of styles. Get your pre-order in before they’re gone.


The End That Was A Beginning


Over on my Patreon– The full scripts for CONAN THE BARBARIAN #24 + 25, the final issues I wrote on the previous run before the Titan relaunch.

There are now over 300 scripts in my Patreon archive, available for the price of a fancy coffee.


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

March 16-18, 2024 Founders & Legends Lake Geneva, WI, USA
March 21-24, 2024 Gary Con Lake Geneva, WI, USA
April 25-28, 2024 Calgary Expo Calgary, AB, Canada
June 7-8, 2024 Howard Days Cross Plains, TX, USA
August 1-4, 2024 Gen Con Indy Indianapolis, IN, USA


Links and Other Things


• On Valentine’s Day I cooked the best steak of my life, a medium-rare dry-aged rib eye that Stacy and I could not get enough of. The cooking technique I used is called a Reverse Sear and, if you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it! J. Kenji Lopez does a great job covering the process here.

Brian Lagerstrom‘s cooking channel is great in general, but his new video with Easy Techniques to Make You a Better Cook is extra sharp, a solid summary of useful techniques I’ve incorporated into my cooking approach over the past few years.

Todd Klein has posted up his entire Art and History of Lettering book on his site and, if you’re a fan of comics or a creator looking to enhance your knowledge about the medium this will absolutely hit the spot.

NASA has created their own tabletop RPG adventure? Seriously…check out The Lost Universe on the NASA website. It’s absolutely free.

Jim

Zubby Newsletter #52: A Sparkling Emerald

This young warrior’s name is Conan! He’s not quite ready for Venarium,
but I’m sure he’ll get his first sword soon.

This past weekend was Emerald City Comic Con, my first convention of 2024, and it was an incredible experience. ECCC is usually a sharp show, with excited comic fans aplenty and a solid guest list of professional pals, but this year had more sparkle than usual.

At New York Comic-Con back in October I had a few old school Conan the Barbarian fans come to my table to tell me how much they were enjoying the new series. This time, with 5 more issues and the first trade paperback released and months of good word of mouth across the industry, it was a steady stream of readers, many of them collectors from the 1970’s, lining up in front of my table with praise and hearty handshakes as we talked about everyone’s favorite Cimmerian and the incredible artwork Rob De La Torre and Doug Braithwaite are unleashing each issue. In addition to longtime fans, there were plenty of new readers too, many who said they had wanted to check out Conan for years but didn’t know where to start. The new series grabbed their attention and now they were looking at back issues and collections to dig in even more.

It was an intense and heartfelt experience and it kept happening in person over and over, every day of the show, while at the same time my social media was blowing up with photos, compliments, and strong reviews for Savage Sword of Conan #1 and Conan the Barbarian #8, which both arrived in comic shops on Wednesday. I was taken aback by all of it in the best way possible.

This isn’t meant as an ego thing, I swear. I just want to mark this moment and thank everyone for their abundant enthusiasm.

Taking it even higher, on Friday morning the nomination list for the 2023 Robert E. Howard Awards went public and I found out that the new Conan comic is up for two possible awards:
THE COSTIGAN – for literary achievement
THE RANKIN – for artistic achievement

I’m thrilled that The Robert E. Howard Foundation, a dedicated group of scholars and conservators of the man’s work, has recognized our series. It’s an honor to contribute to such an important literary legacy and bring new fans into the fold.

I’ve been writing Conan stories since 2015 and this is the first time I’ve been nominated by the Foundation, so that’s a pretty special milestone. Fan engagement at the show and the REH Foundation nominations hitting at the same time was an incredible jolt of excitement. It feels like we’re tapping into the bedrock that made the original stories so engaging and helped launch the sword & sorcery genre over 90 years ago.


Off the show floor, lots of great meals and conversations with friends, some karaoke and a few pints to celebrate another year on the convention circuit.

My good friend Jody Houser was hit with an inner ear infection that brought on intense bouts of vertigo Friday evening and that necessitated a group of us skipping out on social stuff to help take care of her, but even in the swirl of all that there was a throughline of friendship and looking out for each other that reaffirmed how much I enjoy doing these events and being part of this industry.


Undriven

The enshittification of technology continues.

When Google Drive launched, I was an early adopter and it was an absolute gamechanger.

The document I had on hand was always the latest, saving me from version numbering and worrying about losing work. Having every single story I’d written saved locally on my laptop simultaneously backed up on the cloud and my desktop computer at home meant I could work flexibly and fearlessly. A bit of writing done at the airport or on a flight would update all versions as soon as I connected to wifi or settled in at a hotel.

It was simple, elegant, and made sense…so, of course, it couldn’t stay that way.

Now, the files in my Google Drive folder will not open without current active internet running, which means I can’t continue working on a project on a flight or check older files as reference when I’m on the go. Why? No idea. The full-size file is sitting there in the folder saved locally taking up hard drive space and the prompt says it’s all up to date, but now I click on it and it just loads endlessly until it crashes because of…reasons, some new bloated complicated process running under the hood that acts as an unnecessary barrier between me and the file that didn’t used to be there.

It’s so frustrating.

The people building this stuff have stopped using their own products and, in turn, have forgotten what it was supposed to do in the first place. Endless spyware, subscriptions, or hidden processes for less efficient, less elegant, less productive everything.


Coffee & Heroes – Part 1

A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful time talking with the owners of Coffee & Heroes in Ireland all about my career in comics. It was a great chat and covered so much ground that they’re splitting it into 3 parts.

Here’s part 1, where we cover nerdy reading with my brother, my influences, the things I did before comic writing, sword & sorcery as a genre, tabletop RPGs, superheroes and Vertigo books, serialized entertainment, the struggles of launching and maintaining Skullkickers, being typecast, and more!


Current + Upcoming Releases

Upcoming Appearances

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


Links and Other Things

• The second Thunder Road: Vendetta board game Kickstarter is on now. I really enjoyed the base game (it’s basically Mad Max as a board game) and being able to snag a new expansions and other exclusive additions here is enticing.
• J.L. Collins let me know that the crowdfund campaign for Thistle, a new fantasy comic series, is now underway. I read an advance of the first issue and it looks like it’s channeling classic elements with a bit of a twist.
Have a great week, everyone!
Jim

Conan the Barbarian #8 Reviews

Comical Opinions: 9.5/10 “If you’re a Conan fan, this is a must-read. The story is perfect, the character development is on point, you get your fix of classic Conan action and it all just…works.”

Hither Came Conan: “I am very satisfied with the way that this arc ended. It ends in quite the cliffhanger…I really enjoyed it. It was a great second arc. I am super pumped to get into the next arc.”

Is This Just Fantasy?: “Just great color work and it’s an enjoyable read. There’s a great balance of the flavor text by Jim Zub in the dialogue and the art telling the story and I think they’re just really well made comics.”

League of Comic Geeks: 10/10 “Hot damn! This book is everything I’ve ever wanted from a Conan book and it shows no signs of slowing! This book is perfect in my eyes.”

Multiversity: “As for the artwork? It’s as dark and gritty as it should be, but also wonderfully detailed and illustrated with care. Doug Braithwaite’s artwork is intense, emphasizing Conan’s hulking form and making every detail pop.”

Pop Culture Philosophers: “Another satisfying issue of Conan the Barbarian. The artwork by Doug Braithwaite is absolutely fantastic. I love the use of color here.”

Sci-Fi Pulse: 9.8/10 “The dialogue that narrates the action is brilliantly clear to the point where I can hear the narration in my head when I read the book…This comic is a great example of sequential storytelling where the art team and writer are in perfect sync.”

Set The Tape: 8/10 “Everything about these comics continues to impress. The phrase ‘passion project’ feels right for this series, as though everyone involved has a genuine love of the world of Conan. It’s a joy to see these comics grow and mature, weaving another glorious thread through an already rich tapestry.”

Stygian Dogs: “Here in the second arc, thanks to that ambitious and well laid foundation, and all to our benefit, Zub was able to let loose…we’ve been given a thrill ride of action…It’s brutally awesome.”

Tennessee Fats: “This is a story of sword & sorcery, but it’s also a story of emotional growth and really dealing with the emotional damage that Conan has to go through…Beautifully written and the art gelled wonderfully.”

Thinking Critical: “When we got to the ending of this book, I was shocked…It’s crazy. I did not see that happening.”

Titan Comics Corner: “…the art respects vintage comics while capturing the author’s energetic style…This journey crafted by the creative team is so engaging that readers will find it difficult to not be fully immersed.”

Wakizashi’s Teahouse: “It delivered a very strong conclusion to the second story arc with some atmospherically eye-catching art by Doug Braithwaite and gorgeous coloring by Diego Rodriguez. It’s a great time to be a Conan fan.”

Savage Sword of Conan #1 Reviews

Comics Beat: “…an excellent start to this new series and follows the proud tradition of Savage Sword’s of the past. I highly recommend checking this out, especially if you are a fan of the current Conan the Barbarian series.”

Comic Book.com: “It’s just a very cool complete oversized package of a thing that feels really substantial compared to a lot of the monthly releases.”

Comic Book Dispatch: 9.8/10 “Patch Zircher’s art in Master Of The Hunt Part One has an elegant and historic appeal. While Solomon Kane wears the hat and cloak of a Puritan, the penciling evokes Prince Valiant.”

Comic Lounge: “This is a fantastic comic. I can’t recommend it enough.”

Comical Opinions: 8/10 “…a treasure trove of Conan content, from the main story to the bonus prose and pinups…Even if you’re not deeply familiar with the world of Robert E. Howard, the quality storytelling and diverse content in this issue make it worth checking out.”

Craig Zablo: 10/10 “Most folks know Zircher as an accomplished artist, but since he’s added writer to his resume the title needs to become accomplished writer/artist.”

Graphic Policy: 8.6/10 “It not only stands out from the Conan the Barbarian series but is an easy way to dive into these worlds. It opens up the opportunity for Titan to not only give other creators a shot at writing Conan, Kane, and more, but also try out other characters from Howard’s worlds and see what might work in their own comics.”

Grimdark Magazine: “If the level of quality and variety on display in issue #1 of The Savage Sword of Conan is maintained, the magazine has the potential to surpass even the flagship Conan the Barbarian comic.”

Hyborian Reviews: “If you’re a fan of Conan and Solomon Kane then you simply can’t miss out! This is overall a fantastic return for Savage Sword of Conan and I so dearly hope they can keep this up.”

Infinity Flux: “If you’re a Conan fan you’re definitely going to want this and if you’ve never dipped your foot in, this is a good entry…Really cool.”

League of Comic Geeks: 10/10 “There literally isn’t a better cost-to-content release this year so far, and it will be hard pressed to compete with this.”

Mass Movement: “I was more than a little nervous and keen to dive headlong into the pages of the revival of the magazine that I consider one of Marvel’s finest moments. I was not disappointed…The days of high adventure are here again, make sure you embrace them.”

Major Spoilers: 9/10 “I thought that this was really, really good…I think you’re really gonna want to drop your $7 and get your fix.”

Pop Culture Philosophers: “It is awesome. As far as values goes, it absolutely rocks and it’s on that newsprint so it gets the smell of the week.”

Pop Culture Maven: “If you’re a fan of Conan it’s well worth checking out…I like it and I like the nostalgia of it too.”

Pullbox: 10/10 “While the new title has all of what I thought was great about the old, I’ll add that this is going to be an outstanding jumping-on-point for new readers. No matter where you stand, don’t let anything stop you from picking up a copy”

Set The Tape: 10/10 “A fantastic title with a thrilling debut, it’s great to see there’s so much life in the old barbarian yet.”

Stygian Dogs: “In its physical form it’s wonderful. It feels right, all of it. The newsprint, the monochrome…You’re purchasing an experience here.

Superhero Hype: 10/10 “This is sure to be the start of something special, and you will curse the gods should you miss out on this one.”

Two-Headed Nerd: “This is just gorgeous from page 1 to the end…This is a beautiful book…Buy it!”

UBJ: 10/10 “For enthusiasts of fantasy, mature-themed comics, and high-octane narratives, snagging a copy of Savage Sword of Conan #1 is a must. Miss it, and you may find yourself in lamentation.”

Wakazashi’s Teahouse: 9.5/10 “I can honestly say it’s off to a blinding start. This issue is an absolute corker!”

Zero Sum 716: “Regardless of what you’re here for, you’re getting a lot for your money…I think they are off to a very good start here and I am honestly quite impressed with what they’ve done so far.”

Zub at Emerald City Comic Con 2024!


It’s wonderful to be back at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington. I’m so pumped to be kicking off another convention season at one of my favorite shows. I’ll be set up with the Comic Sketch Art team at-

ARTIST ALLEY TABLE A-29

In addition to signing at my table during the show, I’ll also be on a couple panels throughout the weekend:


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 29
02:00 PM-02:45 PM — Convention Horror Stories, An ECCC Tradition — Summit Room 431
Jim Zub (Conan the Barbarian, Rick and Morty VS Dungeons & Dragons) and Katie Cook (My Little Pony, Nothing Special) are back with their fan-favorite con horror stories panel! What’s it like working as a pro in the business on the convention ‘circuit’? Ridiculous, embarrassing, and always entertaining. Some of these stories will make you laugh out loud, others will make you cringe! This panel is recommended for those 16+ due to coarse language.

FRIDAY, MARCH 1
03:30 PM-04:30 PM — Fantasy Storytelling in Comics — Summit Room 431
Pull up a chair to the hearth, settle in, and enjoy spending time with Dark Horse creators who are well-versed in weaving winsome fantasy and chronicling captivating characters.

SATURDAY, MARCH 2
12:30 PM — Dungeons & Dragons Young Adventurer’s Signing and Giveaway – Booth #20515
Jim Zub will be signing FREE copies of Places & Portals, the newest D&D Young Adventurer’s Guide, while supplies last!

Zubby Newsletter #51: Big Week

This coming week is absolutely packed for me-
CONAN THE BARBARIAN #8, the wild conclusion of our second story arc, Thrice Marked For Death.
SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #1, a grand return to black & white magazine-sized glory.
EMERALD CITY COMIC CON, my first convention of 2024 and always one of my favorite conventions each year. Will I see you there?

BRING IT ON!


My Pulpy Prose


If you do snag a copy of the new Savage Sword, 80 pages of bold barbaric goodness for $6.99, let me know what you think of Sacrifice In The Sand, my prose short story.


The Queen


Speaking of Savage Sword #1, Rebecca Puebla has a pin-up in there of Bêlit, Robert E. Howard’s famous Queen of the Black Coast.

It’s a wonderful illustration and also a fun synthesis of pulp and silent film influences coming together to create a new look for an iconic character. It’s so great!


The Public Lending Right


Last week I received my Canadian Public Lending Right payment for 2024. For the past five years, I’ve been compensated for books I wrote that circulate in Canadian libraries. There are over 18,000 Canadian authors registered in the program.

The average payout per title found in their database is $49 and, as long as those books are in libraries, they will pay out for the next 25 years.

I have 52 books registered. Do the math.

If you’re a Canadian author, it is worth the effort to get enrolled and update your profile with new titles as you release new books.

Authors are giddy when royalties pay on their backlist work. The Public Lending Right is like an extra royalty payment every February for published Canadian authors and illustrators from the Canada Council For The Arts.

For five years I’ve beat the drum about this, and yet I still hear from some prolific Canadian comic creators that they haven’t gotten around to getting their profile set up yet – You. Are. Missing. Out.

Some quick tips for Canadian comic creators registering for the PLR:
• You’ll need the ISBN, year of publication, and page count for each book you register.
• You’ll also need a photocopy of the title page of the book with your name and a photocopy of the copyright page.
• For graphic novels, writers get 50% of the “share claim” since the other half would go to the illustrator (even if they can’t claim it because they’re not Canadian).
• Anthologies don’t count. If there are more than six contributors to a title it’s considered ineligible.
• Each year all you have to add are new titles that weren’t on there previous years.


A Return To Rogues

I returned as a guest on the wonderful Rogues In The House podcast. We chatted up a storm about the return of Savage Sword and talk about the ‘moment’ Conan seems to be having right now in comics, prose, games, and more.


At The Campfire


I had a great chat with Kurtis Wiebe (writer of Rat Queens) as part of his Campfire Stories online conference that happened over the weekend.

We cover a LOT of ground – working on iconic characters, getting started in my career, burnout, gratitude and more. Check it out.


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


Links and Other Things

• My buddy John Barber has a new creator-owned comic project launching called SIGNA and it’s looking good!
• Rafal Jaki, the showrunner on the Cyberpunk: Edgerunners anime, reached out to chat storytelling with me. he also pointed me toward the new manga series he’s been developing called NO/NAME. It’s a really neat concept off to a strong start, read chapter 1 here, so much so that it’s going to be serializing in Shonen Jump!

I hope your week is looking strong.
Jim