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Dec 8

House to Astonish Episode 74

Posted on Thursday, December 8, 2011 by Al in Podcast

Surprise! Early episode! As we weren’t both going to be around in Edinburgh this weekend, we’ve got in a bit under the wire with a nice juicy hour and a quarter of chat on such topics as the passing of Jerry Robinson, the continuing New 52 creative reshuffle, the Kickstarter success of Ashes, the upcoming Marvel crossover event and Brian Michael Bendis’s move off the Avengers titles. We’ve also got reviews of Valen the Outcast, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and The Defenders, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is worth a thousand words.

The episode is here, or available on Mixcloud here, or you can use the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments thread, on Twitter, on our Facebook fan page or by email.


Bring on the comments

  1. Jonny K says:

    The Giffen/DeMattis Defenders series is one I always remember fondly – not least because it was one of three minis that came out in my first couple of years as a comic reader that was essentially a Doctor Strange mini. (Dead Girl, The Oath and Defenders make up a really awesome trifecta.)

  2. alex says:


    If marvel did a dc style reboot, would you keep your x-men reading as plentiful as it is now or would you take the opportunity to make a break from some of rhe secondary or tertiary x-books?

    A jumping on point for new readers is also a good jumping off point for old ones.

  3. Billy Bissette says:

    My thought on the Avengers/X-Men event:

    This may be where they bring back Jean Grey. Hope as Phoenix will be a fake-out. We might get a hint of it, but it won’t be her, and the fighting will be pointless. (The advantage to Marvel is that I’m sure they’ve got people in power who want Jean back.)

    Although I’ve seen the argument that while the Hope stuff will be a fake out, the new Phoenix will be Quenton Quire. (This has the advantage for Marvel in that it would give them someone for everyone to band together to fight.)

  4. Billy Bissette says:

    As for the confusion over whether you have done the Painter of 1000 Perils for the Handbook…

    While I can’t say that you’ve done the Painter before, I recall that you have done a painter before. Specifically, you’ve done a guy who had magic paints. I think they came from an alien ship or something?

  5. Ethan Hoddes says:

    I just checked, and he found the paints in a cave with cave paintings that depicted an alien visit. I only vaguely remember Paul and Al doing him before though. The Avant-Guard were originally from the Dave Thorpe/Alan Davis run on Captain Britain before Thorpe was fired and replaced with Alan Moore for trying to do a thinly-veiled Northern Ireland political satire. They were at least at first Saturnyne’s guards.

  6. I think you’re right about the idea of the Defenders being a non-team team book is nonsense. And although it is in some instances a team book for characters who aren’t Avengers, there is something ineffable about the Defenders and what makes it distinct, which Joe Casey was trying to say in Last Defenders and failed utterly by going on about pseudo-science predetermined cosmic pattern nonsense.
    Anyway, Iron Fist, for me, very much feels like a good fit for the Defenders. Much more so than shoe-horning him onto the Avengers like Bendis did around Secret Invasion.
    Oh and given the quality of their independent work that I’ve read, I’d be more willing to put Iron Fist’s success down to Brubaker rather than Fraction.

  7. Paul O'Regan says:

    I don’t think Brubaker had much to do with Iron Fist after the first few issues. IIRC, he came up with some of the ideas, but most of the writing was Fraction. Brubaker was mostly involved because it was a Daredevil spin-off and he was a bigger name.

  8. Tdubs says:

    I wonder if Paul Cornell leaving has anything to do with the “Wildstorm” titles being made books that will connect.

    DC Challenge was my first DC book after the Super Powers mini. I loved that book and I remember my first cliff hanger was Aquaman stranded in the desert.

  9. Max says:

    Blood Ties is where Fabian Cortez was killed. The big bad turned out to be Exodus. Blood Ties had a few good ideas in there somewhere if you squint but it didn’t pull it off very well. It was all very muddled.

  10. The Kid Nixon says:

    For what it is worth, Avengers vs. X-Men is the first major Marvel event I’ve given half a care about since maybe Civil War, especially in conjecture with the announcement Bendis is leaving Avengers.

    While I doubt Marvel is doing anything as drastic as the New 52, signs indicate that they might at least be willing to seriously reshuffle things internally and give fresh eyes to their key franchises. The big question mark is who steps into Bendis’ shoes as the primaty Marvel “architect”, and what Bendis is going to be doing instead. (I don’t buy for a second that he’ll be content with just sticking to Moon Knight, USM and creator-owned stuff.)

  11. If memory serves, there is a story about John Byrne accidentally drawing Storm on the Avengers Quinjet when he was drawing both series. Paul probably knows about it better than I do.

  12. Tdubs says:

    As for who takes over the Avengers:
    I don’t think they could go wrong with Parker Gage and Van Lente. This Architect stuff is going to fizzle as Brubaker and Bendis take their creator owned work bigger.

  13. Paul O'Regan says:

    Storm has sort of been in The Avengers before, but only in Jeff Parker’s Marvel Adventures series.

  14. I got bored with Bendis’ Avengers a year after he took on the title. It was a disappointment since I loved so much his previous indie work, mostly his crime comics like Fire, Jinx and Goldfish. I can’t recommend enough Torso, co-written with Marc Andreyko: if you like Brubaker’s Criminal and Incognito, then Torso is for you.

    I hope Bendis will go back to his previous love.

    BTW, I really tried to come up with words that fit T.O.N.N.E.R.R.E. as a french T.H.U.N.D.E.R. division. But it is late, and my mind is mush.

  15. deworde says:

    Actually, Jenkins kind of makes sense for Stormwatch when you consider his natural talent for taking ideas that no-one’s interested in (e.g. a comic where Speedball becomes a self-harmer, a post-Siege Sentry tribute comic, an annual where the Hulk fights the Avengers yet AGAIN), and putting something so UNBELIEVABLY wrong or annoying that it’s all anyone can talk about for 2 years (Sally Floyd’s Myspace page, the Sentry doing Rogue, a Hulk Annual where the Hulk wants to have sex with She-Hulk)

    Stormwatch exists, not because anyone was desperate to read the Authority via Wildstorm, but because something needs to hold the 52 overall plot while the other books.

    So if you’re going to attract interest in it and keep it viable, then you need to do something that will make the news cycle. Jenkins seems like the perfect candidate.

  16. kelvingreen says:

    There is a bigger idea to this than just “We’re going to do a twelve issue miniseres where the Avengers fight the X-Men”

    How about “Hey! I just found this Chuck Austen crossover pitch in a drawer!”?

    I have no faith in Avengers vs X-Men being anything more than a big fight at all. Bendis is awful, and I can’t imagine they’ll be able to get the Avengers through it without them coming off as villains.

    That said, I am looking forward to a comedic one-shot in which Wolverine can’t figure out which team to fight on and goes to the pub instead.

  17. Hey Kelvingreen, you almost got your wish. Check this week’s The Gutters:

  18. Dan says:

    I LOVE the Norman Osborn voice.

  19. AndyD says:

    If I were Marvels EIC and study the numbers, I would put Bendis´on the X books. He once made a midlist book into a huge seller, why not a second time?

    Personally I think he is one of those guys who made the MU perfectly forgettable as nowadays they seem to got out of their way to reinforce the idea that nothing sticks or matters. The lets kill character X, do a hysterical offputting hype how that is an important story from the heart to get mainstream attraction and then bring him back 6 months later school of writing.

    Avengers vs X-Men, another concept which seems just dated and dull. It is hard to imagine that is would serve as the point of re-starting your universe like DC did. What would that achieve in Marvel´s case? Not to mention that they already did this with Heroes Reborn once.

  20. Dave says:

    What’s Surfer’s status in Defenders? He’s bound to Earth or powerless or something in Mighty Thor, right? That looked to be ignored in Fear Itself: The Deep. But since Fraction’s writing this and Thor those should fit together…

  21. Andrew says:

    I like the idea of Avengers Vs the X-men but at the same time we’ve been there and done that.

    Even if they bring back Jean (which I’d be happy about), we’re still in teh same postion we’ve been in for the past few years.

    I really want to see them pull their shit together but it has been a long time since Marvel felt fresh and exciting.

    As much as he has his problems, Mark Millar’s Ultimates Run was the last time I felt like a marvel book was a true “event” where every issue was greeting with anticipation and fervent discussion.

    It feels like there is a great deal of malaise and apathy at the moment.

  22. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    IIRC, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents only had the back-up strip for the final storyline, which was about Colleen confronting her mother, the villainous Iron Maiden. This had a “double flashback” format; there was a Silver Age style back-up strip showing Iron Maiden’s Catwoman-style relationship with the original Dynamo, and a flashback in the main story about Colleen’s childhood, with 1980s style art by Mike Grell.

    It’s possible that, with this story resolved, #11 wouldn’t have had a back-up strip.

    The Toby situation is, as you suspect, too complex to explain in his conversation with Colleen, and was in fact, too complex to explain in the story where it happened; you need to read #s 4-5 and this conversation together before it makes sense.

    (Broadly, Toby was a sleeper agent for the baddies. His real personality was awakened and he stole the Menthor helmet. When he put it on, however, it restored his “good” personality … and that’s the bit that Colleen’s explaining here.)

    And the guy you’re supposed to recognise, you could only recognise from the original series, because I read all 10 issues and I only have a vague idea who he is from the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents fansite I went to to find out who Iron Maiden was.

  23. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Oh lord, I remember the Painter of 1000 Perils/Avant Garde story. That was filled with “Why not?” concepts.

    The X-Men and New Warriors briefly show up, so Spidey can reflect on whether he’d work well with Ice Man and Firestar! Why not?

    The Painter has almost won, then restores the heroes, and defeats his own allies! Why not?

    The cockroaches all speak in pigpen cypher! Why not?

    Apparently, “Because it doesn’t make sense” wasn’t an acceptable answer.

  24. Greg Burgas says:

    Michael Alan Nelson writes a lot of books for Boom!, but he hasn’t done much else, as far as I can figure out. He wrote Hexed, for instance, with Emma Rios on art. He’s not bad, and he’s obviously better when he’s not saddled with some of the crappy art that shows up in some of Boom!’s comics.

  25. Greg Burgas says:

    Oh, and if you care at all (and really, why would you?), Bora first appeared in Moon Knight #35 (the first series), when she was drawn by Kevin Nowlan. I imagine it was all downhill for the character after that.

  26. […] cartoonists over the next few weeks. You should also check out the latest from Paul and Al over at House to Astonish – a fortnightly podcast about comics which, as well as being hosted on their own site, is now […]

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