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Nov 12

House to Astonish Episode 159

Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2017 by Al in Podcast

We’ve been away a long old time (having a second kid will do that to you) but we are back, with our ninth-anniversary podcast. We’re talking about DC’s Eddie Berganza problem, Marvel’s Brian Michael Bendis problem, Funko’s IPO problem, the debut of Ken Niimura’s Umami, Marvel’s most recent book announcements, a quick casting update on Netflix’s Umbrella Academy series, Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel’s The Magic Order, and The Phoenix‘s US distribution deal. We’ve also got reviews of Coyotes and Daredevil, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is on its own like Tarzan boy.  All this plus Mark Millar’s fictional twin Mike, X-Men: Heliotrope, Ian Beale: Tramp Wizard and a bad Welsh male voice choir.

This episode also features the full audio from the SILENCE! To Astonish panel from Thought Bubble 2017, with Gary Lactus and the Beast Must Die from SILENCE! and special guests John Allison and Kieron Gillen. It’s very silly and we hope you enjoy it.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. We also have our award-winning* t-shirts for sale at our Redbubble store – just the thing for the chilly winter nights/warm winter nights (delete according to hemisphere).

Thank you to all of you for listening to the show, whether you’ve been with us since November 2008 or just jumped on with this episode. Here’s to another nine years and we’ll see you for the Homies awards before year-end.

(*not award-winning)

Bring on the comments

  1. Andrew G says:

    Good of the kids to stand in for the sirens from the early days.

  2. Martin Smith says:

    Congrats on 9 years, guys.

    The thing about Marvel’s top writing vacuum: Paul says you wouldn’t put Chip Zdarksy on a big event cross-over, but the same was true of Bendis once. Especially when he was the rising star revolutionising the line with Alias and Daredevil, you wouldn’t have pegged him as doing big events like Heroes Return or similar back then.

    But I’d be happy if Marvel took the lack of a big name power writer beyond Aaron as a reason to not do any event crossovers for a while.

    Bendis leaving Marvel is probably a blessing in disguise really. It reminds me of when WCW would poach big WWF guys in the early-mid 90s, like Hogan and Macho Man. They were done, spinning their wheels. Their absence forced the WWF to build new talent, while the established wrestlers went and coasted in the WCW. Marvel has the perfect opportunity to spotlight new and rising talent and (without events and perhaps even continual relaunches) a chance to breath and grow.

    Funko Pops are weird. On the one hand, I really don’t get them. They have next to no character to them. They’ve all got the same soulless expression and dead eyes, nearly all got the same pose. If Roddy Piper looked at them through his sunglasses, they’d be amorphous blobs of nothing that just say “collect” on them. And yet on the other hand, there’s part of me quite impressed that you can get the Blue Ranger, Disney’s Prince John, Molly Ringwald from 16 Candles, Castiel and Deadpool all in the same product line. In all they feel like the epitome of the cynical commodification of “geek culture”, the ability to get a matching set of tchotchkes to comprehensively represent all the actual things you like.

  3. Zachary Adams says:

    The Pop aesthetic is weird because it relies so heavily on costuming etc, and that can suffer with some more minimalist designs. I have a few I got as gifts (Ant-Man) or from subscription boxes (Thor and Miles Morales) but the only ones I’ve ever bought myself were Rocky and Bullwinkle. Rocky is instantly recognizable, but if I didn’t have a box that says Bullwinkle I might have to ask. Snoopy is exactly the same, in part because he violates the cardinal “Snoopy always has closed eyes when rendered in 3D” rule.

  4. mark coale says:

    Loved Paul’s laughing at X-men Red.

    I would think Bunn is one of the Marvel writers who moves up a level with Bendis leaving.

    Really loved Lemire’s Moon Knight. Could have been my Marvel book of the year if not for Vision. Thought it was a lot more than just great art.

    I always thought a great way to reboot Iron Fist is make Danny one of those white guys obsessed with Japanese/Asian culture who goes to Kun Lun to find this mythical Shanghai-La place,etc etc.

  5. Zachary Adams says:

    Oh, and Deathmatch actually was a comic from Boom a few years back by Paul Jenkins. It involved thinly-disguised Marvel and DC knockoffs forced to murder each other in arena combat by a mysterious foe, and it was not good.

  6. Jeremy says:

    Best part of the episode…

    Al: “Secret Wars I think is genuinely excellent.”

    Paul: “Ummm……”

  7. PersonofCon says:

    I was just reading the part of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story where Howe talks about the original Kazar today.

    This is going to be a bit of a hard sell, but as a Canadian native Saskatchewaner, I can tell you that if you want the good stuff, the really, quintessentially pure, unadulterated Canadian content, go on youtube and look up Puttnam’s Prairie Emporium. It’s not on encore, but there are a few episodes up. It’s a children’s show about a small town prairie antique shop with a talking buffalo head, a time-travelling scientist who lives in their closet, and puppet cat who is meta-aware of its existence as a puppet and also plays the saxophone.

    Also, congratulations on nine years.

  8. Julia says:

    Someone on Twitter pointed out that Funko POPs are Precious Moments figurines for nerds, and it was like scales falling from my eyes. Of course.

    (Also, they only look right for certain cartoon characters that have similar proportions to the generic POP.)

  9. Voord 99 says:

    Martin Smith: But I’d be happy if Marvel took the lack of a big name power writer beyond Aaron as a reason to not do any event crossovers for a while.

    Just wanted to second this. In fact, I want to rig the vote and ensure it passes with as much personation as it takes. I’d stop at intimidation and violence at the polls, but not without regrets. 🙂

    I’d defend the overall story that Marvel told from Avengers Disassembled through Siege, and that was more a Bendis creation than any other single person, although there were plenty of cooks. For me personally, the strength of the overall storyline carries it even when specific key elements (e.g. Bendis’s Avengers work) aren’t all that good. But from Siege on, it’s been diminishing returns that have diminished an awful lot.

    Marvel has grasped the idea of giving characters a rest. Giving line-wide events a rest has the same logic. They’ll feel more like *events* if you don’t have one every year. Now they’re basically another word for “summer.”

  10. jpw says:

    Bendis leaving Marvel? Oh, haelz yeah!!!!

  11. Mika says:

    Happy 9 years HtA! My first and favourite podcast 🙂

  12. Will Cooling says:

    I totally could see Al Ewing successfully helm a crossover. He was actually involved in a rare 2000AD crossover that was really inventive and well-received. You can read more at

    And as Martin says – Bendis wasn’t Bendis when he was giving the keys to the castle. While you have to back up the hype, most of being a superstar writer, is being promoted as a superstar writer.

    WWF should never have cut Randy Savage though. His feuds with Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels would’ve been great

  13. Joseph says:

    Coyote is a colloquial Spanish term for those who smuggle migrants over the US–Mexico border, and who may charge huge sums of money and aren’t always trustworthy. So, does this comic set at the border not have anything to do with this obvious resonance of the term?

  14. The “oldest” entry in the OHotOHotMU is, of course, The Netherlands (founded 1581) – which you recognized as one of the domains of Mephisto

  15. Chris V says:

    I’m….I’m not actually sure.
    It seemed to be, maybe, part of the story.
    It seemed like too much was going on in the issue to fully make sense of anything.

    There are certainly other coyotes involved. Like the animal coyote.
    Although, the creators seem to be going for more of a skinwalker-type vibe with those coyotes, I think.

    The comic is something of a mess, honestly, if you ask me.

  16. Brian says:

    By your Kingpin-Trump comparison, why isn’t Fisk more properly Michael Bloomberg? He’s even the NYC mayor.

  17. Loren says:

    I absolutely need to learn more about that English criminal action over zombie-raising that Paul mentioned.

    Any luck in finding it? I gave Google a try, but had no luck myself.

  18. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Happy anniversary, guys!

    My sister collects Funko Pops. The first ones I ever saw were the Muppet ones, which just look freaky as they distort the Muppet head shape to fit the Funko moulds, and I’ve never been able to get into them since.

    The blue in the X-Men uniform might have started out as highlights on black, but by the time they get Blue and Gold teams it’s pretty definitely just blue, same as Spider-Man.

    (GameRadar has a history of Spider-Man’s costume which hilariously claims the blue had to be mixed with black in the early years because of printing limitations that prevented them using pure blue. They don’t explain how this works, or indeed how he managed to share his second cover with the FF in their not-even-slightly-black uniforms.)

    I kind of see where Al’s coming from re: Gunnerkrigg Court, but I’m not sure I agree – it’s not that Annie’s written as a cipher, it’s that she’s screwed up in a very specific way that makes her a bit affectless a lot of the time. (Cf. Susan Sto Helit, Olivia Dunham, Susan from El Goonish Shive etc.) Of course, you might argue that it amounts to the same thing in terms of her as a main character.

    (And in any case, the robots, animals and fairies are more interesting than any of the human characters, but apparently Tom Siddell’s writing a story that’s mainly about humans.)

  19. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Snoopy is exactly the same, in part because he violates the cardinal “Snoopy always has closed eyes when rendered in 3D” rule.

    Goodness, I’ve never heard of this rule before, but a quick Google image search (and my own memories now that I think about it) suggest it is 90% true. (The exceptions I found online are the Macy’s balloon, and the frst two statues in an “evolution” display at Tokyo’s Snoopy museum – which arguably doesn’t count because they’re supposed to look like Snoopy before he looked like Snoopy.)

  20. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Apparently, I was so taken aback to learn this that I forgot how to close italics.

  21. Jerry Ray says:

    Is there no “no convicted felons” restriction for mayor of NYC? Or are we to believe that Fisk was never convicted of a felony despite all the times he’s been in jail?

    Doesn’t this whole thing kind of seem similar to JJJ being elected mayor and going after Spider-Man a few years back?

  22. Col_Fury says:

    Nope. Just like with the US President, there is no “no convicted felons” eligibility requirement.

    The only requirements for NYC mayor are she/he needs to be 18 years old and a resident of NYC as of election day. That’s it.

    Similarly, the only requirements to be US President are she/he needs to be 35 years old, born a citizen, and a resident of the country for at least the last 14 years prior to election. That’s it.

    “But if a felon can’t vote, how can they hold office?” (someone asks) Well, only certain states take away voting rights from felons & ex-felons. That’s a state thing, not a federal thing. Two extremes: Maine allows felons to vote while serving their sentence (and after release); Florida permanently takes away voting rights from felons.

    Hey, a civics lesson. 🙂

    Obviously, it would normally be a terrible idea to run a candidate for any office with a felony on their record. It wouldn’t be against the rules, though.

  23. Thom H. says:

    Obviously, it would normally be a terrible idea to run a candidate for any office with a felony on their record. It wouldn’t be against the rules, though.

    I don’t know — a certain portion of the American public seems to find that kind of thing appealing these days.

  24. Sol says:

    OMG, “can understand Belgians as if they were actually speaking” just about broke me. Hard to imagine the bonus content will be funnier than that!

  25. Brian says:

    On the felon issue, recall that a number of candidates have run for office from prison, including New Deal-era Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs.

  26. mark coale says:

    Is Soule the first attorney that’s regularly written Daredevil? If so, he should being a perspective that comes from more that just researching a story.

  27. Emmanuel says:

    My first thought when I read Bendis was leaving was “well, this leaves Aaron as the top dog writer in Marvel”, but listening to the podcast reminded me Greg Pak is still at Marvel, and already did some event crossovers (World War Hulk), so wouldn’t he be the obvious choice to lead the next ones ?

  28. mark coale says:

    Wonder how the EIC change will effect the writer flow chart and who leaves or comes in?

  29. Adam says:

    I loved Bendis’ Daredevil. It’s what brought me back to Marvel, and comics, after a hiatus that started around the time of John Byrne’s Spider-Man: Chapter One. Alias was pretty great too. Ultimate Spider-Man had some outstanding moments.

    Everything else needed a stronger editor than it had. His total lack of ability in learning the voices of his characters (Doom in Mighty Avengers, any Fantastic Four character wherever they appeared) absolutely killed my interest in his stories.

    I wish DC a lot of luck. I’m excited to see writers like Slott, Ewing, Aaron, and Wilson take the reins at Marvel.

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