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Fanbase Press Interviews BOOM! Studios’ Harley Salbacka and Anthony Mauro on the Recent Release of Their Podcast, ‘BOOM! Direct’

The following is an interview with BOOM! Studios’ Harley Salbacka (Sales Lead) and Anthony Mauro (Marketing Lead) regarding the recent launch of their new comics-focused podcast, BOOM! Direct. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Salbacka and Mauro about the inspiration behind bringing the new podcast to life, what viewers can anticipate in terms of both upcoming guests and comics content, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of BOOM! Direct!  What inspired this collaboration?

Anthony Mauro: First of all, thank you for the kind words! BOOM! Studios has a history of producing some really engaging and compelling shows–most recently being BOOM! Chat which launched during the early days of the pandemic. BOOM! Direct was just a progression of how we could push ourselves in new directions and take bigger swings at creating opportunities to connect with our readers. We work with some of the most compelling creators and storytelling universes in comics, so it just made sense to make these fun conversations accessible to everyone!

Harley Salbacka: Anthony and I chatted a lot about what we wanted it to feel like and be. Early on, we knew we wanted it to feel comfortable and accessible. Like you are chatting with your friends or just walked into your local comic shop. We want to make everyone feel as excited as we are about what BOOM! is doing! Plus, we had great partners on the BOOM! Team like our Producer Grecia Martinez and our Director of Marketing Ryan Matsunaga.

BD: What can viewers anticipate from each new episode, and how frequently will the show air?

HS: They can expect some really rad guests for a start! We can’t say who we have lined up, but I will say I maybe audibly squealed about some of the guests we have booked.

AM: They can also expect a recap of news coming out of BOOM! Studios, like new series announcements, updates on our upcoming movies and TV shows, and what we have planned for conventions and other events throughout the year.

HS: We also wanted to pull back the curtain on how we make comics at BOOM! I’m sure a lot of folks are curious about how the sausage is made, so to say, and we want to share that!

AM: With the exception of the first episode drop (and possibly some special episodes we can’t really talk about quite yet), BOOM! Direct will air once a month on the first Thursday of every month.

BD: With the launch of the first episode featuring writer Stephanie Phillips (Harley Quinn, The Butcher of Paris) and artist Flaviano (New Mutants), what were you most excited to learn about their work?

HS: I always want to know the whys and whats. Why the afterlife? What inspired this character? I love the process and psychology behind the stories.

AM: In another life, I worked with Stephanie on some of her early–if not her first–comics work, so getting to reconnect with her at BOOM! on Grim was a fun, full-circle experience for me. I really was just excited to see how her work has evolved and what kind of stories she had to tell outside of her work at DC or her historical fiction work.

AM: With Flaviano, I wanted to hear how he went about designing the afterlife. Death, capital D, is a staple in comics with the most famous example being Gaiman’s take on her. Getting to hear how Flaviano took it all in a different direction was fascinating.

HS:  As long-time comic nerds ourselves, Anthony and I get really jazzed about chatting with these creators we know and love. Diving into these details is what we live for.

BD: What do you hope that viewers will take away from the podcast in the weeks and months to come?

HS: Fun, knowledge, and a more stacked reading list! In my years running a comic shop, my favorite thing was introducing people to new stories and art I knew they would love. This is just another way for me to get that joy of spreading great stories.

AM: Harley said it best. Comics are infectious, the way they settle into your brain and open up shop. I hope that our passion and our creators’ passion for comics is just as infectious for our audience. I have the enormous privilege of getting to talk about comics as my day job. The best I can hope for is inspiring more people to talk about comics, as well!

HS: I also feel like this is a great peek into the humans who make BOOM! Studios run. Anthony and I are very much our genuine selves on this show. It has been amazing that BOOM! is letting us do the show that way. It speaks to how BOOM! is run and the kind of people who work here.

AM: Yeah, very true. And not just a peek at us, but at a cross section of the weird and wonderful people who make BOOM! Studios run.

BD: Are there any exciting episodes or upcoming guests that you would like to highlight for our readers?

AM: I think we’ve mentioned publicly now that we’re speaking to R.L. Stine about Stuff of Nightmares which I believe is our June episode. We also had the pleasure of getting to record our first (of hopefully many) in-person episodes where we speak to BOOM! Studios’ President of Publishing and Marketing Filip Sablik.

HS: Our episode with Filip is something a little different and all kinds of special. We are excited to keep pulling back the curtain on who we are and what we do at BOOM!

AM: For other unannounced guests, we have a pretty stacked slate for the rest of the year, and if you look at our publishing line from the past couple of years, you can take a good guess as to whom we’ve approached and will be approaching. Outside of that, we’d love to hear who you, the fans, want to hear us chat with! Send in your suggestions to boomdirect (at) boom-studios (dot) com!

HS: Yes! Please send us suggestions of who you wanna see!

BD:  Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about and subscribe to BOOM! Direct?

HS: Do you want a dose of nerdy comics fun and cool creators every month?

AM: Do you want reading recommendations, music playlists, and up-to-date news on all-things BOOM! Studios?

HS: Do you want to hear me and Anthony on occasion sing or make fools of ourselves? Subscribe. (laughs)

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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