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Jan 13

House to Astonish Episode 181

Posted on Monday, January 13, 2020 by Al in Podcast

It’s awards time! Paul and I are taking a leisurely saunter through our picks for the best series, creators and moments of 2019, as well as taking a look at the ones which you voted for. WHO managed to pull off a narrow win for Best Writer? WHICH Marvel series pulled off a clean sweep? DID we mention any manga (yes!)? HOW many comments did we read out on the show from the listener votes (none, sorry, by the time we recorded there wasn’t time to collate them)?

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

Our beautiful t-shirts are, as ever, available here, and if you’d like to hear me talking to Matt Lune about Thunderbolts 1 on the Shelfdust Presents… podcast, you can find that over here.

Bring on the comments

  1. Martin Smith says:

    I’m one of those people who didn’t like HoX/PoX.

    The ambition is good and I don’t mind some of the ideas, but I just still can’t get on-board with Hickman’s style.

    Infographics are not a substitute for story and I’d go so far as to say that everyone one of those visual info-dumps is a failure of story-telling that an editor should have put a stop to a long time ago; it was passable in Secret Warriors, when it was lists of bases or whatever, but they’re just vehicles for carrying story information that he can’t be bothered to give through exposition. The epitome of telling not showing.

    The final twist of Powers fell flat for me, because as soon as one of the future timelines was revealed to be a past life, it was obvious that the other future would turn out to be the other “hidden” timeline. The existential despair of “mutants will always lose out” didn’t fill me a lot of interest in the ongoing series.

    Plus I have less patience and goodwill for his lack of character finesse. I’m not as convinced it’ll have a pay off (or at least not a good one) as others are. I think it’s more because he values story over character (which isn’t inherently bad) and so reshapes the latter to fit the former.

  2. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    In other news, X-Factor’s coming back with a delightfully bonkers premise (an investigation squad looking into mutant disappearances… to make sure the victims are dead and can be brought back without risk of duplication). I like weird mutant books and I’ll be very surprised if this turns out to be by-the-numbers.

    It’ll be written by Leah Williams, whose X-Tremists I liked more for its themes and ideas than actual execution, but still – it’s something I’ll be looking forward to.

    And there’s at the very least another two more x-books coming – the Moira one and the X-Corp one. And Vita Ayala is working on something (could be one of those two, could be something else).

  3. Chris V says:

    I don’t totally agree about infographics, Martin.
    I agree that they are not a substitute for story-telling, but I disagree that editors should not encourage them.
    I actually feel that this is a direction that comic books should be going, in order to flesh out the worlds better.

    It solely depends on what information is being given as an infographic.
    He used infographics to good effects in Black Monday Murders, where it shows information like stock reports and business memos.
    Things like depicting a time-line or a map are very good uses of an infographic.

    There are some details that a comic book story just may not have the room to feature enough information, and that is when the infographic can add to a story.

  4. Gareth says:

    The superhero-with-a-pipe you’re looking for is, of course, Sean Cassidy.

  5. Voord 99 says:

    Another one: Reed Richards smoked a pipe in FF #1, as suits an authoritative early-60s scientist-as-figure-of-wisdom.

  6. Si says:

    Reed Richards of course had a 4 brand on his pipe.

    But most relevant is Blowhard, the Morlock who could make whirlwinds out of his pipe. He fought Power Pack.

  7. Mark coale says:

    Niles Caulder famously had a pipe.

    As Karl Kesel wonderfully explained years ago, spider-man is daffy duck and daredevil is bugs bunny.

  8. Voord 99 says:

    Niles Caulder famously had a pipe.

    So did Professor X, strangely enough.

  9. Alex Hill says:

    “As Karl Kesel wonderfully explained years ago, spider-man is daffy duck and daredevil is bugs bunny.”

    I now desperately want to see a Daredevil/Bugs Bunny crossover :P.

  10. Karl_H says:

    I like Hickman’s infographics most of the time, but I don’t give the ones in the other titles more than a glance because those other writers aren’t using them as effectively as Hickman. They’re form over function, mimicking the style just to be mimicking it.

  11. Thom H. says:

    Speaking of the Doom Patrol, Dr. Will Magnus (creator of the Metal Men) rocked a pipe when he guest starred in that book.

    Cliff made fun of him for it, and Will said the pipe “helped him think.” Another scientist as wise man figure.

  12. Col_Fury says:

    And yes, Steve Roger had a pipe while lecturing Bucky in the ’40s.

    Also, I know this isn’t exactly “comics,” but has anyone seen the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths? We just finished watching the crossover, and HOLY CRAP YOU GUYZ it’s just GREAT. John Wesley Shipp as Flash? Burt Ward as Robin? Kevin Conroy as Batman?! Brandon Routh back as SUPERMAN?!?!~!

    If anything is the best of 2019 as this… well, I’m just confused I guess.

    (saying this as a Marvel guy)

    Happy 2020 everyone!

  13. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Yeah, back in the sixties pipes were basically shorthand for “very serious scientist who knows what they’re talking about”, weren’t they? I think the only character who retained that into more modern appearances was Doc Magnus, who even had one made of Made-Up Metal when he became the Made-Up Metal Man.

    The Red Lanterns mostly live on Ysmault which as far as I recall is made entirely out of demon-flesh and Pure Evil, so I imagine it doesn’t smell great to start with.

    Am I the only person who, when they hear the phrase “New Kraven” immediately thinks “New Kraven’s Johnround”? Probably.

  14. Mark Coale says:

    So, is Jimmy Olsen’s vomiting cat secretly a red lantern?

  15. I have enjoyed Slott’s FANTASTIC FOUR more than not, in part because he occasionally gets the character bits absolutely 100% perfect–there are bits from the wedding that genuinely brought me to tears–and because he has been ringing some interesting changes on the familiar backdrops.

    One reason Slott’s Silver Surfer was better was that it was almost completely free of expectations and history. One of the aspects of the Fantastic Four both as a team and as a title is that it invents things and then spends time testing them against the existing furniture of the FF’s universe, so we have a newly married Ben facing off against the newly demonic Hulk, or Doom confronting the reinvented Galactus. Despite being around since the mid-1960s, Surfer really doesn’t have any backstory that people care about other than his origin, so you don’t have to have him face the Badoon or even Annihilus.

    So Slott does have to deal with What’s Always in A Fantastic Four Story; I think he’s mostly been doing a good job, but it’s definitely been a constraint.

  16. Adam says:

    I too came here to express my appreciation for Slott’s FF. He’s been getting the characters right, and that’s the biggest issue for me. His Silver Surfer stuff gives me faith he’ll get to the way-out ideas soon enough. He’s capable of it, at least.

  17. Chris V says:

    How much of his Silver Surfer run can be credited to working with Mike Allred?
    I mean, his Surfer series was often brilliant, and I absolutely love it.

    I don’t think Slott has ever shown that level of creativity otherwise.
    It makes me wonder how much Allred was the Kirby or Ditko to Slott’s Stan Lee.

  18. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    @Mark Coale: Yes, except it’s not a secret.

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