EN is powered in large part by the vast numbers of podcasts I consume while drawing. I listen to music when sketching the faces and poses and laying out the balloons, because I’m working directly from the scripts, and I can’t follow two sources of dialogue. But when that’s done and I move onto inking, colouring, backgrounds, shading, apparently that uses a different part of my brain, because after that point, my train of thought wanders off and can be a distraction. Podcasts give that part of my brain something to chew on, so I go through hours and hours of recorded material.

A few favourites are video game show Weekend Confirmed, critical thinking cast Skeptics With a K, and game/comic/movie/all around geek topic podcast Nerdy Show.

Nerdy Show host ‘Triforce’ Mike Pandel passed away last week. He was a crazy, reckless bastard, and it finally caught up to him. I’ll share with you the message I sent to Mike’s friends and fans at the Nerdy Show forums.

You know what’s great about podcasts? Mike’s basically immortal now.

Over the past, I don’t know, year or so, I’ve been working my way through the archives of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. They have archives going back to 2005. I didn’t even know podcasts existed in 2005, holy crap. At the same time, I would also listen to new episodes as they were released. So I was living in two eras of the podcast’s span, current events, and old events from years past. It was funny to hear them discuss news events like Pluto potentially having its status downgraded by the International Astronomical Union, when here in the far flung World of the Future, I already knew that Pluto had been classed as a dwarf planet for years. But there was one notable difference in the format between Past!SGU and Present!SGU: Perry DeAngelis was no longer a host. Now this could have been for any number of reasons; people move on all the time, things change. But then, in one new episode, he was mentioned briefly, in a wistful sort of way, and I came to the realisation that Perry was dead. He’d been dead for four years. And yet he was alive, in those archived recordings I was listening to. Perry was like Mike in some ways: never afraid to speak his opinion, or say the most hilarious thing you’d never see coming. Through the podcast, I had the chance to meet Perry, laugh at his wit, take his side in some conversations, disagree with him in others, and develop a strange, yet genuine, sort of one-way friendship. And when I reached the point in the archive when Perry, after fighting illness for a long time, finally passed away, I mourned him.

The same thing’s going to happen with Mike, as long as archives of Nerdy Show stay online. Years from now, new listeners will come along and meet Triforce Mike, get to know him, enjoy his company, be inspired by his enthusiasm, and when they reach the episodes from 2012, they will mourn him. Sounds like immortality to me.

Podcasting is such a unique and intimate medium. I don’t know if you guys on the host end realise it. Sitting in on your conversations, it’s like hanging out with your buddies. Maybe you’re the quiet friend in the corner who never actually speaks up, but you still laugh and enjoy the conversation nonetheless. You may not know all of us, but we all feel like we know you. We knew Mike, too, and we’re gonna miss him.

Maybe in linking to Nerdy Show, some of you will get to meet Mike too.

I hold no accountability in what meeting him might do you to though. Nerdy Show and Triforce Mike himself are very NSFW; you’ve been warned.