Thursday, June 23, 2011

How DC Comics Inspired a Secret Identity Relaunch

A couple of weeks ago, DC Comics rocked the comic industry with news that they would be relaunching their entire line of comics in September. During that month, 52 new comic series will be launched with new #1 issues, and many of DC’s characters will have new designs, and in some cases, new backstories. For an industry that likes to take baby steps, this is a huge move that is both exciting and risky at the same time. Anytime you make major changes to the status quo, you risk alienating your established audience.

But man, is it a breath of fresh air. The more I thought about it, the more excited I was about the idea of making something new again. And then I started thinking about Secret Identity, the podcast Matt Herring and I have done since 2006. In the past five-plus years, Matt and I have published over 1000 hours of podcasts, which have covered everything from comics to games to pretty much every area of geek culture. We’ve interviewed over 300 creators from all of the aforementioned industries, and in the time we’ve been doing the show, we’ve never taken a week off.

Over the first couple years, we tweaked the format of the show, and refined our website ( We settled on a format a few years ago that has largely remained unchanged, and that has worked for us and for the people who listen to the show.

So why fix it if it isn’t broken?

Well, for one reason, we’ve been doing the same thing for a long time. While neither Matt nor I feel like things have really gotten stale, we both feel like it’s just a matter of time before they do. We don’t want to end the current run on a whimper. We want to close a chapter with our heads held high, and then start a new one. Issue #350 of Secret Identity will be the last one in the current version of the show. That’s a great number to end on, and a great body of work to be able to look back on.

We also want to address some consistency issues moving forward. Right now, the second episode of each week is a pot-luck style episode. The problem is, there hasn’t been much variety there lately. Some of the other segments we’d like to do in that show rely on us being able to coordinate and record with other people, and that has not happened consistently. Our new approach to the show will help remedy that problem. The result will that people will know what to expect with each show, and we’ll be able to consistently deliver on what we set out to do.

Finally, one of the biggest reasons for the relaunch is because it’s really fun and exciting to get to have an opportunity to take everything we’ve learned over the past five years and use that to take another shot at launching Secret Identity. Everyone has things they’ve done that they wish they could go back and do over again. Because Secret Identity is something Matt and I created, and it’s such a big part of our lives, we are very excited to have another go at it.

In the next few weeks, I’ll talk more about what the actual format of the new show and website will be. Rest assured, we’re not getting rid of anything that people have come to know and love--in fact, we’re building on it.

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