Comic podcasts are great. If you spend a lot of time in your car, otherwise commuting, exercising, etc. they can really make that time spent more enjoyable. There are a LOT of comic podcasts out there and this list is by no means meant to be all-inclusive. These are just the ones that I happen to listen to regularly. Also, as a preface…I listen to all of these podcasts on a regular basis, so they are all good and I enjoy them all. Anything below that might come off as a criticism is merely to illustrate differences between the various podcasts. If I thought a podcast sucked, I wouldn’t be commenting upon it here.
[Note: I'm including links to their sites, but you can find all of these podcasts via iTunes.]
11 O’Clock Comics Podcast – If I was forced to pick a favorite podcast, it would be this one. This podcast comes out weekly (usually on Thursday) and features a regular cast of Vince B, David Price, Jason Wood and Christopher Neseman. It typically runs for ~2 hours and covers a wide variety of topics of interest to the comic community. The guys do offer their thoughts on individual comic books, but it is NOT a review-of-the-week podcast. To the extent they discuss comics, they are usually at least a couple weeks old, so you don’t have to worry about spoilers too much if you stay caught up on your comics. A few things set this podcast apart (in my book). One, the hosts are all intelligent, fully-grown men with jobs OUTSIDE the comic industry. Their perspective is like my own: They enjoy comics and are willing to devote their free-time to generating comic-related content, but they aren’t doing it to build a name in the industry. They just love comics. Another unique feature is that they (especially Vince) aren’t afraid to venture into the world of lesser-read comics. And they don’t stop at Image either; they discuss some truly weird comics, so if you’re looking for a place to get some oddball recommendations, this is the place to be. Third, when they discuss the business side of comics, Jason Wood’s background as an investor really helps. Let’s face it, there is a lot of discussion of the business of comics online, but most of it is coming from creative types who don’t really know what they are talking about. Jason is a big asset to the community in this regard. They also host one of the BEST message boards for comic discussion online. It isn’t the most active, but has virtually zero asshats in the core community and is very welcoming to newcomers.
Around Comics – AC has recently returned from a hiatus and its primary host, Chris Neseman (also on 11:00) seems to be shooting for a monthly schedule. AC also features high-level, mature comic discussion and is recorded at one of the various comic shops in Chicago. All of the hosts are actually in the same room and guests often include people from that actual comics industry who live around Chicago like Skottie Young, Tim Seeley, Christian Alamy, etc. It is very interesting to hear the thoughts of these comic professionals in a non-interview setting.
Comic Geek Speak - The king in terms of quantity of content! If you have limited time to listen to podcasts, CGS could probably soak up that time all by itself. Often putting out ~3 shows per week, the group of “geeks” is led by a revolving cast. Again, all of the geeks are adult men with jobs. Their shows range from general comic discussion to creator interviews to shows focusing on specific comic events or movies. It is just a wealth of content and all of it is high quality and intelligent. They also host a very active comics message board.
iFanboy – This is mostly a weekly podcast that focuses on reviewing each week’s comic books. It is very much a here-and-now show. The hosts: Ron Richards, Connor Kilpatrick and Josh Flanagan are very disciplined and keep their show to ~60 minutes and limit their side jabber. It is a very professional done show with good production values. This show typically comes out on Sunday and I enjoy it every week although I personally avoid listening to it until I’ve had time to finish all of my major reviews for WCBR (so as not to cross-pollinate any thoughts). I do love listening to this podcast to see if the guys agreed with me on various comic issues (and they usually do). It is important to note the hosts of this comics podcasts are doing this as their JOB. So, they have a different perspective. I would also say that they have a younger perspective than many of the other podcasts I tend to listen to. These guys seem much more young, hip, urban, into alternative music, etc.
ComicVine – Another podcast produced by folks who work in comics as their JOB, ComicVine comes out on Fridays and is usually ~2 hours long. Hosted by Tony, Sara Lima and sometimes a guest or two they discuss the comics of the week and also other comic related news, especially comics in other media like movies and TV. James Robinson is a frequent studio guest and offers very funny insight into comics and is sometimes even willing to say bad things about other comic books. One thing that makes ComicVine very unique is that you get a woman’s perspective. Sara often has a very unique viewpoint on comic characters and stories. Given that the comic geek “industry” is very male dominated, that is a very valuable thing. I also really appreciate their effort to be professional at all times. Some podcast commentators act like they wish they could be a stand-up comedian, but the hosts at ComicVine act more like they wish they could be a cross between Siskle & Ebert and CNN. ComicVine also hosts an elaborate comic website community, with a comic database, user blogs, etc.
Comic Book Page Podcast – Not sure if these guys have a webpage, but you can certainly find it on iTunes. I haven’t been listening to this for as long, but they feature a weekly ~30 minute podcast where the two hosts Bob Bretall and John Mayo discuss 3 recent comic book (one Marvel, one DC and other “other”). These guys read a LOT of comics and always have well informed views. Another bonus for the business minded is that this is also the site for the Mayo Report which analyzes comic sales trends when Diamond releases their sales figures for the Top 300 comic books sold each month. Continuing a theme…intelligent, adult men talking about comic books.
Word Balloon - Every industry needs a Larry King-type and for comics that is John Siuntres, the host of Word Balloon. The format here is long form interview. Some of the interviews go on for 2-3 hours and have to be split into separate segments. Guests are a wide range of (mostly) comic writers ranging from established folks like Bendis and Brubaker to newer guys like Nick Spencer. Without a time limit, the discussion frequently strays away from comics into areas like TV, movies, family, politics, etc. If all you care about is the printed page, this won’t be for you, but if you’re curious about the folks behind the comics, you’ll enjoy this. The best thing about this is that John is an outstanding interviewer and understands that the interview is about the “other guy”. Comic creators are generally very intelligent and witty guys, so there is a LOT of impromptu fun on this podcast.
So, if you have some extra time in your day or are looking for things to listen to on your iPod/iPhone these are great things if you are a comic fan. I listen to just about all of these podcasts on a weekly basis and find that the discussion really enhances my appreciation of my hobby. There are probably a few podcasts I’ve missed out on here and I’m sure many of them are excellent, but there just aren’t enough hours in the week.
- Dean Stell
Filed under: Features Tagged: | 11 O'Clock Comics Podcast, Around Comics, Comic Book Page Podcast, comic book podcasts, Comic Book Review, Comic Book Reviews, Comic Geek Speak, comics podcast, ComicVine, iFanboy, Weekly Comic Book Review, Word Balloon