Writer Torunn Grønbekk joins the show to talk about her path to comics and her work on comics like Thor and Red Sonja. Grønbekk discusses the greatness of Nic Klein, her natural art lean, the Norway comic scene, how comics saved her, her breaking in story, the origins of her writing Jane Foster: Valkyrie, co-writing as a gateway, launching her Marvel career during the pandemic, being a pinch hitter, writing Red Sonja, her instinctual nature, genre leans, where she wants to go next, and more.
Retailer Steve Anderson joins the podcast to chat about how things are going at his comic shop chain, Third Eye Comics. Anderson discusses how he manages his seven shops, the importance of being proactive, the ComicsPRO experience, DC's smart moves, how he's feeling about comics retail, previous pessimism, pathing customers to comics, why success felt harder in 2022, his upcoming shop launches, what's working at his shops, trade waiting, building spectacle, what isn't working, how to adjust to uncertainty, and more.
Manga journalist Deb Aoki joins the podcast this week to chat about the explosion in manga sales the past few years and what has led to it. Aoki discusses her Emerald City Comic Con experience, making connections for manga stories, how she became a manga journalist, the world of writing about manga, Japan's manga sales, speaking to different audiences, the impact of adaptations, price and accessibility, why there are always manga "booms," the amount of product, simplicity in manga stories, supply chain issues, the gifts of manga storytellers, and more.
Writer/artist John Allison returns for a conversation about the upcoming The Great British Bump-Off and his larger views on comics right now. Allison discusses the origins of The Great British Bump-Off, its evolution, pairing baking shows with mystery stories, the episodic nature of finite series, Shauna Wickle, how writing Shauna differs from other characters, the book's supporting cast, Primrose the cat, the greatness of Max Sarin, how they work together, the title's tone, how his feelings about the comic industry have evolved, his Patreon, where he's at now, and more.
Writer Al Ewing joins the show to chat about his approach to writing comics like X-Men Red, Wasp, Venom, and more. Ewing discusses managing the work, what drives his schedule, where pitches fit in, dealing with external forces, constraints as opportunities, Fury's evolving identity, Immortal Hulk's structure, no longer being the space guy, avoiding repetition, mic drop moments, realizing the potential of characters, the secret to tie-ins, how he works with artists, pushing himself as a writer, and more.
BOOM! Studios' President of Publishing & Marketing, Filip Sablik, joins the show to discuss what BOOM! is up to as we head into ComicsPRO's annual meeting. Sablik discusses the ComicsPRO experience, what he's looking for at the event, its value, what's working for BOOM!, the anomalies of 2020 and 2021, BOOM!'s number of titles, balancing variants, Kickstarter as a tool, comics promotion, inspiring in-store sales, experimentation, format focuses, whether a shift is on for single issues, finite series, changes to distribution and digital, what's next for BOOM!, and more.
Artist Jamie McKelvie joins the show to discuss his past few years and his work in Batman: One Bad Day - Catwoman. McKelvie discusses his work schedule, taking on more small projects, the challenges of a long run, his fluid approach to art, pushing his art, his process on Catwoman, how much runway he had on the book, why he took on that project, working with G. Willow Wilson, the appeal of Catwoman, having fun with the project, his depiction of Catwoman, factoring letters and colors into his art, writing as an artist, the learnings from Captain Carter, how his relationship with his art has changed, the evolution of what he wants from comics, The Killing Horizon, and more.
Writer Gerry Duggan joins the show to chat about his most recent work, amongst other things. Duggan discusses what his new series The Giant Kokjü does, its origins, how the state of the world has impacted him as a storyteller, the comedy of the series, Scott Koblish's work, his book of photography, why villains were the priority in X-Men, his X-Men plan, differentiating his run, building connections in Invincible Iron Man, writing X-Men versus Marauders and Iron Man, how the X-Office experience has changed things for him, and more.
Letterer Clayton Cowles joins the show for a conversation about his career and approach to lettering titles like Batman, Immortal X-Men, Daredevil, and more. Cowles discusses managing his expansive workload, where his love of comics started, going to The Kubert School, working with Virtual Calligraphy, his process to starting a project, how the lettering space has evolved, for-hire versus creator-owned, where challenges lie, the impact of repeat collaborators, pushing yourself, impact projects from his career, revisiting old work, and more.
Polygon's Entertainment Editor Susana Polo returns to the show for a free-flowing chat about the wider world of comics. Polo discusses Polygon's content development process, how much of the focus is on what works, whether that impacts her view of comics, the Eternals as a Tumblr fave, Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic's run, downstream impacts of downturns at Netflix and HBO Max, She-Hulk and Jack of Hearts, the comics conversation, the X-Men line, favored D-list characters, superheroes as copaganda, the greatness of Friday, Sandman's fandom, Defenders Beyond, 2022's electric year in bio and autobio comics, the impact of editors, and more.
Writer/artist Rob Guillory guests this week, as we chat about his shifting approach and newly launched BOOM! series Mosely. Guillory discusses his many hats as a creator, what he's learned from recent projects, how he's pushing his career, adding writing to the mix, Farmhand's evolution, how autobiographical his work has become, Mosely's origins, the visuals of the book, tech commentary, the importance of family in his stories, his publishing partners, how his view of his work and career has shifted, and more.
Retailer Patrick Brower joins the show to chat about the year at his comic shop, Challengers Comics + Conversation, and the state of the direct market. Brower discusses the year at Challengers, the flip side of success, the weird vibes today, time costs, the difficulty of handselling, what moved the needle this year, the impact of economic uncertainty, what isn't working, the retailer conversation, variant covers, what he wants more from publishers, where single issue comics are headed, the medium versus the business, what he's excited for in 2023, and more.
Artist Liana Kangas returns to the show to discuss their busy past few years and their new BOOM! series, Know Your Station. Kangas discusses how they manage their extreme levels of busy, what goes into being a creator, balancing today and tomorrow, cover work, the Zestworld experience, the state of social media, returning to conventions, Trve Kvlt at IDW, whether that series was their baby, the story behind Know Your Station, its collaborative process, their growth as an artist, this time for comic creators, and more.
Writer Kieron Gillen joins Off Panel to discuss his big year on A.X.E.: Judgment Day, Immortal X-Men, Once & Future, and beyond. Gillen discusses his writing schedule, balancing responsibilities, Judgment Day's position for him, his approach to superhero stories, the fluidity of storytelling, "gets" in superhero comics, the X-Office, the surprising nature of Judgment Day, writing tie-ins, Syne the Memotaur, his collaborators, how Immortal X-Men and X-Men Red fit together, Sins of Sinister, the current path he's on, and more.
My pal Brandon Burpee returns to Off Panel this week for our eighth annual end of the year countdown episode. Burpee joins me to discuss the year in comics, the value of surprise, what surprised this year, the appeal of minis, superhero takes, the overwhelming amount of Batman, the year in event comics, the state of the X-Men, our honorable mentions, and more, before we close by counting down our 20 favorite comics of the year.
In a special, year end episode of Off Panel, we look at the defining themes of 2022 in comics with the help of Big Bang Comics' Bruno Batista, The Beat's Heidi MacDonald, and Vault Comics' Damian Wassel. Up first is Batista (1:10), who talks about the number of comics in the direct market with no clear audience, how widespread this issue is, how focused this issue is, how much this issue has worsened, whether marketing fits into this, and how this has affected the market. After that is MacDonald (33:00), who discusses the stagnant page rates, creator monetization, where those subjects are all headed. And to close is Wassel (109:09), who talks about the state of storytelling in comics, where sci-fi and fantasy are as genres, longform storytelling in comics, how things are evolving, comics being the last bastion of serialized storytelling, and more.
Writer Jason Aaron joins Off Panel this week to talk about what he's been up to this year, namely, his new BOOM! series Once Upon a Time at the End of the World. Aaron discusses where things are headed for him, being at the culmination of something, the development of Once Upon a Time, the appeal of limited series, the three pronged nature of the story, its two leads, how they evolved, why the book needed three artists, it ending up at BOOM!, scratching other itches, the value of being uncomfortable, long runs on a title in 2022, his goals for The Punisher, pitching comics, and more.
Popverse's Deputy Editor Tiffany Babb joins Off Panel this week to talk about the story behind that comics and pop culture website. Babb discusses what a day at Popverse is like, her comics and comics criticism origins, seriality in comics, differentiating Popverse, moving from criticism to journalism, balancing content, her role at Popverse, content development, how memberships impact approach, live blogging, covering conventions, the ReedPop of it all, what she'd like more of, where comic sites fit, the slow death of Twitter, the year in comics, autobio comics, the business side of comics, and more.
Writer Ed Brubaker returns to Off Panel this week to talk about his latest projects and the larger comic industry. Brubaker discusses revisiting your own work as an adaptation, his Panel Syndicate series Friday, his nemesis, digital vs. print, the greatness of Marcos Martin, the flexibility of the idea, Friday Fitzhugh, the Reckless series, finding more story as he works, readers following creatives over characters, graphic novels vs. single issues, what Night Fever is for them, the state of comics, experimentation, his own sense of change, and more.
Writer/artist Alex Ross joins Off Panel this week to talk about his latest graphic novel Fantastic Four: Full Circle. Ross discusses the origins of that project, the appeal of the idea, what it built from, the draw of the Fantastic Four, getting their voices right, how time changed the project, the shadow of Marvels and Kingdom Come, his visual approach to the book, testing his art, covers versus interiors, the graphic novel format, and more.
Writer and cartoonist Chip Zdarsky joins Off Panel this week to chat about his vast slate of current projects. Zdarsky discusses his Substack's impact on his promotional approach, the origins of Public Domain, the idea of genres, tackling creator rights...while working for DC and Marvel, blending character and story, getting back to drawing an ongoing series, the power of no, his newsletter, the difference between Batman and Daredevil, finding his own stories with them, Daredevil's isolated nature, his artistic collaborators, what the future looks like, and more.
Writer Kyle Starks joins Off Panel this week to chat about his Skybound horror series, I Hate This Place. Starks discusses I Hate This Place's origins, the subjectivity of horror and comedy, confronting realities, connecting with readers, comedy as a four letter word, the haunted ranch angle, the title's two leads, its backup comic strips, the greatness of Dante Howitzer, Artyom Topilin's art, the current state of comics, his goals for comics, and more, before we close with hot takes about the current NBA season.
Cartoonist Gale Galligan joins Off Panel for an extended chat about their work and their just released graphic novel, Freestyle. Galligan discusses the intersection of drawing and comics as a youth, the impact of comic strips and manga, what they learned from working with Raina Telgemeier, The Baby-Sitters Club club, the appeal of shorter comics, blending emotions, how Freestyle evolved at Scholastic, its main cast, telling stories about young people, establishing shots, their process, photo reference, the honesty of kids, secret teammates, and more.
Writer Marjorie Liu joins the show for a career-spanning chat with a slight focus on her latest graphic novel, The Night Eaters: She Eats the Night. Liu discusses time traveling in writing, never being off the clock, her early days as a writer, the appeal of comics, her path to comics, the collaborative nature of comics, partnering with Sana Takeda, Sana's malleability, world-building, the origins of The Night Eaters, balancing tones, why family is such an interest, horror as a genre, the presence of COVID in the story, the graphic novel format, managing workloads, and more.
Marvel's Senior VP of Publishing and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort joins Off Panel for an expansive chat about his career at Marvel. Brevoort discusses his email newsletter, his internship at Marvel, working with artists, his time in Special Projects, transitioning into editorial, editorial when Image was started, when things turned post-bankruptcy, sticking around in the Marvel Heroes office, The Bendis Era, "gets" from events, Marvel's editorial structure, whether the 2010s shift what a Marvel comic could be, subjectivity in art, finding new talent, the best creator at pitching at retreats, and more.