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C O M I C B O O K BY ERIC HOUSTON Companion Companion THE

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Comic book podcasts have taken the Internet by storm, and now TwoMorrows offers you the chance to go behind the scenes of ten of today's top comic book podcasts via all-new interviews with the casts of AROUND COMICS, WORD BALLOON, QUIET! PANELOLOGISTS AT WORK, COMIC BOOK QUEERS, iFANBOY, THE CRANKCAST, THE COLLECTED COMICS LIBRARY, THE PIPELINE PODCAST, COMIC GEEK SPEAK, and TwoMorrows’ own TUNE-IN PODCAST! Also featured are new interviews about podcasting and comics on the Internet with creators MATT FRACTION, TIM SEELEY, and GENE COLAN. You'll also find a handy guide of what you’ll need to start your own podcast, an index of more than thirty great comic book podcasts, numerous photos of your favorite podcasters, and original art from COLAN, SEELEY, DC's MIKE NORTON, and many more! By Eric Houston, with a spectacular new cover by Mike Manley.


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The Comic BookPodcast Companion

TwoMorrows PublishingRaleigh, North Carolina

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Introduction ........................................................................................4

Around Comics ...................................................................................5

Word Balloon ..................................................................................19

Creator Interview: Matt Fraction ....................................................30

Comic Book Queers ..........................................................................38

The Crankcast ..................................................................................45

Creator Interview: Tim Seeley ........................................................55

Remembering the 24 HourComic Book Podcast..........................................................................58

iFanboy ............................................................................................61

Quiet! Panelologists at Work ............................................................73

TwoMorrows’ Tune-In Podcast/Collected Comics Library...................................................................82

Pipeline Podcast ................................................................................89

Creator Interview: Gene Colan ....................................................104

Comic Geek Speak..........................................................................107

How to Make Your Own Podcast......................................................121

Podcast Index ................................................................................123

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About three years ago, All-Star Comics,the comic book store I had frequentedevery week for almost eight years, closedits doors forever. For the first time since I

had started reading comics seriously, I no longer hada place to visit every Wednesday, not simply to buymy books (at that point you could already buy booksoff the Internet easily enough), but to hang out for acouple of hours and chew the fat with the shop own-ers and fellow customers about everything going on incomics. Once the Nineties boom, which had begun myown infatuation with comics, had ended, none of myfriends at school cared to read comics anymore, andso the comic shop became my sole outlet for debat-ing the issues of the day: “Is Hal Jordan really comingback;” “Who is this mysterious Adversary in Fables”;“Who is the Identity Crisis killer (I thought it wasCaptain Boomerang using the extra Atom belt andMirror Master suit from his Suicide Squad days)?”Suddenly, that store was gone.

To make matters worse, I moved from South Bend,Indiana to Saint Paul, Minnesota the following year.Now, I really didn’t have anyone to talk comics with.Even the couple of passing acquaintances back homethat were comic fans were now hundreds of milesaway. Sure, the Twin Cities were and are dotted withany number of terrific comics stores, but none ofthem were my store. Plus, my new job kept me toobusy to really hang out there and try to strike up newfriendships.

So there I was, sitting at my desk one day, doingsome mindless paperwork when I decided to take abreak from work and check Newsarama. There, on theright side of the screen, in little type, was an ad for aJohn Byrne interview on a show called Around Comics.It was a podcast and, while I’d heard of such a thingbefore, I had yet to actually listen to one. Still, what Iwas doing hardly required much mental effort, so I fig-ured I’d give it a shot. I was hooked immediately.

I started by listening to archived episodes of AroundComics, but soon branched out to The Crankcast andComic Geek Speak. Before long, I was a regular listen-er of iFanboy, Word Balloon, The Comic Book Queers,Quiet! Panelologists at Work, Pipeline, The CollectedComics Library, and many others. These shows enter-tained me at work and in the car. They reignited myenthusiasm for the medium and exposed me to newbooks, books like Matt Fraction’s brilliant Casanova,which I probably never would have picked up other-wise, but, more importantly, for the first time in years,I felt like I had someone to talk comics with. Sure,the conversation was a little one-sided at first, butvia forum posts and e-mails, not to mention lengthy

interviews for a certain book from TwoMorrows, Ireally started to feel like part of a comics readingcommunity again.

I wasn’t alone, either. Listening to the e-mails andvoice mails on each of these podcasts, I found outthat my story was all too common. Time and again,listeners would write in, thanking the podcasters andsinging the same tune. They didn’t have any friends inschool or at work who liked comics, either. They hadlost their favorite comic store or, worse, lived in anarea too small or too rural to have one. Like me, theyhad found a community again, a community we wereall part of together. Each of us had begun devouringour favorite podcasts with the same enthusiasm andanticipation we reserved for our favorite comics.

It wasn’t long before I began to wonder what wenton behind the scenes of my favorite podcasts, howthe shows were made and what inspired the podcast-ers to make them. Looking around the Internet anddigging through each show’s archives proved largelyfruitless. For the most part, these were stories thathadn’t been told yet. I also figured I probably wasn’talone in wanting to know these things, so I set out towrite this book.

I wanted to pull back the curtain for all of us faithfullisteners, to find out more about the shows and thehosts themselves. I wanted to take a look at how theInternet had changed fandom, with podcasts creatingthe sort of communities that were once the soledomain of shops, letter columns, and fanzines. I want-ed to talk to the comics professionals who haveappeared on these shows, some of whom started outas fans on the Internet themselves and some ofwhom have had their careers forever changed byexposure from podcasts and the Internet. I wanted toput together a collection of stories and tips and tricksof the trade for those who wanted to start their ownshow after listening to so many but didn’t know whereto start. I wanted to expose fellow fans to other greatpodcasts they may not have tried yet. And for those ofyou who haven’t listened to any podcasts yet butalways wanted to, here’s a sampling of some of thebest. Chances are, if you like the interview, you’ll lovetheir show. Most of all, though, I wrote this bookbecause I wanted to say thank you. Thank you all,podcaster and listener alike, for bringing this commu-nity into existence and for giving it a life all its own.

Eric HoustonSaint Paul, MNJanuary 3, 2009



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HOUSTON: Am I right in thinking Around Comicswas your idea, Chris?CHRIS: No. It started with Sal and I at the sametime. That was the genesis there.TOM: It was my idea. [laughter]

HOUSTON: I know you did some interviews forComic Geek Speak first.CHRIS: Yeah, it was their 43rd and half episode and Ie-mailed [Comic Geek Speak co-host] Bryan Deemerand asked him if he was coming to Wizard WorldChicago in 2005 and they weren’t coming, so I said,“Well, I can get some on-the-floor interviews for youand send them in.” Sal and I ended up going to theshow on that Saturday and ran around and were reallyshocked at how accommodating the creators were. Iwas a terrible interviewer, but they were great in theirresponses and I sent them in to Bryan. That’s kind ofwhere I started as an interviewer and Sal can proba-bly pick up on that weekend.SAL: I had actually met abunch of people [at WizardWorld Chicago] and just kindof hung out with a lot of thecreators. Then, that Saturday,when Chris came interviewingpeople, the idea of doing ourown podcast came up. Thetechnical side of it wassomething that I knew that Icould handle. As far as awebsite and the feed andthat kind of thing, I knew thatI could figure that out, so Ijust said, “Let’s do our ownshow at some point.” We didn’t really do it right away;it took a little while before we decided to finally do it.CHRIS: Almost six moths.SAL: It was a while before we got to it. We threw a lot

of ideas back and forth: what we wanted to do withthe show and the basic idea of it, because I hadn’treally listened to many podcasts at that point and itwas relatively a new thing. Chris had listened morethan I did, but I thought it would be fun and some-thing to do. Both of us had really grown up readingcomics from a young age, but none of my friendsgrowing up were into comic books so it was a verysingular thing for me. I read comics, but I didn’t reallytalk about comics with anyone growing up and, at thatpoint in my life, I was already in my thirties.TOM: It was over. [laughter]

CHRIS: I came to work at thesame company that Sal workedat and I think the first week Iwas there I hung up a Losersposter in my office and he waslike, “You read comic books?”and I was like, “Yeah.”SAL: So, yeah, we just sort ofput it together from that. Thefirst couple of episodes wereGod-awful. We didn’t really knowwhat we were doing then.CHRIS: All Skype.TOM: Loooong.CHRIS: Well, it was pre-Tom, sothey were terrible.

SAL: Awful. [laughter]CHRIS: A lot of tinkering around with different equip-ment and formats.TOM: You couldn’t find the “interesting” button onyour mixer.


Chris Neseman, Brion “Sal” Salazar, and TomKaters have been recording the Around Comicspodcast from Chicago for almost four years now.Often joined by industry professionals and fellowpodcasters alike, the Around Comics round tablehas insightfully and hilariously discussed every-thing from the ever-present single issue versustrade paperbacks debate to the growing trend ofcreator exclusive contracts at Marvel and DC. I satdown with Chris, Sal, and Tom after recording theirMay 16, 2008 episode at Chicago’s Dark TowerComics and Collectibles to discuss everything inand around Around Comics.

Around Comics hosts Christopher Neseman, Brion Salazar, and TomKaters at the 2007 New York Comic Con. All photos in this chaptercourtesy Around Comics, unless otherwise noted.

Chris and Sal recording in a hotel room at Wizard WorldChicago. Photo courtesy Pat Loika (


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SAL: It didn’t exist.CHRIS: I still haven’t found the “interesting” buttonon my mixer.

HOUSTON: Why aren’t those first couple of episodesavailable online?CHRIS: Because they’re really bad.TOM: They’re terrible.SAL: Well, the first one, the actual number one, wasjust a test and it wasn’t an episode at all.CHRIS: No, we had a zero episode. That was the testepisode.SAL: It was a test?TOM: Well, who cares if you numbered it zero or num-

ber one?It’s thefirst onethat cameout.

HOUSTON:Comicfans.[laughter]TOM: Well,yeah,comic fanscare.SAL: Thefirst onewereleasedwas a testepisode onthe feedbecauselike I said,I didn’t

know what I was doing, so I just went online and triedto figure out how to do a podcast and it was just asong clip or something that I put on there. That wasthe first one. Then the couple after that were justawful.CHRIS: The first one was online distribution or onlinecomics purchasing versus the local comic store and[Dark Tower Comics and Collectibles owner] MarkBeatty was the first guest that we had, and yeah, itwas obviously…TOM: It was never resolved.SAL: Yeah, we never came to a conclusion. Therewere no winners.CHRIS: We didn’t hit our stride for quite a while.TOM: Some would say never. Maybe we’re still search-ing.SAL: Chris was a big Comic Geek Speak board mem-ber and he had gotten to know other people in theChicagoland area who were also board members, Tomand a few other guys, and they had gotten together a

couple of times.CHRIS: To drink.TOM: Stare at each other.SAL: So we started having different people on theshow. It was Chris and I and then we’d have differentpeople on the show. Did we start doing it at DarkTower before…?CHRIS: No. The first episode at Dark Tower was onFree Comic Book Day, which would have been the firstSaturday in May of 2006. That was the first one wedid. It was my deep seeded and thinly veiled,Machiavellian way to do an episode at a comic shop,and it was such a great idea that we ended up com-ing up here every week afterwards.SAL: One of the people we had from the meet-upswas Tom. Tom was a Comic Geek Speak forum mem-ber and we had him on the show and, immediatelyafterwards, Chris and I talked about it and said, “Youknow, we should have him on every week.” We reallywanted Tom to come back. He was just really funny.TOM: The magic…SAL: The magic was just instant. [laughter]CHRIS: In a very serious way, we knew very quicklythat there was good chemistry between the three ofus, and it worked. We recognized it and snatched himup.

HOUSTON: What was your take on all of that at thetime, Tom, first guesting on the show and then beinginvited to become a regular?TOM: I don’t have a lot going on in my life. [laughs] Iread comics and drink and watch baseball or whatev-er sport is on at the time. I have a lot of free time, soit was just something to sort of occupy my timebecause none of my friends read comic books, so itwas a nice way to talk about comic books with like-minded people and then we drank. It was simpleenough because, if the mic wasn’t here, I’d still bedrinking and talking about comics anyway. So it wasn’tthat big a deal to record it and get it out to the peo-ple. Get it to the masses immediately. Huzzah!

HOUSTON: How would you describe the show’sstyle? How is it different from other podcasts?TOM: More handsome. [laughter]SAL: We’re much better looking than other podcast-ers.CHRIS: You don’t pick that up in your headphones,the sheer GQ of the show.SAL: We don’t take it too seriously. We don’t take our-selves too seriously. We don’t take comics too seri-ously. While we can certainly talk intelligently and seri-ously about certain things, we always have fun andenjoy ourselves and realize that it’s just entertain-ment and, if we’re not having fun with it, there’s noreal point.CHRIS: Tom said it right; we would be doing this evenwithout the mics.


Magic man Tom Katers. Photo courtesy Mike Oliveri(

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HOUSTON: What is Word Balloon is all about?SIUNTRES: Word Balloon is primarily a one-on-oneinterview show where I speak to mostly comic bookcreators. I’ve dabbled occasionally in talking toother podcasters and other people around thecomic book business, but, normally, I talk to writersand artists and I discuss not only their current booksand current stories but the thought process behind thecraft, especially writers. I think my having a broadcastand writing background, I’m always curious about howthese storytellers go through their paces in terms ofhow they construct a story and some of their influ-ences and just the ideas they have as they put the sto-ries together.

HOUSTON: How did Word Balloon first come about?How did you get the idea?SIUNTRES: Well, I had a career in radio broadcastingand the primary focus of it has been talk. I was work-ing at a sports talk network, Sporting News RadioNetwork, and had gone from being an active reporterto suddenly finding myself behind the scenes and nothaving the opportunities to do interviews. So, in thesummer of 2005, I decided to possibly make a videodocumentary where I would be talking about my city ofChicago and a bunch of history—the writing in Chicagoand the various mystery writers and I thought it wouldbe interesting to include a comic book component tothat, given that things like Dick Tracy started with TheChicago Tribune and also modern people like BrianAzzarello writing 100 Bullets and also the MoonstoneComics as well publishing some mystery and sus-pense stuff. I thought it would be kind of interestingand give it a sort of different spin than the traditionalkind of documentary.

So I worked with a friend of mine who was a video-grapher and got about four interviews done and myfriend found himself too busy to continue the project.So I found myself sitting with these great interviewsthat had already been conducted, among them aninterview with Max Allen Collins, who used to write the

Dick Tracy strip and many other comic books in hiscareer, and Brian Azzarello, the 100 Bullets guy, and Ithought, “Gee, I really don’t want to see these thingsgo to waste,” and I thought it would be fun to put up awebsite and start posting these interviews. Maybepeople would come and listen to them.

I hadn’t actually heard of the term podcasting at thatpoint, and it wasn’t until a couple of months laterwhen one of my listeners told me, “You know, you’rereally just doing a podcast, why don’t you place it inthe normal sort of aggregate places, like Podcast Alleyand iTunes and make it available, because this is real-ly starting to happen.” So it was about three months inthat I decided to really make it a podcast, and that’swhen the listenership really started to get bigger.

I think my first big boost in terms of getting peoplewas the convention season of 2005. I was at WizardWorld Chicago and, at that point, I had maybe 20 inter-views and burneda CD of MP3s ofa bunch of themand sort of circu-lated themaround a lot ofcreators, guyslike Greg Ruckaand Brian Bendis,Mark Waid, peo-ple like that werethere, some ofthe top writersand stuff, and Ireally wantedsomething Icould get in their


John Siuntres is the host of Word Balloon, thecomic book conversation show. A vocal fan oftalent from the Silver Age to today, John’s guestson this one-on-one interview show have includedeveryone from comic legends like Marty Pasko andDenny O’Neil to modern super-stars like BrianMichael Bendis and Greg Rucka. On March 9,2008, John and I talked about how he took hisexperience from years of radio broadcasting andcreated one of the most respected shows in notonly the world of comic book podcasting, but in thecomics industry as a whole.

Word Balloon host John Siuntres. Photo courtesy Pat Loika(


Noted crime fiction writer and DickTracy scribe Max Allan Collins was oneof John’s first guests on Word Balloon.Photo by Alan Light.

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hands, and some of them were really interested. Iremember Greg Rucka telling me, “I have your CD inmy knapsack and I’ll listen to it on the plane ridehome,” and it was great and I really had a great posi-tive response from everybody and everybody seemedto enjoy it and it just got easier once I made those ini-tial connections.

Also, at the time, I don’t think there were many otherpodcasts. I think Fanboy Radio and Comic Geek Speakat that point had already begun, but I wasn’t reallyaware of them and I think the pool was empty enoughand the novelty was there that everyone was reallykind of interested in this new way of doing interviews,and that kind of intrigued a lot of people. I think myradio background really kind of helped them feelcomfortable that they couldtalk to somebody whoknew how to conduct aninterview.

HOUSTON: It seems likecomic book podcastingcame out of nowhere thatsummer.SIUNTRES: Yeah, you know,I remember this Alan Mooredocumentary, Mindscape.He talks about how a bunchof different people aroundthe world at the same timehad come up with thisinvention in the 1800s andI do think there is kind of a thing in terms of a collec-tive, you’ll forgive the phrase because it sounds pre-tentious, zeitgeist, where a there’s a common idea outthere. I mean, I was aware of Fanboy Radio and I haveto give them their due. And certainly at that point theyhad been around for at least three years and I hadheard them stream their show, and you’re right; theydid start posting their MP3s and I think, in fairness, itwas a response to their show that I came up withWord Balloon. I don’t mean that in a negative way toScott Hinze, because I think that it’s a fine show, but Ifound that the information that I was looking for wasnot being covered by his interviews.

Also, his show was still a radio show and I think oneof the advantages of a podcast versus a radio show isthat fact that you can really focus on the guest and theconversation itself and not be concerned with the trap-pings of, “By the way, we’re talking to so-and-so. If youwant to call in with a question, here’s the phone num-ber and we’ll be right back after this commercialbreak.” You don’t have to worry about that in a pod-cast. The person, if they’re downloading an interviewwith Geoff Johns, they know that that’s what they’regoing to be listening to for the duration of the podcast.So I thought that was kind of an advantage. I was justmore interested in really getting into their train ofthought, and I think one of the advantages I have with

a solo show instead of a group show, the conversationcan go anywhere that I and the guest want it to go toand, if there’s an idea that I want to build on, I don’thave to worry about Host B asking his question andthe conversation going off on a different tangent.There’s nothing wrong with that.

Co-hosts can certainly come up with other ideas andit’s a difference on my show I think, versus some ofthe others out there, that it really is just me and theguest without these distractions or obligations of hav-ing to remind a radio audience of who you’re talking toor to make sure that your co-host is getting his chanceto talk. It just really makes for a conversation that cango in interesting directions without distractions andyou can just let it grow organically and I think that just

allowed for revelations interms of who the guest wasor their influences. Youweren’t getting that onFanboy Radio or some ofthese other multi-host showswhere it really is almost atennis match; where it’s,“Okay, I’ve answered yourquestion. What’s the nextquestion?”

HOUSTON: I think that thespectrum of guests, fromguys like Max Allen Collinsto new guys like GregRucka or even Marty Pasko,

is hard to find anywhere else.SIUNTRES: That plays to my age I guess, because thatis another thing that I’ve noticed and, again, not as aknock, but, in terms of what I’ve noticed, in terms ofother podcasters out there, there is a kind of scope ofinterest that only goes as far back as they’ve beenreading, and that’s fair because everybody’s like that.They’re only as well versed as whatever their personalexperiences are. I think growing up when I did andbeing in my forties, reprints were right along side themain stuff and I kind of got an appreciation for notonly what was currently out there but what had comebefore and actually further back than guys like MartyPasko, guys like Gene Colan and Denny O’Neil. I mean,I was seven years old in Denny O’Neil’s prime at DC.Even before that, really, because my first comic bookswere back in the early Seventies, and Denny had madehis mark in the early Sixties.

I kind of grew up reading the whole history ofcomics. I read the Golden Age reprints right alongsidethe new stories being put out by Denny O’Neil, Elliot S!Maggin, and the great Cary Bates. And it’s just reallycurious because it’s so easy to dismiss those BronzeAge stories, and certainly the Golden and Silver Agestories, as just being stories for little kids, but there issome thread there. And if you consider a guy like WillEisner as far back as the Forties with The Spirit, a

John with Ron Richards of iFanboy, one of several comic bookpodcasts to also debut in 2005. Photo courtesy iFanboy.© Copyright 2009 iFanboy.


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HOUSTON: What was the first time you were on apodcast?FRACTION: I want to say it was either John Siuntreswith Word Balloon or the guys from Around Comics,who, I believe, are on a podcast sabbatical at themoment.

HOUSTON: I’m pretty sure it was Around Comics,too. What was that experience like for you?FRACTION: It was great, far less formal than any kindof interview. You know what I mean? It’s much morecasual, much more laid back. It kind of gives you thechance to talk and riff off the top of your headinstead of crafting exact answers, which is anotherkind of trap for me doing written interviews. If I have aquestionnaire I can rewrite, I will rewrite it and rewriteit and rewrite it, so I sort of immediately realized thatI’d much rather appear on the phone with somebodyfor 15, 20 minutes, half an hour than noodle aroundwith a 13-question essay form for three weeks, whichI quite easily can do.

HOUSTON: Was that the first time you had heard ofpodcasting?FRACTION: No, no, I had heard of them sort of fromthe Internet, I suppose. I was listening to a couple ofthem for quite a while. I’d listened to Siuntres for awhile and Around Comics I started listening to, I think,fairly early on. I have a friend who actually really hasa podcast problem. He has an addiction where hehas to find the time in the day to keep up with all ofthe podcasts that he listens to. But no, I was familiarwith it and listened to several.

HOUSTON: With that first appearance, who contact-ed whom? Did you contact them?FRACTION: No, I was contacted. I’m really bad at thatself-promotion stuff. I’m really bad with walking into astore and introducing myself to retailers. I’m reallybad with that. It’s really tough for me to do. It wasgreat to be asked, very much an honor in its way.

HOUSTON: You were on Around Comics a couple oftimes and, at one point, you made a bet regardingthe destruction of St. Louis.FRACTION: Somebody put that on Wikipedia, actually.It was right around the [2006 Cubs versus Cardinals]World Series, and I’m from Chicago. I’m a Cubs fan,and my two favorite teams in baseball are the Cubsand whoever’s beating the Cardinals and they wereclearly poised to win the World Series and I didn’t likethat. The Around Comics guys were Cards fans,so, yeah, I threatened to turn St. Louis into basicallythe Kenny of Casanova, where St. Louis gotdestroyed again and again as punishment just for theCardinals, but, apparently, just being the Cardinalswas punishment enough for the Cardinals. They’dtaken care of punishing themselves, but foreverthat’s on my Wikipedia entry. No mention of the Cubsstuff.

HOUSTON: Will we see that in an upcomingCasanova?FRACTION: Actually, I tried to work that into World WarHulk. I wanted my World War Hulk issue to take placein St. Louis. It was the same basic issue, but it wouldhave taken place in St. Louis instead of New York. Itended up being this sort of thing where I went over



A frequent and highly entertaining guest in the podcast-ing world, rising star Matt Fraction is the writer ofnumerous Marvel Comics titles, including The UncannyX-Men and The Invincible Iron Man, as well as the cre-ator-owned Casanova from Image comics. Perhaps partof the reason that Fraction is such an excellent andwilling podcast guest is that he is first and foremost acomics fan, having started his career as a blogger andmessage board regular. On March 29, 2008, Matt and Italked about his experiences with podcasts and hisjourney from Internet fan to comics professional.

Frequent podcast guest Matt Fraction.Photo by Pat Loika.


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and over with my editor about if I understood thepremise of World War Hulk or if the premiseshifted, but it ended up being a New York-basedstory.

HOUSTON: What other podcasts have you been onsince Around Comics?FRACTION: A lot. My memory fails me at themoment. Comic Geek Speak, I’ve done. I guessFanboy Radio is a radio show and not a podcast. I’vebeen on Word Balloon a couple of times now. I’ll basi-cally do whatever podcast I can. In fact, I’m doing onetomorrow or Tuesday, I think. I love it. Podcasts arethe best.

HOUSTON: Who are you appearing with on Tuesday?FRACTION: I’d have to check my e-mail. I’ve had areally overwhelmingly busy month, so I can’t remem-ber off the top of my head. It’s been something likeseven-and-a-half issues this month and my eyes arebleeding.

HOUSTON: So that’s Casanova, Punisher WarJournal…FRACTION: This month I wrote the entirety of or

finished issues of Casanova, The Order, Immortal IronFist, Invincible Iron Man, Thor: Ages of Thunder,Punisher War Journal, and Uncanny X-Men and then,on top of that, there were interviews, PR for Iron Manand X-Men. I did Wizard World LA, and I have a six-month-old son. It’s been a really busy month. It’s ahigh-class problem to have. I’m not actually complain-ing, but, man, I could really use a nap.

HOUSTON: Does the experience of doing a podcastchange from podcast to podcast for you?FRACTION: It’s interesting. It does. It’s clearly talkingto someone who knows your work and is clearly excit-ed to talk to you about it as opposed to someonewho has no idea of who I am or what I’ve done buthas kind of read an interview about an interview. Youknow what I mean? I often do podcasts that I don’tunderstand why I’m on. They’ve never read a word I’vewritten. Then there’s another sort of podcast where,not only have they never read a word I’ve written, theyjust know that I know other, more famous people.They really want me to see if Ed Brubaker can call inor if I can get Warren Ellis to call in. That’s alwaysembarrassing, being used as a stepping-stone. Withthose people, I’m just as polite as possible, fulfill myobligation, and then ignore them for the rest of mylife.

HOUSTON: Speaking of that, talking to people whoknow your work, you were on a really excellentComic Geek Speak where your friend Geoff Klockinterviewed you.FRACTION: Yeah, that was tremendous. I sort ofstarted off with Casanova as an independent book, asmall press book, so my ego really allowed me to goout and peek at reviews. Geoff had written a reallyamazing piece about it, really giving the book a lot ofthought. So I contacted him just to thank him,because he put in so much thought and effort writingthese really well written, really funny, over the top,hyperbolic pieces about Casanova. So, when Casanovavolume two was going to launch, I thought, “This willbe great. I can sort of nerd out with Geoff for a whileabout the book,” and that was what we did with thisvery long, very crazy discussion about Casanova.

HOUSTON: Now your career sort of started out onthe Internet, right?FRACTION: Exactly.

HOUSTON: And that was writing articles for ComicBook Resources?Yeah, before that I started a sort of proto-blog calledSavant that was really more a webzine than a blog,and that was sort of the reason I stopped doing itwas the realization that we needed to update it dailyinstead of putting out seven articles, ten articles oncea week instead of one a day. So, yeah, we sort of had


Fraction originally wanted his World War Hulk tie-in issue ofPunisher War Journal to feature the destruction of Saint Louis.© Copyright 2009 Marvel Characters, Inc.

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HOUSTON: Tell me a little bit about Comic BookQueers.STEVIE: The original purpose of our show, when westarted a couple years ago now, was to build a com-munity among queer comic book fans because I thinkall of us just felt really isolated. You know what Imean? From the outset, that’s been our intention, justto get out there and meet people who are queercomic book fans, so our podcast basically consists ofus just kicking it.ERIC: Kicking it. Talking about comics, what we loveabout them, what we hate about them.STEVIE: Just getting our voice out there because Iknow before I started doing this with Eric, before Ieven met Eric, I thought it would be a good thing todo because I hadn’t heard the gay voice representedin the comic book podcasting community and Ithought, well, you know, there are some queens outthere that need to get out there.

HOUSTON: It seems like there are a couple of Britishpodcasts and female-hosted podcasts and a coupleof interview-centric shows and all of that, but youseem to be the only queer comic book podcast.STEVIE: Actually, not any more.ERIC: We were until literally just a few weeks ago.Actually, a few people who listen to our podcast start-ed talking on our message board about a show andare talking about putting together a circle of queercomic book shows.STEVIE: Since we’ve started, there have been at leasttwo that have come up sort of directly through ourshow. We wouldn’t let them come on our showbecause they’re too mouthy and not attractiveenough.

HOUSTON: Besides trying to start a com-munity did anything else inspire you tostart a podcast?ERIC: Like I said, the bottom line, when itreally comes down to it, was just loneliness

and, honestly, I’ll walk up to any stranger on the streetand tell them that I’m gay, but it’s really hard to comeout as a comic book fan, you know? I would date peo-ple and that would be like a fourth date item. So itreally did come from loneliness and the way that itstarted was I took out an ad on Craig’s List and I waslike, “Look, I want to find other queer comic book fansand start a queer podcast,” and that’s how Stevie andI found each other.STEVIE: The ironic part is that I was actually talkingto a friend of mine about doing a show like this andhe and his friend were already doing a podcast, justtwo little gay boys talking about their lives and theiradventures and he was also a gay comic book fan, sohe and I met and said maybe we should be doingsomething like this. So, one day, he e-mailed me atwork andsaid, “Lookat what myfriendfound,” andit was Eric’sad onCraig’s List.So, fromthere, I e-mailed Erica couple oftimes andhung out fora month orso beforewe evenstarted torecord.


COMIC BOOK QUEERSStevie D. and Eric started the Comic BookQueers podcast to find more people likethem: gay comic book fans. The results,over the past two-and-a-half years, havebeen spectacular, as two friends with amicrophone grew into a close-knitcommunity of fans, both gay andstraight. On July 16, 2008, I talked toStevie and Eric about their show and theunique community that sprang from it.

Comic Book Queers co-hosts StevieD. (left) and Eric (right). All photos inthis chapter courtesy Comic BookQueers, unless otherwise noted.

Steve recording at the 2008Windy City Comic Con.

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ERIC: It was great when we first met because I actu-ally had someone to go to conventions with. So oneof the first things we did after we met was go to theconvention together and talk about what we liked andit turned out we actually complemented each otherreally well because I’ve always been a Marvel guy andI was out of comics for a really long time, while Steviejust has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things DCand had actually been in comics the whole time.STEVIE: Since I was four.ERIC: So just our viewpoints complemented eachother well and, aside from the two of us, we’ve hadsort of a rotating cast of people who would come in.

HOUSTON: And how did you find them?ERIC: They were listeners and they were local and,again it’s always been about building community and,I don’t know, you just meet people and kind of fall inlove with them. Brett’s one of the smartest, funniestpeople I know.STEVIE: We knew Brett was a big X-Men fan and,when we decided to do a show about the X-Men, weinvited him on to be our X-pert and he came in andwe just kind of fell in love with him and kept askinghim to come back.ERIC: And the same thing happened with Lindsay. Itwas our Justice Society show and you know howthat’s a multi-generational team? Well, we’re both inour late thirties, pushing up against forty and I think,when she started with us, she was 24. And Lindsay’sjust—oh my God, she’s so cute.STEVIE: We literally were like, “Have you ever readJustice Society before?” and she said, “No.” So wesaid, “Would you please read it and come sit and talkwith us about it because we would like your perspec-tive, being a younger person than we are.” From therewe just kept asking her to come back, and she did.

HOUSTON: What’s a typical recording session like?ERIC: Honestly, we usually meet at Steve’s place. Wesit in his bedroom and drink beer while his roommategets high and we get a contact buzz.STEVIE: We literally just turn the microphone on andget going. Sometimes we’ll come up with a topicbeforehand, but, generally, we just sit down, some-body says, “Hey, I have this idea,” or, “Hey, I want totalk about this book,” and then we just turn on themicrophone and we go. We kind of came up with aloose structure for a show, basically sitting down andtaking the first five or ten minutes to say, “What’sgoing on in you life,” just so we can get the conversa-tion flowing, and then we move on to the meat of theshow, which is talking about whatever the topic is, orwhatever the comic is, and we found out that thatreally works out well for us.ERIC: Another thing we decided from the outset was,unlike the other podcasts out there, we would neverever want to talk for more than an hour. We’re fasci-nating, charming, engaging people, but it’s really easy

to get a lot toomuch of us reallyquickly.STEVIE: From myperspective, I’dbeen listening tocomic book pod-casts for awhileand I really enjoythe ones that gofor two, two-and-a-half hours, but atthe same time wewanted to be a lit-tle bit faster, a bitpunchier and, in away, a little more commercial because, if we keep itshort and sweet, I think people will come back formore.ERIC: I don’t know if commercial is the right wordbecause we’re making no money from this, but it’sreally about making us palatable and making us inter-esting for the people who are listening.STEVIE: We’re trying not to demand too much of peo-ple’s time. We just want to show up for a little whileand entertain, really.ERIC: Yeah, and we’re sort of like hosts for the com-munity out there, and we just really want to get a con-versation started. Typically we’ll put an episode outthere and then people will go to our boards and theconversation will take off in ways that we didn’t pre-dict. Really, the stuff that happens on the boards andthe people who come down to visit us in Chicago,which doesn’t happen infrequently and which Iadore…STEVIE: That’s fantastic.

HOUSTON: Do you feel like the show has changedmuch since you started?


Eric meets the dark knight… sort of.

Steve with artist Josh Middleton.

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HOUSTON: How did you two meet?CRANK: I first met Mike at Mid-Ohio Con in, like,2001?NORTON: I don’t know dates. I’m bad with dates. Isthat when we met?CRANK: It was 2002 or 2001.NORTON: Was it love at first sight?CRANK: It was.NORTON: No, it wasn’t.CRANK: No, I knew Mike Norton was a guy I wanted toknow.NORTON: That sounds even gayer. [laughter]

CRANK: No, it was like 2000 or 2001. It was Mid-OhioCon and I had already been working for Devil’s Due atthat point and Mike just knew [Devil’s Due President]Josh [Blalock] from cons and stuff.NORTON: Yeah, I’d seen him around at shows off andon. He’d been talking to me about him starting thiscompany. Not even starting a company, but getting theG.I. Joe license and stuff. We sort of shared rooms alot. You know how you find someone to split costs andstuff, and then when I met Crank was when he hadstarted the company already.CRANK: Yeah, and I was there at Devil’s Due when G.I.Joe was starting. I guess when we met we went to afew bars and stuff and that’s how I first met Mike. Itmust have been 2001, because, when 2002 rolledaround, he’d moved up to Chicago and started workingat Devil’s Due.NORTON: I have no recollection of all of this.

HOUSTON: How did the idea of doing The Crankcastcome about?NORTON: It was kind of my idea. I listen to a lot ofshows while I’m working, while I’m drawing all day. Ican’t remember exactly anymore where I first gotturned on to them. I think the first show I was listen-ing to was Comic Geek Speak and Word Balloon wasaround then, too, but I was really excited about them.I wasn’t just listening to comic podcasts, either.

I went up to Devil’s Due one day and I was just sortof going around saying how cool they were and tellingSam Wells he needed to do one. His wife was animprov actress and I told him that they should do onebecause it would be funny and I just seriously waslooking for more content to listen to while I was draw-

Sometimes referred to as the Seinfeld of podcasts,The Crankcast is an amazingly funny show aboutnothing. Frequent topics include not only comics butTV, movies, pizza places, car troubles, and even thehunt for a cheap air conditioner, all discussed in astream of consciousness style that makes fans feelas though they are listening not to a podcast, but toa conversation between two old friends, which, ofcourse, is exactly what The Crankcast is. Perhapsmore importantly to comic fans, these two friendsare also both industry professionals. Mike Norton isthe artist of such DC comics as Green Arrow/BlackCanary and The All-New Atom, while co-host ChrisCrank is a letterer and sometime cover artist forbooks like Tim Seeley’s Hack/Slash. On May 5,2008, Mike, Crank, and I discussed their show’s ori-gins, cult following, and its warts-and-all window intothe day-to-day life of a comics professional.



A rare picture of Crankcast hosts Mike Norton and Chris Cranktogether. Photo courtesy David Glenn.

Lon Calvert contributedthis Mike Nortonconvention sketch of CobraCommander from G.I. Joe,then published by Devil’sDue Productions, whereboth Mike and Crankworked.© Copyright 2009 Hasbro.

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ing. Then I told Crank because Crank had his own lit-tle recording set up because he was into music andstuff. I thought maybe he’d just put his music on theInternet or something and he pretty much seriouslysaid, “I’m not going to do it unless you’re on it.”

I think we talked about it off and on and eventuallyjust ended up doing it. It was my idea, but it was real-ly something I wanted Crank to do by himself. Thrillingstory, I know.CRANK: I fought with the idea of doing it myself, butmade him do it.

HOUSTON: How long was it before you startedrecording?NORTON: I don’t remember. It wasn’t immediatelyafter. It was a while after because it was one of thosethings where someone says you should do that andyou say, “Yeah, we will,” and then you don’t.CRANK: Well, I know you told me and then it took likea week or something to figure out what it should benamed and Mike had a name already.NORTON: Yeah, I told you it should be named afteryou. I wanted it to be your show. [laughter]CRANK: I have this bad habit of registering domainnames.NORTON: Yeah, you collect those like they’rePokémon. Shortly after that, that was in like August,

September, then, in October, we did our first thing, Ithink. It was around that timeframe.

HOUSTON: Was there a lot of discussion beforehandabout how the show would work and what it wouldbe?NORTON: Not that I remember.CRANK: For the first three months, especially, wewere sort of like really trying to be a comic podcast,like a comic-centric podcast.NORTON: It hasn’t changed a lot since then. I think alot more then we were sort of coming in and sayingwe were two guys who actually work in comics and Idon’t think anyone was doing that in podcasts at thetime.CRANK: The Horcast was out.NORTON: Yeah, The Horcast. The guys, there was astudio called Horhaus in Canada, Toronto that wasmade up of Karl Kerschl and a couple of other guysand they had a podcast and I’d listened to that. Ithought we’d kind of be the American equivalent ofthat, but that sort of went off track early in the firstmonth. We discovered about ourselves that we aren’tvery formatted and when we have to do content, likewhen we have to come up with entertainment content,it was easy to see it was going to be more difficultthan we wanted it to be, so we just decided to makeit a conversation between two guys.

HOUSTON: How does the typical recording sessionwork?CRANK: Well, very early on we just bought a couple ofMadonna headset mics.NORTON: Before, we had microphones set up, whichwas already kind of cumbersome because you had toset up mic stands and stuff like that.CRANK: And you had to sit kind of close to them.NORTON: And it was your idea to get those, right? Wegot these little headset mics so we could just sit andbe natural, you know? We could drink and do whatev-er and move around.CRANK: Sometimes we’ll sit on the couch and pre-tend we’re pilots.NORTON: We got the headset mics for that, but therest of the stuff, Crank had.CRANK: I already had a motion track audio card forjust recording music and stuff and I basically [recordthe show] just like how I record music: plug into acouple of channels and run into a program calledSony Vegas, and that’s good for multitracking stuff. SoI was already used to using that. We’d show up andkind of talk for a few minutes about what we’re goingto talk about. “Did anything happen last week?”NORTON: That was when we’d play music, too. Weplayed more songs in the beginning.CRANK: We were kind of adapting what we do, Iguess. We’d think about what music do we want toplay and what we want to talk about and sit down anddo that for a few minutes and sort of rotate and do


Mike’s sketch of Crank hard at work on the latest episode ofThe Crankcast. All images in this chapter courtesy Chris Crank,unless otherwise noted.

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HOUSTON: You’ve actually appeared on a fewdifferent comic podcasts, right?SEELEY: I have. Actually, I think it’s just becauseChicago is kind of a comic book hometown andthere’re a lot of guys doing it here. Most of them arewithin walking distance of my house.

HOUSTON: Why do you think Chicago is such a mag-net for podcasts?SEELEY: I don’t know. A lot of it is just that there’re alot of stores here. Within five blocks of my house,there are probably at least four stores. That’s a highconcentration. It’s weird. I wish I knew what did it.Looking out my window, I can see Jeffrey Brown’shouse from here and a whole bunch of comic bookcreators live right around here. I guess Chicago justkind of draws a lot of people from the Midwest, so alot of the creators from Wisconsin or Michigan orIndiana just sort of end up here because it’s sort ofthe best big city for the Midwestern creators whowant to keep the Midwestern thing going.

HOUSTON: What show have you appeared on mostoften?SEELEY: Crankcast is the most and I’ve done someepisodes of Around Comics and then just variousother stuff where I’ve been interviewed and stuff, acouple of horrors ones out of some other town thatcalled me to be on. But thus far The Crankcast is kindof the one that I’ve done the most.

HOUSTON: I’m pretty sure you were their first guest,too.SEELEY: I think so, yes, which is sad for them. I thinkthey’ve moved on to bigger and better things now.

HOUSTON: And you’re friends with Mike and Crank,right?SEELEY: Yeah. Actually I worked with both of them atDevil’s Due for a while and they’ve gone on to otherstuff, but, yeah, I still see those guys for beers on apretty regular schedule, so they’re still around.

HOUSTON: Mike has said that he sort of wentaround the Devil’s Due office asking people like SamWells to do a podcast before he got to Crank. Wereyou one of those people?SEELEY: I don’t remember that. Crank was always thetechnology enthusiast of the guys that I’ve workedwith, so I can’t imagine himasking anyone but Crank. Ican’t remember if that’strue or not or if Mike’s fullof it. I think it was alwaysCrank because they alwaysshared their little tech geeklove in their desks, whichwere right next to each other.

They’ll probably tell youthat, technologically speak-ing, I’m a little bit “special”in that area. I’m terrible atit. I touch computers andthey fall apart. I buyany kind of technolo-gy thing and I don’tknow how to work it.They keep puttingme on because Italk dirty and tellhorrible jokes aboutmyself. I’m not the techguy that shares the love of it.

Tim Seeley is a writer and penciler on such titles asMarvel’s Exiles and Devil’s Due Productions’ G.I. Joe.He is also the writer and creator of the comic bookHack/Slash, which follows the exploits of slasherhunter Cassie Hack and which has also beenoptioned to be a major motion picture from RoguePictures. On April 3, 2008, Tim was kind enough totake some time away from his busy schedule toshare his opinions of and experiences with bothcomic book and horror movie podcasts.


Tim Seeley sketching at the 2008 Windy City Comic Con.


Tim’s cover art for Death by Sequel, thesecond trade paperback for his creator-owned Hack/Slash series. Inks by JeremyFreeman. Courtesy Kevin Southwell.Hack/Slash TM and © copyright 2009 Tim Seeley andStefano Caselli.


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Easily one of the most memorable events in theshort history of comic book podcasting was 2007’s 24Hour Comic Book Podcast. Spearheaded by MikeNorton and Chris Crank of The Crankcast, this specialshow would eventually unite the hosts of fellowChicago podcasts Around Comics, Comic Book Queers,and Word Balloon in an attempt to record for 24straight hours. Ultimately a huge success, The 24 HourComic Book Podcast is still remembered by its hostsand listeners alike as one of the funniest, most unique,and most ambitious podcasts ever recorded.

Believe it or not, it all started as a joke. For months,Chris Crank had been needling his Crankcast co-hostMike Norton about a special anniversary podcast, onethat would last 24 hours. Mike seemed to think thewhole thing was trouble and Crank, well, he onlyseemed to be half-serious. Still, as the weeks went on,Crank’s idea seemed to hold more and more sway withtheir listeners. “It seemed like everyone else was moreexcited than Norton and Crank,” recalls fellow podcast-er Chris Neseman.

Crank agrees, “I brought it up just as an idea. I don’tremember why. We started talking about it and I put itforward to other local podcasters. For some reason

they said, ‘Yeah, thatmakes sense.’”Spurred on by theenthusiasm of theirfellow podcasters,Mike and Crankbegan planning The24 Hour Comic BookPodcast in honor ofThe Crankcast’s sec-ond anniversary.October 6th, 2007was chosen as thedate, Dark TowerComics in Chicago asthe venue. DarkTower, of course, wasno stranger to pod-

casting, having already served as the home of fellowChicago podcast Around Comics for more than a year.In fact, Around Comics host Chris Neseman found him-self contributing his own experience and propensity fororganization to the 24-hour endeavor. “Luckily, Crankand Mike knew an obsessive organizer,” he recalls.

“I sort of think that’s in his DNA, that he has to man-age stuff,” says Norton of Neseman. “He was kind oflike the second team, if not first sometimes.”

The plan for the day was a simple one. Everyone whocould, including Norton, Crank, Neseman, and AroundComics co-host Tom Katers, would arrive at Dark Towerand begin recording at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, wrap-ping up the same time on Sunday. Meanwhile, Crankwould use his talent for quick editing to post a newsegment of the show on the Internet every hour.

Despite all the planning, the podcast ultimately gotoff to a rather rocky start. Neseman was characteristi-cally the first to arrive, allowing him to witness the firstsign of trouble for the ambitious endeavor. “I knew itwas going to be ugly when I got here at 9 o’clock onSaturday morning and Mike Norton pulled up andlooked awful,” says Neseman. “I asked what was wrongand he told me, ‘I couldn’t go to sleep last night. I wasup until 3 o’clock in the morning because I knew I hadto sleep and I couldn’t sleep and now I have to do thisthing for 24 hours.’”

Unfortunately, Mike’s fatigue was not the marathonpodcast’s only problem. From the very beginning, theshow was plagued by a series of audio problems thatrendered the first few installments practically unintelligi-ble. “You could make out what people were saying, butit was bad,” says Crank, “so, finally, I went home andbrought a different computer to the place and Ichanged our set up a little bit and we were fine.”

Well, almost fine. To make matters worse, a shakyInternet connection at Dark Tower forced Mike to makehourly treks to the coffee shop across the street toupload each episode via Wi-Fi.

Still, by hour five, the audio and Internet problemshad cleared up and The 24 Hour Comic Book Podcastfinally found its legs. The first problem-free episodesfeatured the sort of long, low-key comic book, televi-sion, and pop culture discussions that have become ahallmark of The Crankcast. For an hour-and-a-half, Crank


Crank gets ready to record. All photos in this chapter by ChrisNeseman and provided by Chris Crank, unless otherwise noted.

Chris Neseman’s organizational skillswere invaluable to The 24 HourComic Book Podcast. Photo by ChrisCrank.



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HOUSTON: What is iFanboy?JOSH: iFanboy is sort of a catch-all for theentire thing we do on the web. There is awebsite. That’s where it all started off.Basically, it’s a review and commentarywebsite. We don’t try to break news. Wetalk about the books as they come out every weekand then we just talk about things going on in comicsor whatever we feel like. We have several columnistsand writers doing mostly opinion pieces, but there’s abunch of other stuff. It’s fun. It’s a place where peo-ple can go and talk about their comics.

Then, branching off from that, there’s our podcast.There’s a weekly audio podcast where we talk aboutall the current books of the week and our Pick of theWeek, which is sort of the centerpiece of the wholething. Then there are the video shows. There are thedaily video shows, which are little, short, prettyfreeform. We can talk about whatever we want to talkabout, whether it’s grabbing an old issue and talkingabout a random comic book from 1985 or talkingabout the books that are coming up, a preview forthat week. And then there’s the weekly video show,which is more topic-based, I would say, just on what-ever comic subject we want to talk about that week orwe’ll talk to somebody or go to a convention. It’s basi-cally a place you can go and talk about comics andhave friends to talk about comics with.RON: started in the year 2000 and sortof our origin story is that Josh, Conor, and I went tocollege together and part of our friendship was basedon the fact that we all enjoyed comics and talkedabout comics. We graduated college and tried to keepin touch with each other via e-mail, and every weekwe would e-mail each other and tell each other whatbooks we were buying.

I’m 22, fresh out of college, working, doing Internetstuff, so I said, “Enough with this e-mail, let’s do awebsite.” We launched in 2000; it purelywas a written website up until 2005 when we

launched the audio podcast, and then we added thevideo in January of 2007.JOSH: And the audio podcast was such a lark. Wehad been playing World of Warcraft and talking onSkype and Ron said, “Let’s do a podcast,” and I thinkConor and I had maybe heard the word, but never lis-tened to one, never looked to see ifthere were any others about comicbooks and we were just sort of like,“Let’s do it now.” So we turned thething on and we talked for eighteenminutes and it was awful. [laughter]It’s still there. You can go listen toit.CONOR: Don’t!JOSH: And we just sort of keptdoing it. That’s basically the iFanboyethos: to start something withouthaving any idea of what you’re doingand to keep doing it endlessly.[laughter]

HOUSTON: What sort of podcastsdid you listen to for inspiration?RON: So it’s like 2005 and pod-casts are just starting to get someattention and I’m listening to ThisWeek in Tech and Diggnation whichare two podcasts that are kind oftech-based and which grew out of TechTV, a cableTV channel that Conor and I were fans of. So it’ssummer of ’05 and I’m listening to these podcastsand really getting into it. Every week, I’m getting anew podcast. I’m going to the gym and listening topodcasts. I’m listening to less and less of radio and


In the year 2000, college buddies RonRichards, Josh Flanagan, and ConorKilpatrick launched the iFanboy website, butno one seemed to notice. It wasn’t until theylaunched their popular Pick of the Weekcomics review podcast that iFanboy finallyexploded across the Internet, growing toinclude a thriving fan community and weeklyvideo podcast. On August 3, 2008, Ron,Josh, and Conor spoke to me about theiradventures in podcasting and the evolutionof iFanboy.


The iFanboysin college.© Copyright 2009 iFanboy

iFanboys Conor Kilpatrick, Josh Flanagan, and Ron Richards. All photos in thischapter courtesy iFanboy. © Copyright 2009 iFanboy

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the thought that occurredto me wasn’t so much,“Oh, wow. I wish therewas a comic book pod-cast I could listen to, solet’s do one,” instead itwas very much like howthe website started,“Hey, I want to do a pod-cast,” like, “Hey, I wantto do a website.” I waslike, “What can I do apodcast about? Well I’vegot this website whereJosh and Conor and Italk about comics, sowhat if we record our-selves?” That’s how it

started. There was no business plan or goal to pro-vide the best comic book podcast there was. I justwanted to figure out how to do a podcast.CONOR: And have fun, too.JOSH: And it quickly became very fun.RON: The story is nice and everything, but it took agood couple of weeks of twisting you guys’ arms todo it. I had to convince you guys because you werelike, “Why would anyone want to listen to us?”JOSH: I don’t remember it like that at all and I wouldlike that on the record.RON: It just came out of curiosity more than anything.

HOUSTON: How do you remember it, Josh?JOSH: I just remember it not being a big deal. I justremember him saying it and us saying, “Okay,” and,

literally, a few days later, he’s like, “We’re going to doit now,” and I don’t know what this means, but I puton my headset and we talked about the comics of theweek and we were done and we put it out there. Idon’t even remember making the conscious decisionof, “Let’s do this every week at the same time.” It justsort of started happening and, before we knew it,there were several hundred people listening to us andit’s like, “Really?” And all of sudden people startedcoming to the website, and it’s embarrassing, butnobody came to our website before this. It was adead, dead website and, all of sudden, people areshowing up and reading the stuff we’d written andcommenting on it. It was amazing and, literally, it’sbeen building since then.CONOR: I think there was some reticence, but I don’tremember it being as bad as Ron said. I rememberhim saying that we should do this and I thought,“Well, why?” But then, very quickly, it was just like, “Ifyou want to do it, we’ll do it.” It wasn’t much of a con-vincing job that he had to do, but at the same timethere was a question of why would you want to dothis at all at first, but there wasn’t a lot of arm-twist-ing. “I don’t have anything to do on Thursday night.Let’s do it.”HOUSTON: I think it’s interesting, too, that the web-site came first, since with most podcasts, it seemsto be the other way around, with the website basi-cally supporting the podcast.CONOR: That’s the thing with iFanboy: it’s a multi-pronged entity in that we have these other outlets,whereas the other shows tend to exist always as theshows. The website is the anchor. It isn’t an after-thought. In fact, it’s what we spend the most time onout of everything we do. It’s where we want everyoneto be. It’s kind of like the clubhouse and we like tohave that. It’s something that’s unique. I don’t knowall the shows, but I don’t think they have that sort ofwebsite presence that we do.RON: They might have it in the form of forums, butthe websites and the forums came out of the pod-cast. We had an established brand or an establishedhome base to grow off of and, honestly, Josh wasright. Nobody came to the website, not even ourfriends.CONOR: Except for Gabriel.RON: Yeah, except for this one guy from Florida. Everyweek he’d come by and just comment on one thingand he literally kept us going for five years. Then,totally inadvertently, it was a great lesson in terms ofworking in new media, the power of the podcast notas a marketing tool but as a community building toolbecause people would listen to the podcast and wewould say, “You can visit us at,” and theystarted coming in tens, then in hundreds, then inthousands, and now is bigger than it’sever been and it’s consistently growing every day.

62 | iFANBOY

Josh Flanagan on the San DiegoComic-Con InternationalPodcasting Panel. © Copyright 2009iFanboy

Josh writes a quick review on the road. © Copyright 2009 iFanboy

Page 19: Comic Book Podcast Companion


HOUSTON: What is a panelologist?JON: Quite simply, a panelologist is a comic book col-lector. I have no idea where we heard that term, but,crikey, it was back when we were at school, I think. Iknow I used to have a sign up on my bedroom doorthat said, “Quiet! Panelologists at work.”

HOUSTON: How did you decide to use that as thename of your show?JON: We just kind of wanted a name that didn’tinvolve the words “comic” and “geek.”MATT: Or “cast.”

HOUSTON: When did you start listening to pod-casts?JON: Go on, Matt, you introduced me to podcasts.MATT: Well, yeah, I think I first started listening topodcasts after the Brighton Comics Festival. Whatyear would that have been, Jon? A couple of years,maybe?JON: Three years ago.MATT: I think three years ago.JON: It can’t be. Well, it probably is.MATT: It probably is. And I don’t think I started listen-ing to podcasts at all before I started listening toFanboy Radio.JON: Yeah, that would be right. That was one of thefirst.MATT: And then, from there, Richard Johnston fromLying in the Gutters mentioned it in one of his panelsand at that point I thought, “Podcasts, what arethey?” And then, of course, comic podcasts got meinto loads of podcasting. I mean, I listen to tech pod-casts daily. Almost four or five podcasts a day I listento.JON: You should get out more.MATT: It’s worrying, isn’t it? Yeah.

HOUSTON: When did you decide to do your own pod-casts?

MATT: About ten minutes into the first episode ofFanboy Radio, when I realized how bad it was. No, I’monly kidding.JON: We’ve been going for near about two years,haven’t we?MATT: So it must have been about a year later. Whenwe first started doing it, we didn’t even talk muchabout how we should do it. We just said we should doit on a Friday and I think we started recording on aSaturday.JON: We used to speak on Skype every Saturday any-way.MATT: Well, that’s true.JON: Usually about what comics we’d read, and wekind of thought, “Why don’t we record this and we cansubject other people to the torture that is us talkingabout comics,” and then quickly found out that ourconversations are quite insubstantial and nonsense.MATT: Yeah.JON: And ran with it.

HOUSTON: Did those early conversations sound pret-ty much like the show sounds now?JON: Yeah. Well, I think generally our conversationsare like that.MATT: Yeah. Except for that, generally, I’ll ask Jonabout his rabbit and about his home life, but, yeah,we do tend to cut those bits out of the show.

HOUSTON: How is your rabbit?JON: He’s alright. Mr. Rabbit is very good.MATT: Can you believe he called his rabbit Mr. Rabbitbecause he couldn’t be bothered to think of a name?JON: It’s a good name. It’s a good name. It sayseverything you need to know about the pet.

To paraphrase the show’s tagline, Quiet!Panelologists at Work really is the true antidote tothe average comic book podcast. Forgoing inter-views, news, and reviews, Q!PAW, as it is affection-ately known to its fans, delights in taking theMickey out of the books and topics most comicfans hold dear with its hilarious and very Britishtake on everything from backer boards to Civil War.On March 16, 2008, I placed a transatlantic call toQ!PAW hosts Matt Watts and Jon Sibley to find outwhat goes into making one of the funniest pod-casts on the Internet.

Jon as the Hulk and Mattas Wolverine in an illustration bylistener Jake Bilbao. All images in thischapter courtesy Quiet! Panelologists atWork, unless otherwise noted.


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MATT: Stupid name.

HOUSTON: Do you do any prep work?JON: [laughs] I think one quick listen to our show willtell you that we don’t do any prep work.MATT: Yeah. I read some comics, so I can talk aboutwhat I’ve read, or I’ll go to Newsarama and flag up acouple of stories or come up with just a quick ideafor a gag we could pull out into, like, a four-minutesection.JON: Usually we come up with a gag during theepisode. Then the gag really comes together inthe edit.MATT: Yeah. That’s true. When wedo clips like the Blankety Blankclips or the thing where we didthe pirate radio clip, anything likethat where it’s a quick idea, itreally comes together in theediting studio. So most of that,like the news segment we did acouple of weeks ago, that wasscripted, but then only twominutes of the show is scripted. Isay “scripted,” but I just knockedit together, sent you an e-mail,and then we record that.

The thing is that, what I saidwith the podcast, is you’ve gotthere the power to make a radioshow. You’ve got everything youneed to do anything with audio,and it seems a shame sometimes to have a podcastand just have talking in it when you have the ability tohave editing and sound effects and music and all ofthat, and it seems a shame to just sit and talk fortwo hours. That’s why I think we try and keep our seg-ments as small as possible because I think anythingbeyond five minutes of me and Matt talking is boring,so I’ll shut up now, instead of going on.JON: I think you were doing quite well, Matt.MATT: Well, thank you very much.

HOUSTON: Is it tough keeping the show funny?MATT: Well, we haven’t managed it yet.JON: Yeah. Brilliant. Well, not really. Is it tough? Idon’t know.MATT: Is it tough? I don’t know. I don’t think it’sfunny. I mean, there are quite serious reviews andviews.JON: That’s right, yeah. Why? Do you think it’s funny?

HOUSTON: I think it’s pretty funny.MATT: Is it tough keeping it funny, Jon? That’s a goodquestion.JON: No.MATT: No.JON: It’s tough getting it out on time.MATT: It’s tough doing it actually. What, the show’s

35, 40 minutes long and we normally record for abouttwo hours?JON: We’ve got that down to an hour recently.MATT: Well, that’s true, maybe an hour-and-a-halftoday. When we recorded the show today, it wasmaybe an hour-and-a-half. Then there’s maybe four toeight hours editing the whole thing, and that goesthrough about three drafts of it. I know somepeople like to record it, leave all the “ums” and“uhs” in and release it completely raw, but I knowthat if we did that, not only would we sound like acouple of morons, we’d sound like a couple of proper

morons.JON: I think the worrying thing nowis that, when people read this,they’re going to think, “Well, ifthey put that much work into theirpodcast, it really doesn’t show.”MATT: Right, but if we didn’t putany effort into it at all, it reallywould be terrible, so the fact thatwe have more than ten listeners isa tribute to it really.

HOUSTON: You call your show“the antidote to the averagecomic podcast.” Is that some-thing you set out to do or did itjust grow from the style of yourconversations?JON: Yeah, I think we did it con-sciously from the beginning, pretty

much. Well, maybe not with our test episode, but thenwe realized we really can’t review comics at all, can’tdo a very good, serious conversation. When our showcame out, there weren’t nearly as many comic bookpodcasts as there are now, but, yeah, we wanted todo a show that was different from anything else thatwas out there, which was one or two hosts talkingseriously about comic books. We just wanted to havea bit of fun with it really.MATT: I was listening to maybe fifteen comic bookpodcasts and there were more and more comingout all the time. Raging Bullets is a good exampleof an excellent podcast where they can literally sitthere and talk about one page for about half anhour. I don’t know how they do it, but that’s some-thing that we can’t do. I think it would be nice forus if we maybe wanted to do that, but I can’t talkabout one page of comic art for more than twentyseconds.JON: If it takes you longer to talk about the comicbook than it does to read it, you’re reading it wrong.MATT: That’s it, yeah. But what I can talk about is,like, my girlfriend’s reaction to my spending one hun-dred pounds on comic books in one week. I think thatin itself is more my topic of choice.JON: I think our show has become more about thejoys of collecting comics rather than necessarily what


Q!PAW co-host Jon Sibley.

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HOUSTON: What is the TwoMorrows’ Tune-InPodcast?MARSHALL: The TwoMorrows’ Tune-In Podcast reallyis just an extension of the blog and website We just like to feature specialproducts that we want to feature each month,whether that’s The Jack Kirby Collector or a specialissue of Alter Ego or Rough Stuff, just something thatwe want to showcase that month. And also to tell ourlisteners what else is coming out that month if theydon’t happen to come along the blog or website.

HOUSTON: The show usually features interviews,too.MARSHALL: Yeah. I try to do an interview at leastonce a month. It can be anywhere from 15 minutesto a half-hour. I usually try to keep it to around thattimetable. It gives more insight to the magazine. Youcan tell who is behind it, who is creating it, and, a lotof times, it’s editors and creators that have been inthe comic book field for years, likea Roy Thomas or a Bob McLeod.

HOUSTON: You’ve talked to some pretty big nameson the show. I know you talked to Nick Cardyrecently.MARSHALL: Yeah, Nick’s a character, that’s for sure.Thanks to John Morrow, who sets everything up forme. Without him, I really couldn’t do this, but he’sbeen a great help in giving me this.

HOUSTON: Am I right in thinking that the show has-n’t been around for long?MARSHALL: Well, I am doing like a version 2.0.There was a previous Tune-In Podcast, but it kind ofpodfaded, as we like to call it. I wrote the podcasthost at the time and then I found out he no longerdid the podcast, so I wrote John Morrow, saying,“Hey, would you like to revive the podcast?” He hadno idea who I was, so I sent in my credentials andthe links to a few of my shows. This all happened inNovember of 2007. He took about three months toget to everything over the holiday season and he

liked what he heard and we started [thenew show] in February. We just do once amonth. That’s all I think TwoMorrows real-ly needs to do. It covers all the bases.

HOUSTON: Do you know whyTwoMorrows decided to get into pod-casting in the first place?MARSHALL: I think it’s just an extensionof their brand that they want to go outand embrace new media and the socialaspect of marketing and getting their peo-ple really talking to their fan base abouttheir products. TwoMorrows is all aboutthe history of comics. Whether it’s aboutthe Golden Age or the Silver Age or theModern, it’s how they make comics. Bob[McLeod] and I just got off talking aboutRough Stuff and how digital comics are

TWOMORROWS’ TUNE-INPODCAST/COLLECTED COMICSLIBRARYWe here at TwoMorrows know a good thing when we see it,so it should come as no surprise that we started our ownpodcast. With Chris Marshall, already the host of TheCollected Comics Library podcast, as host, the TwoMorrows’Tune-In Podcast brings interviews and news aboutTwoMorrows books and magazines to your iPod everymonth. On August 4, 2008, I talked to Chris about his ownshow and how he became the podcasting voice ofTwoMorrows.

TwoMorrows’ Tune-In and CollectedComics Library host Chris Marshall in hisrecording studio. Photocourtesy Chris Marshall.

Nicky Cardy appeared on Tune-In tohelp promote TwoMorrows’ NickCardy: Behind the Art, a retrospec-tive of his career.

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coming into being and how that influences howpeople ink comics these days, and you’re not goingto get that from any other publisher. You’re not goingto get that from Marvel or DC. They’re more interest-ed in just publishing books, but TwoMorrows is reallyabout the creative.

HOUSTON: I remember picking up my first BackIssue, which featured an article about Marvel’sGodzilla, and thinking where would I ever see anarticle on that?MARSHALL: That’s a great series, too. I love thatseries and at TwoMorrows, you get a full-blown, 260-page book all about it and all for seven bucks. Youcan’t beat the price and the gems that they publishin their magazines, like Write Now, with unpublishedwork or unfinished stories, and Rough Stuff andDraw! with all these sketches and pencils of yourfavorite characters. How cool is that? You’re notgoing to find it. You might find it in the back of anomnibus or a masterwork, but you can just pick upone of these magazines and see all of these greatold sketches. Unpublished work is just cool.

HOUSTON: Do many other publishers try to do whatTwoMorrows is doing podcast-wise?MARSHALL: Well, Marvel and DC, all they have aretheir [convention] panels. The only other one that Iknow of is the Dynamite Entertainment podcast that

Chris Partan does and Joe Rybon does. Joe is theirmarketing director, and that’s really the only one.Fantagraphics says they’re going to have one. They’vehad on their blog that they’re going to have one forsix months. I think Top Shelf has run with the idea,but a lot of it is they don’t have the manpower to payand that’s part of it. I mean, I get paid not a wholelot, but I do it more for the fun because I love to pod-cast. I know Chris Partan has his own podcast andwhen Joe kind of tailed off with his podcast, he said,“Hey, I’ll help you with this,” and Joe was all for it. Ispoke about this at Wizard World Chicago; if youwant to get into podcasting, the best way to do it is,first of all, practice, practice, practice, but hook upwith a publisher when you have your name estab-lished. It’s getting into the publishing area and that’swhat I wanted. I wanted to be in comics in someextent and now I can say I am, on a freelance basis,but I can now say that, which is pretty cool.

HOUSTON: You have another show that’s beenaround much longer, The Collected Comics Library.MARSHALL: Yeah, The Collected Comics Library is mysort of Internet radio show, focusing on trade paper-backs and hardcovers and all collected editions fromall companies, including graphic novels and hard-to-find reprint editions.

HOUSTON: Does that show share a format with the

Favorite covers for Back Issue and Rough Stuff, two of the TwoMorrows magazines covered regularly on Tune-In.Back Issue and Rough Stuff: TM 2009 TwoMorrows Publishing.

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HOUSTON: We’ll get to our podcast in a couple ofminutes, Augie, but this seems like a good opportuni-ty to talk about comics fandom prior to the Internet,especially since your first real exposure to the worldof comics fandom was through letter-hacking.DE BLIECK: Yeah. I started letter-hacking in 1991, Ithink. 1991 or 1992, somewhere in there.

HOUSTON: What is aletter-hack?DE BLIECK: letter-hacks are those peo-ple who were themost frequent letterwriters back whencomics would havethat page in the backwhere fans wouldwrite in and editorswould answer ques-tions or just print posi-tive letters from fans.There was a subset ofthose fans, the letter-hacks, who basicallyhacked out letters

week after week and month after month. I was one ofthem for pretty much all of the ’90s and had about400 printed over the course of those ten years and alittle bit into the 2000s, but, as the letters columnsreally aren’t around anymore, there really aren’t anyletter-hacks left.

HOUSTON: How did you become a letter-hack?DE BLIECK: That’s a good question. I decided I want-ed to be part of the comics, I guess, in some smallway. I had writing aspirations back then and I knew Icould string together sentences in a coherent manner,so I started writing letters. That was back in the daywhen I would print the letters out on my Commodore64 printer and had to actually mail those in. A dot

matrix printer, by the way. I had to use a stamp andeverything. There was no e-mail back then. So it wasa matter of sitting myself down after reading a comicbook and writing, in retrospect, like a couple of hun-dred words in a letter and sending that in and hopingthat, maybe, three months later, you might see yourname in there and, more often than not, you didn’t.The hit rate on letters printed versus letters writtenwas not always a great ratio. If you’re writing five let-ters and you got one printed, you were in pretty goodshape back then.

HOUSTON: What books did you write to?DE BLIECK: At first, the Star Trek comic books over atDC. Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation hadboth started out the previous year and I was sort of aregular in those letter columns and I had a few lettersprinted in Marvel Comics Presents. The big spot I gotmy letters printed was in The Savage Dragon, over atImage, where I pretty much had a letter printed everyissue for about the first hundred issues or so, start-ing in issue six, I think it was. I had some printed insome of the duck books, too, which, I believe at thatpoint Disney Comics was publishing themselves,before they went back to Gemstone, but the firstcomic that was my main home was definitely the StarTrek comics and then Savage Dragon was my homefor the ’90s.

HOUSTON: Why those books specifically?DE BLIECK: I don’t know. There was also a definitesense of community involved there more than any-thing else. I think, to a certain degree, they wereaccessible. DC Comics, back in the early ’90s, hadtwo-page letters columns, so they printed more lettersand, if they printed more letters, your chances of hav-ing a letter printed were higher.

I had some early hits [at DC]. I don’t think I everwrote more than three or four letters before the firstone there was printed, so that kind of encouraged mealong. Savage Dragon had even bigger returns

PIPELINE PODCASTOn January 5th, 2005, Augie De Blieck Jr. launchedThe Pipeline Podcast, the first true comic bookpodcast. It’s four years and more than 200 episodeslater and Augie is still going strong, offering news andopinions on each week’s new comic releases. Along withhis written Pipeline column at Comic Book Resources, thepodcast gives Augie the chance to express his comicreviews and opinions, just as he did during his days as anoted letter-hack in the 1990s. Augie took a couple ofhours away from his new baby daughter to talk about hisshow, the podcasting medium, and how things havechanged since his early days in comics fandom.

Pipeline Podcast host Augie DeBlieck, Jr. All images in this chap-ter courtesy Augie De Blieck, Jr.,unless otherwise noted.

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because [Dragon creator] Erik Larsen,at the time, was printing letters thenext month after the issue was print-ed. It used to be you had to wait twoor three months after a comic cameout before the letter about it would beprinted, but Erik Larsen, however hedid it, managed to get those letters inthe next month, so I kind of justbecame a mainstay over there. It wasa combination of books I liked, whichalways helps with letter-hacking, andthe ones I felt sort of a connection tobecause they were big parts of fan-dom.

HOUSTON: Thanks to the Internetand fan forums, it’s so easy for fansto talk to each other these days, butdid you keep in touch with any of theother big letter-hacks?DE BLIECK: At the time, not so much.There was a fanzine called ComicsCritics Cavalcade that I was part of fora brief time in the early ’90s. It wasbasically a fanzine of contributionswritten by other letter-hacks. MarcLucas was involved and Jamie S. Richwas a letter-hack then. A whole bunchof letter-hacks at the time wereinvolved in that. I didn’t really haveany personal contact with them, butthat was as close to a letter-hack fanclub as we had. Otherwise, I didn’thave too many friends in school whowere comic book fans and I didn’tkeep up any kind of pen pal corre-spondence with any other letter-hacks, either.

HOUSTON: Is letter-hacking a lostart? Has it been replaced by pod-casts and blogging and forums?DE BLIECK: Absolutely. There are still letters columnsaround, but I don’t think you’re going to have thesame reaction to letter-hacks today as you wouldhave ten years ago or especially thirty years ago orso. When you think about people who were letter-hacks in the late ’60s, early ’70s, many of thembecame the writers and editors of the ’70s and ’80s.Look at some of the fans who became sort of thesecond generation, especially at Marvel Comics, theRoy Thomases of the world. They came up throughfanzines and letters hacks, those kind of things, and Idon’t think you see that in print so much these days,but it’s definitely all migrated over to the web, likeyou say, with the blogs and the podcasts.


A letter from Augie’s letter-hacking days (left), this one from The Savage Dragon #45(right). © Copyright 2009 Erik Larsen.

The front and back cover to the final issue of Comic Critics Cavalcade,a showcase for many letter-hacks, including Augie. Front cover Magnus,Robot Fighter art by Jim Calafiore.All characters copyright their respective companies.

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HOUSTON: I recently interviewed Comic Geek Speakand they said their interview with you was one oftheir favorites.COLAN: I had a lot of fun with it. They were greatinterviewers.

HOUSTON: Was that your first interview for a pod-cast?COLAN: I’ve done a few, but I’m not sure. My wifewould know better because shetakes care of all of the businessstuff for me. She’s very goodwith business.

I’ve been interviewed severaltimes lately. The new film that’scoming out, Iron Man, they cameto the house and filmed me justprior to watching it. They puttogether an interview for the fea-ture, in this case, Iron Man, andI did one on Daredevil and it wasa lot of fun and good. Maybe Ican do the same for you.

HOUSTON: Was that the firsttime you’d heard of a podcast?COLAN: I’m not really that famil-iar with them, no. I was justoverwhelmed by the opportunityto do it. That’s all I can remem-ber. Three years ago was a longtime ago for me. You’re talkingto an 81-year-old geezer!

You never know where it’s all

going to take you. But they’ve treated me very nicely,all these interviewers, and I enjoyed myself. I reallyhad a ball. I grew up in the days of radio, so I’m notactually a novice at it.

HOUSTON: I know that you have a website of yourown. How have podcasts, your website and, really,the Internet as a whole changed your career nowthat you’re retired from monthly comics?

Gene Colan is one of comics’ true gen-tlemen, a grand old man who, over theyears, has brought his moody and dis-tinctive pencils to such diverse titles asIron Man, Doctor Strange, Howard theDuck, and The Tomb of Dracula. On theevening of April 16, 2008, Gene and Idiscussed his podcast appearances,where he has been a favorite guest ofboth Around Comics and Comic GeekSpeak, as well as how the rise of fandom on theInternet has affected his retirement. Shortly after thisinterview was conducted came the announcement thatGene’s health had turned for the worse. While he hasimproved in the past few months, our thoughts and prayersremain with Gene and his family.


A page from The Tomb of Dracula #21. Pencils by Gene Colan with inks by Tom Palmer.Courtesy Heritage Comics Auctions ( © Copyright 2009 Marvel Characters, Inc.



“Gentleman” Gene Colan with Comic Geek Speak’s Jamie D,Kevin, and Bryan Deemer (right) and Around Comics’ BrionSalazar (left). right photo © Copyright 2009 Comic Geek Speak.

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HOUSTON: As we record this interview, ComicGeek Speak just celebrated another anniversary.BRYAN: Correct, our three years’.

HOUSTON: How many episodes is that?BRYAN: Well, 400 numbered episodes, but we actual-ly have over 500 episodes when you include all thevarious specials and such that we did.

HOUSTON: I counted them up and came up with534.PANTS: Oh, my God.BRYAN: That sounds about right.

HOUSTON: That’s a hell of a lot of episodes. Howhave you done it? When so many other podcastshave come and gone, how have you not only stayedtogether, but also produced so many episodes?BRYAN: I’m sure Peter will have something to sayon this too, but I’ll start off saying that I think the rea-son that we’re still producing episodes is simplybecause we’re friends. It’s fun to get together with orwithout the microphones, so having the microphonesis an excuse to get together on a regular basis. Ithink if the podcast ended tomorrow, we wouldn’t seeeach other two or three times a week like we do now,and then seeing each other once a week would turninto once every two weeks and that would turn intoonce every three weeks and then life would startgetting in the way more and more. As long as wehave the podcast as a constant, it forces us to gettogether on a regular basis, which is a good thing.Peter, do you want to handle how we got to do somany episodes?PETER: A lot of it is just that there’s so much to talkabout and so many people to talk to. There’s never ashortage of creators and never a shortage of goodbooks to talk about and recommend and every week

something new excites us and every week we discov-er something else or somebody else and it just got tothe point where we had the content to do fiveepisodes a week, so let’s just do five episodes aweek, like a real radio show. We’re on every day, forthose listeners that listen to us at work especially.It’s funny, we’ve been doing this now for a few weeksand nobody has said anything. It’s like they assumedit’s been coming.

HOUSTON: It seems like, if not five, it’s always beenat least two or three episodes a week.BRYAN: Well, the first day that we ever recorded,Peter and I sat down and recorded two episodes backto back because it just seemed like, well, again, therewas so much to talk about and if we were gettingtogether… That’s the thing, we have to make an effortto get together, so, when we’re together, rather thanjust record one episode, which would be kind of awaste of time, we might as well record two or three,so if we’re going to get together one day a week, wemay as well record two episodes and, at the begin-ning, that’s what we did. We’d just record twoepisodes and we said, “Okay. I’ll see you next week.”Then two became three and one day a week becametwo days a week and two episodes just becomes fiveand that’s how it just naturally progressed.

HOUSTON: You talked about all being friends andhaving been friends and I think that comes across ineach episode, but it begs the question: how did youall meet?JAMIE: It kind of goes back to when I was workingwith Bryan, back when he was 15, at a frozen yogurt


Over the past four years, Philadelphia’s ComicGeek Speak has quickly grown into one of themost popular, and certainly the most prolific,comic book podcasts. Each and every week,Peter Rios, Bryan Deemer, Shane KellyMulholland, Matt, Adam Murdough, Jamie D, andBrian “Pants” Christman put out more showsthan most other podcasters do in a month, eachone filled with terrific insights about the world ofcomics, as well as a terrific sense of humor andthe sort of chemistry that only exists amongclose friends. On April 6, 2008, these so-calledspeakers of geek were kind enough to take timeaway from uniting the world’s greatest heroes,one listener at a time, to talk about their show.


Comic Geek Speak clockwise from left, Matt, Bryan Deemer, BrianChristman, Peter Rios, Jamie D, former member Kevin, Shane KellyMulholland, and Adam Murdough. All photos in this chapter courtesyComic Geek Speak, unless otherwise noted.© Copyright 2009 Comic Geek Speak.

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store in 1989. We got to be friends and we startedtalking about comics. I knew he was into comics. Ieven sold him some comics, X-Factors.BRYAN: Yeah, I bough your full run of X-Factor.JAMIE: We stayed friends even after I left there andgot a job at the comic store. Bryan had left [thefrozen yogurt store] and was looking for another part-time job, so I went to my boss and said I knew some-body who was good. Boom. He got hired there andwe’ve been friends ever since. And the rest of theguys have been customers. Most all of us got togeth-er either through relatives or the shop. It seems likeGolden Eagle is the one constant in our lives thatkind of brought us together and we basically becamefriends out of that. There were other side projectsthat people had done, Crusaders and things like that.We kind of got together as a group of friends and itwent from there.BRYAN: Jamie and I were friends first. Well, Matt andMurd’s friendship may have extended before ’89.ADAM: We’ve known each other for twenty years.BRYAN: We knew Kevin from working at the store, sothen we knew Kevin.PETER: I knew Kevin from Golden Eagle, but alsofrom doing the shows that we did together.SHANE: I knew Peter from Golden Eagle, hanging outon Wednesdays and met Kevin and Jamie and Matt.BRYAN: Then Pants I knew from shopping at GoldenEagle way back when.SHANE: And I knew Pants from working at Toys ’R’ Us.

BRYAN: And I met Shane and Peter when we starteddoing Crusaders because Kevin and Mike knew youguys and we all got pulled together, and Matt justshowed up at one Halloween party and that’s how Imet him.MATT: Alex I’d met, who worked at Golden Eagle, andhe took me to Shane’s to watch Star Wars, and thenfive years later I got back into the group.PETER: I remember Matt from Golden Eagle, actually.BRYAN: I met Murd in 1995 at a musical.ADAM: Exactly ten years after that, I ended up gettingrecruited into Comic Geek Speak. It’s almost like acosmic event.SHANE: I’ve known various guys here for the betterpart of twelve years now and we started by hangingout and watching movies and playing games and it’scontinued. What we talk about here is what we talkabout there.

HOUSTON: When you decided to do the podcast,was that Bryan’s idea?BRYAN: I read that fateful article in Wired magazine,February 2005. That started it all.

HOUSTON: Who hosted the first few episodes?BRYAN: Peter and I were solo for the first two andShane was on the third?SHANE: Kevin was on the fourth. Jamie was on thefifth.PETER: Matt’s first show was the seventh.SHANE: Brian’s was 154?PANTS: About a year-and-a-half later.SHANE: Murd’s was Batman Begins.PETER: It was Bryan and I, and these guys wouldcome in randomly here and there. It was weirdbecause these guys would be in the room and we’drecord two episodes and only bring one person on ata time. It was really kind of strange.JAMIE: I don’t think we had enough microphones.That was the problem.MATT: It was like we were being drafted.PETER: And we did do some regular duo episodes,and it wasn’t until episode 25 where we decided, fromhere on in, we’ll treat it as a group. Then in episode36 we changed the opening from Bryan and I withspecial guests to whoever was on the episode.Everybody would just say their own names.BRYAN: That seems like such a monumental decisionto decide to do it that way.JAMIE: The funny thing is, when you think about it,now, episode 25, to put out 25 episodes is, what, twoweeks worth of work? Back then it was only twoepisodes at a time.

HOUSTON: Hearing you talk, you get this picture ofthe show taking some time to come together, but Ilistened to some old episodes, like episode 20,which is the cartoon theme song episode, and, real-ly, you guys already sounded like a well-oiledmachine.BRYAN: That’s a great episode.


The extended Comic Geek Speak family outside of Golden EagleComics, where many of them first met. © Copyright 2009 Comic Geek Speak

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SHANE: One of my favorites.BRYAN: We kind of got lucky with the whole podcast-ing thing. We started early, which was a benefitbecause we got out there when there wasn’t as muchcompetition, but also we just kind of walked into it inthat when we get together it’s very gregarious, it’svery natural, and we’re all at ease with each other.That comes off in the episodes and it’s a chemistrythat you can’t sit down and create on paper. It justkind of happens and we didn’t expect it to happen.We can’t change it. It’s just us. It is who we are andthat’s just the way the episodes end up.JAMIE: You can’t explain it. We just all play well offeach other. It’s weird to say we have comedy timing,but we do. It’s just something natural and it constant-ly goes back to the fact that we are friends and it’sjust us talking to one another. We do this stuff all thetime when we talk to one another. We even get dirtierwhen the mic isn’t in front of us.PANTS: We work blue.SHANE: I think Pants would still be called Pantsif we’d never done the show. That would have comeout.

HOUSTON: Do you feel like you each bring a specific,unique quality to the show or is it more a questionof the group dynamic?ADAM: We are a rainbow of geekiness. Each of uscontributes something different to the spectrum, butwe all come together to create a unified whole.JAMIE: I like the idea that we’re some kind of pod-cast Voltron. [laughter]PETER: Actually, the best judge of that question isactually the listeners. They’re the ones that haveprobably the most specific idea of the roles that weplay or the roles that they see us as. They all havedifferences in their opinions or who they gravitatetowards, but they’re pretty spot-on in saying whatroles we bring to the cast as a whole.JAMIE: It all has to do with our age differences andour voices. If it’s happened once, it’s happened twentytimes, where someone will come up to me and saythey listen to me because I’m the older voice and it’susually somebody who’s in my age group, late thirties,early forties, that they like to listen to me because Ibring wisdom—I don’t want to say wisdom because Idon’t want to toot my own horn. People come up toShane and Pants and people say they love thembecause of their toys. Murd and Peter usually get thetrivia geeks. Bryan gets the people who like his pointof view as far as straightforward storytelling. Mattgets all the smartasses who just want to say what hesays and just can’t. But Peter’s right. It is the listen-ers who really hit us head on.PETER: A lot of times we’ll get feedback from the lis-teners at the beginning of a new year and a lot ofthings I always see are things like they like Shane’sapproach to the show because he’s not one to becontroversial, but they enjoy it because they’re sort of

like him. They enjoycomics for what theyare and he just sayswhat he likes or sayswhat he doesn’t likeand that’s his point ofview. They’ll say aboutMatt what Jamie saidabout Matt, but theylike that about Matt notonly because he’s funnybut also because hesticks to his guns andthere’s some truthbehind what he’s say-ing. The listeners reallydo have a deeper knowl-edge of who we are.There are times whensome of us have beencalled stubborn. Theyknow that we’re notgoing to get out of theopinions that we have and they like that or theydon’t like that. So that’s a question definitely for thelisteners.SHANE: Or take something like the DMZ discussion.Bryan and Jamie like so many things almost acrossthe board and then there’s one thing where they aretotal opposites of the entire world on and it’s a laughriot to listen to them argue about it back and forth.PETER: And that’s the sort of episode that throws lis-teners off because they just assume we’re going toblanket like something because that’s the way theriver flows, you know? Then we throw in an episodelike that, and we don’t do it on purpose, but it makeseverybody go, “Oh, yeah, they do have their own opin-ions.”ADAM: Listeners seem to almost enjoy the episodeswhere we disagree the most.


Brian “Pants” Christman wearingthe sweatshirt that gained himhis nickname. © Copyright 2009 ComicGeek Speak

Shane Kelly Mulholland and Peter Rios. © Copyright 2009 Comic Geek Speak

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Around ComicsMixer: Alesis Multimix 8 Firewire BoardHeadphones: BoseAudio Editor: Garage BandComputer: MacBook Pro

Collected Comics LibraryMicrophone: AKG D890 Dynamic MicrophoneMixer: Behringer UB1202FX Stereo Mixer with EffectsAudio Editor: Adobe AuditionComputer: basic PCOther: iRiver IFP-899 MP3 Player

Comic Book QueersMicrophone: Logitech Conference Microphone orShure PG48Mixer: Alesis Multimix 8 USBHeadphones: AKG K-44Audio Editor: Garage BandComputer: iMacOther: Mic Stands from On-Stage Stands

Comic Geek SpeakMicrophone: 6 Shure SM57 & 2 MXL 990Mixer: Soundcraft Spirit Folio 12Headphones: AKG K66Audio Editor: Garage Band

The Around Comics crew prepares to record an episode with Mike Oliveri. Photo courtesy Mike Oliveri (

While conducting the interviews that make up the bulk of this book, it occurred to me that I was collecting quitea few invaluable tips for anyone who wanted to start their own podcast. In keeping with that, I offer this appen-dix, which lists the exact equipment each of our featured podcasts uses to make their own show. Hopefully, itwill give you future podcasters out there an even better idea of how to get started.

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$15.95In The US

TwoMorrows PublishingRaleigh, North Carolina

Comic book podcasts have taken the Internet by storm,and THE COMIC BOOK PODCAST COMPANIONoffers you the chance to go behind the scenes of ten oftoday’s top comic book podcasts via all-new interviewswith the casts of AROUND COMICS, WORDBALLOON, QUIET! PANELOLOGISTS AT WORK,COMIC BOOK QUEERS, iFANBOY, THE CRANKCAST,THE COLLECTED COMICS LIBRARY, THE PIPELINEPODCAST, COMIC GEEK SPEAK, and TwoMorrows’own TUNE-IN PODCAST! Also featured are newinterviews about podcasting and comics on the Internetwith creators MATT FRACTION, TIM SEELEY, and GENECOLAN. You’ll also find a handy guide of what you’llneed to start your own podcast, an index of more thanthirty great comic book podcasts, numerous photos ofyour favorite podcasters, and original art from COLAN,SEELEY, DC’s MIKE NORTON, and many more!

The Comic BookPodcast Companion

By Eric Houston

ISBN-13: 978-1-60549-018-2ISBN-10: 1-60549-018-0

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