Comic book writer Kieron Gillen (of Thor and other Marvel fame) has a relatively new podcast called DECOMPRESSED. He discusses the craft, creation and execution of creating Marvel comics with some of the most interesting and talented writers and artists working today. If you have any aspirations of one day creating your own comics, or are simply interested in the god machine behind creating worlds, DECOMPRESSED is your podcast! In today’s post, I’ll take a look at the most recent episode: Number 6 with Matt Fraction and Mark Waid (!!!).
Calling All Quality Comics Podcasts
As an avid podcast listener, I’ve been searching for the ideal comic book podcast for close to a year now. I have most of my bases covered. WTF and Nerdist for comedy, The BS Report and Fantasy Focus for sports, and This American Life for impressing guests. But for comics? It’s been a struggle.
The major problem I have with most ongoing comics podcasts is they simply review and discuss the most recent releases. While I can understand the reasoning, unless you’ve purchased just about every relevant book in your local shop’s inventory, you’re bound to get hammered over the head with spoilers and unfamiliar story lines. As a site largely dedicated to spoiler-free familiarity, this is pretty unappealing.
DECOMPRESSED, though? It’s everything I want in a comic book podcast. The most relevant and skilled creators in the game talking about their process and creative process. If you have even a miniscule desire to create, this is like liquid inspiration injected directly into your brainstems.
Episode Six was my first foray into Kieron Gillen’s new venture, and with a star-studded lineup of Matt Fraction (Casanova, The Invincible Iron Man, Fear Itself) and Mark effing Waid (my favorite Fantastic Four run of all time, Kingdom Come, the new Daredevil), my expectations were understandably high.
The Marvel Method, From Marvel’s Strongest Weapons
The episode largely centers around these creators experience using the Marvel Method of comic writing. I won’t go into too much detail, and Gillen supremely lays out the nuts and bolts in this incredible post-pod write up on his blog, but the Marvel Method is essentially writing out the plot of a comic first and letting the artist have a much larger role in the storytelling. Rather than detailing exactly how the artist should paint the picture, the writer instead provides details of a scene and leaves it to the writer to collaborate on the rest.
As you’d expect, Fraction and Waid present some very interesting thoughts on creating comics in this manner, and are clearly interested in learning from each other about one another’s experience with the form so far.
This is possibly the coolest component of DECOMPRESSED. Everyone involved is genuinely engaged with the medium and is discussing their creative process with the immediacy and unfiltered truth of someone deeply active in the comics industry. It’s an honest discussion of comic book writing from some of the single biggest names in the medium. Think about it: Fraction’s Hawkeye and Waid’s Daredevil might be the strongest two ongoings in Marvel’s current lineup and they’re sharing their thoughts INTO YOUR HEAD. Technology is so neat.
Decompress For A Minute
Honestly, if you have even a cursory interest in comic book creation, or want a high quality comics podcast for a long commute, I wholeheartedly recommend Gillen’s work here with DECOMPRESSED. As our faithful podcast host, he has a great sense of when to let the guests do the talking and when to guide the conversation. Yes, his introduction sounds a bit like Dr. Who swallowed a bottle of bourbon, but he’s perfectly understandable once the actual interview begins.
You can download the podcast here. I’m excited to say, I already have it as my favorite comics podcast, and I’m hoping Gillen continues with the fantastic work. We’re only 2 months and 6 episodes in, so it’ll be interesting to see how much focus the podcast gets as Gillen continues his own comic book writing. Here’s to hoping DECOMPRESSED keeps it up.
Have any favorite comic book podcasts of your own? Let me know in the comments section – I’d love to hear about some of the other good stuff out there so I can add it to my list.