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Jul 8

House to Astonish Episode 165

Posted on Sunday, July 8, 2018 by Al in Podcast

It’s been a sad few weeks for comics, and Paul and I are here to talk about the deaths of Harlan Ellison, Bong Dazo and, of course, Steve Ditko. In less tragic news, we’ve got discussion on the Descender sequel Ascender, the end of I Hate Fairyland and the upcoming launch of Middlewest, Boom! aquiring the Firefly licence, Marvel’s upcoming Deadpool vs Black Panther and Shatterstar minis, Jared Leto being cast as Morbius and the launch details for DC’s new streaming service (including in relation to how comics themselves fit into it all). We’ve also got reviews of Submerged and Catwoman, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is going to come bouncing back to you. All this plus supervillain hen nights, YouTube Blue and YouTube Gold, and the Manimal of the Marvel Universe.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available through the embedded player below, as well as on Stitcher, Spotify and all your favourite podcatchers. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page.

If you weren’t able to make it along to Glasgow Comic-Con to witness the Bullseye for the Skull Guy panel, where Kelly Kanayama of the Frank Discussions podcast and I teamed up with Jamie McKelvie, Annie Wu and Kathryn Briggs to give the Punisher a makeover in the style of a certain popular Netflix revival show, then you can catch it over on the Frank Discussions feed here, right now!

Remember you can get our lovely t-shirts over at our Redbubble store, and if it were ever a time when the weather was right for it, now is that time.

Bring on the comments

  1. Martin Smith says:

    Fred Van Lente’s Ditko anecdote (AnecDitko?) that he shared on Twitter yesterday also involved Dave Sim, neatly.

    Duggan’s Deadpool is very good (well, I’ve only read the chunk co-written by Posehn so far). A lot more too it than just “lol memes”.

    A lot of those Unlimited are just reflecting the current trade paperback output – Dakota North is getting a complete collection, Masterworks Ant-Man 3 has the Marvel Feature Ant-Man and Black Goliath and there’s a trade of Nightmask out this week (which includes the Justice issue).

    The new Catwoman costume is interesting (though I don’t think the Cooke one can be improved upon) but I really don’t get why it’s got armpit cut-outs.

  2. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    I don’t know much about objectivism, but I once read someone saying that Ditko probably believed it more deeply than Rand herself did. Rand (as I understand it) wrote stories in which objectivists were eventually recognised as being right all along and rewarded accordingly. Ditko wrote stories in which they weren’t, but carried on anyway, because being recognised wasn’t the point. And that’s how he lived his life. I’m reminded of someone saying about Anne Widdecome “I disagree with her principles, but I admire the dedication with which she sticks to them.”

    YouTube Gold shows 1980s sitcoms.

    I think my first crossover was a Flash/GL affair in which Wally and Dull Uncle Hal have to fight Gorilla Grodd with Hector Hammond’s powers and also Rex the Wonder Dog is there for some reason. Except that the random collection of comics dumped at my local newsagent rarely included Green Lantern, so I only got the Flash issues.

    I agree with Al about Jeph Loeb’s Superman/Batman captions, although I also think they were beautifully skewered by Shortpacked!

    “We’re different, but also the same.”
    “We’re the same, but also different.”
    “But mostly the same.”
    “And different.”

    Marvel Wiki says Flexo was brought back in Marvel Zombies Destroy! as an Agent of A.R.M.O.R. along with other obscure Golden Age characters, including one of the Lion People of Ligra. And was then atomised. Which is a shame, because I love your version. (It should also involve Wonder Man discovering that the Williams brothers were related to him somehow, because you should never waste a fun surname coincidence.)

  3. mark coale says:

    That was a darker Handbook than usual.

    For those who never saw it, the Ditko doc that Ross made for BBC4 is on YouTube.

    If only Selina would go back to the original costume with the giant cat head.

    King’s Batman has, in hindsight, been very uneven. I really did not like War of Jokes and Riddles or the Booster story. But others have been really good. Gave up on Tec after a few months.

    I like Descender a lot, but I think Black Hammer may be my favorite superhero thing Lemire has done. Maybe because it’s a Silver Age JLA pastiche?

  4. Brian says:

    Steve Ditko’s heart attack alone in an NYC apartment on a 100 degree summer day is a tragic reminder to check in on elderly and infirm friends, family, and neighbors during a heat wave (or a cold snap). I’ve been driving my elderly father (who lives nearby alone at 83) a bit mad this week with calls and visits to check-in here in neighboring New Jersey, so Ditko’s total isolation hits me as a caretaker as much as a comics fan.

    In this case, with great responsibility comes great power.

  5. Paul F says:

    I’d be very surprised if DC Universe is made available outside the US, at least in its current form, due to streaming rights. As well as all their own shows, they have loads of the old DC TV shows and movies that are all probably tied up with different broadcasters.

    It’s more likely that they’ll just try to sell Titans, Doom Patrol, etc to Syfy or Amazon or someone over here.

  6. Moo says:

    I know Ditko chose to live a reclusive lifestyle, but the co-creator of Spider-Man lying dead in an apartment for two days before his body was discovered is hard for me to process.

  7. Pascal Lavoie says:

    Julie Schwartz tribute event that’s mentioned at the beginning of the podcast was in 2004, called DC COMICS PRESENTS. It was a weekly series of 8 one-shot; each comic with two stories based on the same cover.
    There was The Atom, Mystery in Space (Adam Strange), Green Lantern, Hawkman, Flash, Batman, Superman and JLA. Harlan Ellison co-wrote a JLA story with Peter David, drawn by Joe Giella.
    The whole series was an uneven but fun experiment.

  8. Joe S. Walker says:

    Harlan Ellison also inspired JLA 89, “The Most Dangerous Dreams Of All”, one of the most toe-curlingly awful comics of the silver age. But kind of fun.

  9. Anya says:

    I hadn’t thought about how many comic creators had passed recently… :/

    I share your disdain of inappropriate fonts. Readability it is more important than cuteness, seriously!

    Also, slightly surprised than was no mention of other wedding hijinx…

  10. PersonofCon says:

    I might have mentioned it before, but my favorite Venom-adjacent story was the recent Carnage series by Conway and Perkins. In the first issue, Conway pitches it as a Tomb of Dracula horror story with Carnage replacing Dracula, and it works well.(Maybe because Carnage is already basically a slasher villain monster.)

    Technically, the Venom symbiote is off in space at the time, but it does have Eddie Brock as the entirely untrustworthy symbiote expert. It’s all on Marvel Unlimited, and the covers remind me of the sort of body distortion oddities Al and Paul mentioned.

  11. Sol says:

    I totally decided to buy Submerged based on Paul’s negative review. I mean, Al’s positive review was a point in its favor, sure, but the idea of a modern mythic fantasy story whose non-magic component is strong enough to be a story on its own sounds just about perfect to me. That’s not a problem, it’s what everyone should be striving for!

  12. Voord 99 says:

    @Daibhid Ceannaideach: I don’t know much about objectivism, but … Ditko probably believed it more deeply than Rand herself did…. Ditko wrote stories in which they weren’t [recognised as being right all along], but carried on anyway, because being recognised wasn’t the point. And that’s how he lived his life.

    I also don’t know much about Rand (and what I do know does not entice me to regret that I don’t know more), but I think that’s a good way to put it.

    Ditko really is an astonishing figure. He devoted his talents to an area which for most of his life was despised by the larger culture as schlock, That’s normal in great comics artists, of course, but Ditko seems to sidestep the usual responses to this situation. He doesn’t seem to have been either a defensive Eisneresque “No, this can be art! person nor someone who was just putting food on the table.

    He just ploughed ahead with what he did as if it was the most important thing in the world. This would seem normal if he was working in a higher-status area like the novel or cinema, but for most of Ditko’s career, I think most normal people (i.e, not people like us) would have viewed his level of absolute commitment to a particular view of how one should write disposable trash, suitable only for children who couldn’t cope with words without pictures, as deeply bizarre.

    He was, as our hosts point out, someone who could have made much more money than he did in his later years on the basis of his name alone, by doing work that didn’t conform to his highly idiosyncratic standards. In this, he’s a lot like Alan Moore. It may be part of why, I think, Moore comes across as so oddly sympathetic to Rorschach, despite presenting him as unpalatable in so many ways.

  13. Kelvin Green says:

    Flexo turned up in one of the Marvel Zombies spinoffs in 2012, looking more than a little like Hellboy.

  14. RonnieGardocki says:

    I agree with PersonOfCon re: Conway’s Carnage. I’m someone who doesn’t like Carnage one bit yet the series was compulsively readable. Conway’s a writer who I think has adapted much better to modern comics than some of his contemporaries.

  15. Richard Larson says:

    Another agree on that Carnage series. Making a Carnage story into a Lovecraft story worked well. Carnage is usually just a one note character. But the combination of having team of monster hunters and using a different setting than the usual one of tearing up a city really clicked. It was the most I’ve ever enjoyed a Carnage story.

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