Word Balloon Podcast

Word Balloon Triple Feature Dan Slott Gail Simone Marty Pasko

Show Notes

Here's a  giant sized Word Balloon to have something to listen to, while you're traveling to the San Diego Comic-Con, taking a long plane/train/car trip, or spending the day running errands for hours. Nearly 4 hours of fantastic comic talk in one podcast! 

First up, Dan Slott gives us the low down on Spider Island, the coming event in Amazing Spider-Man, Venom, and several other Marvel comics in the next 3 months. It all starts with next week's ASM #666

Then, Gail Simone joined Art Baltazar and Franco!  on the Aw Yeah Podcast, and dropped some behind the scene clues about her books Batgirl and Firestorm. Both are part of the DCNU 52 title initiative happening in September. She talks about the transition Barbara Gordon will make from Oracle to her return to the bat tights. Gail also tells us how her Firestorm Co-Writer Ethan Van Sciver got her excited about writing the further adventures of Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch .

Finally Marty Pasko returns to talk about his new Superman Retroactive 1970's book. We start to compare the coming Man Of Steel reboot to the Bronze age re-boot, when Clark Kent went from Daily Planet Reporter, to WGBS Newscaster, and a worldwide chain reaction caused all of the kryptonite on Earth to change to iron. 

Plus, being the DC historian who helped create the DC VAULT and Taschem's DC 75th Anniversary books, Marty can't help but digress into great anecdotes about many writers artists and editors. You'll hear stories about every decade of the companies rich history. 


Because we're giving you so much to enjoy on this episode, here's a time code for all the guests and information. 

Open, including John's SDCC Schedule 00:00-2:49

Dan Slott 2:49-1:38:50

Gail Simone 138:50-2:23:47

Marty Pasko 2:23:47-3:50:08


Get Involved

Doing the podcast is fun and all, but let's be honest, listening to the 2 of us talk to each other can get repetitive, so we look to you, the iFanboy listeners to participate in the podcast! "How can I get in on the fun?" you may ask yourself, well here's how:

  • E-Mail us at contact@ifanboy.com with any questions, comments or anything that may be on your mind.

Please don't forget to leave your name and where you're writing from and each week, we'll pick the best e-mails to include on the podcast!


  1. Wow, this really is a giant sized podcast 🙂

    I think i’m going to listen to this during the 15 hour ride towards my vacation 🙂

  2. Thanks for the time code John! 🙂

  3. Dan might not have gotten all the characters he wanted, but his Mighty was something special.  Especially loved Hank, Stature and Vision on the team.  They were the under dogs stealing the limelight from Osborn and it was awesome.  The stories were the most Avengery of any going on at the time, and were also the only times I actually liked Hank Pym.

    I almost feel like Bendis’ Avengers book is going for the same big Avengery Avengers type stories that Slott’s Mighty was but with more popular characters.

  4. Four hours??? You’re crazy, man. CRAZY!!!

  5. @cromulent

    But we love crazy people right?

  6. wow, this is going to be great to listen to at work. Can’t wait to start listening today. 

  7. 3:52 is obnoxious, John. Not “crazy”; obnoxious.

    Cut them up into something managable. Even with the time coding it’s near unmanagable.

    Bad form.

  8. The Slott conversation was really good, but one think irked me…when he talked about “when the digital age gets here”….umm its already here in just about every form of media EXCEPT for comics. I kinda feel thats part of Marvel’s hive thinking on the subject which is scary cause that statement i would have expected to hear in 2007 or something. 

  9. Dan Slott+ Word Ballon = Gold  .  That interview is so good it is insane. Dan can sell a comic like no other.  The whole podcast was amazing.

  10. More Marty! I’m lovin’ the talks with this guy.

  11. The comic shop that dan slott mentions that recreated amazing fantasy 15 is a local shop, the cover can be seen here:


  12. Isn’t it sad that all my enthusiasm for spider island evaporated when he said “humberto ramos”

  13. Ok , John. you are just too good. This was the most EPIC podcast you ever done.

  14. @RobAbsten  Ever hear of the pause button? 1970’s technology, check it out.

  15. @syngar98  –i had the exact opposite reaction….. I was like “Sweet!”

  16. @ wally
    Well man I just haven’t seen much that didn’t look like overstylized but sloppy work.
    to quote josh (i think) he says “there is good chaykin and there is bad chaykin”

    I think the last decade has been mostly bad ramos.

    chaykin, baccalo and ramos, the triumverate of “phoned it in” marvel artists.

    People defend these guys by pointing out some run they had in 2001 or something, but to use a cliched quote “what have you done for me lately?”

  17. @syngar98  –i like the stuff he did on the first batch of ASM BIG TIME issues……but my tastes are going more towards the stylized and cartoony. I find that a lot of mainstream superhero art looks like generic house style, so its always refreshing for me to see something that has some attitude and looks a bit dfferent. 

  18. @ Wally, you can be cartoony and be good. I just think much of what I ams eeing just feels sloppy and “phoned in. Whether marvel asks him to do that or they can’t do much about it because of deadlines (or apathy)I don’t know.

    The guy who did “bone” was cartoony, but no one would say its sloppy or lazy nez pas?

    I need to go back and look at ASM issues you refer to, and see if its good or bad for me to comment on that particular run.

  19. @syngar98  –well i agree about cartoony and good…i don’t see anything sloppy or lazy about Ramos work during big time. I remember seeing some comments that it was too exaggerated and bordering on Manga style, which i suppose is valid. I dunno….i sometimes get the feeling that the hive mind of comic fandom really wants the same thing with only subtle variations every time. Its frustrating. 

  20. @ wally
    I think hive mind is a bit hyperbolic, and judgmental. My feeling is, if i wanted manga, i’d read manga.

    If i want pretentious melodrama with no discerible plot, I’ll watch swiss films. If i want highly stylized dialogue, gratuitious violence and cultural references I’ll watch tanrantino movies.

    Step back a second and look at american comics as it’s own sub-genre in the illustrated story medium. Go read a european comic and you can totally see the influence it had on walt disney, but would you call eurocomics the same as american ones? There are regional sub-genres, and american comic readers ( in general) want comics a certain way, it’s not different than those wannabes that jumped on the anime bandwagon and think it’s amazing. The point is, if a japanese artist started monkeying jim lees style, and he tried to sell his work in japan, he’d probably receive the same criticism.

    Comics are not cartoons, and it’s not a simply a matter of (one is animated, the other is not).
    Obviously you can claim there are exceptions, but those are exceptions to the vast majority.

    The times I have seen ramos ‘ work, I was literally annoyed, his work looks like something a kid would draw in class;
    artwork should not interfere with story telling, even ifanboy has griped about say bachalo’s spewing of x-men.

  21. @syngar98  –hmm well thats an interesting perspective on comics in a global scale. However i would argue that mainstream American comics characters….Spiderman etc are pretty global icons at this point. There is no reason for them to be so “regional” as you say…with all the conversations on getting new readers, i’d argue that creating a product that looks new and innovative is another way to do that.

    i wasn’t meaning to be judgemental or snarky, but just observing people’s reactions on sites like this…there is a very narrow spectrum or work that is liked and from a creative direction standpoint, its falls into a very few stylistic categories. Comparing art in mainstream superhero comics isn’t so much apples and oranges as it is comparing the the subtleties of different varieties of apples.

    i for one am always looking for fresh and new instead of the same thing over and over again, which is what often frustrates and bores me with comics. I was excited to see Ramos’ work in ASM because it was very different than what i was seeing in a book of that calibur…and i was disappointed to see how resistant and dismissive fans were of that sort of change. I thought the stuff that followed it was very good on a technical level, but i felt it was a bit expected.

  22. @ wally, to answer your last point first- are they resistant “just because” or are they resistant because 1) they may not care for it, and/or 2) they don’t like sour flavoring in their dessert?

    I don’t consider it hive mind though, after all if i go to a baseball game, and they were doing ballet dancing, regardless of how good they might be, I would be annoyed.

    Would you deny that manga and american comics are apples and oranges or not? If not, then this is where we must agree to disagree.

    As an artist, I can see that the fauvist movement is entirely different than the pre-raphealite.

    Think of it this way, as different and stylistic and imbued with ‘attitude” that rob liefeld was in the 90’s he still pissed off a lot of people in the “know”.

    Now about regionality versus global icons. I don;t think that has any relevance on how he is portrayed or drawn. I recall the spiderman manga attempts and they were piss poor at best.

    Getting new readers is not about pandering, consistently good art and story draws in readers (see Jim lee for examples), and these days new readers arrive because of movies and online accessibility, not because joe madureira draws like he is japanese.

    Art is supposed to showcase the writing, not obfuscate it.

  23. @syngar98  –i agree that art shouldn’t get in the way, BUT comics are a visual medium…i think Ramos did a fine job on his ASM run so we can agree to disagree. Of course manga and American styles are different, but thats not what i’m talking about.  Like i said before, i just like to see experimentation, new ways of thinking, new ideas, fresh voices, new artistic styles and interpretations of classic characters..evolution of the medium….. I don’t see that as often as i’d like in mainstream superhero comics is all i was getting at. 

    I’m an art director/designer and work with illustrators all the time. I get frustrated that what’s considered “different” in comics is like a subtle differentiation in my professional eyes. I think publishers understand they have a shrinking market that likes their “comfort food” delivered a certain way, and they don’t want to piss them off too much by doing crazy things and experimenting too much. Its a tough spot right now thats for sure. 

  24. I will offer this final point- different is not neccesarily good or even advised.

  25. I am dying to know what Gail Simone was talking about when she said “I know something you don’t know” when they were discussing the absence of the JSA from the relaunch. I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but it seems like there’s hope.

    Oh, and if you’re into comic history, the Marty Pasko part is fascinating. I want to track down more of his interviews.

  26. Someone get Marty Pasko his own show! He’s like the Martin Scorsese of comics – full of history and fun tidbits, an entertaining storyteller with a really great rhythm and tone to his speech.

  27. Didn’t see this brought up, but there is about 10 minutes of Dan Slott repeated in the streaming cast. From minutes 85-96 is the repeated segment.

  28. @wordballoon You and your digital market concerns are like the woman that beat the female creator/character drum at DC Comics panels this year: it’s a valid concern, but it gets exhausting hearing the same question and answer over and over again.

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