[Podcasts] Invasion of the Pod People
Maybe terrestrial radio isn’t what it used to be, but for Podcasts even the sky holds no limits. Seemingly growing in diversity and popularity every year, the internet radio media just about has something for everyone.
Whether you’re getting smart and laughing to the sounds of the Joe Rogan Experience, hanging on every word Purple Man himself utters on David Tennant Does a Podcast with… (available under PopCultHQ’s podcasts and streams tab here), or reliving the days when Serial was still worth the internet’s attention, there isn’t a sub-genre or obscurity not represented.
For fans of comic books, there is a multitude, no… a multiVERSE of great content available that provide entertainment, news, reviews, education, and explanations (as best as anybody can).
You might be looking for new things to plug your ear holes with right now, or you may be wondering where a good place to start is (might I suggest once more heading to the podcasts and streams tab), fear not my fellow frantic friend in fandom. Below is a collection of varying podcasts where you’re sure to find something to suit.
Before starting, it’s important to remind ourselves that everyone’s tastes and opinions vary. What we enjoy is always an exercise in subjectivity, so I suggest finding a subject or episode title that appeals to your sensibilities and giving each show a few listens before tracking me down and exacting your revenge. I’d never willingly lead anybody astray. Having said that, I’m confident that, for different reasons, all the pods mentioned below are the best the internet has to offer right now.
Starting close to home, you can quickly find this podcast by again visiting our podcasts and streams tab or in the link below. Hosted by Josh Daniels and Kevin Matthews, this is a weekly discussion that is informative, polished, engaging, and displays a satisfying amount of in-depth knowledge.
Josh and Kevin have good chemistry and don’t veer into rambling, skippable moments. The professional presentation is very impressive. This show is a great example of a podcast that gives you the feel of overhearing, or being part of, the conversations you get when you’re at your local comic shop.
(formerly Fatman on Batman)
Let me get some lamentations off my chest first. This podcast’s earliest incarnation was a show where host Kevin Smith would be accompanied by a prestigious guest from Batman’s long history or the wider comic book industry. Hearing the likes of Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Denny O’Neil, Scott Snyder, and many more waxing philosophically about what Batman meant to them was pure inspiration. I urge you to hunt down these longform conversations on whatever channels you can before they are lost to the ages. The show later adopted a news-type format before becoming the variety-driven series it is today, co-hosted by accomplished comic book and screenwriter Marc Bernadin. While still entertaining, it has moved away from being about Batman (or having a Fatman, for that matter). It’s a much broader take on all of pop culture now. More entertaining than in-depth, this show is still a beacon for people that want to bask in the warm embrace of fandom.
Now I’m not being biased because I’m Australian but this podcast comes straight outta Kings Comic in Sydney. This is hands-down the most comprehensive review of what’s come out monthly from every significant publisher. Not just the big three. Hosts Andrew and Siobhan seriously know their stuff. This is a casual, cool, monthly discussion with endearing banter and opinions that fly thick and fast. A lot of personality gives this a drive radio feel. Recaps, news, views, this cast packs it in. This will sit nicely in your subscriptions library or is an obvious top choice if you want to pace out how many comic book podcasts you listen to.
A very opinionated, but also highly informed, discussion podcast. Hosts Al Kennedy and Paul O’Brien run through the major comic book news each episode with acid-tongued, humour-filled commentary. They select a few new releases to dissect and close out every episode with their trademark segment ‘The Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.’ A highlight of the show where by they select an obscure or fringe character from the Marvel Universe and give them a fantasy reboot. The camaraderie and banter between Al and Paul are a real draw and they cram a lot of discussion, speculation, backstory, and entertainment into every episode. Again, it really captures the feel of listening in on the guys behind the counter go back-and-forth on all things comic books …before they notice you aren’t buying anything and ask you to leave.
“The most dedicated group of bat fans in the world” boast their tagline, and they aren’t just saying it. This show is deep, deep bat fandom. Sometimes branching out into the wider DCU but primarily deep rooted in Gotham. These hosts, a rotating group featuring monikers like RobinDCross, thebatforcetimes, batforcetom, grandpa_batman, triplej18, legendsoflegobatman and (where the f*** is) the trunkler, all have excellent comic book knowledge and fantastic chemistry as hosts. They’re full of aggressive enthusiasm and look at current release and future release titles comprehensively. They often feature guests such as Scott Snyder, Sean Gordon Murphy, and other up-to-the-minute contributors who always seem to be having just as good a time as the hosts. There are times when the room gets too opinionated and the crew’s individual personalities and in-jokes may not be everybody’s thing, but toughen up and move past that because this makes for a great listen to regularly tune in on.
Word Balloon Comics Podcast with John Siuntres
Unprecedented access and content are the big draw here. Host John Siuntres is a loveable, old school comic book fan who wears his passion like a badge of honour. He’s got long-reaching knowledge of comic history and pop culture know-how that spans many eras. It’s a well-produced podcast. Entertaining, informative, and insightful. Top line guests call in to chat with unmatched regularity. Names like Brian Michael Bendis, Tim Seeley, Tom King, Brad Meltzer, and Cullen Bunn, just to reel off a few recent interviews. The audio quality sometimes can be temperamental, and it would be nice if Siuntres wouldn’t interject and let his guests speak more. But that’s just John’s enthusiasm shining through. His energy is very endearing and the sheer amount of content he regularly puts out is definitely worth your time across each week.
A hyper-detailed issue-by-issue, spoiler free (if you’re up to date) readalong and explanation-filled podcast on one of the greatest comic books ever written, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles. The hosts, Brendan, Ryan, Kyle and Zac, have twin-like chemistry. The conversation (just like the subject) expands out into multiple directions without veering right off track. The guys heavily research every single reference before putting that episodes issue under a microscope. Along with the book Anarchy for the Masses, this podcast is the ultimate companion to the stellar comic book.
Jay and Miles X-plain the X-Men
An intensely-detailed tour through X-men lore that emphatically illustrates how engaging and fulfilling attaching your fan wagon to the medium can be. Jay and Miles have omega-level knowledge, great chemistry, and a masterful sense of pace. They pack so much detail and exhaustive research into every episode. Whether they’re concentrating on a single issue, an arc, or a creator’s work specifically, the quality of the work deserves to be supported on as many platforms as possible. If you’re a lapsed fan, nostalgic, or even a complete newbie who wants to cram “matrix style,” you need to listen to this x-cellent podcast by true fans who also have industry experience. (Although if you are new, choose your episode wisely as the team are well into ‘90s era X-men by now.)
A look at the current DC Comics releases and a deep dive into the surrounding issues. The affable hosts are engaging enough and unpack their thoughts intelligently and in an accessible way. The back and forth conversation of hosts Sean and Jim always present multiple, solid viewpoints on every subject raised. The sound quality isn’t always on-point, but that’s a small gripe rather than being something that distracts from the discussions. If you need something to balance more Marvel-centric podcasts you may subscribe to, this is your jam. The opinions are fair and balanced, important when deciding which titles you’ll invest your time and money into this week. Another pod with that standing-in-a-comic-shop feel to it. You’ll sometimes forget you aren’t standing near the shelves discussing the topics with the hosts.
Wolverine: The Long Night
Now for something completely different. This could very easily have been corny, but it succeeds on every level. Exceeding sometimes even the Wolvie titles on the racks right now. The voice performances are the key to this indie movie-feeling Wolverine story. Convincing performances and a brilliant script, with great production values to boot. This sounds like a million-dollar production. I gave the first episode a hard listen expressly for the purpose of this article and found myself hooked, deep into episode seven before I knew it. Recently adapted to comic book form, this is great for breaking up everything else you’re subscribed to right now. It manages to capture the true essence of the character with authority and tell an engrossing, layered story. The only issue is the ad-breaks that come abruptly; they’d be better left at the start and end of each episode rather than when I’m teetering at the edge of my seat.
An excellent interview show with a large scope and encompassing a wide range of creators. Host Harper knows when to talk and when to let the guest talk. He knows the right questions to ask, not just promotional fluff, and he keeps the interview on track steadily. A great way to get to know comic book history, or to catch wind of creators you might not have discovered yet. If you want to see if this is your thing, I recommend the recent-ish Jimmy Palmiotti interview or the Jeff Lemire episode. I’m sure you’ll stick around for more after that.
For something much lighter than Jay and Miles X-plain the X-men. Hosts Zack and Adam offer a very entertaining show with good back-and-forth. It doesn’t stick strictly to a traditional countdown or head-to-head formula, but gives a good free-flowing discussion on each episode’s chosen subject. The kind you and your comic book friends would turn into long debates. The conversations often throw up obscurities and a lot of pleasant surprises. Scroll down the list of episodes names and pick out an specific character or debate that appeals to you and see if you don’t find yourself trying to interject and have your say as you listen along. This is the podcast you and your friends would make if you and your friends had the x-gene to make a podcast.
A great premise that gets bonus points for involving the audience. Each episode discusses an idea or question that is guaranteed to be close to listeners’ hearts. What would you do with your own comic shop? How would you reboot Batman? Who is the most iconic female Marvel superhero? No point is glossed over. The conversation branches out into some interesting and entertaining threads. Everything is explored from multiple angles. Latest issues and current events are also on the table for discussion, mixing things up nicely in a very well-produced podcast.
Hosts Jason Inman and Ashley V. Robinson have THE most accessible comic book crash course available. Each episode’s subject is broken conveniently into smaller segments: when they first were introduced to a character, a quick rundown of the origin, a succinct (but strong) history, and recommended readings. All of this is steeped in a genuine love for comics and the two have such great chemistry and timing, that the banter between them is endlessly charming. It’s an informative podcast as well as an entertaining one. Their fanboy (and fangirl) enthusiasm shines through brightly. This is the podcast to put your lesser-educated friends onto to shove them into the know. Listen if you want a great refresher on something current or simply for the good feels.
The Marvel Pull List
High-quality production. Smooth conversations. An easy to listen to podcast and a concise look at Marvel’s releases that is light on spoilers. Knowledgeable, comprehensive, and moving at a cracking pace. If you’re a Marvel zombie, you need this podcast in your library. If you’re more of a DC, Image, or other company fan, this is still essential listening. If for nothing else than to keep up with fandom, but also to see where your favourite creators are staking their claim in the mainstream. Every company could benefit from producing a podcast in this vein. Full disclosure, this IS endorsed by Marvel so there isn’t much in the way of negative points, take each review with a grain of salt.