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A Comicbook Orange Returns — Now With More Human!

[show=comicbookorange size=large]Hey, nerds, it’s Wednesday! And you know what that means! No, not a new episode of Lost — it’s New Comic Book Day, the day of the week when comics shops sell the latest installments of sequential art from Marvel, DC, and the rest. And correspondingly, today is the relaunch of A Comicbook Orange, the comic book commentary show created by Galacticast‘s Casey McKinnon.

The original incarnation of Comicbook Orange ran on the now-defunct Next New Networks channel Pulp Secret, and focused on reviewing comics using a X-out-of-5 oranges system. Because the content primarily existed of still frames from comics intercut with comedy sketch elements (I did like Sim the talking cell phone from episode 2.8), it dragged a little bit. But now that McKinnon and co-director Josh Allard are running the show independently, they’re also including interviews with comic book creators along with the reviews, and the increased human element is a big bonus to the format.

For a first-time interviewer, McKinnon is skilled at getting her subjects comfortable on camera, and the tight editing focuses the segment on a concise portrait of an artist (though some of the cuts are clearly covering up awkward spots). Artist Ben Templesmith (co-creator of 30 Days of Night) is a fantastic interview subject, funny and dynamic on camera, and his insights into the comic book industry and the nature of being a comic book artist are definitely engaging. He breaks down the artistic community into two camps (those who got into the business to tell stories, and those who got into the business to draw Spider-Man), and when asked about his future aspirations, he claims to have gotten everything he ever wanted. “I draw my own stuff and have an audience for it,” he said.

According to McKinnon, with whom I spoke via phone, the reason the original Comicbook Orange disappeared in 2007 was because “it was so hard to get it out. When we needed a break, the break lasted for over a year and a half.” Thus, her strategy for the new season was to pre-tape as many interviews as possible, while also scheduling the review segments to correspond with new releases, ensuring that she’d meet her deadlines. “It’s much better to get way ahead and schedule time off,” she said.

So far, McKinnon’s interview subjects include writers Marc Guggenheim, Paul Jenkins, Percy Carey and Mark Sable, as well as artists Chuck BB and Jim Mahfood. Having relocated from Canada to Los Angeles recently, she’s had no difficulty finding writers in the L.A. area to interview, but is looking forward to the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con as an opportunity to interview more artists. Each profile will focus not on the business side of comics, but instead on McKinnon’s goal of showcasing talented people within the industry.

Comicbook Orange‘s third season is premiering completely independent of any sponsorship, because McKinnon didn’t want to wait for a deal to go through before getting back into the production game. (It’s been months since she and Galacticast partner Rudy Jahchan have released any new content.) “My agent has some deals in the works, but pushing the release would have meant changing the review schedule,” McKinnon said. Her ideal sponsor would be someone “very geeky,” potentially a comic book-focused site hungry for more video content. Given how the online comic book community is a vibrant and engaged one, with huge amounts of interaction between creators and fans, Comicbook Orange‘s emphasis on celebrating the medium and those who work within it is a perfect fit for that niche.

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