The Best Superhero Podcasts to Listen to Right Now Including Batman Unburied
There’s a new podcast in town. One that is giving Spotify King Joe Rogan a run for his money and motivating droves of comic fans to get their headphones and download the Spotify app.
Spotify’s Batman Unburied is the first podcast to come out of a 2020 licensing deal between Warner Bros. and the podcast platform, which will see the creation of podcasts featuring iconic DC Comics characters. Other Warner Bros. characters and franchises are also on the table.
Batman Unburied features Winston Duke as Bruce Wayne, Hasan Minhaj as The Riddler, and Gina Rodriguez as Barbara Gordon, Gotham’s Chief of Police. Duke is popularly known for his role as M’Baku in Marvel’s Black Panther and Gabe in Jordan Peele’s “Us”.
The cast includes Jason Isaacs as Alfred, John Rhys-Davies as Dr. Hunter, and Ashly Burch, who plays Vicki Vale.
The podcast has officially dethroned The Joe Rogan Experience. According to The Podcast Charts by Spotify, Batman Unburied is now the No. 1 podcast in the U.S., bumping Rogan’s controversial show to second place.
There is no telling how long it will remain in the top spot, but two episodes had been launched earlier this month that are already receiving wide acclaim.
Written and executive produced by The Dark Knight’s David S. Goyer, the fictional podcast is different from the Batman story most fans are familiar with. It tells the story of Bruce Wayne, a forensic pathologist working on the victims of a serial killer known as The Harvester.
According to the official description of the podcast, Wayne is on the trail of a serial killer, The Harvester, who is “terrorizing” Gotham City. He develops an “obsession” with the murderer while performing autopsies of the victims.
The Harvester then targets Wayne himself, prompting his parents, who are incidentally still alive, to encourage him to go to therapy. Lance Reddick and Toks Olagundoye play Thomas and Martha Wayne, respectively.
Gotham police, who can’t rely on Batman, instead call upon the city’s “second-smartest detective” — The Riddler, who is voiced by Hasan Minhaj. Eventually Bruce’s alter ego Batman will make an appearance.
Goyer, who’s written for Batman across four movies and many comic books, had imposed a mandate if he was going to commit to telling another Batman story. That mandate was to tell a Batman story that went in a different direction than the original story.
“It wasn’t a mandate that DC or Spotify gave me. I just wanted to do something I hadn’t done before. So, I was interested in coming up with a storyline that had several twists and turns in which we pull the rug out from under the audience,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
When asked by THR if he had to change his writing style at all for the podcast medium, he answered, “The way that you deal with exposition is different than if you were dealing with a purely visual medium. Certain things like car chases or action scenes don’t really work well in the narrative medium, whereas you might be able to communicate information purely visually if you were doing a television show or a feature.”
He continued, “So we had to figure out different ways of getting that information across either through the voice acting or through the soundscape and the sound cues.”
Goyer was thrilled by the casting choice of Winston Duke for Bruce Wayne. According to the writer and filmmaker, Duke was one of his first choices. “I’m a huge fan of his and I love what he’s done.”
If there is one thing clear about mass culture is that they love their superhero stories. These stories not only provide plenty of life lessons, but depict many philosophical, cultural, and emotional notions.
Clinical psychologist Robin Rosenberg has suggested that superheroes allow us to find “meaning in loss and trauma, discovering our strengths and using them for a good purpose.”
A fascinating study from Kyoto University in Japan showed humans are attracted to heroes, even before they can talk. The study had infants watch a video showing someone acting heroic, and the results showed the babies could comprehend what they were seeing.
Currently Batman Unburied is the top Spotify podcast in the US, Australia, Brazil, France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and India.
More DC character podcasts are also in the works and Goyer is involved with at least two others. While there aren’t that many details yet, he has showed that one exists in the Batman: Unburied universe and the other does not.
In the meantime, there is a growing trend of other superheroes in the audio-only medium of fiction podcasts, including Wolverine: The Long Night.
Produced by Marvel, this is one of the biggest productions that features a star-studded cast that includes The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage playing Logan.
The true crime podcast follows investigators trying to figure out the cause of a series of deaths, playing on both dramatic irony from the audience and actual mystery. It is available on all podcast platforms for free.
For fans who want to hear about many superheroes, there is Talk From Superheroes, which is hosted by comedians Andrew Ivimey and Diana McCallum. The duo breaks down a different superhero movie or TV show each week and hilariously highlight things fans may have never noticed before.
Hosted by Ryan “Agent M” Penagos, Lorraine Cink, and James Monroe Iglehart, This Week in Marvel is the official Marvel podcast giving you inside access to all the latest Marvel comics, TV, and movies.
There is a lot to enjoy about superhero stories, and thankfully the world of audio drama is now allowing for a lot of them to be told.