In celebration of their 100th episode, and because they ask for reviews on almost every show, we’re taking a look at what’s quickly become one of the main pillars of the UK’s small press and indie comics scene, the Awesome Comics Podcast!
The basic premise is simple, you’ve got three hosts, Vince Hunt (creator of Red Mask from Mars and Stalkerville), Dan Butcher (creator of Vanguard and artist for El Marvo), and Tony Esmond (writer and contributor to Down the Tubes) who have a nice blend of knowledge, experience, and influences, sitting down for two hours at a time, often with a guest, and chatting about comic books.
The three bounce off each other really well. The first episode was the first time Dan and Vince had properly spoken to each other, yet you’d be hard pressed to tell if they hadn’t said so. There’s no noticeable awkwardness and now they’re preparing to record their 100th episode they’ve had time to become extremely comfortable around each other, letting their personalities shine through.
This is one of those rare podcasts where no one really takes the lead. Typically, podcasts have a host and co-host relationship and, while Vince is advertised as the main host and audibly interjects at times to get things back on track, the trio truly feel like equals. They also don’t talk down to their audience, as a listener you’re assumed to have some base form of intelligence and they respect that, if you’re listening to a comics podcast, you know the basics of that world at the very least. It’s quite welcoming and respectful in that sense.
The show’s been running long enough to find its feet, maintain a stable audience, and have several running jokes and callbacks. I’ve introduced a few friends to the show at various points during its run, each time it’s been refreshingly apparent that you really can jump in anywhere with this podcast and not feel alienated. The episodes usually centre around a theme, for example ‘how much comic content do you need before using the Comic Con name’, or an interview with a guest. This means older episodes rarely feel dated because many of the points they made a year ago are still relevant today, for better or worse.
This podcast’s certainly NSFW. If you’re at work, on the bus, or have kids in earshot, do yourself a favour and put some earphones in! With humour this dark and explicit, you wouldn’t want your Nan hearing it. There’s a lot of swearing, jokes about sex, and strong opinions. Tony in particular has caused a couple of controversies and backlashes for his “outrageous” opinions. Funnily enough, these are usually for things Tony’s posted outside of the podcast on his blog, Never Iron Anything. Either way, Tony doesn’t mind being outspoken, he seems to take it in his stride, and it’s ultimately quite nice to see someone just being themselves without worrying about upsetting the odd armchair activist or two.
Through the podcast, Vince, Dan, and Tony have benefitted small press and indie comics tremendously, doing everything from shining a spotlight on deserving comics and events, sharing tips and tricks for fellow creators, hosting panels at conventions, and more! In my mind, their biggest achievement is their Facebook group, Awesome Comics Talk. This is possibly the only community where people actually have discussions and debates, compared to the endless stream of people dumping Etsy and Kickstarter links you’ll find on pretty much any other group.
Community is clearly important to these guys, leading to the podcast having a great sense of it! Listener interaction is high on the agenda with regular polls, reading out Twitter comments, and events you can get involved with such as the Awesome Games, a parody of the Hunger Games, Action Dan, a short-lived quiz segement about 80s action movies with questions submitted by listsners, and an open invite indie comics showcase print for London Super Comic Con 2017 (which you can still submit to). It’s easy to understand why their audience feels like they’re along for the ride and a part of the show.
It’s by far my favourite podcast and I think they deserve all of the praise and success in the world for it! If you want to check it out, you can do so using the following links:
Listen to the podcast on Podbean: http://awesomecomics.podbean.com/
Listen to the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-awesome-comics-podcast
Listen to the podcast on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/awesomecomicspodcast/the-awesome-comics-podcast
Join the Awesome Comics Talk group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/awesomecomicstalk/
Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theawesomepod
Email the podcast: firstname.lastname@example.org