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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This week's Off Panel is a rare double feature, as Christopher Sebela and Robert Wilson IV, the creative team behind the upcoming Heartthrob at Oni Press, join the show to talk their upcoming book. The pair talks how the book first came together, their creative process, Fleetwood Mac's fit on the book, researching the era of the book (and watching heart transplant YouTube videos), what they did to promote the project, what made Oni perfect partners for them, the story behind their Jamie McKelvie variant and much more. It's a great chat with an excellent upcoming book.
The team over at DC Entertainment is having a big weekend, so Brandon Burpee joins the show to break down all of the happenings. Things kick off with a discussion about today's Rebirth announcement, our initial thoughts, what books we're buying for sure, what's got them hyped, what doesn't, and then things get into the main event: a spoiler-filled discussion about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The pair talks what they liked, what they didn't, how they're feeling about DC's cinematic universe and much more. If you haven't watched the movie yet, you can cut out after the Rebirth talk, and there's a clear spoiler warning you can't and shouldn't miss if you haven't seen it yet.
Sina Grace, the hyphenate cartoonist behind the art of The Li'l Depressed Boy, the graphic novel Self-Obsessed and the star/writer behind a webseries based off that GN (which started yesterday!), joins the show this week to talk what's going on with him. They talk the webseries, how it came together, what the inspiration was for it, whether or not he got to diva up for it, the music of the series (and the lack of Jenny Lewis), how it was adapting his own book into a different medium, his growth as a cartoonist, what his experience as the editorial director of Skybound taught him, where he plans on taking his comics next, and much more.
Kate Leth, writer of Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat and Vampirella, joins the show this week to talk her work and the growing community of women who work in retail shops that she founded - The Valkyries. Leth talks how busy she's gotten these days, why she wanted to make that Hellcat a book anyone could enjoy, how comics have been changing recently, the freedom Marvel's given her on the book, how the character in Jessica Jones did (or didn't) impact her book, Patsy's history, gateway comics, finding your voice, Brittney Williams' prodigious gifts, how the Valkyries first came together, their growing reputation, how the retail world is changing, and then everything closes with five questions about Harry Potter, Zootopia and comics.
This week's guest is the former co-host of video show 4 Color News and Brews and podcast SKTCHD Out, Brandon Burpee, as he comes on the show to talk all things Rebirth. We talk about DC's plans, what our initial thoughts are, how they're going to handle things like "universes" and "legacy," and then we get into the main event. DC hasn't announced any of the 32 creative teams as of yet, but as with most things, Brandon and I have ideas. We split the 32 books and followed a few key rules - no writer could be on more than two books and no artist could be on more than one - and delivered the creative teams and ideas that we think would make for the best DC comics universe. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.
Artist Sanford Greene guests on Off Panel this week to talk his new Marvel book, Power Man and Iron Fist. He talks collaborating with David Walker and the rest of the team, the emotions tied to launching a new title, the internet's place in getting immediate feedback in your work, his personal connection to the title, the work of defining characters visually, his influences (including animation and Norman Rockwell (!!)), photo reference, the Carolina comic connection, the changing landscape in comics for artists, and much more. I could say this every time, but this is genuinely one of the best episodes of the show yet, especially if you're an art centric fan.
Marcos Martin, artist and co-creator of The Private Eye and Barrier as well as the artist on an upcoming Walking Dead special, joins the show this week to talk his art and the unique nature of his digital endeavor with Brian K. Vaughan, Panel Syndicate. Martin talks how the upcoming Walking Dead special came together, the serendipitous nature of that experience, what kind of oversight they've seen working with someone else's toys, how his hart changes with black and white and their horizontal format, the guerrilla nature of Panel Syndicate, the appeal of their release strategy, how he views print comics, Barrier and the complaints about the language barrier, challenging yourself creatively, and much more. It's a great chat with one of the best creators in comics.
Rich Johnston, the man behind Bleeding Cool, joins Off Panel this week to talk his site and the world of comics. The discussion goes all over the place, including how he first got into comics gossip, why he's an entertainer and not a journalist, how websites and news has changed, where his stories come from, breaking stories, his bar for substantiating stories, verifying and managing sources, his insane schedule, how Avatar influences his work, what's going on with DC's Rebirth, how he justifies running certain stories, and more. It's a really interesting listen with one of the most notable comic...entertainers around.
Steve Lieber, the artist of Superior Foes of Spider-Man and the upcoming The Fix, joins the show this week to talk his work, collaboration and more. Lieber shares what appeals to him about working with writer Steve Lieber, how his art had to change as humor became much more important in his work, what makes character work so interesting, the transition to digital art, the pleasure of making people laugh with his work, his Kubert School experience, the value of photo reference, Periscope Studios, whether or not he's comics' answer to Obi Wan Kenobi, Jeff Parker's badassery as an artist, the time he took on 4chan, and much more.
The team behind Shutter, Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca, join the show this week to talk their Image Comics book. The conversation is a sprawling one, as they talk the upcoming arc of their book, the evolution of their lead and work, their process, experimenting with story and form, standing out in today's industry, the focus on what's new, Periscope Studio, Joe's love of cats, and things close with five questions, Shutter style. It's a big talk with a phenomenal creative team, and well worth a listen for fans of comics, especially of Shutter itself.
Jason Latour, the writer of Spider-Gwen and artist/co-creator of Southern Bastards, joins Off Panel this week to talk about his work, career and collaboration. We talk the difference between writing and art for him, how those two roles inform each other, his working relationships with his creative partners like Jason Aaron, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi, how growing up in the Charlotte area helped him, Coach Boss as Bill Belichick, challenging readers, Saturday morning cartoons, Spider-Gwen's success, the Carolina Panthers, barbecue, and much more.
Lazarus artist Michael Lark guests on this week's episode of Off Panel, as we talk about his Image Comics title with writer Greg Rucka. Lark discusses how the book's going, how he's handling the schedule, the depth the team goes to in the book, creator-owned comics, his process, the marriage of traditional and digital art, how his art is a happy accident, the fun of drawing comics, what appeals to him about Rucka's writing, and a whole lot more. It's a great conversation with one of the best in the business, with a ton of insight into how he works.