Zubby Newsletter #24: Common Critique

The always amazing Steve Lieber put together an extremely helpful list of 12 common comic art portfolio critiques and asked if any comic writer wanted to do the same kind of thing, so I picked up the baton and ran with it.

(Of course, Zdarsky’s version is probably the most realistic out of the three of us…)

Read, learn, and if you like it, feel free to share far and wide.

Creatures Collected, Bigger Than Ever

The D&D Young Adventurer’s Monsters & Creatures Compendium just arrived in stores on August 22nd. It’s a larger trim size collection of creature content (with some text updates) from all of the released D&D Young Adventurer’s Guides so far. Perfect for libraries and game clubs, it also makes a great gift for the new gamer or Dungeon Master in your life.

A 248 page full color hardcover for only $24.99 USD!

Apparently I am a Sellout

I received the incredible news that you have done it AGAIN – one week before release and reorders for CONAN THE BARBARIAN #2 blew way past the deep overprint Titan Comics put together!

Conan #2 second print, in stores September 27th, will have a cover by Ravaging Rob De La Torre (or you can snag a ferocious first print copy when it hits shelves next week like a thunderclap) 😉 .

This launch has been the biggest of my career so far and so much of that has been thanks to the enthusiasm of readers, reviewers, and retailers. THANK YOU for your support. It means a lot.

Forbidden Planet TG

Conan editor Matt Murray and I had a wonderful chat with Andrew Sumner at Forbidden Planet TV all about our creative careers, our favorite Cimmerian, cataclysmic comic creation, and other curiosities! Give it a watch-

A Savage Livestream

A few nights ago, Richard Pace did a Conan the Barbarian sketch cover livestream and it turned out great.

Richard and I are currently collaborating on a brutal story for the new Savage Sword of Conan series launching in 2024. Can’t wait for you to see what we’re cooking up.

Garlic Lemon Salmon Pasta

I put together a tasty pasta dish on Sunday using ingredients and techniques from a couple other recipes to make it my own. It feels so good to be able to confidently choose ingredients and experiment rather than feeling like I have to strictly follow a recipe in order to get good results.

I usually eat quite quickly, so I know a dish works well when Stacy wolfs it down just as fast as I do. She just kept digging in and saying “Goddamn, this is good.”

Ingredients (two servings)

  • 10-14 ounces of salmon, skin off
  • 4 Tbsp butter (2 for the sauce, 2 for the fish fry)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup grated old cheddar
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • half a lemon
  • pasta of your choice
  • dill, parsley, basil, kosher salt, pepper, other spices of your choice
  1. Start up a large pot of boiling water and salt it well.
  2. Chop up the garlic, dill, and parsley. Grate the cheese.
  3. Make sure there are no bones in the salmon and cut it into bite-size pieces with a sharp knife.
  4. If you’ve never made a roux (which will become a cheesy mornay sauce) before, it’s surprisingly simple – in a sauté pan, large frying pan or medium pot set to medium heat – melt half the butter and then add the flour, whisking it together (if you’re using a non-stick pan use a plastic whisk/spoon so you don’t scratch the coating) until it’s a paste that’s not liquid or powdery at all.

    (If you want an even more flavorful version of this sauce, you can use meat drippings/lard instead of regular butter. Just about any 1:1 fat to flour combination should work.)

  5. Slowly drizzle in the cream and keep whisking. You want to whisk out any lumps and you’ll soon see it start to thicken up beautifully. Turn the heat down to medium-low and then add in the grated cheddar so it melts and incorporates. If the sauce starts to thicken too quickly, add a bit of water and keep stirring/whisking. You actually want the sauce to be quite liquid at this stage because it’ll thicken up once it interacts with starch from the cooked pasta.
  6. Add dill, parsley, pepper, salt and any other spices you want to the sauce, to your personal taste.
  7. Start the pasta boiling, setting an alarm for when it will be al dente.
  8. In a separate frying pan, add the rest of the butter to a hot pan and then add the salmon pieces and chopped up garlic. It will fry up quite quickly, you just want to cook the outside and give the fish a bit of color. Don’t worry about cooking pieces all the way through in the pan since they’ll be added to the sauce and will keep cooking there.
  9. Add the fried fish, garlic and butter to the mornay sauce and stir.
  10. Once your pasta is done cooking, it’s go-time.
  11. Right before you plate the dish, add the zest and juice from the half lemon to your sauce (being careful not to let any lemon seeds drop in) and stir. This gives the sauce a wonderful bright finishing flavor. If your sauce has thickened up too much, scoop a bit of water from the boiling pasta pot to add it to the sauce and it’ll liquify again.
  12. Plate the pasta, add the sauce, and then garnish with parmesan cheese, some fresh cracked black pepper, and a basil leaf.
  13. Take that classy food photo and eaaat!

    Links and Other Things

    The BAM Animation duo have put together an incredible pair of tutorials on drawing and digitally coloring animation backgrounds. So much good advice, the same kinds of theories and tips I teach my Seneca students each year, jam-packed into these two videos with solid examples. Even if you’re a working pro you will probably find some useful tips and working methodologies here.

    That should cover things for this week.


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