Zubby Newsletter #29: Those Souls You Stole

This weekend it’s Canadian Thanksgiving and I have a lot to be thankful for, as you’ll see below. Thank you for checking out my newsletter and sharing it with others!

Social media is more mercurial and annoying than ever, so being able to reach fine people like yourself directly is really nice. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, that’s fine, but at least you get to choose instead of algorithms choosing for you.

It’s delightful/surreal to see Soul Coins in Baldur’s Gate 3 and Dungeons & Dragons canon as a whole.

I came up with the concept of Soul Coins, souls minted in infernal metal, during a brainstorming session for Descent Into Avernus at the Wizards of the Coast office way back in 2017.

We were talking about Hell in D&D and the discussion turned to what kind of stuff happens there beyond the Blood War. There’s obviously wheeling and dealing going on, but how does that work?

Is there an economy? Yes, and souls are the most valuable currency.

Okay, cool. If that’s the case, then how do you trade souls? What’s that look like? Are they in jars, trapped in the parchment of a contract, or spun like cotton candy? All doable, but also finicky.

What if an archdevil has hundreds or thousands of souls to move or spend?

I said “Soul Coin” and it immediately clicked for Adam Lee (head of narrative on the project) and I:

  • Devilishly simple and appropriate. Souls get trapped, minted, and are used for payment, fuel, and sometimes even ammunition.
  • A mortal carrying a Soul Coin feels the “moral weight” of its infernal metal pulling them down.
  • You have currency. You have an economy. It’s a twisted take on commerce worthy of Lawful Evil devils.
  • Their value is based on the quality or power of the soul, which leads to hording, coveting, stealing, and piracy.

It solved a lot of problems and created all kinds of story potential.

While playing BG3 (it’s been tough to find time to play lately, but I am sloo~oowly making my way through it in between project deadlines) I heard eerie whispers in game, tracked the sound to its source, my character picked up a Soul Coin…and I smiled. 🙂

“Strange, incomprehensible whispers emanate from this coin, pervading your mind with rage and despair.”

So awesome.

Attack of the Relentless Readers!

I was going to post about the fourth printing of Conan the Barbarian #1, a limited edition release with full body character cover artwork by Dan Panosian arriving on October 25th, but then Titan Comics received a surge of reorders on every issue released so far!

New readers have heard such great things about the series and they want to catch up on the story, so I’m genuinely astonished to announce three more reprints your favorite local comic shop can order

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #1- 5th print (Colleen Doran cover) in stores Nov 8.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN #2- 3rd print (Alan Quah cover) in stores Nov 8.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN #3- 3rd print (Doug Braithwaite cover) in stores Nov 15.

I felt we were making something special, but never could have imagined this kind of response. All I can say is a heartfelt THANK YOU.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for buying.
Thank you for sharing with other people you know.
Thank you for the kind words and high praise.

This Conan relaunch has been a career milestone in so many ways and our team is working hard to keep the momentum going for years to come.

Back In The Spotlight

Stone Star Vol. 2: In the Spotlight is finally available in trade paperback thanks to comiXology and Dark Horse Comics. The original digital-first release was in 2020-2021 so it’s wonderful finally getting a printed version in my hands.

Max Dunbar is a dream collaborator who designs, tells a great visual story, and brings enthusiasm and energy to every part of the process. Espen Grundetjern is genuinely one of the best colorists in the business. Marshall Dillon is my ride-or-die letterer and friend who always goes above and beyond the call of duty. We put a lot of heart into this space-fantasy series and I’m hopeful for its future.

(and seeing these pages again definitely gives me the itch to launch some new creator-owned comics in 2024…)

Big Apple Barrage – Here Comes NYCC!

Next week is New York Comic Con, Fall’s pop culture extravaganza. I’ll be there thanks to Comic Sketch Art, at Artist Alley Table F37, and will also be signing at Insight Editions and Random House.

On Friday, Oct 13th at 1pm EST/10am PST, artist Jay Anacleto and I will be doing a livestream signing at Unknown Comics (Booth #3753) with the special first print Conan #1 variant Jay illustrated of Brissa, the valiant Pict warrior-scout introduced in the new series. It’s a beauty! Here is the WhatNot livestream link.

On Friday, Oct 13th at 4:30pm I’ll be on stage with the Glass Cannon Network playing the new Marvel Multiverse Tabletop Role-Playing Game along with narrator Troy Lavallee and players Sydney Amanuel, Matthew Capodicasa, Nick Lowe, Skid Maher, and Joe O’Brien!

Which Marvel characters are we playing? What is the Friday the 13th-worthy spooky adventure we’ll be going on? Be there and find out!

Sequential Thoughts

I spoke to Brendan Montgomery at Sequential Magazine about my career and recent thoughts on creator-owned comics. Lots of good material and an archive of older issues you should also explore.

Links and Other Things

Canadian or not, I hope your weekend is filled with family, friends, and good food.

  1. hey jimothy, when pitching a comic to a publisher/editor, do you think it’s necessary to sent an example of a script or something like that? or would just sending a summary of the story good enough?

    • A script sample wouldn’t be necessary unless a publisher specifically asks for that as part of their submission requirements (publisher requested elements trump my personal preferences).

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