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Mar 18

Charts – 17 March 2017

Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2017 by Paul in Music

You’ll never guess.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”

That’s ten weeks, which would normally be a big deal in its own right.  But leave that aside.  Last week Sheeran swamped the top end of the chart, placing all sixteen albums tracks from ÷ in the top 20, and taking nine slots in the top ten.  Now in the past, when album tracks have entered the singles chart en masse, they’ve mostly gone away after the first week.  Not so here – Ed Sheeran still has nine slots in the top ten, and the entire album is still placing in the top 30.  Which makes my job a lot easier this week, since there’s very little room for anyone else to enter the charts.


Mar 16


Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

You’ve got to admire Marvel’s perverse determination to confuse people.  The solicitation says IvX.  The Comixology listing says IvX.  The cover says Inhumans vs X-Men.

Let’s go with IvX.  It’s shorter to type.

IvX is an example of a beleaguered genre – the necessary resolution to a high profile storyline that bombed.  Regular readers know the back story.  Marvel wanted to plug the Inhumans into the role that mutants had occupied in the Marvel Universe, because that fitted more neatly with the rights that were available for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the X-Men being licensed elsewhere).  As a piece of corporate synergy, this made reasonable sense; as a story direction, not so much, for either group.


Mar 14

Charts – 10 March 2016

Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Paul in Music

Full Force Sheeran.  FFS.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You” 

That’s nine weeks, which matches the nine week run of the record it replaced, Clean Bandit’s “Rockabye”.  So we’ve had a grand total of two number one singles in 18 weeks.  In itself that’s not unprecedented, but it’s tended to happen when one record stays at the top for months on end (like Drake’s “One Dance” last year).  Two records in a row, both with nine weeks… that’s not happened before.

So.  Last week, we established that Stormzy can release an album and get six tracks into the top 40.  This week Ed Sheeran has his album ÷ out.  And Ed Sheeran is a bit more high profile than Stormzy.

2.  Ed Sheeran – “Galway Girl”


Mar 12

House to Astonish Episode 153

Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2017 by Al in Podcast

We’re back, and this time round we’re discussing Astonishing X-Men, Darth Vader, Edge of Venomverse and Marvel’s current creative and sales position generally; the return of Zodiac Starforce; new creator-owned imprints led by Karen Berger and Shelly Bond, Image’s announcements from ECCC; and DC’s Looney Tunes crossovers. We’ve also got reviews of Grass Kings and Redline and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook deserves a big hand. All this plus the Champions pinball table, the YouTube Robber and quite a lot of bears wearing shirts.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player. Let us know what you think, in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. And hey, it’s pretty much springtime, why not break out those biceps and take to the beach in one of our incredible t-shirts?

Mar 10

Extraordinary X-Men #17-19: IVX

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

So that’s that, then.  The Terrigen cloud is done with, and the attempt with shoehorning the Inhumans into the mutants’ role seems to have run its course.  There are still Inhumans titles to come in 2017, but they won’t be squatting in the X-Men’s spot.  This is all for the best.  It was driven by considerations of corporate synergy more than anything else, and placed the Inhumans and the X-Men alike in roles that did no favours to either, not least because it sent the X-Men back to the “no more mutants” set-up which had only just been resolved.

Now, as for how we get to this eminently desirable outcome, well, that’s the IVX crossover, and in particular the IVX miniseries.  And we’ll get to that.  Oh, we’ll get to that.

But first, I’ll finish up the tie-in issues from the core titles.  Just like All-New and UncannyExtraordinary X-Men finds itself working in the margins of a story being told elsewhere, and offers three essentially unrelated spotlight issues.  Yes, sure, they’re related by using the IVX crossover as backdrop, but that’s window dressing – it’s other stories that are really being advanced here.  It’s a choppy way of doing things and a messy compromise, but while none of these stories could be called a home run, they do have things going for them.


Mar 7

Charts – 3 March 2017

Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by Paul in Music

Okay… so, I was planning to review the Extraordinary X-Men tie-in issues of Inhumans vs X-Men last week, but with one thing or another I haven’t got to that yet.  So we’d best do the chart post before it gets completely out of date.  Reviews soon.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape Of You”

Eight weeks.  Since the previous number one, “Rockabye”, also managed eight (nine, in fact), this matches the all-time record for chart slowness.  We haven’t had two eight-week number ones in a row since the 50s, which is practically chart prehistory.


Feb 28

Charts – 24 February 2017

Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 by Paul in Music

By today’s standards, it’s a busy week!

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”

That’s seven weeks.  This seems like a good time to remind you that the previous number one was “Rockabye” by Clean Bandit, which lasted nine.  Anyway, it’s been seven weeks, so it feels like time for another single from the album…

2.  Ed Sheeran – “How Would You Feel (Paean)”


Feb 26

Uncanny X-Men #16-18: Inhumans vs X-Men

Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

So, more tie-in issues, then.  I’ve done All-New, I’ve still got Extraordinary to go after this.  That’s a lot of Inhumans vs X-Men.  And what could be more exciting than a lot of Inhumans vs X-Men?

But of course, this is a Marvel crossover in 2016/7, which means it’s not as if these stories actually serve to answer the wider plot.  The now-standard crossover format is to have the entire story confined in a miniseries, and for the tie-ins to be stories written in the margins of that plot.  That’s what we have here.


Feb 20

Charts – 17 February 2017

Posted on Monday, February 20, 2017 by Paul in Music

This is a gloriously uneventful chart, so let’s bang through it.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”

That’s six weeks, though with the rest of the chart pretty much dead, it’s not exactly a surprise.  The logjam in the top 2 is broken, at least, as “Castle on the Hill” finally drops to 3, with “Human” by Rag’N’Bone Man returning to number 2.  That’s thanks to the release of the parent album.  But wait – Ed Sheeran has just released another single!  So he could be at the top for some time to come, in one form or another.

5.  Zayn & Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades)”

Up four.

7.  Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley – “Chained to the Rhythm”


Feb 13

Charts – 10 February 2017

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2017 by Paul in Uncategorized

Not much happening, but let’s run through it.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”

You amaze me.  That’s five weeks, and “Castle on the Hill” remains at number 2.  This is a new record for the longest run at numbers 1 and 2 for a single artist… but it’s one of those records which is going to be broken more routinely as the digital era allows for multiple tracks to be available at once, and as the charts slow down.  The previous record holder was Justin Bieber, who managed four straight weeks at the tail end of 2015 (and was only stopped by Christmas); before that, the record had been stuck at three since the Beatles.

8.  Stormzy – “Big For Your Boots”