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Aug 5

House to Astonish Episode 157

Posted on Saturday, August 5, 2017 by Al in Podcast

It’s our first podcast following SDCC, and unusually, there’s actually quite a lot of comics news to talk about. We discuss the mooted Doctor Doom movie, the newly-released details about Doomsday Clock, Jeff Smith’s upcoming Bone picture books, Arkham Asylum 2, The Terrifics, Spider-Man vs Deadpool, The Signal, Sonic the Hedgehog‘s move to IDW, the three newly-announced Black Crown series, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee on Captain America, the new Unicron and Visionaries books, Marvel’s digital-first deal with Comixology, Ed Piskor’s X-Men: Grand Designs, the new creative teams on Doctor Strange and Thanos, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca taking over Star Wars, the final volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the sad death of Flo Steinberg. We’ve also got reviews of Mech Cadet Yu and Lark’s Killer, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook just can’t wait to be king. All this plus a horse escalope, the Marvel Legacy Virus and the Batman of Christmas Yet To Come.

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

We’ve also got really swish T-shirts that you can buy at our Redbubble store. If you don’t have one, we recommend you get one. If you do have one, we recommend you get another.

Bring on the comments

  1. Bruce Baugh says:

    Paul, with regard to your concerns about the names in Fantastic Four-related movies: have you seen the names of celebrated rock stars, hip hop, and rap performers of the last however many decades? Or wrestlers, come to that? I think it’s mostly a matter of selling it with enthusiasm, in this world of Method Man, The Rock, and Matchbox 20.

    As both of you have commented about other aspects of supers movies in the past, the key is getting movies made by people who are honestly enthusiastic about supers rather than annoyed or embarrassed by them.

  2. Paul says:

    I think the problem with that comparison is that it doesn’t really fit with Reed and Sue’s established characters for them to consciously take a ludicrous name and own it. Though admittedly, anyone who unironically names himself Mister Fantastic is probably madder than Doom. (“My code name will be Mister Fantastic. It’s fine because Fantastic means “of or pertaining to fantasy”. I’ve printed these explanatory cards that we can hand out to anybody who looks at me strangely. You can be the Invisible Girl.”)

  3. Ben says:

    In re: The Teriffics. Three small points.

    1) I agree with Al that there sounds like there could be a lot of fun here on this book. However, I’ve yet to really find a Lemire book that has worked for me. The last thing I gave him a solid chance on was Justice League Canada, which also had the science/exploration vibe that you quite accurately said should be at the heart of an FF book or, in this case, an FF knock-off book.

    2) Satire books and parallel books have always existed, and some have flourished. Squadron Supreme springs to mind, with mixed results, admittedly. And it muddies the waters as to whether it’s more successful as an ongoing or limited series. Also, I’d like to point out that Power Pack’s powers are a near map of the FF (density/earth, cloud/air, laser/fire… the shape-shifting may not hold up…), and that series found its own voice because of the characters and their interactions. Which is what I’d expect from The Terrifics mix of personalities, which utterly couldn’t rely on the “first family” FF dynamic.

    3) I may be mixing my DC phantoms, but I had thought it was going to be an update of Phantom Lady, not Phantom Girl. That said, I understand that both JSA and Legion continuity is a big old mess since New52, so I can’t quite conceive of how it could be either of them. However, see point one as to how I think the idea is fun, so I’ll be checking out the first issue, and I do hope the two of you choose to review it.

  4. Martin Smith says:

    Is the Green Lantern concept that you “can do literally anything if you think hard enough about it”? Surely it’s just “he can make things if he concentrates hard enough”. It’s not really a magic wishing ring. It can’t turn back time or teleport or control minds, it just accessorizes – and only in one colour.
    I think Green Lantern would work introduced via Justice League or the other DC movies (so far as those movies work) but you’d have to use Jon (John?) Stewart to clearly differentiate it.

    I think part of the reason Sega have moved Sonic to IDW because there was legal problems with huge chunks of the Archie continuity. One of their writers managed to win legal rights to all their additions to the canon, which screwed a lot of it up.

    Definitely with Al on the Hasbro-verse. I got around to Revolution recently and gods it’s awful. Big chunks of the TF continuity junked to make room for their sub-par take on GI Joe. I think IDW are doing all this to get Hasbro to buy them up. They seem to be having cash-flow problems again, so if they load up with Hasbro licenses, it gives Hasbro an incentive to keep them afloat.

    I’m definitely keen for Visionaries though, hoping it will be good (and relatively stand-alone). The 80s cartoon was a stand-out amongst its contemporaries – it subtly subverted conventions and was quite witty.

    I thought Devil’s Due had gone under years ago, after they lost GI Joe and then Hack/Slash.

  5. mark coale says:

    If DC wanted to a FF pastiche, they already have the Challengers.

    Also, Phantom Girl doesn’t turn invisible, she phases like Kitty Pryde. The invisible quota in the legion was taken by Invisible Kid. 🙂

    Using Phantom Lady makes sense.

    As I said on Twitter to Paul, I wonder how many times the need for an FF book in 20xx has been discussed on the show. I bet it’s easily a dozen over the years.

    And I thought Hickman did a lot of non traditional stuff in FF, even while using Diablo and the Mad Thinker and such.

  6. Bob says:

    According to Jeff Lemire the Phantom Girl in the Terrifics is a new character, not the Legion’s. She’s probably Canadian. And her invisibility rests solely on the fact that she’s Canadian, thereby invisible to every American character.

    @mark DC’s also doing a new Challengers book for part of Dark Matter.

  7. mark coale says:

    Forgot to say Lemire is doing Black Hammer now, which is a Silver Age JLA analogue book so him doing something similar with the FF has potential although not as dark as Black Hammer.

  8. PersonofCon says:

    Sonic wasn’t my first comic–that would go to the Ninja Turtles, also under the Archie imprint, at the time–but I’ve been reading it off and on since 1993. Ian Flynn, the writer since #160 (so, since 2006) did a continually great job in keeping a continual characterization of all the characters while tasked with a series of increasingly nonsensical demands put on the book by its tie-ins with the Sega videogames. (ex–Sonic the Werehog.)

    I don’t think I’ll have much luck convincing anyone here of the series’ merits, but it takes a lot to have what’s basically an all-ages superhero book going for twenty four years. I haven’t been a regular reader for a while, but I still felt a pang to hear the end of a series I’d started reading at age ten.

    (And while I’m sure Paul and Al are exactly right in the series’ future crossover potential, my heart will always be with the series’ Worlds Unite storyline, which featured characters from Sonic, Mega Man, Street Fighter, Worlds of Alex Kidd, NiGHTS into Dreams, Ōkami, Skies of Arcadia, Breath of Fire III, Billy Hatcher, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Golden Axe, Monster Hunter, Panzer Dragoon and Viewtiful Joe.What a ridiculous mix of nonsense characters.)

  9. mark coale says:

    When i worked in a store in late 90s, we had a good number of subscribers to Sonic, often folks getting it for their kids. I recall one subscriber had only Sonic on their pull sheet.

    Regarding where Willingham took his book, surprised he did not go to either the Shelly Bond or Karen Berger imprints, given their past connections.

  10. Si says:

    Here’s my Fantastic Four pitch. They’re great big wild popular colourful superheroes, beating on the supervillains. But that’s all in the background. The movie is actually focused on the dysfunctional family. And it’s awful. Johnny and Ben are openly violent to eachother, Reed has disengaged almost completely, Sue is building up the nerve to have an affair with Namor. Drama!

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just being macabre.

  11. Anya says:

    That does sound macabre… I don’t think I’d like a macabre FF.

  12. Bob says:

    @Si…that’s Grant Morrison’s Fantastic Four 1234.

  13. Chris says:

    A Green Lantern power ring could be used for telepathic and psychokinetic effect way back in the 1960s

  14. Chris V says:

    There was a mini-series titled Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules which had a similar concept.
    Except, there weren’t any fantastical elements.
    The idea was that the FF comic was a fantasy fictionalized account based on four real people.
    I really enjoyed that comic.

  15. Voord 99 says:

    – @Martin Smith @Chris

    Yes, in the Silver Age, the powers of the ring were pretty much as undefined as Superman’s. And – although my knowledge of later GL is not encyclopedic – my sense is that writers have been too reluctant to give up that “Limited only by the strength of will of the wielder!” line to ever quite commit to defining the ring’s powers.

    But I think for film purposes, you could limit to it to constructs, flight, ability to survive in a vacuum, plus utility stuff like translation and communication with Oa, and it would be fine. That’s pretty much what the animated Justice League cartoon did, after all. The constructs are the visually-interesting power – they’re the only one that it’s worth emphasizing.

    – As for the Fantastic Four, I think that they really worked best when the Marvel universe itself was young, not this aging, cramped, framework in which all the Big Ideas have been assigned places.

    Al Kennedy suggested The Ultimates as a model, but (disclaimer: on Unlimited, six months out of date) Ewing doesn’t really do much with *new* concepts in The Ultimates. What he does is new things with the established concepts, which isn’t quite the same thing.

    That being said, I think there is a side to the FF that plugs a hole in the Marvel universe which isn’t being filled, which is that they’re the shiny admired celebrities of the superhero world. There might be something to be done with that, in combination with the FF as people pioneering an ecofriendly technoutopian way of living. I’d suggest that they could come across as people from some space-opera future who somehow are around nowadays.

  16. jpw says:

    @PersonofCon – My first comic was Archie TMNT #13. I absolutely loved that series.

  17. Chris says:

    The power of the ring was explicitly explained as “24 hours of unlimited power”

    Your ability to access that power and wield it was related to will power and concentration….

    The yellow weakness wasn’t a psychological subconscious one either because characters like the Shark could use a yellow object to shield themselves while making it invisible.

    Essentially the Silver Age Green Lantern is like the Phoenix… And Mark Gruenwald gussied up Quasar to serve as an analogue of sorts in terms of power set.

    The hard light plasma constructs, in any case, were psychokinetic manifestations for the most part.

    One of the fun distinctions that Morrison/Marz drew between Kyle Rayner and just about any other GL is that while Hal could basically just use his ring to, for example, load a dishwasher telekinetically with just a green aura, Kyle couldn’t really do anything unless he came up with an elaborate visual to suit his creativity. The exception, of course, being flight… And the usual “aura to not die in space”

    But man there are a lot of GL retcons and I choose to ignore literally half of them…

  18. JD says:

    Wait, doesn’t Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider take place in Las Vegas ? Did anyone warn PAD ?

    Also, Larocca has already been drawing the main Star Wars title for at least six months (starting with the Yoda flashback arc) ; he basically jumped there straight from the end of Darth Vader.

  19. Ben says:

    Just a follow-up to say that I’m embarrassed I forgot that Lemire was the writer on Black Hammer (so thanks, Mark), which I do thoroughly enjoy, but only buy every couple of months when I venture to the weird indy LCS that’s hard to park at. Also, an article at The Beat on The Terrifics reminds me that he also wrapped up Moon Knight. And while it took me a bit to warm up to his arc, and it was helped immensely by Smallwood’s technical layouts, I ended up liking it a lot. So now I’m doubly re-excited by the possibility of The Terrifics.

  20. Carey says:

    Late listening to the podcast, but as enjoyable as always.

    Regarding the Fantastic Four movie, I’ve said be fore and I’ll say it again, the perfect template for both story and tone for the first FF movie is A Hard Days Night. 24 hours in the life of a superstar superhero family and the insanity that occurs around them. No origins, minor villains such as the Mole Man are felt with quickly, and Dr doom really should only be set up for a potential sequel. Which should use the template of Help. Or possibly the Yellow Submarine.

    Even the characterisation works: Mr Fantastic: Paul; The Human Torch: John; The Invisible Woman: George and the everliving Thing: The Ever Loving Ringo.

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