Podcasts continue to rise as a form of entertainment, and comics – being one of those mediums most in-touch with the internet – have risen up and provided a wealth of quality comic book podcasts. Let’s Talk Comics, hosted by Jim Viscardi, is one of the more recent additions to this fast-growing world of comic podcasts.
Having worked at Marvel for five years, Viscardi moved on earlier this year, but has kept that address book to hand for Let’s Talk Comics. So far the show has already featured one-on-one conversations with people like Rick Remender, Skottie Young, Ryan Stegman and Brian Michael Bendis, and many other creators will be featured on the show in 2014. You can find out more about the podcast by following through to the website – or by sticking around here, because Jim very kindly agreed to chat with me about the show!
Steve: In case there are any people who aren’t aware of Mighty James Viscardi, can you give a quick rundown of your history in comics thus far?
Jim: HA! Anyone who tells you that flattery won’t get you anywhere is a complete liar. I was part of the Marketing/PR/Sales brain-trust at Marvel from 2008 to September of this year. During my time there, I worked on promoting everything from Secret Invasion all the way to Infinity (and beyond).
Steve: What prompted you to start up a podcast?
Jim: I won’t lie – starting this podcast was purely of selfish intent. I love podcasts, and there are a bunch of quality comic ones out there, most of them hosted by good friends of mine. But when I went searching for a podcast that was less “project of the week” and more about process and the road to becoming a published, successful creator – I came up empty. So I figured if I want one to listen to – I might as well make one for myself! In my time working at Marvel, I loved hearing stories about the process from creators, and how their careers grew.
The goal for Let’s Talk Comics is to shed some light on creator “Origin Stories” and talk about what life is like in the industry, how it’s changed and what they did to get to where they are today. Because if we’re being honest, making comics is not an easy process and these are the hard-working heroes behind the heroes. I think their stories should be told.
Steve: Have you been surprised by anything you’ve heard from creators on the podcast? Are there any common themes you didn’t expect to crop up in the interviews?
Jim: Hearing what folks have done before they were able to make a living off comics has been a lot of fun. It’s been all over the map and I don’t think I can ever guess what someone might tell me. The common theme here though is – everyone had another job while trying to make comics. It’s something you hear all the time and it rings true with each and every interview.
The show focuses on making superhero stories, and the behind the scenes of all that.
Steve: Are you looking to interview writers, artists, letterers, colourers, editors, all kinds of different creators?
Jim: All of the above. It takes a small army to make a comic and each and every part is important.
Steve: Podcasts have become this great new form of journalism, or criticism, or however you want to describe it. What do you think has been the appeal of comics podcasts, especially over the last few years or so?
Jim: Personally, I think listening to podcasts is very much an intimate experience. It’s like you’ve snuck into a conversation with someone and they’re letting you stay to listen. You also get more of a sense of the person being interviewed – their personality shows much more than, say, in a text interview. I mean, take the iFanboy guys for instance; when you listen to that show – you feel like you’re among friends. Their respect for creators and their comfort level with each other and with what they cover is what makes it such an enjoyable experience.
Steve: How do you feel about the surge in interest regarding the behind-the-scenes of comics making? Do you think it’s good to have this openness and eagerness to talk and inspire new aspiring creators, or is it sad to have lost a little of the mystery?
Jim: I only buy DVD’s/Blu-Rays for the bonus content these days. I think there is something fascinating about how much work and love goes into the final product. Especially for those seeking out inspiration for their own journey. I just did an episode with Brian Michael Bendis and in it, he mentioned that when he was coming up in the industry, nobody was talking about how comics got made. Coming into the industry new, the whole process was total guesswork. Today (and thanks to the Internet) finding out how to make comics couldn’t be easier.
The fundamental need for hard work is still there at the root of it all, but the technical understanding of the process is easier to wrap your head around. And I’ve found that sometimes, listening or reading about someone who experienced the same hardships aspiring creators might be facing now can be the motivation that person needs to keep going.
Steve: Who’re coming up next on the podcast? What can we expect over the next few weeks?
Jim: I’ve got some great chats coming up with some great folks. And while I don’t want to let too many cats out of the bag, I can say my next two shows feature Nathan Edmondson and Kelly Sue DeConnick. They were both a lot of fun to talk to and I think listeners will really enjoy getting to know them both better. I know I certainly did.