Category Archives: Conan - Page 3

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!

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 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.”

Zub Comics Arriving April 2024

(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

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)!

(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.

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

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 #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-

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,

Zubby Newsletter #45: Get ‘Er Done

The above flowchart meme has been floating around and a lot of people empathize with it for good reason. It encompasses a common unhealthy cycle that creative people can get pulled into.

If something is a hobby or just experimentation, have fun exploring things without finishing them. Seriously– no worries or guilt required.

If you intend to make a career out of something – finishing is crucial.

Finishing things, releasing them out into the world, evaluating the results (of both the work and release), learning from it, and then doing more is the loop you need to look for. No one is perfect and there are times when you need to cut your losses and move on from a project, but wherever possible you want to complete the work to get the most from it.

I completely understand jokes about avoiding that step, and I’ve absolutely been there, but don’t let memes dictate your end result.

If you consistently struggle with completing the work, you may be starting too big. Make the scope smaller so you can see it through, and build up momentum for larger-longer projects.

At the start-
Short stories instead of novels.
Focused studies instead of large rendered images.

If it’s a collaboration with other people, this also gives you the chance to finish something together and evaluate how that worked – quality, communication, etc. It’s the equivalent of a couple dates before a long committed relationship.

If I want to be a marathon runner, I don’t buy running shoes and then immediately try to go 5km. People usually understand this when it comes to physical training, but rarely frame other skills, especially creative ones, in the same way.

Start small, build the habit and results, and then push forward with more ambition.

Sometimes the small thing becomes a ‘proof of concept’ for a bigger project. Other times you realize you just needed to get the small one out of your system and its fine on its own. Either way, you will benefit from a better creation cycle.

Transcribing The Process

That exact subject, building things and finishing them, is a big part of a discussion I had with Kieron Gillen a couple years ago. In the midst of lockdown I reached out to several comic professionals and chatted with them about their work and influences, and then posted those interviews to my YouTube channel along with other comic writing tutorials. The talk I had with Kieron is one of my favorites, but there’s always been a barrier for people when watching it – Between Kieron’s accent and the speed at which he talks, it can be dizzying at times trying to keep up.

Good news – over the past few weeks I painstakingly went through the auto-generated transcript for that video on YouTube and overhauled it so every comic, gaming or philosophy reference Kieron brings up is now clear in the closed captions.

We cover a LOT – the do-it-yourself culture of indie comics, getting started, the stresses of working on commercial properties, British comics, superhero books, the magic of tabletop RPGs, and I include samples of Kieron’s indie work no longer available and excerpts from some of his creator-owned comic scripts so you can see how he writes.

If you have some time, I highly recommend you give it a watch and, if Kieron’s going too fast, turn on the closed captions and enjoy-

The Ancestors’ Blessing

Over on my Patreon, I just posted the full script to Conan the Barbarian #21 (legacy #296), released in 2021. Part 3 of Land of the Lotus is jam-packed with action and supernatural fury, including this-

Learn how comics are made for the price of a coffee. There are over 300 scripts in my Patreon archive.

Ukrainian Comfort Food

In past newsletters I’ve included a few of my recipes. Click here and scroll down for –
Grandma’s Pierogies, Japanese Chicken Karaage, or Garlic Lemon Pasta with Salmon.

This time-

Cabbage Rolls (Holubtsi)

Over the weekend I went on a Ukrainian comfort food cooking binge. On Saturday, we made a huge batch of cheesy potato pierogis, and on Sunday, for the first time, I made cabbage rolls and they turned out really good! My pierogi recipe is pretty strict to my grandma’s method, while here on the cabbage rolls I went a bit rogue and amalgamated some techniques I saw in a few cooking videos into the mix.

Ingredients (14-16 rolls)

• 1 cabbage (Napa cabbage works really well, but any is fine)
• 3/4 lb. ground beef
• 1/4 lb. ground pork (or pork loin cut into tiny pieces)
• 1 and a half cups of white rice
• 3 cups of pureed tomatoes/tomato sauce
• Half a large white onion
• 3 cloves of garlic
• olive oil/butter
• spices: salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, paprika

1. Cook up a batch of rice and let it mostly cool off.
2. While that rice is cooking, chop up the half onion into a small dice and mince the garlic.
3. Sauté the onion in olive oil or butter in a non-stick pan for 4 minutes, then add the minced garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
4. If you’re using Napa cabbage, carefully peel off 16-18 outer leaves and blanch them in a pot of simmering water for 10 minutes. If you’re using regular cabbage, you’ll need to carefully cut the root-core out and dunk the cabbage top-down in a pot of boiling water and cover the top, simmering it for 10-12 minutes.
5. While the cabbage is steaming, mix together your cooked onion and garlic with the raw ground meat, cooked rice, a 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, and spices galore – pepper, salt, basil, oregano, thyme, paprika, and a big swack of chopped up parsley. If you’re worried about your ability to measure the filling equally, portion them out into mounds based on how many cabbage rolls you want to make.
6. Carefully pull the cabbage leaves from the water and shake off excess water. If it’s a regular cabbage, you’ll need to carefully peel the leaves off at this stage.
7. Pre-heat your oven to 350° F.
8. In a 9″ x 12″ baking dish (or any casserole dish/oven safe dish), ladle in 1/4 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom.
9. Lay a leaf out, add a mound of filling about 1/3 of the way into the cabbage leaf, then tuck in the sides and roll it toward the 2/3 section, like a very small burrito. For me, this is where the Napa cabbage leaves prove their worth because their long shape makes rolling very easy. Place that roll in your casserole dish and, as you finish each one, tuck it in next to the others until your dish is packed.
10. Ladle the rest of the tomato sauce over the assembled rolls.
11. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet (just in case it bubbles over) and then place it all in the 350° F oven.
12. Bake for 90 minutes.
13. Pull your baking dish out of the oven, remove foil, and let stand for 5 minutes or so before scooping each roll out and serving!

Leftovers can be wrapped in aluminum foil and frozen, so you can just pop the foil back in the oven to reheat and enjoy again.

Current + Upcoming Releases

Links and Other Stuff

• Colleen Doran continues to post all kinds of incredible advice in her newsletter, most of it framed through her experiences in the comic industry over decades of hard work. Her recent ones about the perils of fame and people’s assumptions are top notch.

• Samwise pointed me toward The Cybrarian, a YouTube channel with dramatic readings of pulp stories by Robert E. Howard. I’ve only had time to listen to a couple so far, and they were quite sharp.

Have a wonderful week,

Conan the Barbarian #6 Reviews

Our second story arc, Thrice Marked For Death continues as we hit the midpoint of our story.
What did the critics think? Let’s find out- 8/10 “Mixing the old school, barbaric violence with green and ghoulish supernatural elements is just a killer combo for Conan.”

Comical Opinions: 9.5/10 “-a pitch-perfect example of a classic Conan adventure. Zub combines brutal action with supernatural evil for a rousing tale. Likewise, Braithwaite’s artistic style suits the Cimmerian and his exploits to a tee.”

Comicon: 10/10 “the saga unfolds with a brilliant narrative of the stoic Cimmerian navigating and triumphing over the forces of darkness and horrors from the strange beyond. Yet, amidst these epic struggles, Jim Zub skillfully emphasizes that the one constant our hero cannot elude is the haunting specter of his own past.”

Grimdark Magazine: “issue 6 answers some questions while raising several more. I’m excited to learn more about the black stone and its ghostly servants, and I hope to continue to see Conan’s past with Bêlit influence his current adventure.”

Hither Came Conan: “This issue was just brutal. Very violent, very bloody. There were boobies, and it really earned the ‘Mature Readers’ warning on the cover.”

Infinity Flux: “The art is fantastic. There’s some great action in here and the dialogue feels classic…Another great issue of a classic-feeling run.”

My Kind of Weird: “This isn’t just a comic book issue. This is a f**king experience…Conan the Barbarian #6 is an adrenalin-filled heist adventure that leaves us with a climax that will demand the purchase of issue #7.”

Negromancer: “This second arc, Thrice Marked for Death, is downright murderous and is unremittingly dark. And I like it. I like that Conan is also vulnerable and lost in a kind of grief that is as unrelenting aggressive as he is.”

Pop Culture Philosophers: “If you are a Conan fan, this is the best Conan book in years, if not decades. This is awesome, awesome stuff.”

Sci-Fi Pulse: 9.8/10 “The writer works brilliantly well with the art team and goes all out to portray the real brutality and savagery of the Conan character.”

Set The Tape: 10/10 “This is by far the best comic in the series so far; a glorious read from start to finish. It cannot be recommended highly enough.”

Stygian Dogs: “I am decidedly enthusiastic about Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez’s work on this second arc. I can’t get enough…In many ways, issue #6 may be my favorite so far.”

Todd Luck: “The interior artwork continues to be amazing by Doug Braithwaite. He used to do comics like Thor and I thought he would be so perfect for Conan and boy, is he! I would be neglectful if I didn’t also mention the incredible coloring that enhances this line work by Diego Rodriguez. This is just one of the nicest looking comics you could possibly buy.”

We Have Issues: “Best Indie Book of 2023. It’s very much a classic Conan…What a book. It’s been really, really good.”

Zubby Newsletter #43: The Future Unconquered


I hope your holidays have been prosperous and that the new year is looking bright.

I haven’t updated my YouTube channel in quite some time, and with everything that’s been going it’s not something I’ve had time to concentrate on, but I put together a video on January 1st thanking fans for reading and teasing what comes next.

Please watch and share-

In my Year In Review message I mentioned how excited I am for 2024, and a solid part of that centers around-

The Age Unconquered Begins in March! has the exclusive announcement and cover art for the third arc of Conan the Barbarian and it’s going to be huge!

Rob De La Torre is back for Conan the Barbarian #9-12 and we’re absolutely blowing the doors off in terms of story and visuals. An epic adventure to cap off the first year of our relaunch!

Conan #0-12 is our mission statement for what classic pulp-inspired sword & sorcery can be in the modern era. You’ve made 2023 a winner for our team and I can’t wait to show you what we have planned for 2024 and beyond.

cover art by Rob De La Torre with colors by Dave McCaig.


– Writer: Jim Zub
– Line Art: Roberto De La Torre
– Color: Dean White
– Letters: Richard Starkings
– On sale date: March 27th, 2024


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 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)!

– Cover A: Mike Deodato
– Cover B: E.M. Gist
– Cover C: Roberto De La Torre
– Cover D: Chris Moreno
– Cover E: Blank Sketch Variant

Some Frequently Asked Questions I’ve been getting since that info went out to the public:

Wait a sec, is that Yag-Kosha?
You’ll have to read Conan #9 to find out.

Is this a new adaptation of Tower of the Elephant?
No. This is a new story that builds on the canon Robert E. Howard stories and elements introduced in Conan #1-8.

Will we see Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez return in the future?
Yes! I’m thrilled to confirm that Doug and Diego are working on Conan #13-16, our fourth story arc.

What is best in life?
Working on this series with this killer creative team.

Almost every page, especially the action scenes, have major story spoilers (seriously), so it’s hard for me to tease what’s coming up… Hmmm~ how ‘bout this?

That’ll have to do for now, my friends.

Land of the Lotus

Script sample for Conan the Barbarian #19 from 2021. Line art by Cory Smith. Inks by Roberto Poggi. Colors by Israel Silva. Letters by Travis Lanham.

Over on my Patreon, the full scripts for part 1 and part 2 of the Land of the Lotus storyline published in 2021 are now up. Learn how comics are made for the price of a fancy coffee. There are over 300 scripts in my Patreon archive.

I learned a lot on this arc and refined my ‘voice’ for Conan and the pulp-fueled narration that makes his comics feel quite distinct. At the time I was hopeful we’d be able to build momentum toward issue #25, (which was also legacy #300 for the series) and carry on from that anniversary issue. Obviously that didn’t end up happening, but all of it led to where I’m at now, which I’m thankful for.

Current + Upcoming Releases

Links and Other Things

Tegan O’Neil has a wonderful profile on Sergio Aragonés from last April I missed. Give it a read!

• I received a copy of Renegades & Rogues: The Life and Legacy of Robert E. Howard by Todd B. Vick for Christmas. It’s a quick read but I quite enjoyed it as it covered some aspects of his life I wasn’t aware of before.

Have a great week!

Conan the Barbarian #5 Reviews

Conan the Barbarian #5 arrived in comic shops today. I don’t think I’ve ever received so many messages or reviews for the fifth issue of a comic I’ve written before. Thank you for the support and for sharing your enthusiasm far and wide! Let’s see what the critics thought of it-

Amazon: “Are we absolutely sure there isn’t a secret story fragment they uncovered from Robert E. Howard that is fueling these comics? Because that’s how they feel”

Big Comic Page: “Ably aiding the story-telling within this issue is the ‘diabolical’ Doug Braithwaite, whose pencils do a sterling job in portraying the squalor of Shadizar and the grotesque grimness of the Cimmerian’s route to the fortress’ Moratorium.”

The Brown Bag: “-aiding the storytelling within Issue five is ‘diabolical Doug Braithwaite’, whose pencils do a sterling job in portraying the squalor of Shadizar and the grotesque grimness of the Cimmerian’s route to the fortress’ moratorium.”

Comic “Zub really finds a great rhythm here once he gets going. It’s paced much more efficiently than most of that first arc, with the heist element making things even faster as it goes along.”

Comical Opinions: 8.5/10 “Zub’s picture of a more mature Conan gives the series the weight of continuity and importance, while the addition of Braithwaite on pencils/inks is a welcome change in style.”

Comicon: 10/10 “Conan the Barbarian harkens back to the golden age of adventurers and captures the spirit of the Sword & Sorcery genre so completely that I feel transported back to the days of reading pulp books under the covers well past my bedtime.”

Comics Beat: “The figure work is dynamic and full of weight. Everyone feels like a Frazetta novel cover, and I love that. Braithwaite employs a dynamic pacing by mixing up the layouts and does some interesting things with page composition that is a delight to read…it is a great jumping on point for Titan’s Conan. If you missed out on the series and want to check it out, this is an excellent place to start.”

Get Your Comic On: 8/10 “A vibrant comic with strong illustrations, the story is more deep than you would expect and certainly will become a lot deeper as we continue. Conan is back strong with this new arc and I am ready for it.”

Grimdark Magazine: “Conan the Barbarian #5 marks a promising start for the second story arc. Braithwaite has a very different visual style than his predecessor, but his gory theatrics a good fit for the series.”

Hither Came Conan: “The new art team of Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez did a phenomenal job. Their style, their tone, it all works for Conan…This was a great kickoff to the new arc.”

Infinity Flux: “Have no worries, the art is fantastic. Doug Braithwaite is a classic artist…Happy to say that Conan continues to be one of the best books on the shelf.”

League of Comic Geeks: “I am consistently shocked by how much this series I never planned to pull or expected to love so much is one of the best indies I’ve been reading.”

My Kind of Weird: 8/10 “It injects some much-needed life back into the IP of Conan the Barbarian…The story is solid and it makes me want to pick up another issue.”

Pop Culture Philosophers: “The enthusiasm for Conan and his world and the meticulous nature in which it’s presented here absolutely rocks. This book has been so much fun. This book feels literary. This book feels exciting. This book feels like exactly what we need in comics right now!…Jump in if you haven’t already.”

Sci-Fi Pulse: 9.7/10 “Jim Zub continues to deliver what feels like the kind of Conan Stories that are very true to the stories that were written by the character’s late creator Robert E. Howard.”

Set the Tape: “The lyricism [Zub] brings to his characters here is excellent, creating a believable yet epic grandeur to their actions. His descriptions of the exotic sights manage to also pique the readers’ interest, making the job of new artists and colorists Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez that much easier.”

Stygian Dogs: “Doug Braithwaite’s superlative debut continues the series’ excellence. Titan Comics and Heroic Signatures’ Conan the Barbarian continues to be the must read series.”

Thinking Critical: “It was a whole lot of fun and really sets up a new adventure for Conan that’s going to feel different and unique…Once again, [Zub] paid tribute to the source material doing something that’s never been told before, but definitely felt like Conan.”

Todd Luck: “Artwork is a big selling point for Conan and this is absolutely worth the price of admission…Titan Comics and the creators who are putting this out seem to have a very good grasp on what makes a very good Conan the Barbarian comic.”

Wakazashi’s Teahouse: 8/10 “There’s some great dialogue and great narration. At times it feels like it’s falling off the pages of [Robert E.] Howard’s books.”

Zubby Newsletter #35: A Brutal Battle Looms

Heroic Signatures and Titan unleash the power of Conan on Free Comic Book Day again in 2024, and this time it’s also the first part of an epic event we’re calling BATTLE OF THE BLACK STONE!

Peep that killer cover art by Ravishing Rob De La Torre!
Also, peep those weapons fanned out in front…
Can you guess their wielders?

The press release went out late last week, but with the Savage Sword relaunch covers and solicit info released one day earlier I wanted to make sure I gave this announcement extra space here in my newsletter.

Bound in Black Stone is the first arc of the new Conan the Barbarian comic series and, in addition to acting as our ‘mission statement’, it set the table for some big mythic ideas we want to dig into outside the monthly title.

Conan creator Robert E. Howard wrote 21 canon Conan stores (along with a series of unfinished fragments), but he also wrote several hundred other pulp stories across many genres – mystery, horror, historical adventure, westerns, and, of course, sword & sorcery. A lot of these stories are completely separate from each other, but some have unexpected connectivity between them-

The shared timeline with Kull the Conqueror’s Thurian Age predating Conan’s Hyborian Age is well known in fan circles, but less well known are threads like an Atlantean necromancer (who seems to line up with Thulsa-Doom) being resurrected into the ‘modern’ era in the 1929 noir story Skull-Face, Kull of Atlantis being pulled through time to team up with Bran Mak Morn in the 1930 story Kings of the Night, or Thoth-Amon’s fabled Serpent Ring at the center of a 1934 horror story called The Haunter of the Ring.

Kings of the Night title art from Weird Tales, November 1930.

Whether these crossovers were intended as part a larger plan or were just Two-Gun Bob reusing elements and names he liked, they tease the potential for a rich tapestry of pulp adventure that spans the ages.

The Conan the Barbarian monthly comic series is firmly rooted in classic sword & sorcery adventure (and always will be as long as I’m writing it) but with an event like Battle of the Black Stone we get the chance to explore epic pulp concepts (fantasy, noir, historical adventure, eldritch horror, and more) and a cast of engaging characters across different time periods and milieus.

Jonas Scharf has been turning heads on books like Dark X-Men, Avengers of the Wastelands, and The Witcher, and I am so pumped to have him drawing our Free Comic Book Day special and Battle of the Black Stone event mini-series. His moody page art fits the Robert E. Howard pulp atmosphere to a tee. I know readers are going to love the way he depicts the Hyborian Age and many other ages as well.

This isn’t art from Black Stone, I just want to show off Jonas’ inspiring inkwork.

Conan has crossed over with other characters before but he’s never really fronted an event until now. Given the character’s 90 year prose publishing pedigree and 50 years in comics, I think it’s more than overdue.

I’ve always wanted to write a long run on a comic series and also been champing at the bit to build a big event story. Getting to do both with some of my favorite fictional characters is a dream come true.

Obviously I’ll have a lot more to say about Battle of the Black Stone (BoBS?) in the weeks and months to come, but it’s nice to finally have this Free Comic Book Day issue announced so everyone can see why we’re so excited for 2024 and beyond.

Conan Conquers – Let’s Talk About It!

I spoke to Perch all about the Conan relaunch and incredible response we’ve seen from readers and retailers. It’s a fun interview with lots of enthusiasm about where we’re at and what’s coming up.

This is the fourth time Perch, Joe Corallo, and I have chatted about comics on his channel and each interview covers great material in terms of the wider industry, the creative process, marketing, strange anecdotes, and more.

If you want to check out our previous interviews, here they are: firstsecondthird.

Into the Crucible Concluded Three Years Ago

Now on my Patreon – the full script for Conan the Barbarian #16 from 2020, the final part of Into the Crucible:

Also included in this update are my outline-pitch for the story and the Uttan ‘vocabulary’ I created so the language stayed consistent even though Conan (and our readers) couldn’t understand it.

Putting our hero in a place where he couldn’t comprehend the local language was something I hadn’t seen in a Conan story before. The Cimmerian has to use his intuition and guile just as much as his sword arm. Building up threats and constructing this language was a difficult-but-fun writing challenge.

The Conan comic relaunch at Heroic Signatures/Titan is getting a fantastic response and I’m incredibly thankful. If readers check out some of my earlier Conan comic writing work because of it as well, that’s really cool too. Despite problems we had around the original release (2020 was a rough ride, as you all know) I’m still really proud of these stories.

Links and Other Things

  • Colleen Doran’s new posts where she looks back at her career in comics and delivers helpful advice about publishing and publisher contracts are a must read for any industry professional. Very Bad Publishers Part 1Part 2Part 3. I also recommend you subscribe to her newsletter so you won’t miss any newer posts as it continues.
  • On the new Second Wind channel, JM8 has some great analysis about level design in the Souls games and what a lot of other video game developers get wrong when they try to emulate it in their own Souls-like titles.
  • Samwise Didier, the iconic concept artist from Blizzard, announced his retirement from the company so he can focus on his own original creative projects. I’m excited to see what he has cooking.

That should cover it for this week. Thank you for reading!

Zubby Newsletter #34: Something Savage Stirs

Big. Bold. Black & White.

Cover and solicitation info have been revealed by for the grand return of SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN in February 2024, including this stunning cover by legendary illustrator Joe Jusko


Writer(s): John Arcudi, Patch Zircher, Jim Zub
Artist(s): Max Von Fafner, Patch Zircher
$6.99, 80 pages, black & white, on sale February 28, 2024

THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN IS BACK from Heroic Signatures and Titan Comics!

Featuring a new CONAN epic from John Arcudi and Max Von Fafner, the rousing return of SOLOMON KANE written and drawn by Patch Zircher, an electric prose story from Jim Zub, spectacular art pin-ups, and more, the SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN issue #1 heralds a new era of adrenaline-fueled adventure.


Yes, you read that right, I’m writing a new Conan prose short story (that ties in with Joe Jusko’s killer cover art) as part of the premiere issue! It’s an absolute honor to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Savage Sword with this magazine-sized relaunch and craft pulpy prose like Robert E. Howard did for Weird Tales.

The crew at Heroic and Titan want to deliver brand new visceral stories every two months, bringing back classic Conan artists and also showcasing newer talent whose work will grab attention in bold black & white.

Richard Pace and I are building an intense story of survival and sacrifice that will either be in issue #2 (April) or issue #3 (June). I also have other plans for future issues as we hammer out the ongoing schedule.

There’s even more Conan news just announced as part of Free Comic Book Day 2024, but I’ll save that for my next newsletter installment so I can go into more detail.

Fortune Found

Dungeons & Dragons: Fortune Finder #1 arrived in comic shops and online this week!

My latest D&D comic story is a wild one that introduces readers to the wonderful setting of Planescape, a place where anything and everything can happen. There’s a mystery afoot as our main character has amnesia and needs to piece together who they are and how they’re connected to the grand forces that dictate reality before it’s too late.

Artist Joe Jaro is doing a delightful job presenting the strange and scenic sides of D&D’s most ambitious setting and colorist Adam Guzowski hones each expressive page with fantastic atmosphere.

If you’ve enjoyed my other D&D comic stories, you’ll find a lot to love here. If you’ve never read one of my D&D comics before or even played D&D the game, Fortune Finder #1 is 100% new reader friendly. Finder is searching for answers, so you’ll learn everything you need right alongside them.

Marvel Heroes On Stage in the Big Apple

The Marvel YouTube page just posted up the live play video from the Marvel Multiverse Tabletop Roleplaying Game session I was part of at New York Comicon! It’s a whirlwind Halloween-themed session with our team of Merry Marvel heroes played by the Glass Cannon crew and Marvel editor Nick Lowe. I played Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty, and had an absolute blast!

The new Marvel TTRPG is really well put together and I’ve been impressed at how well it handles superhero-themed gameplay at the table with lots of fun combat maneuvers and teamwork built right in, and you’ll get a great feel for that in the live play session here-

Quite a few people have asked if I’m going to be contributing to any future Marvel TTRPG sourcebooks or adventures and, all I can say right now is, there might be some exciting news to announce in the weeks ahead… 🙂

Original Art at Your Fingertips

The Conan: Colossal Edition crowdfunding campaign is running on Zoop right now and the book looks absolutely amazing, with reproductions of original art at their original production size. I’m not directly involved in this book, but will definitely be adding it to my collection.

If you’re a collector, it’s a must. If you’re an artist, these Artist’s Edition-style releases are incredibly useful because you can see the exact marks made in pencil, ink, or paint to better understand the methods involved and how they translate from that larger size when they’re shrunk down on each final printed page. When you see a finished page published it can be easy to forget the deep craftsmanship involved, especially using traditional media, and having a page right there in front of you as if you’re holding the original art board in your hands gives you a much better understanding of line detail, texture, spacing, composition and even the mistakes made and corrected by the artist. I find the primacy of it really inspiring and helpful.

My good friend John Barber (a guy I first met over 20 years ago when we were both making webcomics) is the editor on this project and he’s done two really good video interviews about it you can check out HERE and HERE.

Links and Other Things

  • Larime Taylor is a comic creator and artist struggling with one of the toughest years imaginable. Help directly if you can and share the GoFundMe campaign page on your social media if at all possible.
  • I don’t know who Bobby Fingers is, but the videos he puts together as he builds incredibly detailed dioramas of strange pop culture moments are pure entertainment. His voice drones on in a strangely appealing way while he matter-of-factly constructs unexpected scenes using top quality materials and pro quality craftsmanship. It’s pure internet WTF that is oddly inspiring.
  • Matt Colville’s excitement for Baldur’s Gate 3 mirrors my own and his new video about how to incorporate similar ideas into your own tabletop RPG games is really sharp. And don’t worry if you haven’t played the video game yet – He doesn’t spoil any major plotlines.
  • Tristan Penafiel has an in-depth article all about How to Deprogram a Conspiracy Theorist that I found really compelling and discussion-worthy.

Thank you for reading!