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CSBG Archive

House to Astonish Episode 118


With one thing and another, we’re a little behind, so apologies for the slight delay in getting this episode to you. This time round, we’re discussing Marvel’s announcements, including a variety of new series, the relaunch of the Ultimate books, and… something to do with Spider-Man? We’re also looking at Lex Luthor taking the reins of the Justice League, DC’s second Aquaman series, and the Vertigo anthology CMYK, and whizzing through all of the announcements coming out of the Image Expo. We’re also reviewing Black Widow, Black Dynamite and EGOs (in the context of which we fail to notice that the artist and colourist are the same person), and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil. All this plus Prisoner: Deep Space 9, What If: Essex and Rich Johnston’s gang of comics gossip urchins.


As usual, we want to know what you think on a variety of subjects that we’ve discussed, including but not limited to:

  • What are you most excited about coming out of the Image Expo?
  • Should the Ultimate universe continue or be put out to pasture?
  • What place does the Icon imprint have in the comics world of 2014?

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud.

Or just listen to it right here:

House to Astonish Episode 118 – LoveC.A.T.S. by Housetoastonish on Mixcloud

Let us know what you think, either in the comments, on Twitter (I’m @housetoastonish and Paul’s @ifdestroyed), via email at housetoastonish@gmail.com or on our Facebook fan page.

And hey, there are swish t-shirts and hoodies available on our Redbubble store. Why not treat yourself?


1.) The Grant Morrison/Chris Burnham Image series. I can’t even remember what it’s about, but seeing them doing creator-owned work together makes me quite happy.

2.) My head says the Ultimate Universe ran its course years ago and should be ended. However, my heart wants it to continue, because I loved those comics so much back in high school, and thought many of the tripped-down and morally ambiguous remakes of Marvel characters were more compelling than their predecessors. I also loved that it was a shared universe across four books at most, and up until Ultimatum, was able to give each of those books its own identity within said shared universe. The smaller universe combined with the greater creative freedom (even if it was because the books “didn’t matter”) made the books feel more focused and emotionally authentic than most of the mainline Marvel books have been in years. Unfortunately, since the movies stripped the Ultimate books of all the Hollywood-friendly adaptation material and left the more interesting aspects behind, there’s little use for the Ultimates now, and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get anything like the Ultimates from Marvel again.

3.) You guys made a good point that ICON basically means the involved creators’ projects end up at the back of the Marvel solicitations at best. Perhaps instead of being treated as a concession for creators signing an exclusive with Marvel, it should be treated as an outlet for prominent writers to get their pet themes and notable writing tics out of their system. For example, we could have a Brian Michael Bendis ICON book literally called “People Talking About How Things Are Broken”…

I forgot Icon was even around still, but I guess that with Bendis books and now Painkiller Jane, it’s still around some. And since we heard from the Image Expo about Bru’s deal with Image, obviously Criminal’s not coming back any time soon (unless he gets it back from Marvel somehow).

From what I understand, creators had to do their own promotion for their Icon books, which is why JMS has finally taken Book of Lost Souls back and taking it to Image. At least DC is still, for now, treating Vertigo as a viable and important arm of their publishing.

And the Image Expo announcements just told me that I better earmark all of my comics money for them, because they’re kickin’ some ass.

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