Kev F Sutherland is a name that pops up a lot if you’re a person into comics, especially if you’re a British person. His artistic history has covered the likes of The Beano and even the short lived Red Dwarf magazine, and these days he concentrates on a series of modernized Shakespeare graphic novels, which are actually very good, even for non Shakespeare people like me who learn most of their bard bits from watching Upstart Crow. Add to this the fact he teaches children how to draw their own comics, and you have a rather qualified person to host a comic podcast. Oh… and he’s also the man behind (well, under) The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, so there’s that (if that’s confusing to you, get to YouTube and thank me later).
Comic Cuts The Panel Show is only a handful of episodes deep at the moment, and it’s a refreshing change fro the normal comic podcasts. First it’s a handy 30-35 minutes, which for me is a sweet spot as some podcasts really can go on and on. Secondly, he is getting interesting guests from the worlds of comedy and comics, with the first episodes Iszi Lawrence being her usual fun self on the comedian side, whilst comics have been well represented by the likes of Peter Hogan and Nigel Parkinson, with luminaries such as Brian Bolland to come.
So what exactly is it? Well, two guests (male and female) bring along to the show a panel or page from a comic. They then all talk about it, describing it for the listeners, and then whatever happens just happens. Bringing in Tintin, you’re going to have racism pop up (and colonialism) whilst a bit of Manga gives them a chance to educate the listener (well, me anyway) in a few aspects of what actually makes something Manga. It’s a mixed bag, and the choice of art decided what direction the show goes in.
I got together with Kev to delve a little deeper.
So Kev, what made you want to do a new podcast?
I decided to do a podcast cos I was between school appearances (with my classes) and was giving my Scottish Falsetto Socks online gigs a rest (in anticipation of live gigs resuming) and thought it would be fun. The subject matter came about cos I didn’t know of many podcasts about comics, especially British ones. I’d only heard 2000AD shows, or ones where Brit creators, mostly blokes, talked about US comics.
How did you decide on the format?
It’s a mix of Radio 4’s A Good Read, and a Channel 4 TV series no-one remembers called Gallery, with George Melly, where they looked at bits of paintings and tried to guess what they were. Then showed off their knowledge, that’s the bit that inspired me. The format’s perfect. I hadn’t realised each half hour would take me half a day to edit. But as long as I squeeze 3 or 4 recordings into a day, I should be able to keep it going.
Have you encountered any problems early on?
The only resource that may become scarce is female guests. I’m refusing to do any all-male shows, and despite the industry getting more balanced over the years, there are still way more blokes wanting to come on a podcast and talk than there are women. 12 shows in, we’re managing.
Do you get frustrated at not being allowed to show your own choice of comic cut?
As for me bringing a panel, for the first 3 recordings I did have my own in reserve in case we under-ran (I soon discovered that wasn’t a likelihood, as people are happy to talk). I’d chosen panels from Look-In comic which, when we pulled back, we’d find had been cut out of the comic and stuck in my teenage diary. So, an excuse to talk about my diary which, thankfully, we’ve been spared.
So there you have it. Comic Cuts The Panel Show is available wherever podcasts are to be found (I use Podbean) and is, I have to say, a light, fun and entertaining listen.