Like comic books, podcasts have really boomed in popularity. Personally, I love it. Podcasts are a great way to listen along while I do other stuff: exercise, clean, cook, or any other fantasies in my home. But when you bring comic books and podcasts together, it really hits the sweet spot.
Maybe it’s because I love listening to people geek out over the same things I enjoy. Maybe it has me feeling a little less alone in my fandoms. I have been super lucky to find a comic book club where I felt welcomed but during COVID-19 lockdowns, it was hard to keep going. Some of the best comic book podcasts helped get me through. The discussions kept me reading, they kept me thinking, and best of all they encouraged me to keep looking for more comic books. With so many recent movies and TV shows either based or inspired by comic books, it was nice to find podcasts to feed my geeky curiosity. But you have to find the right ones. That can take time and headspace.
So, let me save you some pain and share the best comic book podcasts I have found over the last year. Take your pick and find your fellow geeks.
The Best Comic Book Podcasts
This is the podcast that started me on the dangerous spiral down into more comic book podcasts. Initially, it started a comic book review podcast hosted by Andrew Levins and Siobhan Coombs at Kings Comics in Sydney. What I love about Serious Issues is the very wide range of comics they discuss. Junji Ito has featured a lot this year, along with plenty of indies, a healthy respect for Hawkeye (both of them), and an unhealthy infatuation with Batman (I blame Siobhan). This is NSFW but it is hilarious and very insightful. Siobhan is no longer a regular host, having started her own business Cockatoo Comics. However, she still turns up every now and then on Serious Issues, and Levins has brought in a steady stream of guests to keep us entertained.
This podcast captures everything I love about panels at comic book conventions. This should be no surprise since it started in 2009 as a panel at New York and San Diego Comic-Con discussing women in the comic book world. It is hosted in turns between Ellie Pyle, Angélique Roché, and Judy Stephens (with some overlaps). They pretty much stick to the title subjects: Women and Marvel, with a few sidesteps into comparable topics but it usually always comes back to Women and Marvel. For a taste of their style, check out the recent Episode 252 (4 Nov 2021) on Witches in Marvel and History, featuring Agatha Harkness, Scarlet Witch, Morgan Le Fey, and Nico Minoru.
Originally, I was a fan of the Feathers and Foe podcast, showcasing characters and story arcs from the Bird of Prey series. In July, Feathers and Foe joined The Huntress podcast and now features alongside discussions on Batman, Cassandra Cain, and a range of other DC characters. I’m kind of excited to see where they go with this, expanding their topics while still continuing with their focus on character development and storytelling.
Okay, you had me at the title. And then you produced the goods. X-Men is my first love but there is no way I can keep up with whatever the hell is going on at any given moment. Thanks to this team, I can catch up on almost everything and feel absolutely fine about the stuff where I say, “NOPE”. If you’re a fan of the X-Men, then you understand exactly how much of an achievement this is. If you’re not a fan of the X-Men, then this is the podcast to start you off.
This is a fairly recent find for me; I was looking for a quick-learn about Astra: Lost in Space by Kenta Shinohara. My kids have recently discovered the manga and I don’t have the time to add more books to my reading pile. Kory, Helen, and Apryll are absolutely amazing in giving the rundown without skimping on details. Looking at the history of episodes, the team has covered a wide range of manga across many styles and genres. Sometimes they link to anime but the focus is always on manga. Best of all, they have a really easy-going style for a topic that can often be way-out-weird. I’m a new fan. Manga in Your Ears is also partnered with Taiiku Podcast, a monthly sports manga and anime podcast. Check them both out!
I seem to be one of the lucky few who has married a geek as passionate about comics as me. However, we have still had our disputes over the years; we have our own Civil War at home, where I am adamant #TeamCap and my husband won’t budge from #TeamStark. Fortunately, we have been attending Comic Book Couples Counseling Podcast and I wouldn’t say it was the thing that saved our marriage but it sure did bring the laughs! The hosts are Lisa Gullickson and Brad Gullickson, a real-life comic couple. Each episode explores the various dynamics of comic book relationships, in both the published form and the interpretation in pop culture. I loved their recent look at Loki/Loki and their New Year episode about Suzie and Jon from Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.
I found this one purely by accident but I am so glad I did! Comadres y Comics is presented by three Latinx women who realised there was not much available in comic books with Latinx characters. Together they started the podcast to bring together Latinx creators and content to readers. They also feel strongly about highlighting the presence of women in the industry, which has made them well-loved in the comic book community. Personally, they sound like a family sitting around and chatting about loads of different comics (but especially indies). They have so much fun talking away, I just want to grab a beer and sit down with them!
In all honesty, this article should have started with Bitches on Comics. The team has been doing this for a couple of years now and they really know their stuff. Presented by Sara Century and S.E. Fleenor with sound editing by Kate Warner, the podcast covers pretty much everything with comics. I’ve been a comic book fan for years and I still learn new things from them! It is possibly the most inclusive and welcoming group out there. If you’re looking for where to start or discussions on specific topics, there’s a list on ‘Where to Start/Curated Lists’. The very first episode was ‘We like libraries, or how do we read and share comics?’. And if you’re a fan of Poison Ivy, then this is now your new home.
This is the podcast I like to share with my kids. Created by a life-long geek and a school librarian who both love to examine graphic novels and trade collections with female protagonists. It’s great to see a school librarian actively promoting graphic novels and comics as solid reading material for kids. I love the huge range of topics and books they cover. From Black Widow: A Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto to Faith by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage, and Andrew Dalhouse. It’s upbeat, it’s positive, it’s insightful. It’s everything we need for a monthly dose of feminism in comic books.
Comic books have always been used for social commentary. Again, not just the superheroes. It’s simply an amazing medium for capturing the dichotomy of social issues within the combined space of art and literature. Comicsverse is one of the best comic book podcasts to capture this vibe and use comics as a platform to discuss issues such as race, sexuality, gender, and inequality. The podcast has featured character analysis, issue reviews, and plenty of interviews with creators across all publishers. They’ve been quiet for a while but I’m hoping it’s a COVID hiatus and they return soon. In the meantime, there is an extensive catalogue to work your way through.
So, this one is a little different and I like it. This podcast brings together a comic fan and a board-certified psychiatrist to look at the various mental health issues of popular heroes and villains. Talk about putting Arkham Asylum out of work! I love the way they look at all aspects of mental health: behaviour, social dynamics, their immediate environment, and loads more. There is also a great variety here, going beyond Marvel and DC. My fave was in April this year with Elastigirl from The Incredibles. Not only does it make the characters relatable but they also show just how important a good writer is for rounding out a character!
The magic of podcasts comes from how natural and yet personal they can feel. That’s why choosing the right podcast is a personal choice. What sounds great for one person can irritate the hell out of the next. Listen to an episode or two from the list above and find a podcast that suits you. The best part to come from all of this is how many comic book podcasts are available. It really is hard to choose the best comic book podcasts! But at least we know we’re not alone in our fandoms. Enjoy!
For more literary podcasts, check out Book Riot’s new podcast series: Adaptation Nation. You can read more about it here. Fellow Book Rioter Alison also shared her fave writing podcasts earlier this month: The 10 Best Writing Podcasts for Storytellers and Aspiring Authors.