Word Balloon Podcast

SDCC 2011: Word Balloon – Jonathan Hickman and 6th Annual Podcasting Panels

Show Notes

Our San Diego Comic Con coverage begins with the two panels I was honored to moderate.

First up is Jonathan Hickman's Spotlight. This was Hickman's first San Diego Comic-Con in 5 years, and it was a chance to field craft questions from fans about his past Image and Marvel books, and a look at FF, Secret Warriors, and SHIELD, plus the new books The Red Wing, Feel Better Now, and his upcoming run on The Ultimates.

Jon was candid about career advice, and even gave an enthusiastic shout out to DC's new 52!

Then, it's the 6th annual podcasting panel, also featuring our own Conor Kilpatrick, Pat Loika (Loikamania) John Mayo (Comic Book Page), Cammy Hathaway (Cammy's Comic Corner), Jimmy Aquino (Comic News Insider), and Brian Christman (Comic Geek Speak).


Get Involved

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  1. This is the stuff I’ve been waiting for. Thanks for popping this stuff up for those of us who couldn’t go to SDCC!

  2. Attended this panel at SDCC, it was good.

  3. The 6th Annual podcasting panel John talks about can be found here:

  4. My favorite part about any live podcast is listening to myself ask questions. Also, if I can get John Sluntres to speak at my funeral with his amazing voice, please, kill me now.

    – Dom

  5. @BBretall  or it can be heard in this podcast I’ve posted 

  6. Yeah Jon included the panel in this episode, Bob. Sounds great.

  7. Sorry, I am sick and tired of “but they’re good stories” as a defense of the reboot.
    Call it what you will but, for many, the idea and concept of continuity is a very valid concern. I don;t mean slavish concern for canon such as “but in issue 234 flash wore his watch on his left hand, but in issue 546 it’s on his right”.
    No, readers develop a relationship and routine with a story and characters, and when you throw it away it’s not going to be viewed favorably.
    Imagine if the gov’t took your kids and replaced them and said “so what these are good kids too”.

  8. @syngar98  I’m all for the Reboot and had ignorantly assumed that all those against were just whiny fanboys. Thank you for showing me I was wrong. You actually present an interesting and mature argument, unlike most of a similar opinion.

    As a defense though, I would say that, fundamentally, these characters are not going to change that much. They will still be recognisable as the heroes we all know and love, just in different circumstances (and costumes).

    On the other side of the coin, think about how difficult it is for new readers to assimilate into this relationship long-time readers like us have. As I was rereading a Green Lantern story recently, I realised just how “insidery” a conversation between Hal and Flash was. If I had no prior exprience of these characters, I’d feel like the third wheel, and that might put me off.

    I understand your concerns, but I’m hoping the Reboot will keep the things we love intact while also making those same things accessible to new readers.

    P.S. My keyboard is fucked up, so please excuse any missed out letters. This is why I don’t usually “rant” online.

  9. @syngar98  –i think that the concerns you raise are valid, but held by a very slim minority of readers. Appeasing them will push DC and comics in general into extinction. 

    I think in the end though, creating something accessible to a wide audience is more important that catering to a very very small one. 

    Long and complex continuity should be a secondary concern to reading a great story shouldn’t it? If its just about the soap opera and timelines then whats the point?

  10. i really enjoyed this podcast. Its a shame about that audio from the Hickman panel, but still really good discussions. 
    The digital panel was really good and i’m glad that the discussion is taking place. I think Conor raised a great point about there being books that people want to buy and just can’t find them. Its not just indie stuff….its big 2 stuff too. With the market being the way it is, it can be really tough to find a lot of things after 10:01am on a wednesday because you weren’t there to buy the one copy.  For me the limitations of the direct market as in not being able to get stuff is one of the biggest pro digital arguments out there.
    The one detractor who was talking about the cost barrier for tech (can’t remember his name)..i don’t know if i can go there. I feel thats a 1% kinda argument..tech is pretty commonplace, smart phones and desktop computers are pretty accessible and some would even argue essential to a lot of people right now. I don’t see that as a major issue, and i think its always a poor idea to design a sales strategy around the needs of the lowest common denominator. Its HD channels still showing 4:3 content. The train is moving…get on board or get out of the way!
    Bravo to another great word balloon episode!
  11. @wallythegreenmonster  respectfully the audio of the Hickman panel is fine, just not plugged in like the podcast half is. 

    Be glad that I had the back up recorder going, so we could get it at all. 

  12. @wordballoon  —oh i know…hickman was fine, but i couldn’t hear the audience…there were a few things i was bummed that i missed out on ….but such is life when you’re out of the studio right? Either way great job and yeah, awesome to have a backup. 

  13. @wallythegreenmonster  At the “smaller” panels the audience doesn’t have a microphone, which kind of sucks.

  14. @conor–they need those giant Satellite dish microphones like on the sidelines of NFL games. those are cheap right? =)

  15. @conor @wallythegreenmonster tapping into the con sound boards have gotten better, but still far from perfect.

    really must remember to come with all possible sound board connections, including usb, and old fashioned mic cable inputs, rca, mini etc…

  16. and no offense to my fellow panelists but christ i looklike flounder in this “animal house
    ‘ group shot.

    connor is d-day

  17. 1) Digital: There is a cost barrier to digital and it’s not a “1% problem.”  Tech isn’t as ubiquitous as those of us who frequent message boards seem to think. Further, much of what IS available to lower socioeconomic statused individuals isn’t available for many of today’s digital comics venues/ Try to install Graphic.ly on a PC at the library.

    Also, and I have to shout this one: YOU CAN’T PAY FOR A DIGITAL BOOK WITH CASH. Vast numbers of Americans do not havecredit cards or even bank accounts. They operate in a world of cash and money orders; iTunes/comixology/graphic.ly/etc. do not. Yes, a motivated individual can go use his cash to buy a prepaid credit card, but that person gets to pay a premium, ranging from 10-25% (e.g. a $20 Visa may cost $24.95 at the corner bodega).  Digital cuts off that market entirely.

    2) Length. I don’t love four hour podcasts. I don’t love three hour-plus interviews being jammed into one show. Keep it reasonable. 

    3) Pocasts in general. Get to the point. As Ron once tweeted, if you’re doing a comics revioew podcast and 20 minutes in you’re still not talking comics you’re doing it wrong. And get a good mic, learn to use Skype, and encourage if not require guests to Skype or use a land line. Cell phone interviews often (usually) suck.

    4) Panels in specific. Mic the audience questions or repeat them verbatim – in show or in post – for the home audience. And the moderator shouldn’t be a featured guest, s/he should moderate.

  18. @RobAbsten  –i do think that the amount of comic readers without access to computers/phones is becoming in the slim minority. its really a bad strategy to design the future of your entire publishing business around the needs of the lowest common denominator. The term “pay to play” comes to mind. Make cool stuff that is forward thinking and desirable and people will want to jump on board. 

    Its not like they are replacing paper comics offerings with digital. Its just an extra product offering. 

  19. Just curious was there an official moderator for the panel?

  20. @ericmci  yes, me for both panels. 

  21. @RobAbsten  excuse me, but there is more than one way to do a panel. the podcast panel was always intended to be a discussion amongst ALL OF US.

    Ever watch Bill Maher’s shows? Good thing he never participates in his panel discussions (that’s a joke son). Charlie Rose gets his opinions in as well on his shows. Mark Evanier moderated and was part of this years SDCC 70’s panel. 

    Wish we had mikes for the audience q’s but we didn’t, those are the breaks. 

    when YOU get to moderate a panel, do it the ways you think best. I’ve been happy with my panels.

    and btw, the 3 hour 50 minute Giant Sized word balloon ep broke the 10 thousand download  mark in 7 days and is already past the 11 thousand mark.  I guess your opinions are in the minority. 

  22. wasn’t sure  for the second- seemed like you and conor were co moderators.

  23. @wallythegreenmonster  I am not neccesarily opposed to the reboot, my point is, that with knowledge of a reboot (or whatever we have decided to call it), I have lost some of my concern for what happens in the interim.

    I liken it to changing jobs or moving to a new apartment. Obviously until I actually start at my new job and stay at the old one I will have to “live” with the old, but all the inherent concerns, hopes and whatnot are diminished regarding it.

    Maybe I am a simplistic person in this regard, but, one shots have always been somewhat less appealing to me than ongoing titles. Don’t get me wrong I have loved some one shots (Red Son comes to mind), but theres is always that niggling little sense of disapointment and honestly anxiety as the final pages come and I know I won’t see ay more of it.

    I posit that for many, the enjoyment of a story is somewhat influenced by the knowledge that there will be “more”, and that what happpens in an issue will have future ramifications. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that a story is expereinced differently when you know ultimately it doesn’t matter.

    Let me reiterate, I am not neccearily opposed to this reboot, but I do lose a lot of my interest in these interim issues.

  24. @wordballoon  Personally I like longer episodes, I listen at work and the less I have to dig around for podcasts to listen to the better.

    I do concede though that poor audio can be grating to some.

  25. I’d like to know more about this Brubaker story… Also, Hickman is a lot of fun to listen to.

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