House to Astonish
It’s Free Comic Book Day, and it’s also New House To Astonish Day – Paul and I have got a hefty slice of comicsy chat for you, with discussion of the closure of Comics Alliance, Valerie Gallaher’s departure from MTVGeek, the blacklisting of The Outhouse by DC and the cancellation of the B&B column here at CBR, as well as the end of X-Factor, the return of Spider-Man 2099, the Battle of the Atom crossover, Aw Yeah Comics’ partnership with Thrillbent, the return of Shaolin Cowboy, Dark Horse’s new Hellboy projects and Alex de Campi’s Grindhouse.
As is our usual way, we want to know what you make of the comics news of the past few weeks, including but not limited to:
- What do you think of DC’s decision to can the B&B column here at CBR and begin a similar column on their own site?
- What was the most exciting announcement out of C2E2 for you?
- Did your store do anything special or fun for Free Comic Book Day?
We’ve also got reviews of Jupiter’s Legacy, The Movement and Mister X: Eviction, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is having trouble getting over its ex. All this plus a hyperbolic chamber, the Best Dog award and all the scandals you never knew about DC Comics.
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Even though it’s been a relatively quiet couple of weeks for comics news, Paul and I still somehow managed to put together an hour and three quarters of discussion of the Saga/Comixology shenanigans, the first transgender character in the New 52, the sad passing of Carmine Infantino and the July solicitations. We’ve also got reviews of Avengers Assemble AU, Batman and Invincible Universe, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is going swimmingly. All this plus Bob Harras’s trousers falling down, what AU really stands for and Marvel’s most confusingly numbered ongoing series.
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Let us know what you think, either in the comments below, through Twitter (I’m at @housetoastonish and Paul’s at @ifdestroyed), via email (through email@example.com) or on our Facebook fan page.
As usual, we want to know what you think about the big issues of the week, including but not limited to:
- Does the Saga & Comixology fiasco show that there’s a problem with the current digital distribution system?
- Who’s the most adaptable villain in Batman’s rogues gallery?
- Are you looking forward to the Trinity War storyline?
Also, let’s not forget that we’ve got a new merchandise store, where you can get our super snazzy shirts. Check it out!
We’re a few days late because of the Easter holiday, but Paul and I have got lots of chat for you this time round to make up for it. We’re talking about Angela joining the Marvel Universe, DC’s creative merry-go-round, Marvel’s new Avengers title, Jeff Parker’s Batman ’66, the return of Quantum & Woody, Marvel’s move into OGNs, Jim Rugg’s Supermag and various other bits and bobs. We’ve also got reviews of The Private Eye, Constantine and East of West, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is spreading like a viral infection. All this plus two dogs dressed as a pirate, DC’s new Thai green curry book and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of Smash Hits.
As always, we’d like to hear your thoughts on the things we’ve discussed during this episode. A few pressing questions to get you thinking:
- Are the days of the comics completist over? Are there any characters or families of titles for whom you’re still a completist?
- Is the pay-what-you-want model used by The Private Eye going to bring about a change in how online comics are sold?
- Do DC’s constant creative upheavals leave you with any confidence about the state of their line?
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Paul and I have got absolutely bags of stuff to talk about this time round, with chat about Marvel’s SXSW announcements (and the fallout from their 700 Firsts giveaway), Justice League of America‘s sales, the casting of Drax the Destroyer, the delay of the adjectiveless X-Men book, Afterlife with Archie, the closure of JManga and a quick trot through the June solicitiations. We’ve also got reviews of Lost Vegas, Aliens vs Parker and Age of Ultron, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is seeing other people’s lives flash before its eyes. All this plus War is Awesome, Captain America’s dramatic walk and the impracticalities of a Top Cat heist.
As always, we want to know what you make of the issues we’ve been discussing, including but not limited to:
- Were you affected by the Comixology outage? Does the 700 issue promotion make you more or less likely to try Marvel’s titles digitally?
- Is the “rental” model practiced by JManga and other outlets one which you’d be willing to put money down for, now JManga are closing?
- What have you made of the two issues of Age of Ultron so far?
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Following our 100th episode extravaganza, we’re back with a regular old-fashioned episode of House to Astonish, with discussion of the Pandora and Batman/Superman ongoings, the expansion of the Fables empire, the Brother Lono miniseries, Gail Simone’s Red Sonja, the death of Damian Wayne, the Unwritten OGN, the Larfleeze title, Monkeybrain’s print distribution, IDW’s cartoon licenses, Columbia University’s acquisition of the Elfquest archives, the possibilities of Marvel First, the coming and going of WTF Month and Steven Sanders’s Symbiosis Kickstarter (it’s a busy couple of weeks). We’ve also got reviews of Five Weapons, Justice League of America and Nova, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is a master of spin. All this plus the DC New 52 Continuity Steerage Sub-Committee, a tasteless, odourless neurotoxin and a competently plumbed-in bathroom.
As always, we want to know your thoughts on the things we’ve discussed, which would include (but not be limited t0);
- How important are creators versus characters for you? Are there creators who you will follow to some titles, but not to others?
- Do spoilers of major character deaths placed in the mainstream press by the Big Two affect your enjoyment of the comics?
- What do you think WTF should stand for in the context of DC’s line?
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It’s finally here – the hundredth episode of House to Astonish! We’re joined by Carrie Kennedy, Susi O’Brien, Stu West and Amal El-Mohtar to discuss topic suggested by friends, listeners and comics pros, encompassing digital comics, boycotts, the greatest comics out today, what Marvel would be like if they’d done right by Kirby, favourite superhero movies, reinventions of Marvel characters, the Eurovision Song Contest, pie, monkeys and what goes on inside the human stomach. We’ve got contributions from Reilly Brown, Jeff Lester of Wait, What?, Steve Morris of Comics Bulletin, Steven Sanders, Al Ewing, Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool, Heidi MacDonald of the Beat, Alex de Campi, Michael Kupperman, Stephen Wacker, Antony Johnston, Kieron Gillen, Justin Jordan, Lauren Sankovitch, Andy Khouri and Andrew Wheeler of Comics Alliance, Brandon Graham and Emma Rios. All this plus cake, booze, an alcoholic with a spanner, Wolverine vs Montessori and Wong’s hash brownies in our longest ever episode (by 25 seconds).
You’ll have noticed that we’ve had a spruce-up of our design – the immensely talented James Wendelborn has designed our new logos, and you may be pleased to learn that we’ve put those to good use already in our official House to Astonish Redbubble store – if you want to show the world your affinity for the show there’s now a way to do it! You can find it here – it’s the swankiest way to combine comics podcasting and sartorial excellence.
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Thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the show or who’s enjoyed it so far – here’s to many more episodes.
It’s a podcast weekend, and Paul and I have got an hour and a half of discussion of DC’s chaotic creative assignments, Keith Giffen’s potential departure from Legion of Super-Heroes, Kyle Baker’s free graphic novels, Marvel NOW!’s free digital collections and the Doctor Strange movie, as well as a look at April’s solicitations. We’ve also got reviews of Uncanny X-Force, The Answer and Threshold, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is full of beans. All that, plus a slim gorilla, Lamp and Plinth and how to hijack an aeroplane with a graphic novel.
As always, we want to know what you think of the things we’ve talked about, which this time round would include (but not be limited to):
- Do DC’s quick-changes of creative teams make you less enthusiastic about their books?
- Who would you want to see play the lead in a Doctor Strange movie?
- What comics have done really distinctive and memorable science fiction/outer space settings?
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Paul and I are back with a new episode for the new year, and we’ve got a nice little hour and a quarter of comicy chat for you this time out, with discussion of Titan’s new comics line, the Phoenix going digital, the proposed DC “dark” movie, the SHIELD and Hulk TV shows and the Superman appeal decision. We’ve also got reviews of The End Times of Bram & Ben, Superior Spider-Man and Mara, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is suffering from an inferiority complex. All this plus Batman’s successful plastic surgery, an epidemic of constipation and a small cat caught in the middle of a war between estate agents and bacon.
As always, we don’t just want to tell you what we think – we want to know what you think, on anything we’ve talked about in this episode, including (but not limited to):
- What do you make of the Superman/Siegel decision?
- Did the last page of Superior Spider-Man take you by surprise?
- Can DC’s “dark” characters translate well to the big screen?
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the time when comics pundits online post their picks of what stuff they thought was great and/or rubbish!
Paul and I are no exceptions to this tendency, and this year we’re attending the glittering night of the stars that is the Homies awards. Live from the green room of a very unusual venue, we’re rounding up our choices in a variety of categories, and going across to the main award ceremony where a dazzling cast of comics creators and personalities will be awarding the prizes to the comics, publishers and creators that won the listener vote, as chosen by YOU here, on the House to Astonish blog and via email.
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Have a happy new year, and we’ll see you in 2013.
As we’re about to hit the end of the year, Paul and I are thinking about the next episode of House to Astonish, which will be our end-of-year wrap-up. As part of this, we’re going to be inaugurating House to Astonish’s own awards – the Homies – where we’re going to hand out gongs in eight categories. The best part is, we want YOU to help – Paul and I are each going to select our winners in the following categories, but we’re also going to read out what our listeners think on the next episode. So check out the categories below, and let us know who or what you’d award each glittering prize to if you were us!
BEST NEW SERIES
This one’s pretty self-explanatory – any comic whose first issue was published between 1 January 2012 and the date of broadcast (likely to be the 29th or 30th of December) is eligible. What new series got your attention the most this year?
BEST ACTUALLY NEW SERIES
This one’s a little less self-explanatory – what series, again first published between 1 January and date of broadcast, did you think was best, with the proviso that it has to be something where the property wasn’t in existence prior to the start of 2012. We’re counting re-use of titles as well as concepts, so Prophet, X-Men Legacy or Dial H wouldn’t be eligible, but (for example) Saga would.
This is for the comic, series or graphic novel that saw print this year which you’d want to see more of, whether that be a book that was cancelled before its time, a one-shot or mini that just begs for a follow-up, or an OGN that you’d love to see a sequel to.
MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
It may have seemed unappealing when you read about it online, and those preview pages may have looked unremarkable, but when you finally got the winner of this category in your hands you were ready to eat your words. What comic, series or graphic novel did you find yourself enjoying much more than you thought you would?
STIFF DRINK AWARD
This award will go to the comic or graphic novel that most made us gasp with surprise – an unexpected plot twist, a daring cliffhanger or a shocking denouement will stand a book in good stead here.
THE JOE CHILL AWARD FOR SERVICES TO REFRIGERATORS
Here we’re looking for the most egregious example of bad gender relations in the comics world, whether that’s a disservice done to female characters or to a female creator(s) or participant(s) in comics fandom.
THE NEW COKE AWARD FOR MOST ILL-JUDGED MARKETING
What move did a comics company or creator make this calendar year that had the effect of most making you want not to read a particular book or buy a particular company’s comics? We’re looking for abrasive interviews, ridiculous variants and counterproductive advertising here.
This is exactly what it says – which creator, creative team or publisher really knocked it out of the park this year?
Let us have your picks in the comments thread below, along with your thinking on each one – we’ll read out a range of the responses on our big end-of-year show. Happy nominating!
After far too long away, Paul and I are back! We’ve got a solid hour and a half of jabbering for you about Karen Berger and Gail Simone’s departures from DC (and what this means for the Vertigo imprint and the company as a whole), the November sales figures, the cancellation of Creator-Owned Heroes and Marvel and DC’s March solicitations. We’ve also got reviews of Hellboy In Hell, Blackacre and Avengers, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe cracks open a cold one. All this plus Cherry Wolverine, Fairtrade comics and the action escapades of a man called Boise.
We’d like to hear what you think about the issues of the day, including (but not limited to):
- What do you think of the current state and direction of Vertigo? Can the imprint survive without Karen Berger?
- How important is the creator- or corporate-owned status of a book to you when you’re making your purchasing choices?
- Are there books out there that you think have continued past the natural end point of their stories, and should just wrap up gracefully?
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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?
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Thanks for listening, and here’s to the next year!
Join Paul and I as we celebrate the four-year anniversary of House to Astonish, with discussion of the effect of Hurricane Sandy, the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney, Bryan Singer on X-Men: Days of Future Past, the next two Marvel Now! teasers and Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill. We’re also reviewing Joe Kubert Presents, Multiple Warheads? and Bedlam, and answering questions we’ve solicited at the last minute on Twitter. All this plus the Maniac Consumer, utopian futuristic fly-y people and the most unexpected Ant-Man villain of them all.
As usual, we’ve got lots of chat on the questions of the day, but we want to know what you think. Please do dive in with your views on any of the things we’ve talked about or answered questions on in the show itself – some you might like to think about:
- What series of the past four years have you felt have been deserving of wider attention then they’ve received?
- What books have you been saddest to see get cancelled since November 2008?
- What do you think was the most disappointing comics storyline of the past four years?
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Thanks for listening, and here’s to the next four years.
Another episode that’s a few days late, but there’s plenty of chat from Paul and I in there, with a discussion of an enormous number of stories out of NYCC (really, we get through a lot. Like, about 30 or so). We’ve also got reviews of Uncanny Avengers, the Zaucer of Zilk and Cyber Force and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is rubbing a lucky rabbit’s foot. All this plus Avengers On Ice! On Fire!, gambling with a jetpack and an equal opportunities dingathon.
As is our normal modus operandi, we want to know what you think about any of the things we’ve discussed, including (but not limited to):
- What was the biggest story out of NYCC for you? A new JLA series from Geoff Johns, a new Superman book from Jim Lee, a pilot order for The Sixth Gun?
- Is a Kickstarter appeal really the kind of way in which established comic book companies should be launching new series?
- Next episode’s our four-year anniversary as a podcast – what do you want to hear us do? Q&A? Karaoke? More regionally-accented comics creators?
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Let us know what you think, in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page.
A couple of days late, but better late than never, Paul and I have got just over an hour and ten minutes of chat for you on Marvel’s latest wave of teasers, Mark Millar’s new role at Fox, the expanded line-up of the Avengers, IDW’s latest mega-crossover and David Lloyd’s Aces Weekly. We’ve also got reviews of Non-Humans, Uncanny X-Men and Detective Comics , and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is the new Buzz Lightyear. All this plus the Avengers’ five-a-side football tournament, boob claws and the Secret Invasion point-and-click adventure.
We’re looking for your input too – let us know what you think of any of the things we’ve talked about on this podcast, including (but certainly not limited to):
- Who are your hopes for the unannounced remaining members of the Avengers? Who should return, and who should get their first shot at the big leagues?
- What have been the high points of the New 52 for you, a year into the relaunch? What books have surprised you, either by being better than they sounded on paper or by being disappointments?
- What creators do you think have made big improvements in their output over the years, getting better from a shaky start (or recovering from a quality dip)?
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Let us know what you think, either in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or through our Facebook fan page.