RSS Feed
Nov 18

House to Astonish Episode 114

Posted on Monday, November 18, 2013 by Al in Podcast

It seems ridiculous to think that we’d ever hit this point, but here we are – it’s the fifth anniversary of House to Astonish, and we’re joined for our longest-ever podcast by Graeme McMillan and Jeff Lester of Savage Critics’ Wait, What? to talk about the Ultimate universe, Marvel’s Netflix deal, comics creators who’ve fallen by the wayside, the state of play at DC and a huge amount more. There’s Alicia Masters trying not to get pee on her shoes, a badly-pitched Daredevil story, a labrador writing Avengers, a low-rent Scooby Gang and Schrodinger’s Channel.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the player below. Get comfortable. This one’s long (and yes, very self-indulgent, but if you can’t be self-indulgent on your fifth birthday, when can you be?).

Let us know what you think, either in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. Don’t forget too that you can get our t-shirts on our Redbubble page, with its delightful range of sartorially smashing shirts.

Thanks for joining us for the past five years, and here’s to the future…

Bring on the comments

  1. Hellsau says:

    Long live House to Astonish!

  2. Martin Smith says:

    The only name I could think of on the ‘will (possibly) be big in five years’ front is James Roberts. Admittedly probably not if he only stays on the Transformers comics (as much as I love them, they’re never going to be sales juggernauts), but on a Big 2 book – actually, scratch that, on a Marvel book – I think he’d definitely find a big audience.

    As for who hasn’t, I kind of thought Stefano Caselli would really hit the big time quickly once he joined Marvel, but he’s mostly been on the fringes until recently. And Zeb Wells didn’t seem to get the big title I thought he would after working on Brand New Day era Spider-Man. Closest was Avenging Spider-Man, which seemed to stall fairly quickly.

  3. Cass says:

    Jeff and Graeme on HouseToAstonish? Dreams really do come true *choke*.

  4. Tdubs says:

    Chuck Austen had both Action Comics and JLA at one time at DC.

    I like Infinity but it’s nothing but Annihilation starring the Avengers and no one will come out and say it.

  5. Brian says:

    Al, you hit the point with Agents of SHIELD right on the head that most folks don’t catch: it’s a Marvel show, but it’s made for an ABC audience, not the traditional genre fan (Avengers didn’t make $1B catering to just nerds). The drop in numbers from the pilot in certain age groups & the savaging on nerd sites while still keeping nice numbers in various demographics is that two many folks expected the wrong thing: Marvel’s playing a wider game than that, aiming piecemeal for the whole family.

    The Netflix shows will almost certainly be more of what the geek literati want, given the different rating limits and advertising needs of such a venue. Between the new media there, the old media on ABC for more conventional TV viewers, and the broadening genres and breadth of the movies in the theaters, the cinematic universe is playing a crazy game of appealing something to everyone between now and the end of Phase Three in 2017.

    (BTW, my take on AoS? Inoffensive and entertaining-enough TV to DVR and enjoy unwinding to before bed. Nothing game-changing, and certain,y with room for improvement, but worth that hour per week from me.)

  6. Brian says:

    P.S. Why did it feel like the New 52 was this week’s “Official Handbook” entry, desperately in search of a repair? šŸ˜‰

  7. Brandon says:

    Congrats on 5 years. I know this is one of the few comics sites I’ve visited regularly over the past 5 years. I hope the podcast (and posts) last for many more. I look forward to the Before House To Astonish podcast done by people unrelated to you in any way shape or form.

  8. Scott says:

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to the (epic) show yet, but I wanted to say congratulations and thanks for five years of grand entertainment. To five more!


  9. Zach Adams says:

    Martin: Agreed on Roberts, but it’s always possible he’s just not that interested in working on superhero books. After all, wasn’t he recruited by Nick Roche (who had already done a few TF stories with IDW) to help with LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS, as someone he knew from the UK fan community? Dude is obviously a very talented writer (even if I preferred Budiansky’s version of Skids as a cloistered, clueless behavioral scientist of ill-defined type), I’m just not sure if working for Marvel is anywhere on his priority list. (If Marvel have any sense, they’ll have asked him by now…)

    Tdubs: The best way I was able to describe Infinity to a friend was using pro wrestling terminology. It’s less like an actual story than the recap video of a story that plays before the big match to end the feud. You see all the highlights, but it feels like you’re just being told about them even as you see the footage.

    And Paul and Al: Congratulations on five years. I am relatively certain that this is the only podcast I’ve ever gone a hundred eps of and listened to every one; you guys put on a really fun show every time.

  10. Cass says:

    The sighted Daredevil idea goes back to the original 60s run. Karen Page would broach the idea of Matt having his eyesight treated by various genius doctors who had supposedly discovered a cure for blindness. It was always at this moment when the Matador or the Enforcers would burst in to the Murdock offices, cutting short the conversation.

    What was interesting was that Matt never gave the treatment a serious thought. He didn’t want to take any chance of adverse effects on his powers – this is explicitly stated in the text. He knew right from the beginning that he wanted to be Daredevil for the long haul. I say it’s interesting because early DD is always called a Spider-Man clone, but this seems to mark a sharp divergence in their perspectives on super-heroing. For Spidey, it’s a responsibility, for DD, his true passion.

  11. supergodmasterforce says:

    All my comics-related podcast dreams have come true !

    (well it was only one dream…)

    I loved that rather than going with your usual well-planned format, the Wait, What? hosts dragged you both down to their rambling, stream-of-consciousness mud pit.

    Good work on the team-up Al, Paul, Jeff and Graeme!

  12. moose n squirrel says:


  13. A.L. Baroza says:

    Bravo, gentlemen. Bravo.

  14. As a friend of Allan Jacobsen, I’ll point you guys to his IMDB page – he works primarily in animation, not comics:

    This was a terrific podcast; I would have gladly endured another 2 hours!

  15. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Happy anniversary!

    I like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but I’ve yet to hear a criticism of it I could honestly disagree with…

    Channel 5 is the channel that has Big Brother and Neigbours. The correct response to this information is to boggle slightly that these programmes still exist, then forget Channel 5 exists.

  16. Paul says:

    Wasn’t it Channel 5 that brought us a reality TV show about Eddie Stobart Trucking? (Since overshadowed for sheer you’ve-got-to-be-kidding tedium factor by Sky commissioning an entire series about Greggs The Baker.)

  17. BobH says:

    I think you really need to post the recipe of that cake. Because that Weeks DD story involved a heart transplant, you goofballs. Not eyes. A heart. As in “DD can hear heartbeats” being a plot point. Still wasn’t that good a story, though the art was pretty.

  18. Al says:

    Yeah, I have since been reminded of that…! Turns out what I was remembering was what I thought was going to happen halfway through the issue, rather than what actually happened. Never mind! Made for a funny segment!

    Thanks for all the congrats by the way, folks – really, really appreciated. We hope we keep up the standard you’ve come to know and tolerate.

  19. Martin Gray says:

    This was a surprise, hilarious treat, happy birthday! I must speak up for Channel 5, for giving us ā€“ at least occasionally, the Law & Order shows and Castle.

    Can anyone explain why Netflix releases all its TV eggs in one basket? Would it not make sense to release an episode a week, get people in the habit of going to the site?

    So, when are you twa going on Wait, What?

    And see you, Al, at Thought Bubble, I hope … pic at my blog for avoidance purposes:

  20. Paul says:

    First time here, followed G & J over. Nice work guys, I’ll stick around.

    BTW, you can now say you have listeners as far as Inverness! šŸ˜‰

  21. The original Matt says:

    Five year I’ve been listening to you guys prattle on? I think that says more about me than it does about this show.

    Just kidding guys. Always love the work. Can’t wait to listen to this epic-sode. Congrats on the 5 year mark.

  22. Typical desperate crossover between two failing brands. Disgusted. CANCELLING MY SUBSCRIPTION.

    (Congrats, guys. 5 years!)

  23. Julien says:

    Wow, for five years now I’ve been meaning to give it a listen. Must really think about it. Is it any good?


  24. Zach Adams says:

    Coming back to the “diluting the Avengers” thread: I think it’s worth noting that, within the story, these side teams largely consider themselves Avengers. They aren’t splinter factions in the way that Captain Atom’s “extreme” Justice League was, but it’s clear that Hank and Luke both consider themselves to have the authority to set up “legitimate” Avengers teams operating in parallel to Tony and Steve’s operation.

  25. Dave says:

    Congrats on 5 years!

    I’m going to stick up for Agents of SHIELD and Channel 5. AoS I don’t think has been bad at all, and is pretty much what I was expecting when it was announced.
    Channel 5 gave us the other Shield (with Michael Chiklis), which justifies its existence on its own. More generally, it picks up a few American dramas, where channels 1-4 have almost completely stopped doing so – the last US import I can remember ITV having (before they recently put The Americans in a crappy late Saturday night slot) was Pushing Daisies…around the time House to Astonish started.

    Chuck Austen did a whole first arc of adjectiveless after Morrison left. The one that immediately retconned Xorn, and where Black Tom killed Juggernaut’s pal Sammy.
    Speaking of Juggernaut, She-Hulk insists she did not sleep with him!

  26. Congratulations on five years!
    @Dave: That was Slott’s take on Austin’s She-Hulk/Juggernaut slash fic, but Peter David spun it back on his turn on her series, in one of SH’s more “fourth-wall” sort of moments. So I guess it’s as canon as anything she does in that mode.

    …You know you’re a special kind of comic book fan when you can’t let go of a point this inconsequential.

  27. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    @Paul: They’ve had one listener in Inverness for a while. But now they have listeners. šŸ˜Ž

  28. Paul says:

    @Daibhid: Doubled the sneck audience overnight, we’ll have this place taken over by next week at this rate!

  29. Paul G. says:

    I never would have thought that the podcast formula would be:

    House to Astonish + Wait What = unexpected body horror

    I was squirming along with Graeme through the many injury-to-the-eye permutations.

    Chemistry is a strange thing.

  30. Brendan says:

    Congratulations on the big milestone fellas! It was great to hear the four greatest minds in comic book podcasting come together and talk over each other, but what can you do, meet somewhere in the middle, like Baltimore or something? Really it was fantastic. Next time I’m buying myself cake when there is a special episode so I don’t get crazy jealous.

    Graeme, you mentioned Todd Glass wasn’t notified of the New 52. I just listened to that part of the Comics Panel interview. Madness? Madness! It thoroughly convinced me that the New 52 was the most nearsighted decision in DC ever. They rebooted the entire universe just for a quick sales spike and redesigns, redesigns that screwed Adam Glass and Suicide Squad so bad I think he wished he said no. I knew there were a lot of mistakes made at the relaunch but that opened my eyes to the exact reason the whole thing was doomed from the start.

  31. Niall says:

    5 years of making my bus journeys tolerable. Thanks guys.

    I don’t even want to think about how long it has been since the X-axis began. I have vague memories of my old dial up connection struggling to download the images!

  32. Andrew says:

    Congrats on the five years guys. I can’t believe it has been that long already.

    Then again I stopped and thought about it recently and realised I’d been ready Paul’s X-axis reviews dating back to 2000 and the Claremont Revolution, The return of Scott Lobdell and the arrival of Morrison/Casey.

  33. Paul C says:

    Congrats on the 5 years, and that was brilliant & hilarious show. You chaps should definitely do another team-up.

    I guess one of the game-changers over the past 5 years that wasn’t mentioned, is that the Big 2, well mainly Marvel, unfortunately find it acceptable to gouge the readers with their $3.99 prices for just 20 pages of story. I think back then they were probably testing the waters but it is just common practice now.

    I was quite excited about the announcement of the Marvel/Netflix deal. Although they will probably have to get the casting exactly spot-on as these shows could live or die solely on who plays the main characters. For a long while, I’ve thought that a Daredevil TV show would be handy enough to do. It is street level action, so you wouldn’t necessarily need a big budget for the action/special effects pieces. Plus you could always do some sort of ‘Law & Order’ or ‘The Good Wife’ court case to pad out the hour.

    ‘Agents of SHIELD’ has been disappointing so far. Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen have been pretty good with what they’ve been given, but the rest have just been bland and/or annoying.

    As mentioned above Channel 5 gave us ‘The Shield’ which is still one of the most under-rated shows of the 2000s. Plus it’s got ‘Archer’ & ‘Justified’ on one of the satellite channels. Also it has all the crime dramas which are generally quite good at what they do.

    The confusion over Buckaroo was hilarious. Trying to explain childhood games like that or Pop-Up Pirate and Kerplunk! would have been worthy of a segment on its own.

  34. Great episode so far–I’m about half-done.

    Darkhawk’s nemesis *should* be DARKHAWKER. And then they can team up to fight DARK HAWK WITH A VENGEANCE (who everyone secretly calls DARKHAWKEST).

    Amazingly, if you google “DP7” or “dp 7”, the first hit you get is the Wikipedia entry for the comic. The porn doesn’t show up for a while.

    The initial New Universe was a mix of good (DP7 and most of Nightmask); indifferent (PSI Force, Merc, Justice); and screamingly, mind-rendingly bad (Kickers, Inc.; Spitfire and the Troubleshooters). I’m still, nearly 30 years later, not sure whether Star Brand was good and trope-subversive or awful and lazy. However, the post-Black Event New Universe was one of the most interesting superhero experiments Marvel ever undertook and I recommended it highly then and now. Long overdue for ESSENTIAL treatment.

    As to the comment above about INFINITY being like a wrestling highlights reel, Sean Whitmore (of the Comics Critics webstrip, currently on hiatus) said that the emotional experience of reading Jonathan Hickman comics is almost indistinguishable from reading Wikipedia summaries of them. They’re packed with good ideas, delivered in as flat and diagrammatic a manner as possible.

  35. Jonny K says:

    Congratulations on Five Years!

    (And on the Channel 5 point, it’s worth also noting that wide swathes of the country didn’t have access to it for many years…)

  36. One more comment from the later portion of the show:

    Ariel Olivetti is currently illustrating the adaptation of CONAN: PEOPLE OF THE BLACK CIRCLE for Dark Horse.

    He’s also been around a lot longer than I remembered–his first work was in Argentina in 1992; his first American work was THE LAST AVENGERS STORY in 1995, and I personally first noticed him on the “counter-X” run of X-MAN in 1998.

  37. wylimo says:

    Congratulations and thanks for the enjoyable shows. I hope it’s not upsetting, but I fall into that part of your listening audience who have had dead partners whose corneas were harvested to help others see after her death. So I had a couple of odd moments during the podcast when I found myself thinking of things I wasn’t expecting to this morning. Nobody did anything wrong and I’m quite clear none of you owe me anything, quite the reverse. I don’t want you to be careful, there’s something odd about how careful people get about speech around bereavement, I mean, how bad would anything you could say be compared to the experience?
    I’ve sat here thinking about deleting this message, as I can’t quite get my head around why I’m sending it. If the motive comes clear, I’ll send it. Sorry this isn’t more tidy.
    I’m glad HTA is back and I’m looking forward to getting caught up.

Leave a Reply