I plugged Kieron Gillen’s podcast Decompressed earlier in the month, and I’m liking it a lot. But it’s not my favourite comic podcast, or indeed favourite podcast full stop.
That honour (I should have an award graphic) goes to War Rocket Ajax, the world’s most destructive comics and pop culture podcast, which is the highlight of my listening week.
WRA is hosted by Chris Sims and Matt Wilson, comics journalists and humour writers in the service of Comics Alliance. They are smart, funny guys in print and in pod, and both good indie prose/comics writers to boot. Wilson writes the webcomic Copernicus Jones and the recently released Supervillain Handbook (which I just bought for my wife); Sims has a number of free e-comics at Action Age Comics and has released two issues of the super-cheap (and really worthwhile) e-comic Dracula the Unconquered.
So they can walk the walk when they have to, but the main point of a podcast is to talk the talk, and they’re great at that too. A typical WRA episode has recommendations of stuff they’ve seen/read/played, reviews of 3-4 recent comics (usually superhero stuff), an interview with a comics creator (usually either an independent creator or one of the writers at Marvel), complete with questions from fans on Twitter, and then some general fuckin’ about to close things out.
Perennial topics include video games everyone else played 4 years ago, nerdcore music, the beat poetry that is Thrasher Magazine, the awfulness of Geoff Johns’ Justice League and the joys of Carolina barbecue, which inspired me into cooking pulled pork for the first time today. (It should be ready to eat about an hour after I post this; I’ll let you know how it turns out.) More than anything else, both these guys recognise that superhero comics should be fun, even when they’re sort-of serious, and that’s the lens through which they judge, enjoy and recommend stuff.
And when Nichole and I got married, they gave us a shout-out for the event. That made us pretty happy.
WRA’s been going for a while, but it’s pretty easy to jump right in wherever you like. A good hook is to scroll back through the archives until you find an interview with a creator you like. Two of my favourite episodes are the Dan DiDio Employee Evaluation (part 1 and part 2), which rip into the DC Co-Publisher’s list of his favourite projects; it’s a smart, critical look at those titles and what they say about DC’s current approach to the genre and the business of comics publishing.
Or just listen to last year’s Christmas episode, with guest starts Matt Fraction (writer of Iron Fist and Hawkeye) and nerdcore rapper Adam Warrock, where the four of them analyse the songs on the Insane Clown Posse/Psychopathic Records album Holiday Heat. I nearly blew a blood vessel in my head within the first 10 minutes of this episode from laughing, and it just ramped up from there. The editors in the adjoining desks probably thought I was having a seizure. It’s fucking funny, is what I’m trying to tell you.
War Rocket Ajax. Ask for it by name. Check it out. Download the destructiveness. Tell ’em I sent you.