With The Batman holding on to its spot as the highest-grossing film of the year so far, and fans rejoicing over the news that a sequel is in the works, Batman fever remains at a record high.
Also stoking fan fervour for an even deeper dive into comic book heroes, the latest instalment in Marvel’s Dr Strange franchise, Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, has climbed to the top of the box office. This proves cinema-goers' penchant for fantastical, expanded universes shows no signs of fatigue.
Away from the IMAX screens and their traditional origins as comic books, superhero stories have been making forays into the world of podcasts. Not the type of podcast where super-fans sit around and debate who was the best Bruce Wayne, but scripted shows that further explore different avenues and adventures those heroes may take.
The latest of these is Batman Unburied, the Caped Crusader’s first foray into scripted podcasts, which unseated The Joe Rogan Experience from the number one spot on the Spotify podcasts charts when it was released last week.
Here are five original superhero podcast series you’ll want to add to your playlist…
DC’s scripted superhero series has gone straight in at number one on the Spotify podcast charts, after its global premiere on May 3. The 10-part podcast series released its first two episodes last week, which featured localised versions in nine regions, including India, Indonesia and Brazil.
The series, created by David S Goyer, who wrote 2005’s Batman Begins, follows Bruce Wayne (voiced by Black Panther’s Winston Duke) in his role as a forensic pathologist investigating a serial killer, known as the Harvester (Sam Witwer), who is on the loose in Gotham City.
In this Batman universe, Bruce’s parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne are still alive. Also featured are The Riddler (Hasan Minhaj) and detective Barbara Gordon, voiced by Gina Rodriguez, who is the daughter of former police commissioner Jim Gordon.
Episodes released weekly, exclusively on Spotify
‘Marvel’s Wolverine: The Long Night’
Marvel’s first scripted podcast ran for two seasons. Season one was called The Long Night, and season two, The Lost Trail, each 10 episodes long.
In The Long Night, a serial murder case leads federal agents to the fictional Alaskan town of Burns. Local resident Logan (Richard Armitage) is the main suspect, and the agents are soon set on the path to discovering his dual identity. Logan himself believes a local cult, the Aurora, know more than they are letting on about the murders.
The Lost Trail transplants the action to New Orleans. Logan is on the hunt for an ex-girlfriend, when he becomes embroiled in the disappearance of local humans and mutants.
Both seasons available on Apple Podcasts and Google Play
Anyone looking for a superhero series for their children will enjoy Tara Tremendous. With 42 episodes available, the series, which began in 2019, released its fourth season earlier this year. The show has already inspired an animated spin-off, and has moved into the kind of expanded, crossover universe which made Marvel such a success.
The show follows Tara Callahan (Mariana Harrison), a 14-year-old girl who accidentally gains the powers of every superhero in the world. Callahan must learn how to control her abilities and embrace her destiny to become the most powerful being in the universe.
In later seasons, new characters are introduced, including Tremendous Boy, a powerful-yet-mysterious 18-year-old from an alternate, dystopian universe who is torn between good and evil as he serves a dark lord.
Available on Apple Podcasts and Google Play
‘The Bright Sessions’
Having run from 2015 until 2021, any newcomer to this popular podcast will have plenty of shows to catch up on — 139 in total.
The scripted show follows a group of therapy patients, each of whom possesses a unique supernatural ability. Among psychologist Dr Joan Bright’s (Julia Morizawa) patients are Samantha Barnes (Lauren Shippen), who suffers from anxiety and can travel through time; high-school pupil Caleb Michaels (Briggon Snow), an empath who struggles to control his own emotions; and Rose Atkinson (Alanna Fox), whose narcolepsy allows her to enter into and manipulate other people's dreams.
Shadowy organisations circle the “Atypicals”, along with friends, family members and the military, as Bright turns out not to be quite who she says she is.
All seasons available at www.thebrightsessions.com
‘Inhale: A Superhero Tale’
If you struggle to fit in the time to listen to podcast series, Inhale: A Superhero Tale, delivers bite-sized episodes that are between six and 10 minutes-long, slotting perfectly into your daily life.
Tamara Tracer (Carrie Olsen) is known to the residents of the town of Hemlock by her pseudonym, Tracy Tanner. The locals have no idea about the quiet librarian in their midst is, and Tracer wants to keep it that way.
Possessing great powers, she goes to great lengths to keep her abilities hidden, until a dark stranger arrives, intent on destroying Hemlock, forcing her to make a choice between anonymity and destiny.
Available on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts and Spotify