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Jul 20

Battleground 2014

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, Wrestling

For the WWE right now, the unfortunate reality is that perhaps their most compelling storyline is “how is the WWE Network doing”, a question that certainly has shareholders on tenterhooks.  While the next subscriber number will be out shortly, the rather desperate tone of the on-air promotion gives the distinct impression that it’s not going to be spectacular.  It could yet turn out that effectively dumping PPV in favour of a subscription streaming service is a great move that was simply ahead of its time; but right now, it’s looking increasingly as if the WWE is learning the hard way what happens to early adopters who were a little too early.

In the meantime, we have a show this weekend, which will be somewhat of a time filler, because the next two shows are rather higher priorities – August is Summerslam, which is traditionally one of the biggest shows of the year, and September has to hook the people who subscribed for Wrestlemania and will be coming up for their six month renewal.  That said, the card is not without its interest; while there may not be much going on in story terms, it has plenty of potential to be a strong show in the ring.  You’ll note the near-total lack of gimmickry on this show, which tends to suggest that they’re saving all that stuff for Summerslam.


Jul 8

Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus – The Vote Result and Next Step

Posted on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 by Al in Uncategorized

Evening all, just a quick update – if you’re interested, my kid arrived last Wednesday, she’s called Lana Quinn Kennedy and she’s world champion at peeing when you take her nappy off to change her. All is well. We are very, very tired.

But anyway, that’s not what you’re wondering about. You’re on tenterhooks to find out which issue, out of the six nominees for HtA official choice, is the one that we’re going to be asking you to email Marvel about.

Some of the options (Spectacular Spidey, with two votes, and Gen X and Excalibur, with five votes apiece) fell a bit short. Fantastic Four, with eight votes, did well, and for a while it had some real momentum behind it. In the end, though, it came down to Damage Control and Thunderbolts. The winner, with 15 votes to its opponent’s 12, was…


(talent show pause)


Thunderbolts v1 #1

The next step is for us to let Marvel know that it’s something that we think deserves inclusion in the book. The way to do that is to email and nominate that issue. Feel free, of course, to nominate any others you think should be in there, so long as you remember to stick Tbolts 1 on your list.

The issues that were nominated were chosen on the basis that they were ones that spoke to the variety and fun of Marvel’s works over the past 75 years, but were also ones that were perhaps less likely to make it in as “automatic” choices. Hopefully we’ll get to see Thunderbolts make the cut; if not, nobody can say we didn’t try!

Jul 7

Charts – 6 July 2014

Posted on Monday, July 7, 2014 by Paul in Music, Uncategorized

Welcome to the brave new technological frontier – the first chart of the streaming era!  And what changes do we see?  Um, not very much.  Because the chart is still heavily weighted towards sales, you’re not going to see things charting on streaming alone – and besides, the streaming chart lags behind the sales chart anyway.  Frankly, the only noticeable impact this week is that some older tracks still hanging around the streaming chart (like “Rather Be”) rebound.  But hey, let’s see what else we have.

39.  The Vamps – “Somebody to You”


Jul 3

Charts – 29 June 2014

Posted on Thursday, July 3, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

Well, back to business as usual – ish.  This is genuinely the end of an era – the very last chart to be based purely on sales, after 62 years.  The impact of streaming data is likely to be fairly limited in the short term given the weighting (as to which, see last week’s post), and the midweeks tend to confirm that.  But the symbolism is important.

34.  Austin Mahone featuring Pitbull – “Mmm Yeah”


Jun 29

Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus

Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 by Al in Uncategorized

You may have seen in some recent interviews with Marvel staffers that they’re putting together an omnibus of Marvel’s greatest issues for the 75th anniversary of the company, to be released later this year. Now, last time they had any kind of vote on the greatest Marvel comics of all time, what actually happened was that people voted for what they perceived (largely) to be the most significant Marvel comics of all time (so we got a list of the 100 greatest issues Marvel have ever published which contained some fairly humdrum things, like the first appearance of Michael Morbius etc). The details of the 75th anniversary omnibus can be found here.

It strikes me that with so many issues to play with, you wouldn’t necessarily need to garner that many votes to put you above some of the more banal choices. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of six issues which deserve (in my opinion, humble or otherwise) to be collected as exemplars of how good Marvel can be from time to time, none of which are likely to make it in without some voting weight behind them.

So! What we’d like you to do is to vote in the comments below, or drop me a note on Twitter (where I’m @housetoastonish), citing which of these six comics you think should be the official House to Astonish nominee for the Marvel 75th anniversary omnibus. In a few days I’ll tally up all the votes, and announce the winner – at that point, it’s time to mobilise our troops and vote (once only each, though – no shenanigans) for that book. It’s democracy in action!

The nominees:

  • Fantastic Four v3 60 (the first issue of Waid & Weiringo’s run; the 9c issue)
  • Spectacular Spider-Man v1 200 (DeMatteis/Buscema; the death of Harry Osborn)
  • Excalibur v1 91 (Warren Ellis’s finest moment on the series; the team go to the pub)
  • Thunderbolts v1 1 (Busiek/Bagley, and comics’ best-kept secret)
  • Damage Control v1 1 (Dwayne McDuffie and Ernie Colon’s terrific sitcomic, somehow never collected before)
  • Generation X Underground (Jim Mahfood’s fun b&w special from the late 90s)

Get voting!

UPDATE: I’m going to give this another 24 hours, then close the polls at 12am UK time (7pm EST) tomorrow.

Jun 1

Payback 2014

Posted on Sunday, June 1, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

If the television is anything to go by, the WWE’s prime motivation in naming one of its minor annual shows “Payback” was to let people do promos claiming that Payback will be a bitch.  With this card, that may be closer to the truth than usual.  Payback 2014 looks like a dog.

This is basically a water-treading exercise while we wait for the rather more important “Money in the Bank” show next month.  The card is a mixture of rematches and blatant filler – many of which ought to be fine as matches, but don’t seem particularly inspiring in any wider sense.  Consequently, this preview is not going to take long.  You might want to just look at the live show post immediately below.


May 22

Charts – 18 May 2014

Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

It’s Eurovision time, as the spillover from last Saturday’s song contest feeds its way through to the chart.  If you’re wondering why none of the Eurovision songs were on last week’s chart, well, most of it is because there were only a few hours of sales between the contest itself and the cut-of period for sales.  But another factor is that iTunes apparently failed to report sales data for last Saturday due to a technical glitch.  The chart compilers’ protocol when a retailer fails to report properly is to extrapolate from its sales earlier in the week, but you can’t do that with records that only start selling on Saturday night, so… that’s a bunch of sales lost in the ether.

Inevitably, the Eurovision songs were doing quite well in the midweeks, but pretty much nobody was still buying them by Wednesday, so their end of week performance is rather more muted.  Meanwhile, a couple of midweek releases shake things up a bit further…

40.  Sanna Nielsen – “Undo”


Jan 19


Posted on Sunday, January 19, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

For those wondering: there’s a podcast recorded, and it should be up tomorrow.  Chart post probably tomorrow too, since it’s 90% written.  Reviews… um, hopefully in the course of the week.

Dec 30

The Homies 2013

Posted on Monday, December 30, 2013 by Al in Uncategorized

We’re one day off the end of 2013, and our next episode (coming this weekend) feature our review of 2013. Those of you who heard last year’s Christmas special (which is all of you who’ve ever heard an episode of the show, I imagine, as it’s still our most-downloaded episode) will know that this means that we’re going to be awarding House to Astonish’s own awards – the Homies – in a variety of categories. As with last year, 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 think deserves to take home each gong!


This one’s pretty self-explanatory – any comic whose first issue was published between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013 is eligible. What new series got your attention the most this year?


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 2013. We’re counting re-use of titles as well as concepts, so Hellboy in Hell, Young Avengers or Batman ’66 wouldn’t be eligible, but (for example) Sex Criminals 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.


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?


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.


Here we’re looking for the comics creator whom you think is the one we should all be observing closely in 2014 – they may have had a good year in 2013, but they’re someone whom you believe is only going to go from strength to strength.


What move did a comics company or creator make this calendar year that made you glad you didn’t have to work with them? Wonky management edicts, prima donna creators and tales of publisher woes are what we’re looking for 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, before midnight (your local time) on 3 January. Only ONE NOMINATION per category, please – any that say “oh, I just couldn’t decide, so here are two, or three, or five suggestions” will be disregarded in relation to that category. Please also let us have a bit of info on your thinking on each one – we’ll read out a range of the responses on our big end-of-year show. Happy nominating!

Aug 29

Charts – 25 August 2013

Posted on Thursday, August 29, 2013 by Paul in Uncategorized

Five new entries, four of them in the top ten.  It’s a busy week at the top and a dead one at the bottom – though it’s also one of the increasingly rare weeks were the number one sold fewer than 100,000.

14.  Matt Cardle & Melanie C – “Loving You”