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by Matt O’Keefe

Podcasts have had a really interesting impact on the comic book scene, a great source of discussions different from every other media outlet. They’re relatively new media, and because of that aren’t overly regulated. For example, it’s rare for a podcast interview to be run through public relations, or at least for that pass to lead to major edits. Podcasts also favor conversations that can go more in-depth and on more tangents than a text interview can typically get away with. They can even be edited and published almost immediately, whereas a long phone interview will take the reporter hours to transcribe, tweak and post. I recommend people interested in the comics industry and medium to seek out a wide variety of podcasts for a lot of different kinds of comic book discussions. To help you out with that, here is a list of eight podcasts that excel at covering specific subjects. I’ve broken them down into two categories: shows that usually have special guests and others that have more general chats about comics.
 
Part 1: Guest Interviews
These are all podcasts that regularly have special guests who join the host in talking about some aspects of the comics medium or industry.
1. Art: Stuff Said
Gregg Schigiel has a lot of interesting viewpoints as a former Marvel assistant editor and current cartoonist working on the SpongeBob Squarepants licensed comics. Perhaps his greatest strength is discussing the artistic process with other illustrators, offering a perspective comic book media needs a lot more of. Stuff Said can teach you a lot about the artistic process, if you’re looking to learn more
 
2. Backstory: Let’s Talk Comics
James Viscardi, host of the Let’s Talk Comics podcast, delves into his guests’ “secret origin” in every episode. The former Associate Manager – Sales & Communications at Marvel nabs some pretty high-profile guests on a regular basis. Examples include Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Snyder, Skottie Young, Stephen Wacker and so many more. If you want to hear how your favorite creator got his start, give Let’s Talk Comics a listen.
 
3. Conversation: Word Balloon
Word Balloon is self-described as “the comic book conversation show” and the name suits it. Host John Siuntres has a lot of experience in radio and knows how to have long, engaging talks with comic book professionals. He gets a wide variety of guests, but a major perks to listening in are his regular extensive discourses like the Bendis Tapes, the Rucka Debrief and more conversations with major names in the industry. One of the most popular podcasts on this list, Word Balloon is a show worth tuning into.
 
4. Craft: Decompressed
Decompressed, hosted by Kieron Gillen, is “an irregular comics podcast with an eye on the question of craft.” Gillen is very thoughtful about the comic book making process (check out his in-depth Writer Notes for comics he writes), making him the perfect candidate to host a show in which he talks with other creators about craft. Most episodes of Decompressed are one-on-one with one or two creators discussing specific comic book issues, but there have also been episodes covering such topics as the Marvel method writing style (with Matt Fraction and Mark Waid) and and costume design in comics (with Jamie McKelvie, Kris Anka and Ming Doyle). As a process nerd, I’ve listened to almost every episode of the show at least twice. If you’re a comic book creator, current or aspiring, or you’re just interested in the process of making comics, I can’t recommend Decompressed highly enough.
Part 2: Chats
Like most podcasts these shows have guests on occasion, but they’re generally episodes consisting of regulars getting together and chatting about things that are about or related to comics.

 

5. Current Events: More to Come
Publisher’s Weekly has its own comic book podcast called More to Come, usually featuring a roundtable with The Beat’s own Editor-in-Chief Heidi MacDonald, Comics Editor for Publisher Weekly Calvin Reid and podcast producer Kate Fitzsimons. They do a great, efficient job covering current events in the industry. It takes them less than an hour to break down the news of the last week or two, and they still manage to add a lot of interesting input and insight into the rundown. If you’re trying to keep abreast of the comic book industry as a whole, More to Come is your best bet.

 

The Make Comics Podcast, previously hosted by iFanboy and currently hosted by online workshop Comics Experience, covers every issue you can think of that comic book creators might come across. Former Senior Editor at IDW and the founder of Comics Experience Andy Schmidt shares his vast knowledge on all sorts of topics in a conversation with originally iFanboy’s Josh Flanagan and now podcaster Joey Groah. The Make Comics Podcast is made up of bite-sized episodes, around twenty minutes each, but they’re very nice for aspiring creators on a short commute.

 

7. Retail: Acmecast
If you want to learn about the industry from a comic shop’s perspective, Acmecast is what you should be listening to. Manager of North Carolina store Acme Comics Jermaine Exum (a.k.a. Lord Retail) and assistant manager Stephen Mayer discuss comics-related news with a sales bent. It’s extremely interesting to learn about how the main sellers of comic books react to the comic book news that we read on sites like The Beat. If you want to get a stronger grasp on how the wheels keep turning in the comic book industry, try out Acmecast for a spin.

 

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There are a lot of comic book review shows out there, but the one that I get the most mileage from is iFanboy’s Pick of the Week Podcast hosted by Josh Flanagan, Paul Montgomery and Conor Kilpatrick. The episodes, released Sunday, delve into the previous Wednesday’s comic book releases. Their reviews are smart without being too technical and entertaining without sacrificing depth. This category of podcasts depends largely on your specific tastes, but I get a lot out of the Pick of the Week Podcast.

 

I hope this list incentivizes you to check out some of the podcasts listed above. This isn’t an exhaustive list, simply a collection of some of the podcasts that serve certain niches. I recommend you check out these shows and seek out more of your own, to get new takes on the medium and industry of comics.
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29 COMMENTS

  1. Amazing list! I would add to this Dan Berry’s podcast Make It Then Tell Everybody. It’s a really well respected podcast here in the UK and almost universally listened to; Dan gets guests on three or four times a month to talk through their artistic process and generally what it’s like to be a comic creator. It’s got more of a small-press or independent bend to it (depending on your preferred terminology) but is international in scope and the guests are really varied. You learn something new from every episode.

  2. I have no idea how one can overlook SIDEBAR for “craft podcast” or ELEVEN O’CLOCK COMICS for “conversation”. These are some of the elder statesmen of comics podcasting.

  3. 11 o’clock comics !!! It’s an amazing show that covers a wide variety of topics. My favorite comics podcast by a country mile.

    Sidebar !!! Very thoughtful creator interviews by enthusiastic, knowledgable, and charming hosts.

    Fight For Comics !!! Casual and fun comic talk & reviews.

  4. Make it Then Tell Everybody is one of the best interview podcasts about process out there.

    Mike Dawson’s TCJ Talkies podcast has changed into an interesting book club style discussion.

    Jim Rugg’s Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is another great interview podcast.

    Graeme MacMillan and Jeff Lester’s Wait What podcast is one of my favorites. A really fun discussion about new and old comics.

    And my favorite podcast right now has a really specific subject: Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-men. They are literally going through and talking about the whole history of the X-men and it is wonderful.

  5. Hey, guys. Thanks for the comments! A number of these suggestions are new for me and I’m excited to check them out. Glad that people are invested in comic book podcasts; there are a lot of great ones out there.

    -Matt

  6. One that didn’t make this list but I really enjoy is Pop Culture Hound. I’m surprised it took me so long to learn about it. They pull in some really high-profile guests to have great discussions with.

    -Matt

  7. Thanks for the shout out in the comments! There are so many great podcasts that I don’t get offended if we aren’t mentioned. Although admittedly I’m surprised that someone doing an article on the subject had t heard of us…we’ve been at this for a hot minute.

  8. I’d definitely heard of 11 O’Clock Comics, Jason, and I’ve listened to an episode or two. These comments just encourage me to listen to more.

    -Matt

  9. Also, I’ve never found a good source for the best comics podcasts out there. I’m hoping to remedy that somewhat with this article, and the comments are definitely helping to further that goal. Thanks for caring enough to comment!

    -Matt

  10. 11 O’Clock Comics is by far the best and most consistent comic book podcast around. They cover a wide range of books, the hosts are some of the most passionate people that I’ve ever heard discuss comics and their community and forums are the best on the net.

  11. A waiver claim at the bottom of the article does not excludes the lack of research done for such an “list.” How about change the title of the article to “Comic Book Podcasts for Some Kind of Listeners..”

  12. This is a great list! And if you are looking for even more comics content my recommend the Comics Are Great podcast hosted by Jerzy Drozd. It’s recorded out of a library, has a really diverse selection of guests and covers various aspect of the culture surrounding comics.

    http://comicsaregreat.com/category/cagpodcast

    There’s also video versions posted over on Youtube.

    https://www.youtube.com/results?q=comics%20are%20great%20podcast&safe=off&hl=en&gbv=2&prmd=ivns&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=v1

    I’m semi-biased because I’m a friend and frequent guest, but I was a fan first. Jerzy has actually been a part of several comics podcasts over the years including Art & Story and the Lean Into Art Cast both of which really dig deep into the craft of making comics. His shows are wonderful because Jerzy’s passion and enthusiasm for comics is infectious, and he really explores every aspect of what makes comics so important to all of us.

  13. As someone who listens to an absurd amount of (mostly) comic book podcasts, there are two that are tied for my ultimate tip-top spot: 11 O’Clock Comics and Wait, What? The funny thing about both of these shows is that I did not care for either at first. But upon spending a bit of time getting to know and understand “the universe” of each, I fell crazy in love with both shows. Absolutely brilliant, immersive, smart podcasts.

    And as far as interview shows, Word Balloon is an extraordinary accomplishment. And Inkpulp Audio takes the crown for best new — and super quirky — show.

    We are in a golden era of comix jibber-jabber!

  14. I love the Comic Geek Speak and Comic Timing podcasts. Comic Geek Speak a over 1000 episodes of content and ate one of the first Comic podcasts in existence.

    Comic Timing I love for their no holds barred conversation, and wild tangents. A great conversation show.

  15. I have sampled a few of these here, and occasionally listen to iFanboy along with a few others I think are worth mentioning.

    First and foremost is Comic Geek Speak. Featuring a very knowledgeable cast of hosts that discuss varying comic related items with regular discussions on the latest releases, news, upcoming releases, movies, tv shows, and regular spotlight episodes that discuss major superheros histories through silver, bronze, to modern age appearances. All-ages listening for the most part as well. These guys have great chemistry and a lot of love for the comics medium and that comes through on each and every episode. Excellent production value as well.
    http://www.comicgeekspeak.com

  16. This article full of lies and incorrect facts. Podcasting has been around for 11 years and is a popular way of geeks to connect with each other. I listen to over 80 podcasts and the 6 on the list I have never heard of before and I am a very active comic book geek. Take the time to get you facts right.

  17. I’d echo the glaring omissions of 11 O’Clock Comics, Sidebar, and to a lesser extent Comic Geek Speak.

    All listeners come from different backgrounds, and obviously there’s a lot of territorialism in the way of “Hey, I’ve known about these guys for YEARS!–Why haven’t you?? But having listened to a LOT of these over the last decades, I just have the following remarks:

    iFanboy as a comic REVIEWING podcast? Their reviews are basically 5 seconds of saying “This was good!” and then 5 minutes of inside jokes and giggliness. I listened to iFanboy a LONG time ago and still check in once every six months or so. They used to be WAY better with reviews. Now it’s a bunch of in-jokes and giggling. (Basically, you know what I’d really like when it comes to podcast recommendations? Tell me which podcasts DON’T devolve into 40-year-old white hipsters giggling like little children. Because, basically, yes, that’s what I look for in a podcast: an absence of that type of behavior.)

    Word Balloon is indeed about conversations. But if you don’t agree with John 100% about everything, then prepare to hear your views an opinions mocked and derided quite often. He’s a good podcaster and a great interviewer. But the guy has an absolutely huge ego and is intolerant of each and every opinion that doesn’t match his exactly. If you want to just enjoy “conversation”, Sidebar and 11 O’Clock comics are much better, more relaxing, etc.

    How CGS wasn’t mentioned in the article, I have no idea. These guys are the godfathers. They were basically the first to do it and have accumulated over 2000 episodes on nearly every topic and subtopic imaginable. If y’all simply haven’t heard of them, that’s fine. And, yes, the show isn’t as prolific as it used to be. (Simply not as GOOD as it used to be either, to be blunt.) But if you want a treasure trove of back listening, their archive is incredible.

  18. You all realize this isn’t a best-of list right? It’s neat to see some new podcasts as well as a few old favorites, and it’s great to have people add to the list in the comments – but the critiques thus far are uncalled for.

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