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Oct 19

House to Astonish Episode 112

Posted on Saturday, October 19, 2013 by Al in Podcast

Yep, you read that right – we’re back, and on a (theoretically) regular schedule too. This time round, on a special extra-length episode, we’ve got tons of discussion of news out of New York Comic-Con for you. We’re talking about a whole load of things, including Batman: Eternal, the Dynamite revival of the Gold Key characters, the return of Priest and M.D. Bright to Quantum & Woody, Greg Rucka’s new horror series Veil, the slew of new Marvel series, the return of Miracleman and, of course, the ReedPOP promotional tweet controversy. We’ve also got interviews with Antony Johnston, Greg Pak, Justin Jordan and Charles Soule, and all the usual waffle you’ve come to expect (except reviews or Handbook stuff, both of which are AWOL). All this plus a 24-hour hype man, a really complicated tax spreadsheet and Alan Moore giving you the finger.

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

Don’t forget too that there are snazzy t-shirts available through our Redbubble store. Look good! Feed Paul’s son!


Bring on the comments

  1. Odessasteps says:


    Welcome back Paul and welcome back Al from our fair shores.

    Will BOTA be done by next episode? If so, could we maybe get a review of the series as a whole, since it seems that the reaction to it has been mostly positive.

  2. I’m enjoying Avengers and Infinity but I think I’d have to agree with Paul; you get the impression that Hickman’s ideal version of the series would be called Avengers Infographics.

  3. D. says:

    Reaction to BOTA has been mostly positive?! Not where I lurk.

  4. Martin Smith says:

    Welcome back, guys.

    I’m with Paul on Hickman’s Avengers (and most of Hickman’s comics). I bailed on his Avengers after the first issue had to use an infographic and its big idea seemed to be “let’s have lots of Avengers!”

  5. Paul F says:

    There was a Dr Solar, Man of the Atom reboot back in 2010; you reviewed it on the podcast:

    As well as the “no new concepts” aspect of All-New Marvel NOW!, I’m annoyed that all of the new series seem to be $3.99.

    Have Marvel specifically said that Miracleman will include Anglo reprints? I’d assumed the Anglo writing credit was there because Miracleman #1 opens with a reprint as a flashback, before jumping to the darker present-day Moore story.

    I really liked the Moore run when I read it, but the art is variable – brilliant stuff from the likes of Totleben and middling from Chuck Austen. I own the TPB of Gaiman’s Golden Age, which is great.

    I wonder if Marvel will reprint Aprocrypha, the mini-series where Miracleman sits around and reads fan fiction about himself (in the form of short stories from other creators, with a Gaiman/Buckingham framing device). There’s a few decent stories, but it’s nowhere near essential.

  6. Bob says:

    RE: Miracleman

    Mick Anglo… I believe he passed away shortly after Marvel bought the rights to Marvelman. He was in his 90s.

    I wonder why, after 4 years of calling the character “Marvelman”, he has suddenly been changed to “Miracleman”.

    Having read the original Moore and Gaiman stories, I don’t think they will live up to the hype. In Moore’s “Olympus” I really wish that he’d dialed it back on the first person narration a little. Plus, you know how the story is going to end before the first chapter ends. Gaiman’s stories have the benefit of having the same artist, although his style changes drastically in the first storyline.

    I will skip the over-priced reprints and *may* pick the new stuff. It will still be over-priced, but I have waited a long time to finish the story.

  7. Odessasteps says:

    There was also the Miracleman Family mini that a really good but creepy Kid Miracleman story.

    I suspect a lot of the Moore stuff will seem dated and not as ground-breaking or shocking (the childbirth issue) after 30 years of tPreacher and Transmet and most everything from AvAtar.

  8. errant says:

    Come on, Greg Pak…. spit it out.

  9. Terence says:

    Welcome back.

    I think the reading experience for those who never read Marvelman in the first instance may be quite jarring. Moore’s style changes quite drastically between the scripts originally written for Warrior, and those written some time later for Eclipse, when Moore starts using some not quite successful purple prose first person narration. I actually found those quite a slog to get through at the time.

    I also wonder what readers will make of things like Big Ben – the man with no time for crime – that Dez Skinn foisted upon Moore for inclusion (so Dez could launch the character in his own Warrior strip) and that stand out like a sore thumb now.

    I understand why Marvel have jumped though hoops, and burnt many dollars, obtaining the rights to this work (they have very little evergreen works of their own)but I do feel that it may backfire on them.

    Looking forward to the next podcast.

  10. Matt says:

    so glad to have you fellas back !

  11. Michael says:

    I see Paul’s point about the Avengers and he may have put into words what I was feeling, although I didn’t realize I was feeling it until he said it. There’s lots of story and information in the Avengers these days, but not a lot of joy and fun.

    I’m also rather concerned about the Avengers franchise following in the steps of the X-Men. Umpteen books with everyone who has ever been an Avenger in at least one book (even if they are just seen in the background and occasionally get a line here and there), and yet, only a handful of characters actually get featured (how many books do Storm and Wolverine and Cyclops need to be in?).

  12. Paul F says:

    On the Walking Dead/spin-off subject… don’t the tie-in novels they’re releasing act as spin-offs, more or less? I haven’t read them (and don’t read the comics), but I believe they focus on The Governor prior to the series.

  13. It’s kind of ironic that one of the most human moments in Hickman’s Avengers run has been Thor and Hyperion bonding over how godlike they are.

  14. Andrew Brown says:

    loved the podcast, welcome back!

    My best friend just had a baby two weeks ago, and wow, good luck with that insane lifestyle change

    Also, how did you miss it?

    Walking Force Works

  15. Brendan says:

    As a kid, I loved Force Works when they were backing up Ironman in his 90s cartoon. That said, I’ve not read one issue of the Force Works comic. It must have been pretty terrible for Marvel not to slap an Avengers logo on it and try to sell it. I’m surprised the relaunches doesn’t include ‘Avengers: Defenders’ or ‘Avengers: Fantastic Four’.

  16. errant says:

    How times have changed. The name Avengers didn’t sell books back in those days. The book was born out of the cancellation of Avengers West Coast. Calling it “Force Works” (a la XForce/Wetworks) was an attempt to save it from the burden of it being called Avengers back those days.

  17. The original Matt says:

    That’s because back then the Avengers weren’t HEROES FOR THE 90s!!!!

  18. I’m surprised New Warriors isn’t being branded as an Avengers book. New Warrior Avengers?

  19. Dave says:

    The Batman: Zero Year / Eternal situation is a head-scratcher for me. The ‘main’ Batman title should be telling the current story – give a separate title to the past story, which is another skippable thing for me (along with 0 issues and villains month).
    Birds of Prey still hasn’t completed its story which began right after Death of the Family, as it’s had to stop for villains month, and it has a Zero Year tie-in next month.

    Most of the reaction I’ve seen for Battle of the Atom has been that it’s your typical too-slow-and-not-enough-happening Bendis effort.

    If I’m interested in reading the ‘classic’ Marvel/Miracleman story then it’s the reprints (and continuation) still to come that I want, and not the old stuff they already put out?

  20. Nate says:

    Man, what a great episode! Loved the interviews. That’s a VERY strong team on the new Ghost Rider book. Can’t wait!

  21. Somebody says:

    Two points:
    1) The original story with the black/grey armour and “War Machine” cover had Stark wearing it. It was ‘just’ a speciality armour – the guns/etc were because he was fighting a group that were immune to energy weapons, so he skipped the repulsors & unibeam. The reaction led to them sticking Rhodey in a slightly tweaked version for his already-planned stint as Iron Man when Stark faked his death soon after, rather than a blue/gold armour, followed by him spinning off when Stark reappeared.
    2) Did you not notice the burning Kid Loki costume YA cover that was solicited months back, followed by several consecutive months of solicit covers that didn’t feature Loki?

  22. Jerry Ray says:

    Dave, the Miracleman stuff that Marvel’s published to date were just some selected reprints of random Silver Age stuff that wasn’t very good.

    The stuff that’s forthcoming is the Alan Moore/Neil Gaiman stuff that everybody’s been clamoring for, since some of the originals are rather pricey and hard to come by anymore.

  23. Bon podde! Great interchats. Justin Jordan is the Real Deal. People teaming up on devArt like cops in a cop movie about cops.

    Re: novelty Marvelty, the characters as originally established are either loose or flexible enough to bash into whatever shape the current shepherds feel best fits the wider cultural context. Er.

    I mean, why would anyone at Marvel or approaching Marvel bother testing anything new when, reader inertia and familiarity bias aside (we’ve been having that debate since Superbaby), creators can get paid Tall Comics Dollar to experiment with form and style. Not every creator, no, and not every title. But Hawkeye, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, InhuGame of Thronesanity, Young Avengskins, Ally McHulk and Rocket Funking Raccoonn all prove that people really want to like these things – enough to give them chance after chance until the right creative team at the right time with the right energy scores a hit. And that’s really depressing. I mean great.

    And it means that we’re never more than a slow release schedule away from another Misty Knight comic. So chin up.

    The new Silver Surfer pitch makes me angry. Slott and Allred would seem like the top candidates to give the benefit of the doubt, though. I mean, somebody else can do that, I ain’t touching it. The 50s’ diner logo is ginchy, but.

    I hope they bash out as many MarvelMan comics as the shelves can hold. I bought a few of the hardback collections, and found the stories really charming, in a Superhero 101/for children/soft-Fletcher Hanks sort of way. I’d be happy to see something like that come back, as long as it didn’t have to be part of anybody’s shared universe.

    I’ve read a couple of MiracleMan books, as well. One Alan Moore book – the one with the birth scene, which is the end of a brilliant run of stories on the subject of creation – and one Neil Gaiman book. The Gaiman has a couple of really brilliant, sweet stories – Al’s spot-on with his Sandman comparisons – but the jewel is Mark Buckingham’s artwork, which was doing the J H Williams “let’s be every artist at once, woo” thing years before Promethea.

    While I don’t know if it (or anything) can live up to the hype of decades (c.f. John Carter, which predates and informs so many classic sci-fi/superhero things that to see the recent movie is to see very little that is truly new, winky-headed lizard-dogs aside), MiracleMan is absolutely an essential superhero text. I’m buying the single issues.


  24. Oh, and re: X-Factor®, “Serval” was the name used on The Continent instead of “Wolverine,” bien sur. I can’t see that being a plot point, as the symbol on the new NextWave-y X-Factor costumes is undeniably feline. But still: interesting choice of word.

    (I remember this from an orchestra trip to France twenty years back, where I bought loads of the local reprints, including the first appearance of Al’s belovĂ©d New Warriors…as well as the origin story of my fave Nouveaux Blapeaux, Rage. Man! Why haven’t they done that movie, yet? They could segue straight into it from out of the flipbook ident!)


  25. Somebody says:

    MC> the symbol on the new…costumes is unmistakably feline

  26. Martin Gray says:

    Welcome back, you both sound on great form. I loved the interviews, I only wish we’d heard the full story behind Justin Jordan’s sudden departure from. Superboy. Still, I reckon he said without saying.

    Doesn’t Greg Pak have a lovely voice?

    I’m also glad Marvel is giving Carol Danvers another push, but in putting her in space they risk losing everything most correspondents seem to like best about the book – Carol’s interaction with her supporting cast, and friendship with the likes of Spider-Woman and Monica Rambeau.

  27. In re: Hickman

    Sean Whitmore, the writer of the (now-on-hiatus) ComicCritics web strip, summed up my feelings on Hickman when he said on Twitter that reading a Jonathan Hickman Avengers comic evoked the exact same emotional response that reading a plot summary on Wikipedia did.

    In re: Avengers World
    Nick Spencer had a short interview that I can’t find right now that I chose to interpret as he’s doing the heavy lifting on the writing, in frequent consultation with Hickman. Nick brings emotional power to his work (and he’s not short on big ideas), so I’m looking forward to it pretty much as I would to a Spencer solo title.

    In re: Marvelman/Miracleman:

    A) It seems to be the case that Marvel is reserving the “Marvelman” title for the Mick Anglo reprints, which mostly seem to have stopped. Someone over on ComicsBeat pointed out that Moore, and to a greater extent Gaiman, used the word “Miracle” in the scripts and it would be a shame to lose the resonance.

    B) I agree that it’s likely that only the first issue will have any significant Mick Anglo content. The first issues of the Eclipse reprints used an Anglo story as a lead-in to the Moore/Leach “A Dream of Flying”.

    C) I think that Marvelman/Miracleman is not as good as some of the other Moore works of the early 1980s–not as good as V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, Captain Britain, or Halo Jones. But parts of it are brilliant and it really did change the way people, especially comics creators, saw superheroes, and it’s almost impossible to understand the revolution of the 1980s without reading it. Sort of like trying to understand science fiction without reading Frankenstein.

  28. The original Matt says:

    Something had been bugging me about Hickman’s avengers. I’d put it down to the expansive cast of characters, but you guys have summed it up nicely. It’s a Wikipedia page with pictures. The book needs a Luke Skywalker.

  29. Sol says:

    (Sorry for the late response, just catching up on my listening.)

    I think Miracleman is pretty much essential reading for any serious comic critic; it is a really interesting mix of great and awful. In the beginning it was a really nice “adult” (in the good sense) updating of Marvelman; this bit was (as far as I know) quite groundbreaking and hugely influential. Then in the middle it just pointlessly wanders for a bit with crap art and dodgy stories that go too far (in many ways an early preview of the 90s).

    And then the last section (of Moore’s bit) has absolutely gorgeous art, purple prose, and … I don’t really know how to describe the plot. When I was in college (and it was pretty new) I thought this part was awesomely epic. When I reread it a couple of years ago with a more critical eye, I was shocked at how flimsy the story is. But then you realize it’s first person narration, and suddenly you start wondering if he’s an unreliable narrator. And then you notice he’s set himself up as dictator over Earth…

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