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CSBG Archive

House to Astonish Episode 95

It’s our one-year anniversary with Comics Should Be Good, and in celebration Paul and I have got an absolute epic of an episode this time round, with two hours of chat for you – we’ve got news on MCM Scotland, the cancellation of Hellblazer and the launch of Constantine, the Marvel Now! radio ads, the Age of Ultron, the latest Marvel teasers and Tony Harris’s cosplayer rant. We’ve also got reviews of Great Pacific and X-Men Legacy, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe gets the chop.


On top of that we’ve got interviews with Mark Waid and Kieron Gillen (the latter of which is an epic taking in Uncanny X-Men, Iron Man, Journey Into Mystery, Young Avengers and Death’s Head). All this plus the Valkyrior Territorial Army, the dorkiest state in the US and a special guest comics creator… who’s topless.

We don’t just want to talk at you guys, though, we want to hear what you think too, about anything we’ve raised in this episode – including, but not limited to:

  • Is there a problem in the world of comics fans and cosplayers? Should cosplayers need to know the ins and outs of the characters they dress as, or is that just precious clubhouse-ism from insecure fans?
  • Are there certain stories that could only be done in Hellblazer that can’t be done in Constantine? Should DC have kept John Constantine out of the DCU?
  • What Marvel Now! books have impressed you so far?

The podcast is here, or on Mixcloud here.

You can just use the player right here, if you’d like:

We’re also available via Stitcher.com or their free iOS and Android apps. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter (I’m @housetoastonish and Paul’s @ifdestroyed), via email or on our Facebook fan page.

Thanks for listening, and here’s to the next year!


The “Cosplay Poser” bullshit is annoying. If someone wants to dress up as a character then it’s a great opportunity to get them interested. Even if they don’t end up reading the comics, it cuts down on the pool of people to get awesome group costumes together. The “Cosplay Poser” attitude is a holdover from when interest in geeky things came about because of exclusion from the mainstream interests. That exclusion created a “Screw you guys, I’m going home” response that caused a lot of geeks/nerds/goths/etc. to become just as exclusionary as the people who had once excluded them. Society has developed and is a much more inclusive place for people with any sort of difference. It’s time some of these formerly outcast subgroups caught up.

I think that while the bare bones of any Hellblazer story don’t necessarily disqualify it from a DCU book, I think part of Hellblazer’s appeal is the visceral reaction with the horror elements. People don’t get hit with magic bursts and disappear in a flash of energy. They explode in a volcano of entrails and their faces end up worn by demons playing Ed Gein. That being said, I want John in the DCU. I didn’t like the artificial wall that divided the Vertigo characters away from the DCU and I don’t like the artificial wall that is keeping DCU characters away from Vertigo. Marvel has it right with how they do the MAX line. The characters exist in the MU at large, but when a writer comes along who wants to do something R rated with a character it makes sense for they let it happen and it may or may not be in continuity. So we have Wisdom or Swamp Thing who started off in the main universe before having a jaunt in the R rated zone (Yes, Swamp Thing’s long history isn’t exactly the same as Wisdom’s one mini, but they were the closest I can think of.) before returning, with acknowledgement of what went on while they were there (RIP John Skrull). Then you have Punisher and Constantine where you have an R rated version allowed to age and a more traditional comicbook version keeping the original essence alive in the main universe.

I’m loving Deadpool, All New X-Men, and X-Men Legacy. Uncanny Avengers hasn’t quite wowed me yet, but I enjoyed the first issue and am giving it a chance.

Does it matter how and why fans love the characters? Are they enjoying them? How they discovered them? Are we all having fun?

Entitled fanboys don’t OWN the characters and they shouldn’t dictate how people enjoy them.

Am I missing something here?

” Is there a problem in the world of comics fans and cosplayers? Should cosplayers need to know the ins and outs of the characters they dress as, or is that just precious clubhouse-ism from insecure fans? ”

With all due respect, phrasing this as a question implies that there’s actual validity to the complaints of Tony Harris. Cosplayers aren’t hurting anyone, so let them dress however they wish.

@Dalarsco & Bill – I agree on the cosplay front. I really don’t think it matters why a cosplayer wants to dress as a particular character, whether it be because they’ve always loved that character’s stories or whether they just like the costume – I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to tell others how they can or can’t enjoy themselves.

@Dalarsco – That seems a sensible way to treat Constantine – he was a DCU character to begin with, so it’s not like there isn’t precedent for him interacting with DCU characters, though I’d like to see them run two versions in parallel in the way Marvel did with the Punisher for several years.

@Neil – I certainly don’t mean to imply that there’s validity to the complaints – if you check out the podcast you’ll hear that we’re pretty against them. I do think it’s worth inviting those who think otherwise to explain their reasoning, though – it’s easier to engage with those we disagree with if we understand why they think what they do.

Thank you for letting me know that, Al. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, so the comment was the first thing that struck me. I’ll be listening to it soon; I often use House to Astonish as background noise when I do my comics, so I can be reminded of why I love the medium.

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