Connect with us
Catching up with Jim Zub on 'Conan the Barbarian' year two at Titan Comics

Comic Books

Catching up with Jim Zub on ‘Conan the Barbarian’ year two at Titan Comics

We talk to ‘Conan the Barbarian’ writer Jim Zub right before the second trade paperback hits bookstores.

It’s safe to say that most folks agree that Conan the Barbarian is among the greatest fantasy hero of all time. (And any vile doubters will taste bifurcating steel!) Writers have been digging into his canon for decades, with his latest adventures published by Titan Comics. Jim Zub is all too familiar with Conan’s legacy — not only did he have a hand in writing the character during Marvel’s brief stint, he’s but now he’s back with a second trade paperback on the way.

Conan the Barbarian: Thrice Marked for Death is officially out July 16 from Titan. This second story arc spins directly out of Conan’s adventures on the high seas, and the mighty barbarian continues to grapple with the memories of Belit, captain of the Tigress and Queen of the Black Coast. A character who handily falls into multiple types, from pirate to bandit to the king, Conan is now on a high-stakes heist to help forget his tortured past.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Ahead of the TPB’s release, we sat down with Zub to discuss this second story arc, the differences between writing Conan at Titan versus Marvel, and so much more! And for even more on Zub’s spin on Conan, don’t miss our interview with him last year.

Jim Zub Conan the Barbarian

Courtesy of Titan Comics.

AIPT: With a second volume under your belt, has the series followed your original pitch or veered off in surprising ways?

Jim Zub: The big story beats are the same as the original pitch I put together for the first year of the Heroic Signatures-Titan relaunch but, now that we have so much momentum, I’m able to confidently weave in other elements that will pay off down the road in ways I wouldn’t have if it looked like 12 issues would be all we’d have to tell this bigger tale.

Rob De La Torre and Doug Braithwaite are such wonderful collaborators, so I’m also finding ways to lean into their strengths as I work out the plot and pages and that inevitably changes elements as things move along. Ideas are nice, but the actual execution of the thing is where the real satisfaction lies.

AIPT: Has it been any different writing Conan under Titan as opposed to Marvel Comics?

JZ: Yes, but most of that comes from my expectations rather than editorial interference. At Marvel, I knew I was picking up the baton from Jason Aaron, carrying on with issue #13-plus and I wanted to create a series of classic-style Conan adventures readers could easily jump in with. There were some big picture ideas, but most of those were vague since I didn’t know how much time I’d have on the series. I also knew Marvel needed a Teen+ rated book, so any violence and sexual content would have to be built around that publishing standard. I know where that line is and hewed to it, for the most part.

Jim Zub Conan the Barbarian

Courtesy of Titan Comics.

With Heroic Signatures, I helped build the publishing plan from the ground up – a vision for where we’d begin and where it could lead that incorporated big mythic ideas I wanted to pay off and unexpected twists and turns along the way. Along with that, the new series is a Mature Readers title so I’m using that to the fullest to unleash stories that feel like the intense pulp source material brought into the here and now.

I had a lot of fun writing Conan at Marvel and learned a lot. Now I’m using this second chance at bat to swing as hard and run as fast as I can every single month.

AIPT: At this point, you’re a Conan expert, so I must ask, what do you think defines him and this series from other fantasy adventurers?

JZ: Conan is the biggest and most popular fantasy hero in the world. He’s the original, the template, the Superman of sword and sorcery (and even predates Superman’s arrival by six years).

At his core, the Cimmerian is a survivor and an explorer — he ventures forth into the dark unknown and survives whatever the world throws at him. Wherever he travels, excitement follows, ancient ways are broken, and lives are changed. It’s a simple set-up for adventure, but 90-plus years of continuous publishing proves that the audience is there if it’s done well.

There’s a lot more to it than that but keeping track of Conan’s timeline and the many details of the Hyborian Age is my job. Readers get to just dive in and enjoy.

Jim Zub Conan the Barbarian

Courtesy of Titan Comics.

AIPT: Was there a particular panel or page where Doug Braithwaite blew you away?

JZ: Doug crushed it on every issue of this arc, but there is a 2-page spread montage in issue #8 that shows Conan rampaging across Shadizar that I absolutely love. It hearkens back to a classic era of sword and sorcery storytelling that gets my blood pumping.

AIPT: Conan has many different flavors, from bandit to pirate to war general, do you have a particular favorite?

JZ: Conan in his youth, finding a wider world and learning of the pitfalls of civilization is probably my favorite. There’s a naïve bit of bravado that’s so much fun to write. It’s easy to get him into all kinds of trouble.

AIPT: The second trade has cover galleries as well. Do you have any favorites?

JZ: Jae Lee’s cover with Conan and Belit is simple and striking, the kind of image that burns its way into my brain. There are other incredible pieces every month, but that one feels extra special.

Catching up with Jim Zub on 'Conan the Barbarian' year two at Titan Comics

Courtesy of Titan Comics.

Join the AIPT Patreon

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!
Sign up today
Comments

In Case You Missed It

X-Men #1 X-Men #1

‘X-Men’ #1 is an exciting relaunch

Comic Books

Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new 'Ultimates' #2 cover Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new 'Ultimates' #2 cover

Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new ‘Ultimates’ #2 cover

Comic Books

DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels

DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels

Comic Books

New comic book company teased New comic book company teased

New comic book company teased

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup