Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.
Three old friends sit down at computers on either side of the Delaware River to catch up. They talk about trying to get in shape, toy with the idea of running a 5K together in Ocean City and explore the connective tissue between the two "Mannequin" movies from the 1980s.
And, oh yeah, they talk about comics for an audience of thousands.
Dale Andrews, 35, of Cedarville in Cumberland County's Lawrence Township; Matt "Slim" Kolowski, 33, of Abington, Pennsylvania; and Christopher "Jonesy" Jones, 33, of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, have been recording a weekly comics podcast called Paper Keg for five years and 250+ episodes.
The podcast follows a book-club style format, in which the trio read the same comics and then discuss them on the show, with plenty of asides, tangents and personal stories along the way. Recent episodes have covered writer Rick Remender's run on Marvel's "Uncanny X-Force," the 2006 Image series "Five Fists of Science" by Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders, and DC's Rebirth relaunches. The goal, they say, is to keep episodes feeling evergreen so listeners will want to dive into the show's back catalog.
"You can't just go back to most comics podcasts' backlog and enjoy it," Kolowski said.
Jones and Kolowski have been friends since high school but met Andrews online through a mutual fandom of former Philadelphia radio personality Kid Chris.
The hosts record Tuesdays from their respective homes via online chat and release new episodes to the general public the following Mondays. The recording schedule is on top of everyday obligations such as family and full-time jobs - Andrews is a systems engineer and commutes daily from Cedarville to Wilmington, Delaware; Jones is a transportation supervisor for UPS; and Kolowski works for the digital comics subscription service Comixology.
"I think what makes it easier is we’re all friends, we go on vacations together," Jones said. "It’s more a family thing than an entertainment thing."
The three use the crowdfunding site Patreon to support Paper Keg, as is common with many podcasts. Tiers of support range from $2 a month to $25 a month, all of which entitle the backers to new episodes two days before they're made available on iTunes, plus extras for higher tiers.
"It covers our hosting fees, and over time it’s just been accumulating, so we bought the soundboard we’ve been using now," Kolowski said.
As for their personal comics preferences, Andrews says he's enjoying DC's Rebirth titles and is a fan of writer Jason Aaron, whose books include "Thor" and "Doctor Strange" for Marvel and "Southern Bastards" for Image. Jones is "physically unable to not buy an Image No. 1," and Kolowski is a fan of Remender's creator-owned books, including "Deadly Class," "Low" and "Fear Agent."
"The genesis of the show was the three of us wanted to make a funny show we could listen to later in our lives, and I think we do that," Kolowski said. "As an added bonus, we have fun talking about comics."
On May 1, the team behind the locally produced indie comic "Super!" turned to Kickstarter wi…
If you're looking for other comics podcasts to listen to, check out these contenders:
Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men: A weekly show out of Portland, Oregon, that dives deep into the history of Marvel's merry mutants, a few issues at a time. Recent episodes cover 1989's "Inferno" crossover, the start of Wolverine's ongoing solo series and the Wolverine and Havok "Meltdown" miniseries from 1988. XplaintheXMen.com
House to Astonish: A roughly biweekly show out of Scotland that includes comics news, reviews and a comedic segment called the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, in which the hosts attempt to redeem one of the publisher's lesser lights. HousetoAstonish.com
Journey into Misery: A weekly show out of England in which host Kieran Shiach attempts to explain convoluted comics concepts, characters and stories to his girlfriend, Helena Hart. Recent episodes have tackled "Ultimate Spider-Man," "Preacher" and "The Authority." jimpodcast.com
The Writers Panel, Comics Editions: An irregular part of the Writers Panel podcasts, in which rotating hosts interview guests from the world of comics such as artist Art Adams ("Longshot"), Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon ("Daytripper") and writer Tom King ("Vision," "Batman"). nerdist.com/podcasts/nerdist-writers-panel-channel
Books out this week:
More DC #1s: The Rebirth era continues with new first issues for Aquaman, Flash and Wonder Woman.
Deadpool vs. Gambit #1: The Regeneratin' Degenerate and the Ragin' Cajun reveal their secret history of pulling con jobs together in this new five-part miniseries from writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker (the "Thrilling Adventure Hour" podcast) and artist Danilo Beyruth.
Lucas Stand #1: "Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter writes his first comic series, about a military veteran who has trouble readjusting to civilian life and ends up taking a job capturing escaped demons for Lucifer. With Jesus Hervas on art.
Copy desk chief / comics blogger