Exploring the Dynamics of Comic Book Relationships with Comic Book Couples Counseling


Oh my, Creator Spotlight is back from a brief hiatus! In July, I had the chance to interview Speedokaggen Creator Magnus Edlund. Today’s interview will feature a Dynamic Duo who was featured in Screen Rant’s 10 Best Comic Book Podcasts.

When they aren’t taking on Galactic Threats or disguising themselves as Orcs, they are Brad, and Lisa Gullickson, the hosts of Comic Book Couples Counseling! A podcast that explores various dynamics of comic book relationships throughout pop culture and publishing history. Each week they tackle a new storyline or interview a new creator, bringing a lifetime of passion to the conversation.

In this new interview, we’ll be discussing the inspiration behind their Podcast and Brand, the process behind creating an episode, and the art of understanding Comic Book Couples. Without further adieu, let’s get to it!

Red: What was the inspiration behind your Podcast and Brand?

Lisa: We had already been podcasting for a few years.

Brad: A few years earlier we started the In the Mouth of Dorkness podcast with our friends Darren, Bryan, and Matt. We loved doing that, but we also wanted more control of it – or a podcast that we could totally claim as our own. So, we had been noodling on the Comic Book Couples Counseling idea for a while. And Lisa really came up with the core concept of our show.

Lisa: We have a mutual love for comics. I had gotten into them when we started dating, or when we started dating seriously. I thought doing a podcast around comics from a couples perspective would be neat and I’ve always had an interest in self-help books and advice columns and that kind of thing.

Brad: You had just finished reading the Silver Surfer run by Dan Slott and Mike Allred. You wanted to talk about that comic, especially the romance between Dawn Greenwood and Norrin Radd.

Lisa: That wasn’t our first complete idea, though. The first self-help/couple pairing we considered was Reed and Sue from the Fantastic Four paired with Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies.

Brad: But we didn’t want our first episodes to focus on Reed and Sue or Dawn and Norrin. We wanted those conversations to be perfect, or as good as we could make them, so we decided to cover Scott Summers and Jean Grey of the X-Men first because our hearts were not as invested in them. We knew this podcast would require some tinkering and that our first episodes would be rough. We wanted to get better before we tackled our OTPs.


Lisa: What’s the inspiration behind our brand? No one has ever asked that.

Brad: What the heck is our brand?

Lisa: We want to be a beacon of positivity and light.

Brad: And a celebration of the medium of comics. We want to be champions for this art form and we want to encourage others to look inward. Self-care is hard and easy to dismiss.

Lisa: Our growth mindset, our positivity mindset is a little bit reactionary. When I started getting into comics I got a sense that, “You’ll never fit in, because you didn’t start reading comic books when you were seven years old. You’re bad at memorizing 9000 characters and you can’t name five Spawn villains or whatever.’

Brad: Some people can make comics seem overwhelming.

Lisa: There’s all this gatekeeping. We definitely wanted to invite people into the medium through the podcast. We didn’t want to rag on anyone’s work, either. These things are hard to make.

Brad: I don’t want to take a dump on a comic that took a tremendous amount of love, care, and thought to bring into the world.

Lisa: We do not want to be critics. We wanted to be enthusiasts. We wanted to be a pathway to more people reading comics differently.

Red: When preparing for an episode or an interview, what is the process behind it?

Lisa: Well, those are two very different things. For a couples counseling session episode, we read the comic. I take a bunch of notes. Brad takes a bunch of notes. I create my notes using a self-help book as my guide. We’re not experts in self-care, so we seek a supposed expert’s advice through their book or article or whatever.

Brad: Our couples counseling session episodes are a long and arduous process which is why they take a little longer to come out. The note-taking is intense. We both bring a list of things to the table that we want to discuss and we don’t really know what the other person is going to say until we hit record. Then, we record for five hours or so. We edit as we go, we edit when we’re done.

Lisa: I’m sure many podcasters would look at the way we do things and think it’s incredibly inefficient.

Brad: That’s fair.


Lisa: It’s how we prefer to work. Strenuously and uphill the whole time.

Brad: As far as our interviews, We approach those very differently too, Lisa is a massive note-taker, I just go with it.

Lisa: Brad will read the comic and maybe a few interviews with the creator. He’ll come to the conversation with one question pre-loaded and then just start talking. I go through every other interview with the creator that I can find. I take lots of notes. I formulate generally a dozen questions, and a few substitute questions kinda like a telemarketer. Well, if the creator says this then I’m going to say that. I want to move the conversation into this direction.

Brad: I think we benefit from both processes. We never have dead air.

Red: In an interview with AIPT, you discussed the Art of Understanding Comics Couples, what is the Art?

Lisa: That sounds like we were bullshitting. We don’t really have a specified art when it comes to talking about couples.

Brad: We have strategies!

Lisa: We approach every couple as if they are people, not creations of Jack Kirby or whatever.

Brad: Lisa really brought that to the table. Whereas I still struggle with wanting to discuss publication history and how editorial interfered.

Lisa: Approaching these fictional couples as if they were alive is the purpose of stories. That’s the intention. Wanting to talk about the publication history and the motivations behind the storytellers is another gatekeeper thing. Not everyone who picks up the Fantastic Four wants to discuss the struggle between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. They want to talk about the story, they want to talk about the characters. The story is the story. Look no further.


Red: In your past interviews or convention appearances, what was your favorite moment?

Lisa: I loved our conversation with Jeff Smith about Tuki. Character-wise, we really got into it. He was into talking about themes and talking about all the research that went into creating that particular universe. He seemed to jive with my desire to talk about his character relationships.

Brad: Those are my favorite interviews. The ones that become a conversation and not a tennis match where we lobby a question and they lobby an answer. We’ve been really fortunate with our guests. This year has been insane and picking one favorite is really hard. Jeff Smith was great. Tom King was great. Alex Ross was great.

Lisa: Scott Snyder!

Brad: So good! Both of those conversations with Scott. When people come on the podcast they seem like they really want to open up. It takes about fifteen minutes to warm up but then we all know who we are. I’m just so incredibly grateful for everyone who’s agreed to sit on our counseling couch.

Lisa: Convention wise, this year has been wild too. The best thing is that we’ve been able to meet up with our guests in person and chat face-to-face and not just over zoom or zencastr. Also, getting to meet our listeners is just the best thing ever.

Red: What advice would you give people who want to make a podcast or pursue a career in the Comic Book Industry?

Lisa: The second part about the comic book industry, we have no idea. We’re still trying to crack that.

Brad: You just have to do it. Make comics. Make podcasts. You have the tools. It’s never been easier. Just do it. After you do it, then you have to hustle. We’re still trying to figure that out. Every phone has a microphone. Don’t worry about audio quality. Start recording today. You’ll learn the tech stuff as you go. And don’t worry about being good. All your first episodes are bad, but they’re not as bad as you think they are.

Lisa: Embrace the niche. If you love the AIPT podcast, don’t just copy their format. There are a million shows doing news and reviews. AIPT is already killing it in that field. Find a different angle. Meditate on what makes you specifically you.

Brad: Also, do not care how many people are listening. Make the show for you.

Lisa: You need to build a back catalog before people start to take notice anyway. And those old shows that nobody listened to will suddenly find their audience years later.

Brad: And that will torture you because your old episodes are not as good.

Lisa: But, again, they’re not as bad as you think they are either.

That wraps it up for this interview with Creator Spotlight. If you’re interested in more Comic Book Couples Counseling, be sure to check out their website. Also, if you would like to support Brad and Lisa’s work, visit the links below:

Until next time, be sure to check out my past interviews, and please, continue supporting artists, and creators!

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