“We Want to Have This Conversation with More Than Just Us”: An Exploration of the Connection Between Comics and Podcasts

Comic fans don’t just love reading comics; we love talking about them as well. It’s ingrained into our DNA, a foundational element of how many enjoy the medium. These conversations are even essential to the experience of buying them. Wednesdays are more than when we purchase the latest releases. It’s a day we can discuss our favorite comics and share our hot takes with other customers and the folks who work there. That’s important, if only because many readers don’t have other fans in their lives. Those visits to the comic shop offer them something they might not get otherwise: someone to share their passion with.

Maybe that’s why it’s no surprise there are so many comic podcasts these days: It gives us another place to embrace those passions, and to find like-minded fans in the process.

While an accurate count is impossible, there’s undeniably a sea of shows to choose from, something that seems even more impressive when you consider how many people read comics. The ratio of comic podcasts to readers has always felt unusually high, especially compared to other forms of entertainment. While there are plenty of movie, TV, and video game podcasts, there are also legions of people who routinely engage with those mediums. Comics are popular, but much more niche than other areas of pop culture. But what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in enthusiasm, resulting in innumerable podcasts on the subject.

While certain approaches — interviews, discussions about the week’s releases and news, all things X-Men — dominate, there’s really something for every type of comic fan. Want a manga book club shared amongst friends? Mangasplaining is waiting for you. Looking for deep dive conversations about comic book character relationships? You shouldn’t miss Comic Book Couples Counseling. Craving an inside look at the world of comic book creators? There are plenty of options, but Rob Liefeld’s Robservations arguably leads the way. There are an incredible number and variety of shows to choose from. Maybe that’s why these podcasts are an increasingly vital part of the comic book zeitgeist. It’s where many fans find someone to share their love of comics with, and a crucial guide to discovering the next big thing.

As a fan of comics and the host of my own podcast in Off Panel, my interest in this world has only grown alongside the marriage between comics and podcasting, especially after the pandemic boom for both. I found myself wondering why there’s such an overlap between the two, and what all goes into surviving or even thriving in this space. While these shows feel like a natural extension of those comic shop conversations, it had to be more than that. So today, that’s what we’ll be digging into, as we’ll be exploring comics at the intersection of podcasts — with insight from some of the folks who know it best.

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  1. Fun fact: The word “podcast” was only coined the year before he launched.

  2. Their conversation was so lengthy it carried into the shop’s parking lot after the store had closed.

  3. There are caveats to that idea, and it’s certainly harder to book the biggest names. But for the most part, it comes down to the idea of “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

  4. In case you’re wondering, I have no interest.

  5. Siuntres and Brad Gullickson are trying to make their respective podcasts their primary work, but everyone else I talked to has another career.

  6. And the writers of Kill Your Darlings at Image Comics!

  7. As much as I hate that word, it’s true.

  8. Brad emphasized that sharing the tasks as a married couple makes it “way easier,” as well.

  9. Brad pointed to Buzzsprout’s data on 7-day episode downloads as a guide, but that’s been around for so long I have no idea if it’s even valid anymore.

  10. Including an appearance on the Discovery Channel show Prophets of Science Fiction, which happened because the producers had listened to Word Balloon.

  11. He imagined a scenario where he told his 11-year-old self that he’d eventually interview Mark Bagley, the person who did the art for his first Spider-Man comic, and his enthusiasm spilled off the screen as he did.

  12. Those X-Men! So popular!

  13. The group is nearing 500 members at this point and honestly sounds amazing.

  14. Also, his “least favorite” type of show: podcasts about podcasts.