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Dec 12

House to Astonish Episode 96

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by Al in Podcast

After far too long away, we’re back with a solid hour and a half of jabbering about Karen Berger and Gail Simone’s departures from DC (and what this means for the Vertigo imprint and the company as a whole), the November sales figures, the cancellation of Creator-Owned Heroes and Marvel and DC’s March solicitations. We’ve also got reviews of Hellboy In Hell, Blackacre and Avengers, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe cracks open a cold one. All this plus Cherry Wolverine, Fairtrade comics and the action escapades of a man called Boise.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page.


Bring on the comments

  1. Tdubs says:

    This may have been my favorite official handbook ever. Hilarious. Terrible title? Hmm “20 pages of sequential art that vaguely tells a story interrupted with an ad every second page for $4 monthly.”

    It was briefly discussed and I’m curious to other followers opinion of Fantastic Four. I liked FF a lot but Four just seems to be misfiring for me. I’ll maybe give it another issue to see what happens to make this longer than four minutes.

  2. Odessasteps says:

    Marvel’s “generic comic book” admittedly, the bad title was part of the gimmick.

  3. Artlight says:

    you mentioned that it seems like DC is focusing on their main brands so I’m curious, have you guys been reading Wonder Woman? IMO, it’s one of DC’s best titles right now (admittedly, that’s not saying much) but it’s also somewhat of an oddity in DC’s current environment
    it’s taking the character in a route that’s not only almost completely new, I think only Rucka was this willing to delve into the mythological aspects of the series. But more importantly, it’s also not very adaptation-friendly, so it really stands out when compared to most other DC titles

  4. Zach Adams says:

    Re: Creator Owned Heroes

    They couldn’t call it Trigger Girl Six because that story ended with #4, and the series continued. I only read #1-4, and thought the comics content was fine, but couldn’t be arsed to read the magazine section. It was worth $2, but I couldn’t see spending $4 to get it ‘new’ instead of waiting for the digital price drop.

  5. Zach Adams says:

    Also: I thought Cannonball was the O–O logo, representing his flight goggles.

  6. BobH says:

    “Corporate Owned Heroes” is less enticing a title to me, but I have an awful feeling ir would have outsold Creator Owned Heroes. Or as I just typed it, “Creator Pwned Heroes”, which is definitely worse.

  7. BobH says:

    Oh, and Legion of Super-Heroes did the unique icons for each character on the mission monitor board about 30 years ago, I think on Giffen’s run. Some of which required you know the Interlac font to interpret.

  8. Joe S. Walker says:

    I don’t think it’s possible to come up with a worse title than “Creator-Owned Heroes”. In comics, anyway: “Indepedently-Made Road Movie” has the knell of doom.

  9. Joe S. Walker says:

    So does “Alt-Rock Band Whose Favourite Velvet Underground Song Is ‘Sunday Morning'”.

  10. Public-Domain Sci-Fi (Except In Britain)?

  11. Rhett says:

    Correctly stapled comics.

  12. Max says:

    Isn’t Ultimate Wolverine dead? And isn’t the lead character of X-Men Legacy… a bit rapey….

  13. Levi Tompkins says:

    I actually have a theory about how Deadpool suddenly got that popularity boost a few years back.

    I think he was bringing in an audience from video games. Around that time Deadpool had been being featured in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video games. There he was one of the only characters that stood out, and offered a very different tone than any other Marvel character. I think this raised interest from people who normally didnt even consider him.

  14. I think the videogames created the groundswell, but it wasn’t just them either; I have a friend–actually named Wade Wilson–who believed that Deadpool was a character created for the Wolverine movie. It may have flopped at the box office, but it did draw the attention of those beyond the regular comic book audience. Albeit not in such a positive manner as the game.

  15. Levi Tompkins says:

    No, no, no!

    You wire the bomb to Tony’s liver. Then Tony just has to keep drinking to save the world.

  16. Paul F says:

    I think the difference between The Unwritten and Fables is that The Unwritten actually seems to have a planned end point (75 issues, according to a CBR interview in October), while Willingham has said he wants Fables to run as long as possible.

    On another note, does anyone know what happened to Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez’s Collider? It was announced as a new Vertigo ongoing at C2E2 this year, to come out in the fall. As far as I can tell, it was never mentioned again.

  17. kelvingreen says:

    Don’t worry Al, I understood the Licence Board reference! That was a great game.

    I had completely lost interest in the Avengers as a result of years of Bendis, so I’d ignored the new launches. I may have to rethink it based on your review of Hickman’s Avengers.

    So they’re putting out a collection of Barry Windsor Smith’s Machine Man and another collection fo Rocket Racoon? It’s like all those Transformers backups are coming back. What’s next, a collection of Hercules: Prince of Power? An oversized hardcover of that two-parter where Iron Man attaches Doctor Octopus’ tentacles to his armour?

    Captain Beer would be played by 80’s Kurt Russell in the movie.

  18. David Miller says:

    Enjoyed the episode as I do all of them.

    I was thinking about the extreme quality dip of the New 52. I was always a DC guy and a fan of all eras- from the Golden Age to modern- had several bookshelves worth of trades, hardcovers, etc. I would have been described as a DC Zombie if there were such a thing. But currently I buy nothing from them.

    So much of what is happening with the company makes me think they don’t want my money, and I don’t see how any of it is going to get new readers either. Shitty treatment of female characters, some lousy creators, wholesale jettison of continuity (what part of Geoff Johns’ old Green Lantern comics are important to the current ones? I don’t know, so I sold the whole lot). Knowing that editorial rewrites stuff randomly. Before Watchmen.

  19. Si says:


  20. Bob O says:

    “Conversation Comics”
    “Lecture Comics Weekly”
    “The Adventures of Dire Rita”

    Also, I think the surge in Deadpool’s “popularity” had more to do with the rumored Ryan Reynolds movie than anything else.

  21. Valhallahan says:

    I was well up for Creator Owned Heroes, wasn’t that impressed with the magazine aspect yet appreciated what it was trying to do, but I gave up on it after that godawful Killswitch strip left me reading about 8 pages of a 3.99 book. Also the ending of Trigger Girl Six was ridiculous.

    On the other hand I’m loving Dark Horse Presents, and a load of the new creator owned series that Image is putting out at the moment.

  22. Si says:

    I dreamed last night that I suggested a comic called True Stories of Data Entry, and that it was hilarious.

  23. Peter Singer says:

    Those “lines” from the G.I. Joe ninjas are Chinese I Ching trigrams. The one used in Avengers means fire. Which character is that?

    We now return to your regular broadcast.

  24. Tdubs says:

    I think all the recent delays may have cost us giving some love to Avengers Assemble. We could be looking at the best the Avengers line has ever been.

  25. Paul F says:

    “I think all the recent delays may have cost us giving some love to Avengers Assemble. We could be looking at the best the Avengers line has ever been.”

    If you ignore Arena.

  26. Reboot says:

    Worthy Comics sounds like Thor’s version of Action/Detective/Adventure/etc Comics

    Isn’t the endgame for Hellboy in Hell surely “Hellboy takes his throne”?

  27. Ethan says:

    Was I the only one who found the possible double meaning in Paul saying that breeding soldiers as an underclass was “quite a good idea” (as a plot point) darkly hilarious.

  28. ZZZ says:

    “Corporate-Owned Hero/Creator-Owned Mary Sue Team-up”

  29. Ben says:

    Question: did either of you follow Gail Simone the short ways down the road to Wildstorm’s WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY either time it was published? I’m not sure of the sales numbers on that, but I think that twice-canceled series might be a fairer assessment of her creator-driven loyalty than PRINCESSES, where she was more of a comics columnist/commentator-turned-writer than a proven talent.

  30. BringTheNoise says:

    If you ignore Arena.

    Arena is just using the brand name to shift a few extra copies to absolute completists. I loved Avengers: The Initiative and Avengers Academy but I don’t think anyone would consider any of the students from either of those books to be Avengers.

  31. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    When you talk about Marvel’s editor-driven imprints, the first one I think of is Joey Callivari’s 2099. And what did they do? They sacked him, and watched all the top talent stop working on 2099 in protest.

    I have to say, after a year and change, I remain totally unconvinced that curing Babs was a good idea, or even that Gail Simone had a good idea which utilised it. I kept reading for the James Gordon Jr/Barbara Gordon Sr subplots (which would have worked just as well with Oracle). Some of it came across as the sort of thing I suspect a wheelchair-using online acquaintance of mine would consider downright ablist.

    For bad titles, how about DC Comics Presents: Alan Moore’s Non-Creator-Owned Heroes By People Who Aren’t Alan Moore?

    Your description of the Avengers board reminds me of how the Legion of Superheroes Monitor Board had to completely make up logos for characters who didn’t have one otherwise. I remember there was a huge Mars symbol for Colossal Boy and a tiny Venus symbol for Shrinking Violet. And I think dotted lines indicating the absence of something for Invisible Kid (the second one, who didn’t have a big “i” on his costume).

    Talking of Hickman, does anyone know if Marvel have any particular plans for doing the last two issues of S.H.I.E.L.D.? I only ask because I believe it was the aniversary of #4 this week.

    I like to imagine Beer! comes from the What The–? universe, and has a mysterious connection to Milk of Milk & Cookies, which she’s quietly horrified by.

    Eternity Man sound like basically the worst attempt at “evil opposite” ever. They’d done different metals like cobalt and titanium, they’d done unscrupulous businessmen to contrast with Tony the nice businessman, and now they were reduced to “Tony has a machine in his heart that keeps him alive; this guy has a machine in his heart that will KILL EVERYONE ELSE!”

  32. Jonny K says:

    “Dark Horse Presents” is a pretty poor title.

    And Paul, Powers has been vaporware for at least as long as I’ve been reading comics, since ’05…

  33. odessasteps says:

    I think HIckman has said shield wont be solicited until the issues were finished.

  34. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    @odessasteps: Good to know it hasn’t been abandoned, but I wonder what the timescale for “until it’s finished” actually is.

  35. John C. Kirk says:

    You mentioned which DC books you’re both currently reading, but neither of you mentioned “Demon Knights”; have you given up on that? I’ve been enjoying it, and I think the first 15 issues do basically tell a complete story.

  36. Paul C says:

    That handbook segment was brilliant, really good fun.

    Yeah most of the Marvel NOW! books I have read have been pretty decent. I think that Journey Into Mystery sticks out as it had a hell of a run to follow but its opener both in terms of story and art were terrific. Also Avengers was a breath of fresh air after Bendis reign. Your take on how he would take 3-4 issues just to get where Hickman is now was quite savage but really bang on the money.

    I think (or at least hope) Fantastic Four & FF will settle down a little once the two groups depart fully from each other. I found Fantastic Four #2 a step back because half of it had already been covered in FF#1. Plus there is the nagging feeling that all of Fraction’s work should be on the par of the ridiculously good Hawkeye so it leaves the impression he was phoning it in a little here.

    I am though struggling with Iron Man and it will probably be the first one I really give up on. The story has unfortunately been just okay, but Greg Land’s art has been killing the book. His Pepper Potts just looks really slutty and is pretty much drawn like Emma Frost but as a redhead. Also a lot of his characters are missing their eyes.

    I feel sorry for Al that he had to suffer through a Daniel Way comic. That writer is the master of decompression, and if his book takes more than five minutes to read then it should be considered a minor miracle.

  37. Mark Clapham says:

    Last podcast you asked where Kieron Gillen’s rise at Marvel could lead to next.

    This issue you found various back-ups from Transformers weekly were getting reprinted.

    I think we can join the dots there.

    JM DeMatteis rewrote his Dr Fate run once already with the Hal Jordan Spectre, I imagine he’ll do pretty much the same thing with the Phantom Stranger – wrestling with the nature of sin and justice and then facing the smiley face of God’s love at the end.

    Sorry, spoilers.

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