Off Panel: A (Mostly) Comics Interview Podcast

Off Panel is a weekly interview show where host David Harper welcomes guests from comics and beyond to talk the stories behind what they do.
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An interview show getting the story behind the comics we love.

Jun 19, 2017

On this week's episode of Off Panel, the co-creator, writer, and colorist of Image's Lake of Fire - Nathan Fairbairn - joins the show to talk the book and his experience bringing it to life. Fairbairn discusses how and why he first got into comics, why he didn't try and tackle more writing work for DC or Marvel, why he wanted to go creator-owned, the development of Lake of Fire, why faith was such an important part of the story for him, what made artist Matt Smith the right fit, why he didn't release it as a graphic novel, long-tail success, the marketing/PR side of creator-owned, what he learned during the experience, and more.

Jun 12, 2017

On this week's episode of Off Panel, artist Benjamin Dewey joins the show to talk his art on books like The Autumnlands. Dewey discusses his path to comics, pursuing other passions as an artist, finding yourself in your art, how much an artist's personality influences their work, comics and community, the convention experience, his art process, the importance of inking to his work, the overstated impact tools have on art, painting himself versus getting colored by someone else, taking on projects outside of The Autumnlands, before closing with five questions about Dewey himself.

Jun 5, 2017

On this week's episode of Off Panel, the AV Club's comic critic - Oliver Sava - joins the show to not talk Marvel's problems, but solutions to those problems. Sava discusses his reaction to AV Club earning an Eisner nomination this year, his hype levels for the upcoming Runaways book, Marvel's current state, expectations for Legacy, and the cyclical nature of Marvel and DC, before Oliver and David share their recommendations on how Marvel could fix things and the books they'd publish if they ran Marvel (with creative teams).

May 29, 2017

On this week's episode of Off Panel, the host of the comic book interview podcast Word Balloon - John Siuntres - joins the show to talk about his 12 years hosting the show. Siuntres talks the origins fo Word Balloon, his background before the show started, the impact of having so many comic book podcasts, how he developed Word Balloon's audience, monetizing podcasts, the evolution of his show, Secret Empire and the state of Marvel and fandom, getting personal with his guests, show regulars, whether he thinks its harder to develop a show now, Newsarama's impact on the show's growth, before the show comes to a close with five questions about the 12 years of Word Balloon.

May 22, 2017

On this week's special anniversary episode of Off Panel, friend of the show Brandon Burpee joins for a head-to-head question off where we talk everything comics from the past, present and future. Topics discussed include who won each decade for superhero comics - Marvel or DC, favorite comic anniversary gimmicks, what we'd do to get OG Wolverine back, how to help people who want to get into comics, favorite Off Panel guests, how social media impacts our buying habits, LaVar Ball-ing our favorite comics, Marvel's biggest problem right now, what we'd like to see from Legacy, the tradewaiting experience, the divisiveness of fandom, the state of the X-Men books, and more.

May 15, 2017

On this week's episode of Off Panel, writer Christopher Sebela joins the show to talk his currently being Kickstarted comic, Short Order Crooks. He talks the Kickstarter experience, what Short Order Crooks is all about, the origin of the project, the value of Two Headed Press, how the Kickstarter developed, how the crew on the book came together, the difficulty of creating Kickstarter rewards, whether he can be the same on for-hire jobs as creator-owned, the amount of food based research he did, what he'd sell at his own food cart, secondary revenue streams for comic creators, his recent experience working in retail, and more.

May 8, 2017

On this week's episode of Off Panel, The Ringer writer Jason Concepcion joins the show to talk Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the 2017 slate of comic book movies. Concepcion talks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (spoiler alert like crazy!) (00:51s), whether Guardians feels disconnected from the rest of the  Marvel universe (4:55), the stingers (8:27), what worked in the movie (12:34), whether it had the best Stan Lee cameo (14:53), what didn't work (16:37), then Guardians talk (and the spoilers ends) as we talk the comic movie Mount Rushmore (22:10), hype levels for 2017's remaining comic movies (25:30), the advent of rated R comic book movies (42:09), the state of the X-Men movies (47:00), Inhumans as a TV show (49:30), why comic adaptations work and video game adaptations don't (53:45), before closing with five questions about Concepcion (59:00).

May 4, 2017

On this week's bonus episode of Off Panel, cartoonist Peter Wartman joins the show to talk his webcomic Stonebreaker. Wartman discusses his path to comics, the comic that unlocked the medium for him, the influence of video game designer Fumito Ueda, how his webcomics Over the Wall and Stonebreaker developed, his art process, the evolution of his art, the impact of being colorblind on his art, the architecture of Stonebreaker, how webcomics have changed since he started, balancing comics and a day job, the Minneapolis comic book scene, and more.

Also, in case you missed it, Off Panel now has a Patreon. Support the show at and get fun rewards while unlocking bonus episodes each month.

May 1, 2017

On this week's episode of Off Panel, writer Mark Russell joins the show to talk his approach and work on comics like The Flintstones and Prez. He talks what he was doing before comics, how he was hired by DC, whether his approach might be different from other comic writers because of his lack of a comic background, his guiding principles for developing comics, the comic book learning curve, working with DC editorial, why he took The Flintstones gig, finding a new take on the classic cartoon, giving non-human characters humanity, collaborating on sequentials with Steve Pugh and Ben Caldwell, what he has in store for his Snagglepuss book, and more.

Apr 24, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, artist Mike Norton joins the show to talk his epic workload in recent years. Norton talks what his life has been like since he wrapped Battlepug and Revival, how he balanced multiple projects at once, what he learned most from his recent workload, managing workflow, what he took away from his creator-owned work, studio life, the emotions of ending Revival, whether long runs by a single creative team are dying out, how the role of the comic artist has evolved, the changing landscape of comics, webcomics, the response to his webcomic Lil' Donnie, before coming to a close with five questions about Norton himself.

One quick note: I fully botched the money Check, Please! generated on Kickstarter. It wasn't $2.5 million, it was $400,000. Still a lot of money!

Apr 17, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, artist Jen Bartel joins the show to talk about breaking into comics. She talks about her art background, the pros and cons of art school, her path to the world of comics, the importance of just making art, the power of the internet and social media, her advice for people looking to break in, why she's focused on covers over sequential art, the reason she prefers inking and coloring over the problem solving part of art, her affinity for neon colors, merchandising, valuing your work monetarily, before the podcast closes with five questions about Bartel herself.

Apr 10, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, cartoonist Hannah Blumenreich joins the show to talk her fan comic Spidey Zine and her work on Amazing Spider-Man #25. She talks her experience in art school, what her first foray into comics was, how she has seen her art grow as she's moved along, the origin story of Spidey Zine, the power of fan comics, the personhood of superheroes, what her process is, the restrictions of publishing on Twitter, making her way into working on Spider-Man for Marvel, how working with Jordan Gibson, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles changed things for her, and what's next for her, before closing with five random questions about her.

Apr 3, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, cartoonist Jim Rugg joins the show to talk his upcoming one-shot with writer Brian Maruca, Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special. He talks the origin story of Street Angel, why it's his home base book, how his art has evolved over the years, whether he thinks he has a core art style, why he likes to adventure with the format of comics so much, why he brought Street Angel to Image, the Pittsburgh comic scene, and more.

Mar 27, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, cartoonist Kyle Starks joins the show to talk his new comic at Image, Rock Candy Mountain. Starks discusses what appealed to him about the hobo treasure hunt genre, the tropes of rail travel, researching hobo culture, when the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" came into play, world building, the realities of hobo life, the language in the book, the impact of colorist Chris Schweizer and designer Dylan Todd, overcoming the perceptions of his "cartoony" art style, his process for bringing an issue to life, before the episode comes to a close with serious basketball talk starting around the 52 minute mark.

Mar 20, 2017

In the last episode recorded at this year's Emerald City ComiCon, colorist and writer Jordie Bellaire joins the show to talk her new book at Image Comics, Redlands. She talks the experience of announcing Redlands, how announcements differ between personal projects and for-hire jobs, what Redlands is all about, what made Vanesa del Rey the perfect partner for the book, how del Rey changed the book, how Bellaire's color brain influences he writer brain, why she wanted to add being a writer to her busy schedule, how she ended up in Ireland after living in Florida, why the rep of colorists has improved in recent years, and more.

Mar 16, 2017

In the second episode of Off Panel from Emerald City ComiCon, the Oscar nominated writer of Arrival as well as the writer of the upcoming Secret Weapons at Valiant Comics, Eric Heisserer, joins the show. Heisserer talks his comic book origin story, the difference between screenwriting and working on comics, partnering with Raul Allen and Patricia Martin, what appealed to him about the Valiant universe, bringing Secret Weapons back, why Livewire is such a fascinating character to him, how writing film scripts differs from writing comics, humanizing island of misfit toys characters, why he loves writing comics so much, what compelled him to write Arrival, his reactions to Amy Adams not getting nominated and the Oscar mixup on Best Picture, and more.

Mar 13, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson joins the show in a special episode from Emerald City ComiCon. Stephenson talks Image's move to Portland, why there wasn't an Image Expo this year, the big announcements from ECCC, diversity in comics, finding different ways to tell stories in the medium, the devaluation of single issues, managing a publisher in uncertain times, the influx of variants at Image during its 25th anniversary, what he's most proud of from 25 years of Image, how it's changed the most since its launch, how Image's staff has helped drive its growth, and more.

Mar 6, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, writer Daniel Kibblesmith joins the show to talk his new comic, Valiant High. Kibblesmith discusses his comic book origin story, whether he needed to dig into Valiant's history for the project, finding the right roles for each character, whether you can go too far in lampooning characters, the differences between writing for TV versus for comics, whether writing comics is a breath of fresh air given his day job, the impact of this presidency on late night, his long term view on writing comics, and more.

Feb 27, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, cartoonist Daniel Johnson Warren joins to talk his new book Extremity. He talks Extremity's development, world building, why he needed a little something more to make his lead character work, what makes a good villain, his creative process, the advantages of traditional art for him, colorist Mike Spicer's fit on the book, Extremity's rad logo, commissions, finding joy in art, and more.

Feb 20, 2017

In this week's episode of Off Panel, writer Joe Keatinge joins the show to talk 25 years of Image Comics from his perspective as a reader, creator and former employee. David and Joe talk when they discovered Image, what makes Image special, 90s comics revisionist history, what his experience was working at Image, how it's changed over the years, our ten-ish favorite comics from Image's 25 years, what the future looks like for Image, and more.

Feb 16, 2017

In the final Image founderscentric edition of Off Panel, Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane joins the show to share his perspective on the story of Image. McFarlane talks the appeal of the move away from Marvel, the story behind Image's creation, the meeting at Marvel and why they went to DC after it, why he stayed exclusive to Image, how the Image deal became more appealing to others, Robert Kirkman's fit as a partner, Eric Stephenson's impact, whether Image looks as he expected after 25 years, what the biggest difficulties were in figuring everything out, and more.

Feb 13, 2017

In another special edition of Off Panel, Image Comics co-founder Jim Valentino joins the show to share his perspective on the origins of Image. Valentino talks how everything came together, what the biggest motivator was to break away from Marvel, why Image worked and other similar ventures didn't, why expanding beyond superheroes was important, whether it was always their intent to offer the Image deal to others, how Robert Kirkman joined up, Eric Stephenson's influence, what Image's "i" means today, how Image's role in the industry has changed over the years, and more.

Feb 9, 2017

In a special edition of Off Panel, Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen joins the show to share his perspective on the rise of Image. Larsen talks the Image's story from the beginning, whether it worked because of the numbers they brought to Image, whether he expected Savage Dragon to go as long as it has, what the response to them leaving was like, what influenced the wave of big creators to Image in recent years, what made Robert Kirkman a good fit for Image, how Image has changed over the years, and more.

Feb 6, 2017

In a special edition of Off Panel, Image Comics co-founder Rob Liefeld joins the show to talk about the publisher 25 years after it started. Liefeld talks the popularity of the Image founders, why it needed to be more than just himself who did it, how Image came together, why Robert Kirkman fits Image so well, Eric Stephenson's role in Image's rise, whether Image's developing surprised him over its 25 years, who the heart and soul of Image is, what Image's future looks like, and more.

You can read the article I wrote on Image's history and evolution, featuring Liefeld, on The Ringer.

Jan 30, 2017

Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn, the artist/writer team behind the recently wrapped The Sixth Gun and the soon-to-be revived The Damned at Oni Press, join the show this week to talk about their collaboration. The pair talks about how they first met, what appealed to them about working together, how they develop projects like The Sixth Gun, world building, getting invested in their characters, designing the world of The Sixth Gun, why they initially launched the book Free Comic Book Day, ending a longform story, where world building to go wrong, their return to The Damned, how market pressures has impacted longform storytelling, and more.

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