Zubby Newsletter #64: Drunk Mecha Pilot

Stacy and I arrived home from our 3 week Japan trip on Thursday just before midnight and, after two rough flights with no sleep across 16 hours, we crashed hard.

I woke up on Friday morning feeling surprisingly good and, as I unpacked and started reorganizing, I thought maybe this time I might ride out the jet lag well and be able to enjoy the long weekend before diving back into work, but no such luck. By dinner time I was hit with waves of deep exhaustion, the kind that just shuts you down for hours at a time, and bouts of hunger or an upset stomach and that’s kind of been the last two and a half days – bursts of feeling okay smashed up against long bouts where I feel like a tiny drunk mecha pilot maneuvering my own shambling corpse.

It’ll pass, it always does, but it’s part of getting back into international travel that I’d memory holed a bit.

Now that I’m home, I need to dive right back into writing and prep for Howard Days in a couple weeks. No rest for the wicked.


Quite a few people reached out to ask where Stacy and I went during our trip. It’s a bit hard to encompass it all, but here’s the overview (and some photos):

• We stayed in Tokyo for the first few days, which covered my Free Comic Book Day signing and shopping in Ikebukuro, Akihabara, and Nakano.

• We went to Nagoya to explore a city we’d never been to before and experience the new Ghibli Park.

• Our next stop was Osaka to enjoy the food and night life, more shopping and exploring. Key spots included Dōtonbori, Kuromon Market, Denden Town, and Shin Sekai, along with the new Universal Japan theme park to check out Super Mario World.

• We took a day trip to Nara to spend time with the deer in Nara Park and show our friends Todaiji Temple.

• Back to Tokyo for the final leg of our trip – TeamLab Planets and TeamLab Borderless, the Design Festa indie art convention, along with exploring Ginza, Asakusa, Odaiba, Yūyake Dandan, and Shinjuku.

• The places we went were amazing, and just diving back into Japan after six years away was a joy, but it was also wonderful traveling with a couple of our friends from Alberta, touching base with old friends we have in Japan, meeting new people (including an evening where I chatted with a Robert E. Howard scholar living in Yokohama and another night where I ran AD&D in a pub for a group of old school gamers), and unexpectedly running into a couple former students while we were on the road.

Celebrating my birthday and kicking off my teaching sabbatical with this whirlwind trip was incredibly special…and worth the jet lag. 😉

Legendary Hero, Legendary Sword

As part of the long term Heroic Signatures publishing plan for Conan, we’ve talked at length about how best to honor the canon source material of Robert E. Howard while also incorporating elements that are recognizable and appealing to the wider pop culture audience Conan has built in the 90+ years since he was created.

Conan is an icon, he’s the Superman of Sword & Sorcery, and just like Superman, there are aspects of the character and his world that came later but have become intrinsically linked to how he’s now recognized. Superman didn’t fly in the original stories, there was no Kryptonite, and he didn’t work for the Daily Planet, but almost everyone would agree that these elements are now important parts of the canon.

With that in mind, in this week’s Conan the Barbarian #11 we surprised readers by bringing the iconic ATLANTEAN SWORD into Conan’s ongoing continuity for the first time. The sword and its distinctive look by Production Designer Ron Cobb is already inextricably linked to Conan and we believe it’s time to make it a formal part of his story.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out this issue, the penultimate piece before we wrap up our epic first year on the relaunch, do not miss it. Rob De La Torre and Diego Rodriguez are delivering incredible art on every page and we’re paying off plot material set up at the start.

Current + Upcoming Releases

  • Conan the Barbarian #10 – released April 24th.
  • Savage Sword of Conan #2 – released May 1st.
  • Conan: Battle of the Black Stone #0 – released May 4th.
  • Conan the Barbarian #11 – released May 22nd.
  • Conan the Barbarian Vol.2: Thrice Marked For Death – TPB releases June 11th.
  • Conan the Barbarian #12 – releases June 26th.
  • Life of Wolverine – One Shot – releases July 3rd.
  • Savage Sword of Conan #3 – releases July 3rd.

  • Upcoming Appearances

    Jun 7-8, 2024 Howard Days Cross Plains, TX, USA
    July 25-28, 2024 San Diego Comic-Con San Diego, CA, USA
    Aug 1-4, 2024 Gen Con Indy Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Aug 16-18, 2024 Fan Expo Chicago Chicago, IL, USA
    Aug 22-25, 2024 Fan Expo Canada Toronto, ONT, CANADA
    Oct 17-20, 2024 Gamehole Con Madison, WI, USA

    Links and Other Things

    • A slew of friends and fans sent me Alain Seguin‘s fan animated trailer for Conan: Tower of the Elephant. Seeing our favorite Cimmerian in a classic animated style here is a treat.

    • When I started this newsletter just over a year ago Karl Kerschl had a crowdfunding campaign going for Death Transit Tanager, and now he’s back with a campaign for part 2. Karl’s a friend, I love his artwork, the first one rocked. Done and done.

    • On the flight home one of the films I watched was a documentary called Soviet Bus Stops, and I’m glad I did. It’s about a Canadian photographer who has been taking pictures of obscure bus stops across the former Soviet Union, immortalizing their unexpected architecture and showing how artistic and ambitious they were at a time when the country’s culture and construction were being homogenized in service to the state. It’s a fascinating bit of oddball history that echoes larger themes about art and rebellion, well told and whimsical.

    I hope your weekend has been a good one with zero jet lag. 😉

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