In this week's episode of Off Panel, friend of the show Brandon Burpee returns for a deep dive look at 2018 in comics. We discuss what kind of year it was for comics, how our reading habits evolved, the biggest surprises and disappointments from the year, what we're looking forward to in 2019, where the X-Men are headed, favorites versus bests, the honorable mentions from our respective lists, before breaking down our 20 favorite comics of the year.
This week's episode of Off Panel is the debut of a new format that might be appearing the first week of each month, in weeks where we're not running our standard interviews. It's Off Panel Book Club, where a guest comes on the show to discuss the past month in comics.
And the first Book Club guest is Zach Jenkins, the man behind Xavier Files and the co-host of the Battle of the Atom podcast. Jenkins joins to share the story behind Xavier Files, the importance of having a niche, our five favorite comics of the month, Warren Ellis's approach, the visual storytelling from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, slow burn comics, the small moments of Runaways, the most surprising and confusing comics of the month, the eternal return of Wolverine, before we dive into the Big Question of the month: What would it take for the X-Men to recapture an approximation of their past glory, and does that even matter?
In this week's episode of Off Panel, comics retailer Katie Proctor comes on to talk about the experience of running her comic shop, Books with Pictures. Proctor discusses why she wanted to open a comic shop, the influence of other stores, her store's layout, creating an inviting space, inclusivity, her unique product offerings, what sells for her, how 2018 has been for her shop, figuring out ordering, what's working and what isn't, the impact of Fresh Start at Marvel, the loss of Saga, what she's looking forward to in 2018, what someone looking to open a shop should know, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, cartoonist Jeff Lemire joins the show to talk about his work on titles like Black Hammer and Gideon Falls. Lemire discusses his organizational abilities, what getting ahead with your writing offers you, a day in his life, studio space, his connection to rural locations, Black Hammer's connection to his love of comics, the divide between independent and superhero comics, how Black Hammer evolved, his collaborators, expanding its universe, the appeal of horror, Gideon Falls's development, working with Andrea Sorrentino, the JH Williams III effect, creating tension, writing for others versus himself, him stepping back from for-hire work, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, writer and inker Jimmy Palmiotti joins for a deep dive discussion about the creation of the Marvel Knights imprint for its 20th anniversary. Palmiotti shares where he was before Marvel Knights started, personal branding, how the project came together, why Daredevil was their #1 draft pick, Marvel vs. DC, going for realism, Frank Castle punching a polar bear, why Marvel Knights focused on standalone stories, whether he considered sticking around at Marvel like his Marvel Knights partner Joe Quesada, whether this kind of project could happen again, its lasting impact, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, writer and comics newcomer Mat Groom joins the show to discuss his background and new Image series, Self/Made. Groom discusses when he first got int storytelling, regional comics, his comic making origin story, comic writers coming from other fields, his day job and its impact on his writing, the comic difficulties of living in Australia, Self/Made, his collaborators Eduardo Ferigato and Marcelo Costa, the difficulty in talking about his series, what inspired him to tell this story, how design factored in the comic, the struggles that come with gaining traction as a new creator, the biggest surprises about making comics, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, comics retailer Brian Hibbs returns to the show to check in about the world of comic book shops. Hibbs discusses how his shops are doing this year, Saga's area of impact, the kids comic explosion, DC's weird year, the Walmart Giants, Black Label, Marvel's short sightedness, Image's recent volume of titles, the longevity of the print market, whether he's going to keep his second shop open, whether comics could become a graphic novel only industry, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, artist Sanford Greene joins the podcast to discuss his art and his upcoming Image Comics series, Bitter Root. Greene talks about the influence of cartoons on his art, what stood out to him about comics when was younger, the impact of youth, whether he always knew he wanted to draw comics, the impact of artists like Toth and J.C. Leyendecker, becoming a Voltron of influences, getting into artists you disliked in your youth, Bitter Root's origins, the setting of the book, his approach to art, the importance of Bitter Root's diverse team, managing schedule and health, before we close with a brief chat about the NBA.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, The Beat's Heidi MacDonald joins the podcast to talk about New York Comic Con and recent happenings in the comic world. MacDonald discusses the NYCC experience, her favorite announcements from the con, the publisher boom, what's happening at DC, Bendis's fit, the Batman Damned controversy, the rare double Telgemeier, the Chuck Wendig news, the C.B. Cebulski era at Marvel, Ike Perlmutter's influence, industry doom and gloom, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, writer Brenden Fletcher joins the show to talk the comic industry and his Image series with artist Karl Kerschl, Isola. Fletcher discusses what he was doing before comics, the language of fandom, the musicality of language, how Gotham Academy and Batgirl came together, why he co-writes so often, balancing abstraction with narrative, fitting the comic marketplace, the impact of continuity, the first volume's cover, long distance collaboration, the Motor Crush format change, the evolution of the comic market, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, artist John McCrea joins the show to talk his career and new Image series, Dead Rabbit. McCrea discusses how he and writer Garth Ennis met, how he got into comics, learning art, how his style shifted over the years, getting away with things on Hitman, the greatness of Dogwelder, his fondness of Section Eight, how Hitman affected him and his career, the origins of Dead Rabbit, Gerry Duggan's writing, the Image Expo reveal, character design, his style for Dead Rabbit, Mike Spicer's colors, the gross/sincere balance, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, artist Ramon Villalobos joins the show to talk his art and new Vertigo Comics series, Border Town. Villalobos discusses the Marvel movies, non-comics influences, learning about art, making something 100% his, Border Town, how it came together, the appeal of teen stories, his process, creating character through art, Tamra Bonvillain's colors, the response to the book, how he's promoted it, Comicsgate, his shoe game, and more, before closing with five questions about Ramon Villalobos, the person.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks joins to talk her work and latest graphic novel, The Divided Earth. Hicks discusses her 19 years in comics, how her skills have evolved, key influences, the power of silence, The Nameless City trilogy, what she learned from that experience, creating empathy, long-term planning, Jordie Bellaire's impact, what she gives herself breathers between projects, working with Rainbow Rowell, selling humor, her upcoming schedule, working on Avatar: The Last Airbender, and more. As a note, some details of The Divided Earth are discussed within, so if spoilers are a concern, beware the section between 20 minutes and 35 minutes.
In this week's special edition of Off Panel, creators Declan Shalvey and Stephen Mooney and retailers Bruno Batista and John Hendrick join the show in a live podcast recording from Dublin's preeminent comic shop, Big Bang Comics. In the episode, we discuss how creators, retailers and journalists can work together to give comics a bright future, how promoting comics is changing, what comics are today, whether artists can consider the industry as a whole while working, what artists can do to work with retailers, the biggest misconceptions about retailers, whether fill-in artists impact orders, incentive covers, social media's impact, how your location impacts your ability to work in comics, whether it's good enough to just be good, comic sites, what the future of comics looks like, and more, before diving into a quick Q&A.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, artist Jason Howard joins the show to talk his art and upcoming Image series with Warren Ellis, Cemetery Beach. Howard discusses his time studying graphic design, how that influences his art, his path to comics and focus on creator-owned work, the origins of Cemetery Beach, its appeal, world building, the power of his sketchbook, why things click with Warren Ellis, how he works, character acting, his colors, cover design, Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, editor and writer Alejandro Arbona joins the show to talk his path to comics and his current work as a freelance editor on books like Lazarus, The Old Guard and Black Magick. Arbona discusses his time at Wizard Magazine, interviewing Alan Moore, how he got to Marvel, how he approaches editing, Lazarus's new format breaks down, working with Warren Simons, Fantastic Four: Isla de la Muerte, chupacabras, why he's still editing comics, the differences between editing for a company and as a freelancer, whether Lazarus is a different beast than the other Rucka books, Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network, his upcoming book about video games, and more, before diving into five questions about Alejandro Arbona, the person.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, colorist Rico Renzi (Spider-Gwen, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) joins the show to talk his work. Renzi discusses his time in a ska band, how that world influenced his art, what led him to coloring comics, how his take on colors developed, his time as the creative director at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find and HeroesCon, the art of arranging people at cons, how his shop experience changed his understanding of comics, going full time as a colorist, his approach to colors, the importance of Spider-Gwen, working with Robbi Rodriguez, workload, his t-shirt design side hustle, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, BOOM! Studios senior editor Dafna Pleban joins the show to talk her role as an editor. Pleban discusses her comic book origin story, 90s teen heroes, her time in comic shops, how she started at BOOM!, what her job as a senior editor entails, how the order cycle impacts her, Wild's End, how complete that book felt, the mix of titles she edits, editing licensed books, casting comics, and more, before closing with five questions about Dafna Pleban, the person.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, cartoonist Daniel Warren Johnson returns to the show to talk the end of Extremity and the story behind his new comic, Murder Falcon. Johnson discusses his recent San Diego Comic Con experience, whether his cons have changed since Extremity, the personal connection people had with the book, the power of story, what he did after he wrapped that project, the key takeaways from tackling Extremity, the origins of Murder Falcon, putting so much of himself in a book, the importance of emotional throughlines, the sound and look of Murder Falcon, building a mythology, his collaborators, his manga influence, before a little baseball talk to close the podcast.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, artist Nathan Fox joins the show to talk his art and work on his new Image series, The Weatherman. Fox discusses what attracted him to art and storytelling first, his path to becoming a working artist, his approach to art, some of his earliest influences, the street art influence, why he took a break from comic interiors, whether he wanted his own project to build, the story behind The Weatherman, world building, his art process, character acting, the first issue's shocking moment, the complexity of The Weatherman's lead, his work outside of comics, his experience running SFA's MFA Visual Narrative program, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, Skybound Entertainment's Senior Vice President of Business Development, Shawn Kirkham, joins the show to discuss their stealth launch of the new comic series from Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn and Rus Wooton, Die!Die!Die!, and everything his job includes at Skybound. Kirkham discusses fancy titles, the origins of Die!Die!Die!, why they wanted to release a comic without any advance warning, the upside of doing a comic that way, trying new things in comics, Murder Falcon, The Walking Dead's 15th anniversary blind bags, original art, Wildstorm, balancing collectability with readership, what a day at his job is like, The Megabox, Skybound Games, the secret to being good at cons, and more, before closing with five questions about Shawn Kirkham, the person.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, former writer, artist and Marvel editor joins the show to talk his career, the Transformers, and more. Budiansky discusses having his life dramatized in The Toys That Made Us, the origins of The Transformers (and his part in it), how he ended up at Marvel, whether he viewed comics as a career at the time, what Marvel was like in the 80s, Mark Gruenwald, how he started writing The Transformers, his approach on the book, why he left it, whether his relationship with the property has changed, the Marvel Universe trading cards he was the architect of, the Marvel implosion in the 90s, why he never returned to comics, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, writer Al Ewing joins the show to talk about his new series, the Immortal Hulk. Ewing discusses his background as a comic reader, the strips hew grew up on, his Marvel background and love of the Hulk, Peter David's Hulk, how the idea for the Immortal Hulk came together, the Banner/Hulk dichotomy, Joe Bennett's impact on the book, how they're handling the art on the book, his writing approach, consecutive double page spreads, borrowing from other creators, using your tools correctly, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, writer and DC Comics legend Paul Levitz joins the show to talk his career and latest trade paperback, Brooklyn Blood. Levitz discusses his comics journalism background, what comics were like when he joined DC, comic book pro poker night, Jenette Kahn's impact, his time writing the Legion of Super-Heroes, his self-created position at DC, the development of the modern DC creator contract, the direct market, the development of the trade paperback and its market, Vertigo and its 25th anniversary, how different his role was as president/publisher, Brooklyn Blood, the trickiness of the Dark Horse Presents format, how he approaches writing, collaboration, the current state of comics, and more.
In this week's episode of Off Panel, The AV Club's resident comic critic Oliver Sava returns to the show for a deep dive into the state of the superhero union. We discuss how we feel about superhero comics in general today, Geoff Johns' big move out of DC Entertainment, what he's liking and not liking at DC right now, The Killing Zone, Bendis's start at DC, Young Animal ending, DC's love of imprints, Vertigo's relaunch, where Marvel is at, Ta-Nahisi Coates' work on Black Panther, the titles we're really digging, who we'd want to write a Marvel event today, the upcoming Marvel comic we're most excited for, which publisher has more momentum right now, who is making the best comics, which superhero title has the belt right now, and more.