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Sep 16

Charts – 14 September 2014

Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 by Paul in Music, Uncategorized

Quiet week.  (In the chart.  Not generally.)

And for no particular reason, let’s pause to ask ourselves how each of these tracks did on the Scottish chart.  How different are we, really?

26.  A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera – “Say Something”

Originally released in March, when it made number 4.  Why is it back?  Why, because X Factor is back on the air, and “Say Something” is thoroughly suited for use in X Factor.  And so X Factor is duly hammering it.  It showed up in the midweeks for the previous chart, but vanished by Sunday; this time it shows a bit more staying power.

Scottish chart position: n/a.  Yes, Scotland is less likely to buy X Factor backing music.  We’re off to a good start, Scotland!

22.  Fall Out Boy – “Centuries”


Sep 14

All-New Doop: “The Real Battle of the Atom”

Posted on Sunday, September 14, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, x-axis

It’s been over a week since All-New Doop finished up, so we’d better get it done before it slips out of memory.  Another sequel of sorts to Peter Milligan’s X-Force/X-Statix run, this picks up on Doop in his current status as a minor supporting character for the X-Men.

For those who might not remember, X-Statix was a series, way off on the fringes of the X-books franchise, about a bunch of mutants who had signed on to become “heroes” in a team that existed largely to promote its own celebrity status.  While they did fight the odd villain, they did so more because their public imagine demanded it than anything else.  And floating around in the background was Doop, their cameraman who spoke in gibberish.


Aug 17

X-Men/Iron Man/Nova: “No End In Sight”

Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

A relatively obscure story this week – this is a three-parter running through Uncanny X-Men Special #1, Iron Man Special #1, and Nova Special #1, a similar format to last year’s “Arms of the Octopus”.  These stories are pretty much incidental so far as the wider continuity is concerned, but rather than treat them as complete filler, Marvel seem to regard them as a good venue to try out new creators.

So we have here a complete story by Sean Ryan, who has a number of scattered writing credits to his name, but is probably best known in these parts as a former X-books assistant editor from a while back.  On art, we have three pencillers and six inkers, but since all involved are going for a relatively straightforward Marvel style (and colourist Ruth Redmond is able to impose a degree of consistency), the result reads quite smoothly.


Aug 11

Charts – 10 August 2014

Posted on Monday, August 11, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

There weren’t any X-books to review this week, hence no reviews.  I was thinking of doing the first six issues of Moon Knight instead but, well, I haven’t had time to write it.  Maybe later in the week.

Meanwhile, here’s a very dull chart.

40.  Maroon 5 – “It Was Always You”

No video for this, and it’s not officially on YouTube as an audio either (not that you’ll have any trouble finding it there).  This is a trailer single for their upcoming album “V”, and since it’s not a fully promoted single in its own right, they have an excuse for the chart position.  It was at 25 in the midweeks, which presumably means all the fans bought it at the start of the week – who knew there were so many Maroon 5 fans?

34.  Jessie Ware – “Tough Love”


Aug 4

Uncanny Avengers vol 2-4 – “Apocalypse Twins” / “Ragnarok Now” / “Avenge The Earth”

Posted on Monday, August 4, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, x-axis

It’s been some time since we checked in with Uncanny Avengers.  But then, it’s been some time since Uncanny Avengers finished a story.  These three volumes collect a story – not a multi-story arc, but a single story – that began in issue #5 last April (actually an epilogue in vol 1), and ran without interruption until issue #22 last week.

This is a story pitched unequivocally at an epic scale.  Multi-book crossovers aside, I can’t remember the last time we had a single story of this length.  Picking up stray plot threads from his X-Force run, Rick Remender starts relatively small, then dials up the scale to breaking point and beyond.


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.