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.
The Beat's Heidi MacDonald joins Off Panel for a chat about the return of conventions and where the comics industry is right now. MacDonald discusses how cons are ramping up, how they're performing after much time off, the value of conventions for websites, the importance of comic sites, how they're valued, comic book distribution, the health of single issues, finding new paths, AI art, where things are right now, the state of DC, and more.
Writer Ed Brisson returns to the show to dive deep into our mutual love, and his current writing of the Marvel series, Predator. Brisson discusses his recent promotional road trip, his Predator origin story, blending horror and action, dialing back the Predator, the origins of this title, the dos and don'ts of Predators, inverting the concept, the flexibility of the idea, Kev Walker's impact, revisiting the movies, and more, before we close with a Predator lightning round.
Artist Ryan Stegman joins the show the week his new Image series Vanish debuts, as we talk about that title's development and more. Stegman discusses his love of Wizard and Image growing up, the pursuit of cool, antiheroes, doing his own thing, planning Vanish, his approach to design, how the KLC Press Substack changed Vanish, the value of editors, why he doesn't ink himself, his growth as an artist, planning out variant covers, getting into writing, the upcoming NBA season, and more.
Comics journalist Oliver Sava returns to Off Panel, as it's once again time for our annual Superhero State of the Union! In this episode, we discuss how we're feeling about superheroes right now, the current events (meaning Judgment Day and Dark Crisis), Amazing Spider-Man's current quality, John Romita, Jr., the current Venom run, where the X-Men line is, the curious spot for The Avengers side of the line, the Fantastic Four looking up, DC being Batman comics, its all over the place approach, The New Champion of Shazam popping, Black Label takes, the One Bad Day books, what we'd like to see more of from DC and Marvel, and more.
Cartoonist Wes Craig joins Off Panel for a conversation about his upcoming Image series, Kaya. Craig discusses the ending of Deadly Class, balancing projects, the biggest things he learned during that project, the origins of Kaya, the power of narration, how Kaya developed, the title's main characters, changing flavors, writing and drawing the series, the learning curve of soloing the series, his covers, whether he wants to focus on drawing and writing, and more.
The Three Worlds/Three Moons crew of Mike Del Mundo, Jonathan Hickman, and Mike Huddleston join Off Panel for a chat at this year's Emerald City Comic Con about their Substack-based concept universe. The 3W3M crew discusses the first year of the experience, how different it feels, live creation, what guides their decision making, letting the work speak for itself, crediting themselves as 3W3M, being unleashed as creators, interacting with the community, and more.
Friend of the show Brandon Burpee returns Off Panel for a rare discussion oriented on...comic book adaptations? Burpee discusses the greatness of the new Marvel Legends Maggott toy, his affinity for the character, our current feelings about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU fatigue, hype levels about the recent announcements at San Diego Comic Con, thoughts on the multiverse, how the X-Men could enter the fray, DC's status, the Wakanda Forever trailer, and more.
Cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks joins Off Panel to chat about her past few years and her upcoming graphic novel, Ride On. Hicks discusses revisiting works, the origins of Ride On, her desire to slow down, the power of no, horse books, her process, fandom as a skeleton key, tapping into your inner fan, developing the book's cast, improvements in her art, character acting, Kelly Fitzpatrick's colors, writing for someone else, creating as the world falls apart, and more.
Cartoonist Tyler Crook joins Off Panel to chat about his career and current Dark Horse series, The Lonesome Hunters. Crook discusses his comic and art origins, influences, his time in video games, tackling Petrograd, following Guy Davis on B.P.R.D., the origins of Lonesome Hunters, the relationship at the core of the story, narration, emotions over plot, magpies as villains, writing as an artist, water colors, the perks of doing your own thing, and more.
Cartoonist Declan Shalvey joins Off Panel to talk about what he's been up to and his upcoming Image series, Old Dog. Shalvey discusses embracing different models, the nature of the market, the origins of Old Dog, production value, why he wanted to tell his own story, spy details, pushing yourself, soloing the series, promoting your work, the title's lead, finding a balance in your career, and more.
Marvel Editor Sarah Brunstad joins Off Panel for a discussion about the wider world of editing comics. Brunstad discusses her path to comics, continuity's impact on editing, editorial divisions, relationship building, the importance of communication, story versus sales, supporting creators, the impact of format, misconceptions about editors, her favorite part of the job, and more.
Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt join the show to talk about C-list villains and their upcoming Dark Horse mini-series, Minor Threats. Blum and Oswalt discuss their love of the lovable losers of comics, the origins of Minor Threats, the book's cast, narrative freedoms, the greatness of Scott Hepburn, villain bars, legacy, building a vibe, creative processes, why comics are always such a draw for them, and more.
Retailer Brian Hibbs joins the show to talk about the world of comic shops. Hibbs discusses the year at his shop, Comix Experience, online stores, different paths to success, the speculator market, what's working at his shop, the major problems facing comics retail right now, Diamond Comic Distributors' issues, serialization, selling single issue comics, product vs. process, his graphic novel clubs, the impact of those, and more.