Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 32: Superman and Me / Me and Superman

Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode #32

“Superman & Me / Me & Superman”

Received an odd-ish message this past weekend from a long-time reader who expressed interest in getting into comics podcasting.  They asked if I had any advice on how to get started, and for lack of a better way of putting it, if I knew of any “best practices”.

This isn’t a question I get often, as I’m sure anyone who knows me well enough to ask… knows that once that box is opened, I’ll probably talk your ear off about it for days.  If I were to guess, I probably only got the question this time because, on the most recent episode of Chris is on Infinite Earths, I suggested that the Chris and Reggie Channel may start “hosting” content from other creators sometime down the line.

So, let’s talk about it!  Right below the fold…

As a wildly struggling content creator, I might not be the best person to ask about “how to podcast”.  I feel as though the internet is way too full of “experts” who will hold themselves up to a level of importance where they can condescend to those asking for help.  I ain’t gonna do that, because frankly, (like many content creators, whether they admit it or not) I’m usually flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to putting anything out there.  I talk about the things I love… but couldn’t tell ya whether or not any of it will “land” or resonate with a wide listenership.

I can only tell you some things out of my own experience spitting into a microphone, and attempt to marry that with the things I like most about the podcasting medium.  This isn’t a “catch-all” or a “Ways to get ahead at Podcasting”… because, if you’ve got some’a those, please pass ’em along to me!  Damned if I don’t need ’em!

My main piece of advice, and this is something I harp on quite a bit, is… be passionate about what you’re discussing.  Actually care about your content.  For the most part (in my experience) podcasts (and, for the sake of this piece, comics podcasts in particular) can be a wildly lazy, low-effort, and dispassionate affair.  The comics fandom, in my experience, is one of the easiest groups to infiltrate and usurp.  We’re easy marks.

For a group who self-flagellates over the concept of “gatekeeping”, we’re quick to accept anybody who’s got a picture of Guy Gardner getting “one-punched” on social media.  That’s cool… the more the merrier, right?  Here’s the thing… if you’re not passionate about discussing Guy Gardner getting “one-punched”, what’s the point?

I hope this is making sense, and I haven’t “lost the plot” (yet).  I get that “internet karma” is a great way to feel validated… and, there are some amazingly low-effort ways to get ya some’a that.  But, at the end of the day… you’ve added nothing to the fandom.  You need to actually care.  People can tell when you’re faking it.  You’re wasting your time, and more importantly, you’re wasting your potential listeners’ time.

Something I used to say to Reggie (the many times I’d complain about this) was, I could start a rap Twitter account, swipe a bunch of pictures of album covers off Google Images, and tweet out an odd fact or two about ’em every day.  Before long, I’d be seen as an authority on the subject, despite the fact that, in reality, I couldn’t care less.  It’s low-effort, and it’s disrespectful to those who are actually passionate about the subject.

So, that’s my biggie: Be passionate about your subject.

Taking that a step further, if you’re going to be a comics podcaster… don’t “squat” a character unless you actually care about that character.  Don’t just look for an obscure character that nobody else has “squatted” and make it your own just so you can be the “Hero Hotline Guy”.  Yes, there are a lot of “squatted characters” in this community, hell I’ve squatted a few myself… but, you actually need to care enough to “stick the landing”.  Don’t waste your listeners’ (or your own) time on a whim.  Podcasting isn’t as effortless as you might think… there’s time and (in many cases) money involved in this venture.

This is another thing I’ll see from time to time.  A topic, let’s say Hero Hotline, comes up in conversation… and someone will say “Hey, why isn’t there a Hero Hotline Podcast, I’d listen the hell out of that!”.  First, nah, you probably wouldn’t.  Second, what you just unwittingly did was make some goofball decide that they’re going to start the Hero Hotline Podcast… despite never reading a single thing about them, just because they think they’re going to fill a niche.

Let’s stick with our friend the “Hero Hotline Guy” for a bit.  Let’s say the HHG has decided to push forward, fill that niche, and become an absolute comics commentary community legend in the process.  Here’s a piece of advice for him… even though he ignored the last one.  Quit tellin’ me what you’re gonna do.  Don’t announce something you can’t follow up with.  I get that it’s exciting to announce your big project, and it’s wonderful getting showered with adulation and seeing perked ears of potential listeners… but, there’s only so many times you can do that without looking foolish… or, at the very least, annoying.

When Reggie and I started up, I wanted to announce our upcoming show from the rooftops!  I was so excited and proud to be producing a show.  Reggie (rightfully) told me to pump the brakes a bit.  We didn’t wanna be the guys who kept announcing stuff… but never delivered.  We didn’t have any sort of reputation… not that we really do now… but then, even less so!  He only gave me the green light to make announcements after everything was in place.  Hindsight, and seeing many would-be podcasts come and go without airing a single episode, tells me he was 100% right to think that way.

I’d further suggest to stay away from low-effort promotion altogether, but… hell, it works.  I have trouble engaging in that sort of thing myself… which is probably why, after a half-decade, I’m still struggling to find listeners.  Posting a screenshot from Audacity with a note saying “I guess I should try and figure this thing out!” is a fine way to remind people that you’re in the process of creating something, without actually doing anything.  From what I’ve seen, it works… but, I’d have trouble doing that myself.  It’d feel like I’m just wasting peoples’ time while lying about how hard I’m working.  I feel like there needs to be something of “substance” any time you push yourself into someone’s timeline.  But, again… what I know about (self-)promoting could be fit on the head of a pin.

So, what it comes down to, and I apologize for taking the scenic route to get here, is: if you’re going to podcast (about comics or anything), please be passionate about your subject matter.  I can forgive poor audio, I can forgive a bit of fact-jumbling… despite the fact that most of what I say on the air is heavily researched and scripted, there are times, in the heat of a “live mic” that I’ll misspeak.  It just happens, and you likely won’t know until someone points out your error (don’t worry, they will!).  The only thing to me, that is unforgivable… is being dispassionate about your subject.  If you don’t care, why should I?  If you don’t want to record a show… don’t.  If you’re suddenly “over” your topic… move on to another you can sink your teeth into.

Podcasting is sort of the new “hotness”, and for many, is viewed as an easy way to become internet famous… and even internet wealthy (poor fools).  There are a lot of low-effort and lazy shows out there, both in and out of comics fandom.  If you’re making a show to become internet famous… please don’t.  If you’re making a show just because all your friends are… please don’t.

If you’re making a show, however, because you love it, and it would be harder not to… then, please keep kicking butt and putting out the content you care about.

Oh, one last thing before I let you get on with your day.  If I get another Twitter follow from a new comics podcast with ZERO minutes of recorded audio to their name… but, already has a Patreon, I might just lose what’s left of my mind.

I hope this wasn’t too soapboxy… these are just bits of honest “advice” from a fella with absolutely no right to be giving any.  I work damn hard at this, and have for a long time.  Please, if you’re going to enter into the competition for the hearts (and ears) of the comics community… at the very least, CARE about them.  Value their time.  Be passionate about the things they’re passionate about… after all, that’s why they pushed the PLAY button.

One thought on “Chris is on Infinite Earths, Episode 32: Superman and Me / Me and Superman

  • Charlton Hero

    I may start a podcast called One Punch…all about that one time Guy Gardner got punched..one time…by Batman!! That's at least 10 episodes right there right?? Lol


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