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Oct 8

House to Astonish Episode 167

Posted on Monday, October 8, 2018 by Al in Podcast

It’s NYCC, and there’s a whole ton of news just waiting to be chewed over, so it would be rude of us not to do that, frankly. On the new House to Astonish, Paul and I remember Norm Breyfogle and Carlos Ezquerra, and talk about Die, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt, Wonder Comics, Humanoids’ new imprint H1, Avengers: No Road Home, Man Without Fear, Buffy, Three Jokers, The Girl In The Bay, Marvel’s 80th anniversary series, Oni Press’s webcomics portal, Champions, Savage Sword of Conan, Captain Marvel, Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man, Star Trek: Q Conflict, Flash: Year One, Pearl, Out Of The Blue, Guts, Share Your Smile and r(ender). We’ve also got reviews of These Savage Shores and Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is fast as lightning. All this plus My 1.5 Presidents, a pint of bees and Deadly Bannister of Kung Fu.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comics below, on Twitter, via email, or on our Facebook fan page. And remember, sandals and sunhats are sometimes foods, but a good t-shirt is forever, so why not check out our Redbubble store?

Bring on the comments

  1. sI says:

    I saw Iron Fist on the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. He’s basically a teen hippie surfer dude, he mainly states philosophical sayings in the background.

  2. Julia says:

    To dispel a misconception, the Wonder Twins are virtually unknown and unloved in America unless you are precisely Geoff Johns’ age.

  3. Si says:

    Holy crap I just checked and I’m within a few months of Geoff Johns’ age. But I still don’t love the Wonder Twins. I liked them when I was a tiny child, I think mostly because they had a monkey. But one’s Beast Boy and the other one can turn into a bucket of water with a face. Not a lot of storytelling potential in that.

  4. psychoandy says:

    Still listening to the episode. As an American in his mid-30s, let me say this:

    The Wonder Twins are stupid. Everyone in the 30-40 year range thinks so.

    Anyone UNDER 30 doesn’t even know who they are, because what the hell is Super Friends?

  5. Moo says:

    Forty years later and I’m still upset they replaced Marvin and Wendy with the Wonder Twins.

  6. Sol says:

    Holy crap, I have no memory of having seen Marvin and Wendy at all, though it seems like I must have. On the other hand, I’m just old enough that I remember the Wonder Twins *unfondly* as annoying kid sidekicks / comic relief of the Superfriends. I think a lot of people my age share the same dislike of them. Perhaps American kids a couple of years younger than me remember them fondly?

  7. Taibak says:

    But one’s Beast Boy and the other one can turn into a bucket of water with a face.

    They actually parodied that on Teen Titans, Go!. Beast Boy was fired from the team and replaced by Jayna. When she points out that she needs Zan to use her powers, the Titans hire him as their receptionist.

  8. Thom H. says:

    I am almost exactly the same age as Geoff Johns, and I love the Wonder Twins. I had no idea people in general felt negatively toward them. They’re from space! They turn into animals and water/ice objects! What else could you want?

    I was also a big fan of the international Superfriends — Apache Chief, Samurai, etc. I don’t know if those things are correlated or not.

  9. I am 35 years old, and too young to remember the Wonder Twins–I think that says a lot about the demographic a Wonder Twins book would have to be aging at.

    I am not a fan of them, but from the old cartoons I have watched, I think the best mindset to appreciate them is via a fascination with superhero body horror ala the kind Jimmy Olsen and Lana Lang used to offer. This is the only explanation I can think of to be excited about heroes who regularly turn themselves into caterpillars so they can pupate, or liquids so they can be drunk.

    The Savage Shores premise reminded me (fondly) of Abnett and Culbard’s Deadwardians, though that admittedly pushes towards the “clodhopping” side of the metaphor.

  10. Moo says:

    @Michael Hancock – I don’t know what cartoons you watched but I don’t recall Zan turning into booze and getting drunk on himself.

  11. Si says:

    The protagonist in the Power Play comic, who basically has Absorbing Man powers, actually did turn into human-shaped beer and got drunk on himself.

    I loved that comic.

  12. Billy says:

    Just to say my part, I’m in the older-than-40 group and I didn’t particularly like the Wonder Twins.

    They did serve one purpose; they made me a bit more fond of Wendy and Marvin. If it hadn’t been for the Wonder Twins, I’d have viewed Wendy and Marvin as the unnecessary kid-insert characters. Because of the Wonder Twins, I view Wendy and Marvin as “better than the Wonder Twins”.

  13. Michael Hancock says:

    (In case it wasn’t entirely clear, someone else drank Zan. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether this is more or less odd than drinking yourself.)

  14. Col_Fury says:

    I never cared for the Winder Twins either, and I’m 40. Also, I’m about an hour outside of Chicago, if that means anything.

    re: Paul’s description of what makes Iron Fist work
    That’s exactly how he was played in the Netflix Iron Fist series. They didn’t spell it out for us EXACTLY, but that’s fine. I don’t need them to hit me over the head with it. I love the bit where the scientist/doctor lady was taken aback by Danny’s humbleness, even though he was her billionaire boss. They played it up a bit more in Defenders, which I also thought was a lot of fun.

    Also, the Netflix Iron Fist has a superpower besides Kung-Fu: making friends! 🙂

    Also also, the bit at the end right before you guys hit the stop button made me chuckle: “Ten Yea-“

  15. Brendan says:

    The Three Jokers book sounds like the worst type of DC book: un-nessisary continuity justification. Does there need to be an ‘in universe’ reason for the change of Joker’s persona throughout the decades? It’s the same rational that has to justify Robin’s code name and colour scheme for the modern era.

  16. mark coale says:

    Was it Johns or McKeever who brought back Wendy and Marvin in Teen Titans and then promptly killed one of them ?

    The Wonder Twins showed up in the 90s in one of the many JL books, I think in JL Task Force.

    I never liked the Wonder Twins: they might have been the epitome of the hated POV character until the invention of Wesley Crusher.

    Those Deadly Hands mags are great, theres even a James Bond does Martial Arts Cover around the time of Golden Gun.

  17. Psychoandy says:

    Despite all this negativity towards the Wonder Twins, I’m still hopeful that it will be a fun comic. There are no characters that can’t be rehabilitated given the proper care and attention.

    Even if they ARE the worst part of a Saturday morning cartoon for kids.

  18. Luis Dantas says:

    Zan and Jayna always had a tough act to face. After all, they were the reason why we did not get to see more of the _real_ Superfriends in their own show for so many of those precious minutes. It was truly distracting.

    I wonder if it was a matter of saving royalties money by using the Justice Leaguers only sparingly. Or maybe they wanted to provide easily relatable characters? Or they were simply emulating the Space Ghost crew concept? Zan, Jayna and Glick were even phonetically clear recurrences of Jan, Jace and Blip.

  19. Chris V says:

    If anyone can do justice to the Wonder Twins, it would have be Mark Russell.
    He’s a writer who has quickly become one of my modern favourites.
    He took a silly concept like a pink panther and a blue hound dog, and made me feel emotional responses to them.
    I would have considered it impossible that a Snaggelpuss comic would end up one of my top comics of the year, but Russell accomplish this feat.

  20. Brian says:

    While I can’t say I’ve been a fan of the Wonder Twins (as a kid, I also loathed the child characters with whom I was supposed to identify), I can say this much: as a 38-year old twin, my brother and I still go into the Form Of/Shape Of routine to this day when faced with problems that shapeshifting would solve.

  21. Moo says:

    I realize that even back in the ’70s, it was probably tough to come up with a unique design for alien humanoids, but what’s funny to me is that whoever designed the Wonder Twins apparently didn’t even bother to try. He just drew them as Vulcans. Look at them (check out some of Alex Ross’s photorealistic paintings of them). They’re Vulcans. Vulcan hair, Vulcan ears, Vulcan eyebrows. They couldn’t look more Vulcan.

  22. Voord 99 says:

    Wait, our host has been reviewing the likes of X-Men:Gold when he could have been telling us all about Weapon X for five-year olds? That sounds amazing.

  23. Count me as another person just old enough that the main function of the Wonder Twins was to make me miss Wendy and Marvin, but who still thinks Mark Russell can probably do something fun with them.

    Sean McKeever wrote the Teen Titans sequence in which Wonder Dog killed and ate Marvin. That wasn’t the only reason those comics aren’t good (and even at that, most of the Ravisher [Deathstoke’s daughter] stuff was really good). And McKeever has the decency to think it was a bad decision.

    More broadly, though, here’s a vote in favor of you guys gushing about things that are very location-specific about your own childhoods (or even adulthoods). Local delights are delightful. I do prefer them annotated, of course.

  24. Moo says:

    “the Ravisher [Deathstoke’s daughter]”

    Lol, that’s “Ravager”.

    But I like your idea better.

  25. Brian says:

    I’m suddenly reminded of Tim Drake kicking her out of bed, wearing only her eye patch…

  26. Scott says:

    On the Wonder Twins thing, I’m with Brian – I’m 41 and my sister is 43, and we’ll break into the form of/shape of routine every now and then. And we’re Australian! That said, I have no desire to see the Wonder Twins again in any form/shape…

    On another topic – how did the Iron Fist Evil Dead 2 plot not get a callback to Deadly Hand of Kung-Fu? Surely that should have been the name of the story – Iron Fist vs his Deadly Hand of Kung-Fu or something…

  27. Adam says:

    I generally find myself to be as interested in series as their authors are. Seeing as it took a TV deal to get Way and Ba to put out Umbrella Academy again, I think I’ll pass.

    You’ve definitely peaked my interest in These Savage Shores, though.

  28. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    This probably isn’t an original observation, but I’ve never really thought about Carlos Ezquerra being Spanish before, and it occurs to me that this was an artist who knew what a fascist cop looked like.

    (Checks Google) Nope, that really isn’t an original observation, is it?

    I would pay actual money for Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal if they did a Captain Carrot and revealed Ziggy was Peter Porker’s great-uncle or something.

    If I were supreme dictator of comics, anyone who wants to write “the ultimate [character] story” would be banned from ever writing that character. Not only are such stories generally too concerned with high concept This Is Who This Character Is stuff to actually tell a story, but they’re not going to be the “ultimate” story anyway, because that’s not how it works. Nobody is going to say “Okay, I wanted to write a Joker story, but now that Johns has done his thing there is literally nothing left to say about the character, I guess I’ll have to use the Riddler.”

  29. Karl Hiller says:

    No one mentioned Grant Morrison’s attempt to reconcile all of the Joker’s personalities into a coherent (for Grant Morrison levels of coherent) framework during his Batman run? Or did I imagine that issue?

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