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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.

Oct 3, 2016

On this week's episode of Off Panel, Skybound Entertainment Editorial Director Sean Mackiewicz joins the show to talk his work at the publisher on books like The Walking Dead and Invincible. He talks what his role at Skybound entails, how his role takes him into other mediums, how Skybound develops new titles and talent, their new title Green Valley, how sales viability factors into looking at Skybound pitches, how the editorial experience differs between Skybound and DC, the end of Invincible, and more.

Sep 26, 2016

Writer Sara Kenney and editor Karen Berger come onto the show this week to talk their new Image Comics title, Surgeon X. The pair shares what the book is all about, its origin story, how Berger joined up and what made it the one she wanted to return to comics with, the learning curve in going from film/TV to comics and from DC/Vertigo to Image, how the rest of the creative team - artist John Watkins, colorist James Devlin and letterer Jared K. Fletcher - joined the book, balancing realism with entertainment value, and a discussion about why having app for the comic was a move they wanted to do.

Sep 22, 2016

Cartoonist John Allison joins Off Panel for the first time this week to talk his work writing Giant Days and writing/drawing webcomics like Bad Machinery and Scary Go Round. It's a conversation that goes all over the place, as Allison discusses keeping the continuity of his webcomics work straight, how his DIY origins and page limits impacted his work on Giant Days, fostering a relationship between readers and characters, character acting in art, world building, properly handling humor, how the webcomic world has changed as the internet has, and much more.

Sep 19, 2016

Newsarama Editor Chris Arrant joins the show this week to talk writing about comics. Arrant discusses his comics journalism origin story, whether "comics journalism" is a proper term, the difference between his approach and that of his peers, how he made writing about comics his career, what makes for a good interview, how the landscape of writing about comics has changed over the years, recent redesigns and changes at comic sites, adapting to the changing nature of the internet, and more. As a special change of space, the five questions at the end? They're of Chris interviewing David, as opposed to the usual.

Sep 12, 2016

Cartoonist Andrew MacLean joins the show to talk about one of my favorite books, his Image Comics title Head Lopper. Maclean shares how the book came together, the quarterly format and doing things his way, his hyper DIY mentality, the Mike Mignola connection and influence, his creative process, making a good villain and action sequence, holding things back from readers, and more.

Sep 5, 2016

Writer Jim Zub joins the show this week to talk his brand new Image title that launches this week, Glitterbomb. Zub talks what Glitterbomb is all about, the horror of the reality of the story, how he works out hard storytelling beats, the amazing that is artist Djibril Morissette, how this book differs from the rest of his work, the motives of the book's lead, building hype without spoiling your own book, the incredible creative team, how important promoting your own work is in comics, before closing with five questions about poutine, Canada, Overwatch and more.

Important note: there were technical difficulties in recording this episode, so there are some issues in the sound quality.

 

Aug 29, 2016

Writer Kieron Gillen joins the show to talk a whole lot about The Wicked + The Divine, his Image comic with frequent collaborator Jamie McKelvie. The conversation actually starts with a bit about Darth Vader, before jumping into the concept of the faux cartoonist, how that idea has moved in Marvel and DC, how Team WicDiv works together, the importance of arc titles and taking risks, their Imperial Phase, and then a discussion about the recent survey they ran starting at 35:30 that touches on the makeup of their readership, variants, building a community and more. The episode closes with a quick chat about Warren Ellis' influence, before Gillen pulls back the curtain on what to expect from the Kevin Wada drawn 23rd issue of WicDiv at 1:04:00.

Aug 22, 2016

Writer Joshua Williamson (The Flash, Nailbiter, Birthright) comes back to the show for a special episode, as he walks listeners through the experience of developing, announcing, launching, promoting and maintaining a comic. They talk about the genesis of his upcoming book Vertigo book Frostbite with Jason Shawn Alexander, how it ended up at Vertigo, how he and his collaborators like artist Jason Shawn Alexander and letterer Steve Wands work together, Wands' contributions to The Flash and Frostbite, how the process differs between creator-owned and for-hire work, how much promotion factors in between rolling out in Previews and FOC, retailer outreach, what the week of The Flash launching was like, keeping momentum rolling in a series after launch, and more.

 
 
Aug 18, 2016

This week's Off Panel welcomes AV Club comic critic Oliver Sava back to the show to talk big changes at DC and Marvel as well as everything else that's going on in comics. David and Oliver talk the constant non-change change at Marvel and DC, why Rebirth is working and why it isn't, Marvel's season model and its impact, the appeal of Valiant Comics in today's era, digital coloring and art, the impact of collaboration on comics, Oliver's personal reading history, his writing approach, his freedom in writing, his current Mount Rushmore of comics, and more.

 

Aug 15, 2016

On the originally scheduled return episode of Off Panel, Oni Press Senior Editor Charlie Chu joins the show to talk his role and work on books like Kaijumax, Heartthrob and The Sixth Gun. Chu talks about how he got into comics, how his role differs books to book, his many hats in comics, balancing tone, working off reader expectations, comics and the current period of disruption, diversity in comics, the magic of Oni Press and more before diving into five random questions.

Aug 8, 2016

The Ringer's Jason Concepcion joins the show this week to talk about the pros and cons of the latest DC Entertainment movie - Suicide Squad. They talk how the movie reflects David Ayer's world view, its perceived badness versus actual badness, Jared Leto's Joker performance, where DC's movie universe stands, the potential impact of Geoff Johns on it, the movie's troubled development, Zack Snyder, buying or selling DC's film future, why Marvel excels at movies while DC struggles, Marvel vs. DC in fandom, before ending with five random questions about Overwatch, the Knicks and more.

Jun 9, 2016

On this week's Off Panel, Marvel editor Wil Moss guests on the show to talk about his work and experience in the world of editorial. They talk his expansive list of titles, how those books came together, his approach to casting the titles he works on, the excellence of Squirrel Girl, how difficult it is to peg The Vision with a single genre, the freedom he gives creators he works with, how he got into the editorial world, what a day in the life of a Marvel editor is like, how some specific issues come together, the artists and assistant editors he works with, where he goes to discover new creators, how his job changes depending on the experience level of the creators he's working with, how the season model changes his plans, and more.

Plus, stay tuned to the end for a special message at the end from David about the future of Off Panel and what's going on at SKTCHD.

Jun 1, 2016

On this week's episode of Off Panel, the owner of Big Bang Comics in Dublin, Ireland - John Hendrick - joins the show to talk comics and the world of retail. In a reversal, the show starts with five random questions about Sabretooth, Ireland, drinks of choice and more, before diving into the retail world. The pair talks Big Bang's recent move last year, what makes the retail world so rewarding, comic shops as an extension of the owner's personality, the proper balance in a comic shop, the Irish comics scene, the difference between marketing comics when Hendrick started in retail in the 90's vs. now, the trickiness of ordering comics, the timing of comic releases around movies and TV shows, Marvel's problems with trades and graphic novels, the power of signings, the darkness of Twitter, Big Bang's weekly comic sales analysis tweets, his ComicsPro experience, Rebirth vs. Civil War II, how the controversy impacted Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, a demonstration of his incredible abilities of picking books for readers, and more.


Want to skip straight to the retail talk? Jump to right around the 20 minute mark.

May 25, 2016

It's a big one, everybody. This week is Off Panel's double-sized holofoil, acetate edition 50th episode (with a Gambit hologram on the cover), and David's longest tenured comic friend Brandon Burpee joins the show to talk about a little bit of everything. They talk their favorite anniversary comics, what made them so awesome, why they went away, their thoughts on Captain America: Civil War, Geoff Johns' ascension at DC's film wing, their Rebirth and Civil War II excitement levels, the leak of the DC Universe Rebirth special, thoughts on major sites leaning into spoilers, how comic sites have changed in their seven years talking about comics, and then the show closes with Brandon turning the tables and interviewing David about a variety of subjects.

May 24, 2016

Today digital comics service ComiXology made a major announcement: ComiXology Unlimited is here, offering a wide variety of comics for $5.99 a month. Lots of information was getting out there and the conversation was all over the place, but what's real wasn't necessarily. So to change that, we got on the phone with ComiXology's CEO and co-founder David Steinberger to talk about Unlimited, why they named it that, their intent with this product, how it could help new and casual readers, peak comics, the selection on Unlimited, the tightrope walk of making this product a success without eating away at the rest of ComiXology, the behavior of ComiXology readers, the impact of in-app purchasing going away, how they're promoting the product, and what his hopes and dreams for Unlimited are.

May 18, 2016

Nick Dragotta, the artist and co-creator of East of West and one of the people behind the new comic creator grant Creators for Creators, joins the show this week to talk about what he's up to these days. Dragotta talks about the genesis of Creators for Creators, what the appeal of the project was for him, how East of West came together, how putting together a creator-owned book helped keep him in comics, the process he and Jonathan Hickman use on East of West, character acting, pace of storytelling, how the book's schedule works, the impact of Frank Martin and Rus Wooton on the book, character design, photo reference, where the book is headed, and more.

May 11, 2016

Skottie Young returns to the show this week, as the superstar cartoonist comes on to talk about his Image series, I Hate Fairyland. In this episode, Skottie talks his love of being a cartoonist, how he approaches creating the book, the value of figuring out the best way to tell his story on the fly, the importance of humor books staying nimble, the pros and cons of being young forever, how much of the book he figures out in the art stage, the fine line between adding too many pages to a book and restricting yourself too much, how The Good Wife explains how he's handling the transition into the next arc of the book, David's theory about the throne rooms of evil rulers, having freedom to go anywhere with his book and a whole lot more. It's a great chat with one of the biggest creators in comics about the power of comic book storytelling.

May 4, 2016

In the final episode of Off Panel from this year's Emerald City ComiCon, the co-creators of the upcoming Isola from Image Comics and part of the team behind DC's Gotham Academy - Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl - talk their creative partnership and what their new book is all about. They talk their longtime friendship, mutual interests, how they work together, how Isola's been developed,where inspiration for the project struck, interest in stories that mesh the natural world with the developed world, creative freedom,what made Image the right fit for the book, how they picked the format of the book, the influence the video game Dark Souls has on Isola, the give and take of how they work, what the Image Expo experience was like, and more. Their book isn't coming for a while now, but this conversation will give you plenty of reasons to be excited for it.

Important note: Karl speaks first, Brenden second, just in case you're wondering who is who.

May 1, 2016

In this week's special episode from Emerald City ComiCon, artist Wes Craig joins the show to talk about his art and work on Deadly Class at Image Comics with Rick Remender. He talks about the convention experience, how he and Remender bring the book to life, his process, his personal connection to the story, character acting, the way he brings motion onto the page, the difference between his approach on various projects, how he brings color into his own work, how the schedule impacts his work and much more. It's a great talk with, in my opinion, the best artist working in comics today.

Apr 27, 2016

In another Emerald City ComiCon edition of Off Panel, colorists Matt Wilson (The Wicked + The Divine, Black Widow) and Nathan Fairbairn (Wonder Woman: Earth One, the upcoming Lake of Fire) join the show to talk about the world of comic coloring. They talk the impact of being a colorist, how they got into that line of work, their breaking in stories, how many books they can handle at one time, how the project can impact their work, their approach to coloring comics, the evolution of color art, colorists as storytellers, colorists that stand out to them, the three jobs of a colorist, how they refine their work, colorists in the overall conversation of comics, and more. For those interested in color work, this is a great insight into the work colorists do.

Apr 24, 2016

In this week's first podcast from Emerald City ComiCon, artist Fiona Staples joins the show to talk her art. Staples talks about what first made her want to work on comics for a living, how she first made her way into the industry, the disconnect between Saga's success and what she does, her process and how she works, the mad science of creating Saga with Brian K. Vaughan, character acting, how working with BKV changes her ability to bring characters to life, relaunching Archie, her own evolution as an artist, and more. It's another shorter episode, but a good one with one of the finest artists in comics today.

Apr 19, 2016

In another special edition podcast recorded at Emerald City ComiCon, writer Joshua Williamson joins the show to talk his work on books like Nailbiter, Birthright and the upcoming rebirth of The Flash. He talks about his path to comics, how he develops his own stories, what he's done to prepare for defining a new era of The Flash, his epic Flash reread, how Batman Returns helped him get into comics, comic book economics, promoting comics, Geoff Johns' epic comic collection, Williamson's apple cart theory, the artists he works with, the collaborative process of comics, creative attribution in comics, reading comic reviews, why you should pick up The Flash, and more.

Apr 17, 2016

On the first special podcast recorded at Emerald City ComiCon this year, we have a quick chat with artist Mitch Gerads. We talk about how he first got into comics, how his design background impacts his art, why The Sheriff of Babylon is such an important project to him, how working with writer Tom King is such a great fit, how coloring himself changes his work, and much more. Give it a listen to learn more about one of the best artists and comics around today.

Apr 12, 2016

Jonathan Hickman guests on Off Panel this week to talk about his current and upcoming Image books - East of West and The Black Monday Murders. The conversation starts with a discussion about East of West, his comic with artist Nick Dragotta, looking at how that book developed, how the two of them work together, how far out Hickman plans, how his background in other fields impacts his writing, world-building, their recent silent issue, who his favorite character is, and what's next for the book. Hickman also discusses his recently announced title with Tomm Coker, The Black Monday Murders, why it's such an exciting project for him, how he's taking bonus content in the book to another level, how people response to the design elements in his books, and then the discussion shifts to talk about comic book economics, collection sales, what today's industry is like, how Image fits in, launching new titles at different points in your career, and much more. It's a sprawling discussion with one of the industry's best creators.

Apr 5, 2016

Cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks guests on this week's episode of Off Panel, as she joins the show to talk her new graphic novel, The Nameless City. She talks her insanely busy schedule, the long build to the release of the book, how it developed, why she wanted to create a trilogy of stories, visual storytelling, bringing action sequences to life, the diversity of her story, embracing fantasy elements, working with Jordie Bellaire on the book, working with First Second, the growing YA comic world, the power of Raina Telgemeier and Jeff Smith and much more.

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