DC & Marvel Podcasts

I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but it looks like Marvel Comics and DC Comics are jumping on this podcast bandwagon. At first glance, I thought: excellent, great to see them embracing this new medium. But then I looked deeper and actually tried listening to them. For a company putting out “podcasts,” both companies make great comics.

I actually tried to listen to the X-Office Podcast from Marvel yesterday, and now I’ve got a bit of a rant here, so click on if you want to hear my thoughts…

DC seems to just be recording panel discussions from conventions and publishing them as podcasts. While great for those of us who didn’t attend the cons, it’s not really the kind of thing that feels special and unique. Especially with everything they’ve got going on, its an exciting time for DC. This could be a good medium for which to publicize and involve the readers. But no, instead we have to try and decipher the con panel discussion, which is always a hard thing to wrap your head around not being there.

Marvel, on the other hand has taken to half the time recording press conferences and releasing them which is akin to the DC comics approach except, do fans actually want to hear these awkward conference calls? Half the time they’re actually doing a unique specific recording, sometimes with creators involved, which would be great, if the execution wasn’t so awful. Between the jokey/unfocused approach, which to them may seem “fun,” but to me it’s just annoying. And with the irritating drumbeat music every 30 seconds, listening is a chore.

But I love my Marvel comics, so as I stated above, I gave the X-Office Podcast from Marvel a listen yesterday. Clocking in at 28 minutes, it’s a relatively short podcast. I listen to a lot of podcasts throughout my week, comics and tech mostly, and 28 minutes is a short podcast. Except when listening to this one. It took an ETERNITY to get through. No creators were involved, just the editors, and the jokey/un professional atmosphere was cranked up to 10. Now, I can laugh and enjoy hearing Bendis and Brubaker joke around. But the editors of the X-books? I’m sorry – but come on. And the thing is, they’re not even joking around about the books most of the time, they’re talking about what one guy had for dinner the night before and about baseball. Look, I get it, you’re an editor at Marvel on the X-books. I’m jealous, I wish that I had that job. But you’re no Bendis or Claremont, hell you’re not even Ben Raab, so get over yourselves. I got nothing from this podcast, no info about the books, not excitement about upcoming stories. It was just 28 minutes of a fraternity like atmosphere, but not in a good way.

It’s a real shame to see Marvel handle this great way to engage and inform fans. I know their main focus is making comics etc, but this is just such a no-brainer, and they’re just dropping the ball. It’s just sad. I also know that I’m biased, because of our podcast (which I believe to be superior to both the Marvel and DC podcasts, and not just ours, there are a handful of superior comic podcasts of which we’re just one), but if anything, ours is just an example of how the podcast can work and be enjoyable to listen and not the waste of time the Marvel podcasts have been.

Have any of you tried listening to these podcasts? Am I totally off base?


  1. Last night I listened to the Civil War podcast with Mark Millar. The conference call audio was horrible, but Millar made the podcast entertaing by answering qustions from a genre-fanboy-turned-writer perspective (I don’t know what I mean by that either). In the past I have listened to the Ultimate Avengers podcast and a Daredevil one that I think was one of Marvel’s first. The Ultimate Avengers podcast was horrible because it amounted to a 20 minute commercial for the DVD. They kept saying how great the movie is, while I consider it to be pretty mediocre. The Daredevil podcast was cool because it was entertaining to hear the writers get into the characters and plots.

    The problem is that podcasting is another way that publishers can advertise their crap. Those podcasts differ from this site’s podcasts because the iFanboys aren’t biased towards anyone. If something doesn’t impress them they say that.

    The reason why I quit reading Wizard Magazine was because the content was biased towards the larger publishers. I understand that is because Wizard needs to sell copies and they are getting a larger audience for their magazine when they pander to the larger companies. However, I found less and less interest in reading articles on the next ground breaking event that was going to hit Marvel and DC. There was little depth to the features and articles. Podcasts can be a great source of unbiased information.

    What with comic book “news” being so easy to for free on the internet and with entertaining podcasts like this site’s, I don’t need to spend +$5 on Wizard Magazine.

  2. Good points Dave, I don’t want this to break down into an anti-Wizard convo though.

    I listened to the Daredevil podcast and thought, despite the horrible audio, that it was good to hear the creators talk about it. I have the Civil War one on my ipod and just need to get around to doing it.

    The difference though is the podcasts that feature the creators are much more interesting to listen to then the awful X-Office one which was just editors. In that case, you’re right, its just another commercial.

    I think there is a big question for companies (not just comic companies) on podcasts and how to use the medium effectively, if at all. I guess I just had high hopes for Marvel and DC, knowing that they would see it as a marketing thing, that they could put out something worth listening to…

    The funny thing about Wizard (I know I said I didn’t want it to be a Wizard thread) is that they focus solely on that magazine. They attempted a website and blew it, and now their site sucks and I would be surprised if anyone at Wizard knew what a podcast was. You’d think they’re be on top of it putting out their own.

    Personally, I love out unbiased podcast and it will stay that way. But I don’t really like to listen to ours, cause well that’s weird, so even I need something to listen to. 🙂

  3. I don’t think saying that the X-Ofiice podcast was a commercial is at all accurate… in fact they hardly talk about the books. I found it amusing in places, but a bit of a waste of time.

    I’d rather have things like this and the press conferences than an advertising promotion of all the books coming out in a week however, I think Marvel and DC are trying to steer clear of that trap, yet failing to provide a suitable alternative.

    Ideally I’d love to hear a creator answering some fan mail or something, the popularity of Bendis’ mail section in Powers and Robert Kirkman’s in Invincible and Walking Dead should be some show of how this can be done well in written form at least, and how it can also be used to promote creators and their books.

    This kinda leads me onto another topic which may have been raised before: Letters pages. Now I’m all for letters pages, but I don’t really want to hear from some nameless Editor, I want to read what the writers or the artists on the book have to say. When a letters page is hosted by an Editor the number of questions you can get a satisfying answer for is fairly limited, and they seem to fall into a rut of people pointing out continuity problems and asking questions about the characters in the title in question. Obviously not all creator run letters pages work, I find the Luna Brothers’ letters pages a bit boring, but I still prefer to hear from them than some Editor; who it is plain to see from the X-Office podcasts sit around talking crap all day.

  4. Bendis has all the podcasts that involve him and his whiny voice posted on his website. There’s even one where he just answers like 100 fan questions from his letters pages. Those are fairly decent. I also really liked the round table discussion about what’s going on in Daredevil. I wish other creators made themselves as accessible.

    A little off the subject of a podcast but it still kind of does the job: Brian K. Vaughn and Warren Ellis’ Myspace blogs. Vaughn Blogs like twice a week and Ellis not so much, but they’re always CHOCK FULL of information (actually, now that I think about it, Ellis not so much).

    This morning, Vaughn posted a photo of his cute wife. woo

  5. Some of the Marvel podcasts have been ‘ok’ with good info coming over terrible dialogue, but many are just crap, with the X-office being the worst. No info, no reason to listen, just 28 minutes I’ll never get back.

  6. I listened to some of the DC ones early on, and I’ve got 4 or so waiting to be listened to. The audio was awful, which almost sinks it for me. If you’re doing it, do it right. But there was some interesting stuff in there. But the one I’m thinking of specifically was with Meltzler and Frank Miller. So of course, hearing them talk was good.

    I’ve found that listening to creators can be either really good or really bad. You don’t want to know that your favorite writer has said whiny voice. You find that some, in person, when talking are really irritating humans, and some are witty and funny, and interesting. It’s a double edged sword.

  7. The Dude Abides is right – Bendis’ voice is brutal to listen to for an hour. However, what he says is usually quite good as he answers any and all questions the fans pose. The first time he did that a couple of months ago the Q&A was about 3 hours long. It was really fun to listen to, once you got past the nasally whine…

    On the other hand, my favorite writer’s voice is, hands down, Mark Millar. For some reason I love hearing that guy talk. He could read the phone book and make it sound interesting, or even a Chris Claremont book…

  8. Yeah Bendis’ voice is really not what I expected. He sounds like the annoying guy with the afro from ‘Waking life’ An obscure reference, true, but accurate i think.

  9. Don’t want to sound like I’m taking a shot at anyone, but really, with the body of work and the entusiasm that Bendis has for comics, what kind of voice did you expect? I like hearing BMB, if only because he sounds like a Fanboy. I mean, how many kids like Bendis, voice and all, did you know back in the day? Or now?

    I like hearing th voices of all these creators, but I agree that something needs to be done about the sound quality.

    Not to take away from the grat podcast here, but what other podcasts does everyone listen to? One of my faves after iFanboy is wordballoon.

  10. There are other podcasts?


    Actually, I’ll be the ambassador. I don’t listen to many, but I’ve tried a bunch. I think Fanboy Radio is good because they get a lot of interesting guests, but I think they spend a lot of time sucking up to said guests, which is kinda rough. But it is professional sounding, and it grows on me.

    I also listen to Pipeline with the uber geek Augie de Bliek. It’s only a few minutes, but he highlights what’s coming up in the week, and I just find him utterly fascinating. But for a guy who does nothing but talk to you by himself, he’s actually pretty good at it.

    Other than that, I’ve listened to a bunch of them, and they rarely hold or keep my attention. I’m not even trying to be critical of others, but some are just pure torture.

    I haven’t listened to WordBalloon yet, but I plan to try.

  11. I have listened to some of the other comics podcasts. As far as interview shows go, I greatly prefer Wordballoon over Fanboy Radio. I like the interviewer much more at Wordballoon and he doesn’t kiss ass like the other guys do. And I swear, I have never heard the Fanboy Radio host say that he doesn’t like a book. Anytime they mention a book he says it is so great and that he loves it. And some of those books are NOT good books. Unfortunately, Wordballoon doesn’t always get the big name guests that Fanboy Radio does. There are exceptions – Bendis, Marv Wolfman, Allan Heinberg. But for the most part, all the top names go to Fanboy Radio, so if you want to hear them, that’s the only option.

    As for other comics related shows, I usually like Comic Geek Speak. Sometimes they have a topic I don’t care about, but they pump out about 3 shows each week so I can always find something I am interested in. I think they are up to episode 130 or something, so they are pretty polished by now.

    Most of the other ones I have heard but haven’t cared too much for. Pipeline is good like Josh said but it is only about 8 minutes every week.

  12. What I like about Ifanboy is the way they talk about shit that I don’t read about 80% of the time but I still find it engaging. I’d be hard pressed to pick up an issue of Green Arrow or start reading Vertigo books that didn’t just start in the last couple of months.

  13. WordBalloon has been doing better with guests, and he does a nice job with the interviews. The Allan Heinberg interview was great.
    Fanboy Radio is a little too precious and full of themselves, I like the guests but I HATE call in guests.
    The most irittating thing about the Marvel Podcasts is that GOD DAMN MUSIC they keep playing. It’s a CONFERENCE CALL on a desk for god’s sake. We don’t need music.

  14. I just listened to the Millar/Civil War Marvel podcast and I also watched Trainspotting this weekend…when Millar talks, I picture Spud on a job interview and it makes me laugh out loud

  15. As someone who actually participated in a Marvel press conference once, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to listen to that. Hell, I wince just remembering it.

  16. I mostly don’t mind them, but the X Office one was completely unbearable. I don’t remember who said it, but they hit the nail on the head when talking about how it was like listening to a frat boy atmosphere.

    I don’t even know if they actually know what’s going on in the story.

    I’ll be deleting those in the future. At least with the other podcasts you get a little info.

    I listen to Fanboy radio because of the guests. But at times I think I want to punch through the main DJs chest and pull out his stillbeating heart…

    I used to listen to “I Read Comics”. It’s usually ok, but the whole hook is she’s a girl and, get this, she reads comics! Apparently girl who reads comics=celebrity.

    I love word balloon though. He doesn’t jump in and ruin responses when the creators are talking. He asks good questions and I don’t think that he’s too much of a suck up. Outside of ifanboy, it’s my favorite comic podcast.

    I’m always looking for more though. I’ll have to check out Pipeline. Any other suggestions?