Do you want a new interview podcast?

June 18th, 2012 by |

I have an idea. The short version is a conversation with me and comics pros, delivered like a podcast but also transcribed for easy reading. It would be something separate from 4l!, but related. A side project, I guess.

The long version goes: comics industry interviews are kind of a bummer. They never seem to go as in-depth as I’d like on any subject, interviewers handcuff themselves to prevent accidental controversy or maintain relationships, creators are guarded and focused just on the one thing, and worst of all, there’s no room for digression. Interviews tend to hit the release date, something “best work of his career” something, how it relates to other comics if it’s a crossover book, and out. Even John Siuntres’s Word Balloon podcast has kind of a guarded “I don’t want to say the wrong thing” feel to it sometimes.

This really bugs me, because most comics folks I’ve met are pretty garrulous and engaging. The best panels at any con are the creator spotlights or creators in conversation with each other, where they’re allowed to digress, talk trash, and generally run the show. Same with bar-con after the con — I’ve talked comics, movies, porno tumblrs, bar etiquette, romance, basketball, and who knows what else with these folks, and they were always really friendly, wide-ranging conversations. They were also divorced from the stress of being at a con and having to continually pimp your wares and be upbeat.

My idea is to basically bring some of that flavor to comics internet, because I think it’s sorely missing. You can get news about so-and-so’s new run on whatever anywhere, and that doesn’t really interest me right now. I want to talk to comics people about everything. I know a little bit about a lot of things. I’d like to be educated, share jokes, argue opinions, and more. Here’s what I’m contemplating:

Concept: A one-on-one conversation between me and a comics professional (of whatever stripe or type) on a specific subject, with that conversation being allowed to go wherever it leads.
Format: Ideally, a 30-45 minute mp3 and accompanying annotated/hyperlinked transcription, delivered once a week or (much more likely) bi-weekly.
Tone: Informal. Funny. Friendly. Straight talk. I’m a friendly guy, and I’d like to get people who would be willing to open up and have some fun. And that’s not code for “being willing to rake muck with me” or anything, I just like it when people are like “You like WHAT? Why?!” and it ends up being an enlightening conversation instead of an awkward bludgeoning.
Method: I’d trade emails with the pro before we record, of course, and try and check out where their interests and mine intersect. This won’t be “David talks to somebody about stuff he already knows” so much as “David talks to someone about stuff that he has at least the bare minimum of knowledge on in order to keep up.” I want to be educated, I want to be thrilled, I want a chance to be like “Are you serious right now?” when someone is explaining old ’70s underground comix.
Subjects: Anything. If someone wants to talk about ’70s Marvels, sure. If they want to do a heavy post-mortem or analysis of their own work (I guess I’d be doing the analysis, but whatevs), we can do that. If they want to talk about how amazing the lighting is in Ridley Scott movies? Let’s get it. ’90s Britpop vs ’90s rap? Sure, that’s weird, but okay. Anything goes.

I have a couple caveats/rules to keep this thing interesting to me. Hopefully they aren’t deal breakers. I want to do it outside of the Big Two PR machine, if I’m talking to a Big Two creator. I want to do it outside of the usual marketing calendar, too. I’m up for interviewing someone around when their book comes out, but I don’t want pimping the new ish to be the focus. I just want a cool conversation and to learn something new. I’d also like to somehow make money off this, because I’m going to need to buy a Skype/phone recording app and a decent USB headset. Plus, transcription is excruciating, and if I’m putting that much work in, then I should definitely be getting paid for it. I’ve thought about pitching it to a few different sites, but I’m pretty sure doing it solo is the way to go, just for the control, freedom, and lack of hassle. Except lack of hassle means lack of cash soooooooo… I’ll work this out maybe.

I don’t know exactly how to get high-quality Skype recordings, and I’m definitely lost when it comes to recording a phone call in a way that doesn’t sound like total crap. I have a mixer I could probably use to make sure the volume sounds balanced, since I always come up low on mics. Anyway, all of that just takes time, research, and money, though. Friends have suggested a Kickstarter to get quality equipment, if needed. But I figure even if I buy the nicest things ever, it’d just cost like 100, 200 bucks, and hosting isn’t a big deal at all, unless it somehow blows up bigger than everything I’ve ever done to date. As far as problems to solve go, the logistics pale in the face of getting creators on the show, transcribing, etc.

My question to you: is this something you’d be interested in? Do you think it has a place or could find an audience in comics internet? Does it sound like a worthwhile endeavor?

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71 comments to “Do you want a new interview podcast?”

  1. I would love this. I listen to quite a few podcasts, so I actually have some things to suggest: make sure the quality is good. I have yet to find a comics interview podcast that doesn’t sound like shit. Also, the time is important. There is another comics interview podcast that is 2-3 hours every episode. I can never find time to listen to it, so I think your 45 minute time frame is perfect.

  2. is this something you’d be interested in? Do you think it has a place or could find an audience in comics internet? Does it sound like a worthwhile endeavor?

    Yes, yes, and yes.

  3. I’d love this. I never have the time to listen to podcasts, and I’ve oft wished to read casual creator interviews in text form, but they’re always just podcasts. Also, you’re smart. Shut up and take my money, Brothers.

  4. I’d love to have this, yes.

  5. Yes

  6. This sounds great.

  7. Interview podcasts are the only sort I can endure, so I think this sounds like a good idea. Accompanying it with a transcription is even better.

  8. Brilliant idea.

  9. Yes, please.

  10. Yes.

    I don’t listen to many comics podcasts for a variety of reasons; the only one I ever find myself coming back to that still updates is Inkstuds.

    It’d be nice to have another one, even moreso if it was Inkstuds-y like it feels this one might be.

  11. Yes. yes please. do this

  12. Yes, totally.

  13. This sounds pretty much like my dream comics podcast, and I think you’d be the perfect guy to put it together.

  14. Yes. Also, consider a public radio style tipjar/pledge model.

  15. I love your 4th letter podcast from a while back, so I want to make the suggestion that you also include not just artist/writers to talk about comics, but also fellow comics journalists or podcasters that wouldn’t mind talking about a particular subject that they like. John Siuntres or Graham McMillian or the Funnybook Babylon guys would be interesting people to discuss culture with for an hour.

    I’d also like some of the topics just about comics fan culture. The Indoor Kids is a great podcast not because they talk dryly about video games they like, but because they talk alot about the culture of it.

  16. @gary: Graeme, dude.

  17. Assuming you interviewed people that I had any interest in, yes.

  18. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

    Please, yes.

    Yes, please.

  19. As someone who has been eagerly awaiting the next Fourcast, YES!

  20. Yes.

  21. while the idea sounds good and id be interested in reading you doing real ‘talks’ not ‘interviews’, i have zero interest in listening to podcasts.

  22. That would be amazing.

  23. I would definitely listen to this.

  24. Hardly ever listen to podcasts personally but I remember from 4Cast that you’re a good talker. Also, i fully support your theme of staying away from the PR machine and toward off-beaten-path subjects.

    Double-plus-good for pre-interview discussion. Keeps things focused and smooth.

  25. Sure. Go for it.

  26. Yes please.

  27. I’d love something that actually cuts through the PR bullshit.

  28. It sounds like a comics podcast I’d be listening to every week. Truthfully it really does sound like an amazing idea.

  29. I’m always interested in new stuff to listen to, I’d be interested.

  30. A great idea.

  31. Yes, I’d definitely be interested.

    I’ve often thought the best off topic/digression trash talk/that sort of thing comes from creators playing off one another. So while it’d admittedly be much more difficult logistically, have you given any thought to doing more of a mini-panel show where you interview two creators at once? To encourage more going off on tangents and less focusing on one person’s latest thing?

  32. yes to all of it!

  33. I love this idea, especially since it’s going to be transcribed. I’m never able to listen to podcasts but I’d love to be able to read this on a regular basis.

  34. David, have you listened to our podcast, SiDEBAR?

    I’m one of the co-hosts and much of the vibe you are describing is something that we put into our conversations with guests. We’ve interviewed a number of comic pros and artists in a number of fields. Heck, we’ve even invited you personally within the last month or so to come on the show. (And the invitation still open, sir…)

    Also, we are pretty vociferous with our opinion of the comics industry (see our ‘Before Watchmen’ episode and our ‘Free Pass’ episode.)

    I’m a loyal reader of your columns here, so I’m most definitely all in if you want to jump into podcasting. Transcribing is something that would be amazing if not incredibly time-consuming to do. But go for it!

    Our show is located at link.
    Search the Barachives to the right hand side of the page to check out our interviews and roundtable discussions.

    Looking forward to your new venture!


  35. Damn, just noticed after the refresh I entered the code wrong…

    SiDEBAR is located at http://www.sidebarnation.com



  36. Definitely interested. I’m a big fan of comics podcasts, and this sounds like it’d be a great one.

  37. Obviously I’m for it, but let’s ask WWE Superstar Daniel Bryant what he says about it….

    “YES! YES! YES!” -That Boy D-Bry

    P.S. Also why didn’t Gavok/Haley/Sims make this joke first?

  38. You can get decent Skype quality with a USB mike, even a headset. You have to get the person on other end using it however.

  39. Hey man. I think this sounds like a great idea. I’ve heard plenty interesting digressions in some podcasts, but what you’re pitching sounds like it’ll focus more on that aspect, and those are the parts I love the most anyway. You need to speak to guys like Fraction, Brubaker, Gillen, cos they seem like interesting guys with opinions on a lot of relevant topics outside of comics.

  40. Oh my, yes.

  41. Seriously, you should definitely do this. I really enjoyed the Fourcast when it was going, and I’m a big fan of your writing on comics/films/music.

  42. I agree with everyone above – this is a wonderful idea.

  43. I think it’s a great idea. I’ve missed listening to Fourcast! And I do think it’s smart to try and monetize it somehow, to counter the effort of transcribing and stuff like that.

    Can’t wait to listen! =)

  44. Yes! Do it!

  45. I’d listen.

  46. Every time I listen to a comics podcast, I think that we need more of what you’re suggesting. I’d definitely listen to it.

  47. Yes, definitely.

    Funny, I thought about that a few days ago – that I’d love to see you do interviews with creators.

  48. OBViously.It’s not just that we should have it, but that you’re the right man for the job. Aside from being smart ‘n friendly enough to do it, your interests range widely enough that you can cover a wider field without going off the map, which is what we need pretty desperately.

    Go for it, man.

  49. If you need help transcribing, you have many friends that would be willing to help to make a thing like this happen

  50. I think Siuntres covers a lot, wandering to other subjects (when do he and Rucka not talk politics & Rockford!). Ther is room for more to be sure, so go for it. But I don’t love framing it in terms that imply any inadequacy in Siuntres work. The guy gives alot and established the interview driven comics podcast. If I thought anyone was giving him a sneer I’d be turned off. You seem like a solid guy though, so you’ve got the benefit of the doubt with me.

  51. yes

  52. Thanks everyone, I figure that’s a resounding yes. Now I have to start looking at what equipment I’d need, best practices, workflow, and when I’ll have time to fit in 1000% more work than I already do. Probably post later this week about hardware if I can’t figure it out on my own. I should probably also come up with a name.

    @Nick: I’m not sure how what I said was a sneer at Siuntres. I like his podcast, he’s friends with a couple friends of mine, but I don’t think saying that the conversations are guarded is a diss at all, really. I just listened to part of the new one, with Fraction? And Fraction was very careful about what he said, in part because he works far enough ahead that what’s on the stands isn’t necessarily what’s currently in his head.

    But this entire idea is predicated on my thought that there is something missing that I want out of comics internet, and it’s kind of hard to put that idea forward without also pointing out why/where it’s missing, even for podcasts I enjoy.

    @Chris M: I thought about it, but it would quickly become unwieldy, especially if we’re recording online. I think one on one would be nicer in the long run. Better focus, since we’re dealing with just one train of thought and me keeping up instead of a couple.

    @Micah: Yeah, as much as I hate asking for money, I may well have to do that.

    @Heidi MacDonald: Thanks Heidi. I’m probably going to go that route, and start looking into Skyping actual phones or some other solution.

  53. Love the idea and hope people have the patience to give the podcast a chance to grow and improve when you do start it. Good luck and look forward to it!!

  54. ” I want to do it outside of the Big Two PR machine, if I’m talking to a Big Two creator.”

    Don’t expect anything but the company line. Anyone who’s honest will get shit canned the next day.

  55. I use skype for everything on the studs, and it is real easy to use for recording the other end, just make sure you record in high quality audio and separate channels for you and your guest so you can fix the levels.

  56. The trick to high-quality Skype recordings is a “double-ender”. I.e. you don’t record Skype at all. Instead, the participants just each run another recording application while they’re doing the Skype call, then transfer the resulting files to the host. Of course, that means you have to then put them together again in a sensible way, but you get crystal-clear sound from everyone.

  57. The excellent Inkstuds offers a format on the same wavelength as this. If anyone reading it hasn’t checked out Inkstuds, you should hop on it. The interviews with Brandon Graham are some of my favorites.

    Oh look! Inkstuds posted here! I can’t give that podcast more praise.

  58. Damn Brothers, I’m all in on this one.

    Whatever you need — my money, my help transcribing, hell even just my praise — you name it, you got it.

  59. I would very much like to hear this happen.

  60. Heck yessss!

  61. I think it’d be cool if you got all kinds of professionals. You’re willing to have any kind of discussion, why not have it with any kind of creator?

    My 0.02

  62. @Olympia: My favorite one is still the interview with Stokoe, where Robin comes over in the middle of the night with chicken for James and a surprise guest joins them about 20 minutes in.

  63. Yes please. Go for it!

  64. YES.

    I’d say: Keep it short, along the 30-45 you suggest. Keep it focused — I can’t stand long meandering windups in lieu of the basic professionalism of determining what to talk about, and saying your personal hellos, BEFORE hitting “record.” Talk to artists only. By which I mean makers of stuff. Writers, inkers, letterers, musicians, novelists, any artist. If the “interview” becomes one comics blogger/journalist talking to another blogger/journalist … no matter how cool those two guys are, it’s about the last thing the comics internets need more of.

    That’s my take, and it sounds really in line with what you’ve proposed. I really look forward to whatever you produce.

  65. I don’t really need to be the 65th person to say this, but you should do this. If you Kickstarter it, I’m in for 20 bucks.

  66. Hey folks, there ARE great podcasts out here! David is familiar with thecomicshoppe.com, courtesy of afronerdradio.com. You have ifanboy, exploring the multiverse and pete’s basement. You just have to search. We even interviewed the late Dwayne Mcduffie and we’re working on getting Larry Tye who has a bio on Superman out right now…check us out.

  67. I would normally say that the last thing this world needs is another comics podcast . . . comics must have the highest podcast-per-fan ratio in existence. But since it’s David Brothers, I can only say, f-yeah. Do it, dude

  68. YES. Like a WTF with Marc Maron for comics.

  69. Admittedly, I’m being a bit self-promotional, but I encourage everyone to check out the podcast “Stuff Said with Gregg Schigiel” (http://stuffsaidshow.com).

    It’s very similar to what you’re describing, David, minus the transcriptions.

    I’m the host of the show (as well as a working cartoonist (I’m one of the artists on SPONGEBOB COMICS)) and I’ve endeavored to make the kind of show I wanted to listen to: people in comics talking about what they do, why we do it, and taking the conversation wherever it might go.

  70. I keep thinking of the potential discussions as being the Crossfire of comics. Do it.

  71. […] here as much as a reminder to myself (Unlike David Brothers’ similar, more-thought-out post here), and short because I’ve not thought this out at all; it’s literally something that […]