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Nov 19

Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts – Part Seven

Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2015 by Al in Uncategorized

It’s part seven of Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts, and I’m joined by Elle Collins (of Into It with Elle Collins), Helena Hart (of Journey Into Misery) and Jeff Lester (of Wait, What?) to talk about the comics, characters and creators from the bottom of the barrel whom we love despite their occasionally ostensibly awful nature, those who’ve never had a fair shake, and those we just feel sorry for. For other episodes of Secret Convergence, and for info on the crossover and its participating podcasts, check out and @scoipodcasts on Twitter.

The episode can be found here, or via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page, and remember – a shirt is for life, not just for Christmas, but it’s also for Christmas.


Nov 15

Watch With Father #5: Swashbuckle

Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2015 by Paul in Watch With Father

“A band of naughty pirates took some jewels from me / I hid on board their pirate ship and sailed on out to sea / But they weren’t watching where they went and shipwrecked on the sand / I want to win my treasure back – will you lend me a hand…?”  This is the theme song for Swashbuckle, one of the catchiest on British TV.

While Kerwhizz apes the format of a game show, Swashbuckle actually is one.  That might seem like a very obvious thing to do – you’ve got a whole network to fill, surely there’s space for a game show.  But think about it further.  This is a channel whose target audience runs up age 7 at a push (after that, you’re officially CBBC’s problem).  Game shows with older children have been around for decades, but this age range is another matter.


Nov 11

Chikara 15.8 – “Afternoon Delight”

Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: This is the final show in the four-date UK tour, which I have taken an inordinately long time to cover even compared to the original plan.  So I thought it might be an idea to wrap it up.  The storyline pace will pick up after this, partly thanks to characters who weren’t on the tour re-entering the storylines after an eight-hour absence, and partly because the shows will be more spread out, which means there’s more scope for each one to advance the plot.  This is the show that Al went to, by the way, so bonus spotting opportunities there for fans of the podcast.

When and where: It’s 6 April 2015, and we’re in London, England, as a pre-show video package of the tourist sights is keen to stress.  More specifically, we’re at the Garage, which is basically a music venue.  Which means it has decent lighting and sound.  It’s packed.

1.  Challenge of the Immortals: Battle Hive v United Nations. (more…)

Nov 8

Uncanny X-Men vol 6 – “The Revolution”

Posted on Sunday, November 8, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

And here we are at last.  The X-books returned to regular continuity this week with their latest relaunch, in the form of Extraordinary X-Men #1.  But they also shipped the much-delayed Uncanny X-Men #600, the final issue of Brian Bendis’ run, which was presumably held back to avoid treading on Secret Wars or something.

In theory, at least, this delay does the final volume no favours.  Bendis has always had a fondness for the device of consecutive issues all building up to the same event from different directions.  Issue #32-35, which round out this volume, are all self-contained issues focusing on different characters, some of which serve as an epilogue of sorts to his run.  And issues #33 to #35 explicitly end with “To be continued in Uncanny X-Men #600″.


Nov 4

Charts – October 2015

Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by Paul in Music

Five weeks.  Some of them very quiet.

2 October 2015: Sam Smith, “Writing’s On The Wall”


Nov 2

House of M

Posted on Monday, November 2, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The X-books tour of Battleworld has been largely a parade of misery.  And so it’s something of a relief that we get to complete that tour with a relatively pleasant dystopia, at least if you’re a mutant.  Sure, House of M is a world where Magneto has installed himself as emperor and is systematically oppressing the humans.  But hey, at least the mutants are doing okay.  They get to wear cool stormtrooper outfits and everything.

The original House of M miniseries, ten years ago now, was always a better concept than it was a story.  It set up a world that looked quite interesting, but what followed was seven issues of gathering the characters and killing the pages until it was time for the deus ex machina to happen.  So there’s actually some unused potential that’s worth revisiting here.  And that’s pretty much the approach which this book takes; forget the details of the original story, and do something with the general concept, free of any obligation to hit the reset button at the end.  (Oh yeah, and pay lip service to Doom.  But this is one of those books that might as well not be on Battleworld at all.)


Oct 31

Chikara 15.7 – “Pier Pressure”

Posted on Saturday, October 31, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: Yes, I’m still doing these.  Yes, we’re falling further and further behind.  That was always the plan, since now I know where a lot of this is going.  Anyway, this is the third show on the four-date UK tour.

When and where: It’s Sunday 5 April 2015, and we’re in the Masonic Hall in Cardiff, which the Chikara website gamely describes as “intimate and picturesque”.  It is indeed a charming little room, presently dominated by a wrestling ring.  Looks like a nicely mixed crowd, actually.  The stage set up is a bit rudimentary.

1.  Elimination Match: Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr) v. The United Nations (Juan Francisco de Coronado & Prakash Sabar) v. The Wrecking Crew (Jaka & Oleg the Usurper) v. The Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor & Drew Gulak).

The back story: The four-team elimination match is a Chikara staple.  The winning team will get a point towards a tag title shot for every team they eliminate.  Nobody has any points coming in, but you only need three for a title shot, so a clean sweep could win you a title shot right away.  (This handily explains why anyone would bother tagging in for the first fall.)  All the teams are technically rudos, but only the UN are unequivocal baddies; Los Ice Creams and the Gentleman’s Club are loveable cheats, while Oleg is teasing a face turn.  This is the first time Oleg has wrestled as a member of the Wrecking Crew since being left out of their squad for the season-long Challenge of the Immortals tournament.  But it fits with the storyline of the Crew trying to assert their continuing control over him.  Los Ice Creams are jobbers, but everyone else has a credible shot. (more…)

Oct 27

Watch With Father #4: Kerwhizz

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 by Paul in Watch With Father

Since I’ve written about three shows I more or less like, it’s time for some balance.  The opening credits of Kerwhizz  provoke involuntary flinching and a sense of mild dread.  The show is a decent idea on paper.  It could have been a great show.  But those quiz segments.  Oh god, those quiz segments.

Kerwhizz was made in 2008.  It was a major commission for CBeebies at the time – it was their first show to be made in HD – and it was hyped accordingly.  It was described as the first game show for pre-schoolers, which it really isn’t.  The BBC press release is a pile-up of bygone buzzwords – by the end of the first paragraph, the show has already been billed as a “mixed media pre-school quiz show”, and “a brand new breakthrough multi-platform entertainment format aimed at 4 to 6 year olds”.  (Quite how it can be both a pre-school quiz show and aimed at 4 to 6 year olds, when most British kids start school at age 4, is not readily apparent.)


Oct 25

Age of Apocalypse

Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

We still have one more Secret Wars X-books to go – House of M – but Age of Apocalypse completes our tour of the X-books’ outright dystopias.  As with most of the throwback minis, this isn’t actually the original Age of Apocalypse world, but a new one of the same general ilk.  And it pretty much pays lip service to the Battleworld gimmick (in fact, both the prologue and the ending don’t really work in Battleworld terms).  What we have here, then, is a nineties nostalgia mini.

This one commits rather more fully to the nostalgia angle, bringing back Fabian Nicieza, one of the writers of the original crossover.  Nicieza hasn’t done any work for Marvel in a while, but is obviously well placed to echo the tone of his own original story.


Oct 18

Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts

Posted on Sunday, October 18, 2015 by Al in Podcast, Shameless Self-Promotion


As you may have seen on Twitter, House to Astonish is going to be taking part in a huge, complex crossover with eight other excellent comics and pop culture podcasts, under the banner of Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts.

The crews of the Fan Bros Show, Into It with Elle Collins, SILENCE!, Less Than Live with Kate or Die, Journey Into Misery, Wait, What?, us, War Rocket Ajax and Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men are set to be swept away to Battlepod by the Beyonder, to help him understand comics and comic culture in a series of round-table discussions.

House to Astonish’s episode is part 7 of the crossover, and I’m joined on that episode by Wait, What?’s Jeff Lester, Into It’s Elle Collins, and Journey Into Misery’s Helena Hart to discuss our comic book guilty pleasures. You can also find me on part 3 (SILENCE!) and part 4 (Less Than Live), and Paul on part 6 (Wait, What?) and part 9 (Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men).

It all kicks off on 29 October on the Fan Bros Show, where hosts DJ BenHaMeen and Chico Leo will be discussing the question of “Who would win in a fight?”, alongside Wait, What?’s Graeme McMillan, War Rocket Ajax’s Chris Sims and X-Plain the X-Men’s Rachel Edidin, and runs through until 29 November.

It’s been in the works since April (and has been something of a logistical nightmare), but it’s going to be really enjoyable if the episodes I’ve been privy to so far are anything to go by, and we’ve got some brilliant announcements to come, like the identity of our special guest Beyonder voice (though it’s not hard to find out now, if you pay close attention), and the specially commissioned art which James Stokoe has done for us – and hey, check out our launch image above, produced just for the occasion by Brandon Graham. Mega, eh?

You can find more details on the podcast’s Tumblr over here, or follow along on Twitter. We’ll keep you updated here too as the various episodes go live. We’re all incredibly proud of this, and we hope you enjoy it.