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Mar 4

Chikara 15.12: “Sword of Destiny”

Posted on Friday, March 4, 2016 by Paul in Wrestling

So.  We’re now far enough behind that I’m going to start skipping the less important shows in order to keep somewhat in touch.  But this one is worth covering, because it’s a bit of an epic – it comes with two dark matches recorded at a meet-and-greet in the afternoon, and introduces a new gimmick that will start cropping up on almost all Chikara’s shows going forward.

It’s 13 June 2015, and we’re in the Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago.  They come here every year (in fact, they’ll go back in October).  It’s a rather nice ballroom type venue.

Pre-show Match 1.  Missile Assault Ant v Arik Cannon.


Feb 28

Charts – February 2016

Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2016 by Paul in Music

Now, One Direction had a good run.  Five albums over four years.  That’s a decent lifespan for their ilk.  But if you’re in a boy band, you should have an exit strategy.  At some point, you stop being boys.  And growing with the audience is easier said than done, because you tend to be the sort of thing the fans make a point of leaving behind as they get older.  Look at Take That – consigned to the “vaguely embarrassing” file until the audience were old enough not to be so self-conscious about liking them.

And if you’re a member of One Direction, you probably noticed that the media long since established the conventional wisdom that, come the inevitable split, the successful one – the really A-list one – was Harry Styles.  Good news for Harry Styles.  Less thrilling for the other four.


Feb 26

Cable & Deadpool: Split Second

Posted on Friday, February 26, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

So they made a Deadpool movie.  And it worked.  I mean, I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s done well enough.  Now, Marvel’s tie-in production for Fox movies can be a little half-hearted, but hell, any excuse to make a Deadpool comic, right?  So they had a bunch of reprints out, and, well, this.

It’s not the most obvious pitch for movie synergy.  Split Second is a Cable & Deadpool reunion, and much as I liked that book, it comes from the days when he and Cable were kind of just hanging in there, before Deadpool really took off as a hit.  But it was a good dynamic – Deadpool works well with a straight man.  And this series also reunites the book’s creative team, Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown.


Feb 22

Extraordinary X-Men #6-7

Posted on Monday, February 22, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

Well, this is all very traditional, now isn’t it?  I’m used to ongoing titles lurching from one arc to the next, trade paperbacks for the collecting-in.  But when you’ve got a big crossover coming up midway through the first year, it’s maybe better to get a couple of stories under your belt first.  And here we are – a two-parter, nestling between the opening arc and the Apocalypse crossover.

And it’s a two-parter very much designed to get the plates spinning, and establish a direction for the series.  Subplots abound.


Feb 12

X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever

Posted on Friday, February 12, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

Max Bemis, the singer from Say Anything, has written a fair few comics down the years, but Worst X-Man Ever is his first miniseries to land in my remit.  It’s weird.  There are two very different ideas jostling for space in this series, and while they’re plainly meant to dovetail, they don’t quite make it.  The result is ambitious and often entertaining, but in the end result it falls frustratingly short of hitting all its targets.

Fair warning, by the way: I’m going to give away the ending, because it’s kind of key to how the whole thing fits together (or is meant to, at any rate).  And it is an interesting book, if nothing else, so there are certainly good reasons why you might want to read it first.


Feb 6

House to Astonish Episode 142

Posted on Saturday, February 6, 2016 by Al in Podcast

There’s an absolute ton of news to get through this time round, and we’re looking at DC Rebirth; Wal-Mart’s move into graphic novels; the Hanna-Barbera comics revamp; the mess that was this year’s Angoulême; Si Spurrier and Dylan Burnett’s Weavers, the return of Steve Rogers as Captain America; the Supergirl/Flash TV crossover and the Legion show casting. We’re also reviewing Spider-Man and Mirror, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe makes our heart sing. All this plus mutant potatoes, the long leg of the law and one of 1992’s worst SF movies immortalised in limerick form.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. And remember, there are some exceptionally cool shirts for sale over on our Redbubble store.

Feb 1

Watch With Father #9: Balamory

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016 by Paul in Watch With Father

Yes, last time I said this was going to be Katie Morag.  But there are two shows on CBeebies set in the Inner Hebrides, and they couldn’t have much less in common, which is kind of interesting.  Balamory is aimed squarely at the nursery crowd.  And Katie Morag isn’t.  And it makes sense to do Balamory first.

Balamory was one of the first major commissions of the fledgling CBeebies station in 2002.  It doesn’t show its age too badly – some of the CGI in the credits is starting to look a bit ropey, and the nursery computer is visibly of an earlier generation, but otherwise it holds up.  It ran for four years, and while the precise number of episodes seems to vary depending on which source you look at, everyone seems to agree that it’s somewhere north of two hundred and thirty.  And by some accounts, even then, the main reason for ending it was that the cast wanted to move on.


Jan 29

Charts – January 2016

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2016 by Paul in Music

Well, what an interesting month.  I think this year we’ll loosen up the format and go a bit more freeform, yes?  Alright.

So.  We left off with the Christmas chart, and with the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir at number 1 with “A Bridge Over You”.  Normal service was swiftly resumed as “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber, which had already been number one for three weeks, returned to the top for a further three.  Admittedly, that’s during the normal early-January dead season for new releases.  But since Bieber also had the immediately preceding number one (“Sorry”), the NHS Choir wind up as the sole week of respite in nine weeks of Justin Bieber.


Jan 27

All-New X-Men #1-3 – “Ghost of the Cyclops”

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

The most striking thing about the opening arc of Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley’s All-New X-Men might be how low key it is.  A three parter, instead of the traditional six – this will be the first half of the first trade paperback collection.  No big name villains.  No big villains at all, in fact – the bad guys here are pretty much at the bottom of the pecking order.  The stakes, at least in that sense, are determinedly low.

Which is actually quite a pleasant change.  It’s not that there isn’t melodrama and hand-wringing in here – of course there is, Cyclops is in the book.  But this series turns out to be an open-ended teen road trip, entirely unbothered about the whole Terrigen Mists thing.


Jan 19

Chikara 15.11: “Aniversario: A New Attitude”

Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 by Paul in Wrestling

Chikara’s birthday was on 25 May 2002, which it celebrates every year with Aniversario – sometimes a show, sometimes a weekend tour, it varies.  It’s one of the fixtures in their calendar, but some way behind King of Trios, or for that matter the season finale; it’s more of a well established marker post in the year.  Frankly, the Challenge of the Immortals tournament format that dominated 2015 doesn’t lend itself to a major show at this point, since virtually every story is building to something much further down the line.  The result is a relatively normal looking card, but with a bigger than normal crowd.

When and where: It’s 24 May 2015 (the day after the previous show), and we’re in the Palmer Center in Easton, Pennsylvania.  This is essentially Chikara’s home venue, if you leave aside their actual training facility.  It’s a community centre gym, but a pretty substantial one.  We’ll be back here for King of Trios later in the year.  It’s a sell out.  There’s a prominent advert at the back of the hall for Electric Monkey energy drink, which is a real thing, and is product placement.  Remember that, it’ll be coming up in a bit.

1.  Elimination match: N_R_G (Race Jaxon & Hype Rockwell) v. The Battle Hive (Amasis & Worker Ant) v. The Nightmare Warriors (Frightmare & Silver Ant) v. Kevin Condron & ???.