Zubby Newsletter #9: It’s Gonna Be Maaay

May 1st, already?! My god, this year is an absolute rocket…

This Saturday – Free Comic Book Day!

Saturday, May 6th is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY and that means CONAN THE BARBARIAN #0 is finally unleashed at your favorite local comic shop! This free prequel issue has an all-new 12-page story (that will not be in issue #1) that acts as both a prequel and mission statement for a new era of Hyborian adventure.

Our entire creative team is pouring blood, sweat, and soul into this new series, so make sure you pick up a copy of #0 for FREE, let us know what you think of it, and then put in your pre-order for Conan the Barbarian #1 charging forth in July.

The response we’ve been getting from readers and retailers even before the launch has been incredible. I can’t wait for everyone to check this out.

Also arriving in July – the trade paperbacks for RICK AND MORTY VS CTHULHU and UNBREAKABLE RED SONJA. If you missed those mini-series in single issues, it’s the perfect time to snap up the softcovers.

I spoke to George and Reilly from the Hypothetical Island podcast all about strange scenarios involving lycanthropic ewoks and gnashing teeth, and then after that we chatted all about Conan the Barbarian.

For the Hyborian fandom, if you want to skip the preamble and get right into the Conan stuff, fast forward to the 19 minute mark of the episode.

Adventures Overseas

Next week, Stacy and I head to Wales for the Swansea Comic & Gaming Convention happening May 13-14. It’s our first overseas trip since Fall 2019, so we’re excited to be heading somewhere new and have built in a bit of extra time for exploration and relaxation, especially with my birthday coming up on May 18th.

It feels a bit surreal getting back on the convention circuit in a big way, but it’s exciting too. You can keep track of signings and conventions I have confirmed on my website right here.

Seneca 2D Grad Films

In addition to comic writing and other creative projects, some of you may not know that I’ve been teaching drawing and storytelling courses at Seneca College (now Seneca Polytechnic) since 2004.

Each year, the 2D Animation stream splits into production teams and puts together a series of original animated short films, giving our soon-to-be grads solid production experience before they head out into the industry. Every aspect of these films, from initial concept to design, direction, animation and post-production, is handled by the students with staff mentors like me providing feedback along the way.

Here are the Seneca 2D Animation grad films for 2023. I’m really proud of these crews and all the hard work they put into each production:




On Tuesday, May 2nd at 6pm is the Seneca Creative Arts and Animation grad show called Coalesce. If you’re in the Toronto area and work in film, animation, art, theatre, or music and want to see what our grads are capable of, feel free to register for a free ticket and stop by.

Chicken Karaage – You Will Crave It

During the height of the pandemic I craved the fried chicken Stacy and I had when we traveled across Japan. Chicken Karaage isn’t heavy or greasy like a lot of deep-fried food – the batter is thin and crispy while the meat inside stays tender and incredibly flavorful.

It took me several tries to find the right recipe and get that ideal savory crunch, but once I finally got it, I was thrilled. It’s a dish I love having as part of my cooking skillset.

There’s a tweet thread from last year where I went through the karaage cooking process complete with photos of each step. Here’s a text summary:

  • Use deboned chicken thighs (leaving the skin on for extra flavor and crunch), cut them into two-bite size pieces and marinade them in a mix of sake, soy sauce, a sprinkle of sugar and some squeezed juice from fresh cut ginger. If you’re short on time you can marinade the chicken pieces for 15-20 min and it’ll work fine, but 4-5 hours in the fridge or even overnight is better.
  • The dry dredge is super important. You’ll probably have to shop at an Asian grocery store to find potato starch, but it’s worth the search. Some online recipes say you can substitute corn starch and, yes, it will still make tasty chicken with some crunch, but it won’t taste quite like real-deal chicken karaage.

    Even when I found potato starch and followed recipes I found online, it wasn’t quite as flavorful as the karaage I had in Japan. Zack Davisson solved the missing piece of the puzzle for me – He suggested I add a a bit of powdered chicken stock to the potato starch and it worked wonderfully! I haven’t seen any recipes that include this crucial step but, trust me, it brings out a lot of extra flavor.

  • Coat each piece generously with the potato starch + powdered broth mix. Don’t leave any chicken exposed. Let the pieces sit on a wire rack (so air can circulate above and below) for at least 10 min to really let the starch adhere.
  • You can use a deep fryer to cook the chicken, but I just use a steel pot with peanut or canola oil on the stove. Make sure the pot you’re using is no more than half full to avoid spills or splashes!

    Use a thermometer to check the temperature. The oil should be between 325° and 350° F before the first fry starts.

    Yes, first fry. We’re triple frying these pieces for maximum crunch and flavor! The meat is encased in the potato starch batter so the outside gets crisp while the meat inside steams, keeping it moist and tender.

    Don’t overcrowd the pot. You need space to keep the heat up and let the hot oil circulate around each piece. Fry the chicken pieces in batches and put them on your wire rack between each round.

    Approximately 30-45 seconds for the first fry.
    Approximately 1 min for the second fry.
    Approximately 1-1.5 min for the third fry.

  • After the third fry, put the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl with a paper towel to wick off any excess oil and then sprinkle on some salt so it attaches to the hot chicken.

    The traditional pairing with karaage is a wedge of lemon and kewpie mayo with a sprinkle of 5-spice on top. Japanese beer is a proper addition as well. 🙂

  • Essentially, I follow this video recipe (but add a bit of powdered chicken broth to the starch) and it really hits the spot – bringing back the full karaage sensory experience I’d been missing from Japan:

Also, don’t just ditch the cooking oil after you’re done. After the oil cools down completely, carefully pour it through a fine mesh strainer (to get rid of particulates) into a bottle or jar and keep it for next time. You can re-use the oil 4-5 times without any problem.

Links and Other Stuff

  • This history and analysis of the storytelling and panel choices from Bernard Krigstein’s famous EC Comics short story is really compelling, made even more impressive by the fact that this is the first video on this gent Matttt’s YouTube channel. If he keeps up with content this good it’ll definitely be a channel worth following.

That should cover it this time.


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