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Oct 18

Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts

Posted on Sunday, October 18, 2015 by Al in Podcast, Shameless Self-Promotion


As you may have seen on Twitter, House to Astonish is going to be taking part in a huge, complex crossover with eight other excellent comics and pop culture podcasts, under the banner of Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts.

The crews of the Fan Bros Show, Into It with Elle Collins, SILENCE!, Less Than Live with Kate or Die, Journey Into Misery, Wait, What?, us, War Rocket Ajax and Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men are set to be swept away to Battlepod by the Beyonder, to help him understand comics and comic culture in a series of round-table discussions.

House to Astonish’s episode is part 7 of the crossover, and I’m joined on that episode by Wait, What?’s Jeff Lester, Into It’s Elle Collins, and Journey Into Misery’s Helena Hart to discuss our comic book guilty pleasures. You can also find me on part 3 (SILENCE!) and part 4 (Less Than Live), and Paul on part 6 (Wait, What?) and part 9 (Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men).

It all kicks off on 29 October on the Fan Bros Show, where hosts DJ BenHaMeen and Chico Leo will be discussing the question of “Who would win in a fight?”, alongside Wait, What?’s Graeme McMillan, War Rocket Ajax’s Chris Sims and X-Plain the X-Men’s Rachel Edidin, and runs through until 29 November.

It’s been in the works since April (and has been something of a logistical nightmare), but it’s going to be really enjoyable if the episodes I’ve been privy to so far are anything to go by, and we’ve got some brilliant announcements to come, like the identity of our special guest Beyonder voice (though it’s not hard to find out now, if you pay close attention), and the specially commissioned art which James Stokoe has done for us – and hey, check out our launch image above, produced just for the occasion by Brandon Graham. Mega, eh?

You can find more details on the podcast’s Tumblr over here, or follow along on Twitter. We’ll keep you updated here too as the various episodes go live. We’re all incredibly proud of this, and we hope you enjoy it.

Oct 18

House to Astonish Episode 138

Posted on Sunday, October 18, 2015 by Al in Podcast

Plenty of juicy comics chat for you this time round, with discussion of Fox’s two new X-Men TV shows, the upcoming Power Man & Iron Fist series, AfterShock Comics’ announcement of American Monster, DC’s new Wonder Woman digital series, and all the recent comings and goings on Marvel’s movies and TV shows. We’ve also got reviews of I Hate Fairyland and Uncanny Avengers, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe hasn’t worked out all the bugs. All this plus Marc Alessi’s crossword solving service, the canon of the Gruffalo extended universe and the weird soapy taste of the Inhumans.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, via email, on Twitter or on our Facebook fan page. There’s also top-flight tops available at our fabulous Redbubble store.

We’ve got a few other bits of promotion to do, but I think I’ll split those out into another post. No point burying the lede.

Oct 16

What If? Infinity: X-Men #1

Posted on Friday, October 16, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Some questions can only really be answered with another question.  Take, for example, the X-books’ contribution to a load of What If? one-shots based on 2013’s Infinity crossover.

The book asks the question: “What if the X-Men were the sole survivors of Infinity?”  To which the obvious response is, “Why would anyone want to know that?”


Oct 15

Old Man Logan

Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

It is the nature of big crossovers – even of the type Marvel do nowadays – that sometimes a tie-in book pops up, whose remit is to move a character from A to B.  This isn’t always a bad thing; often, a remit like that is so minimal that it makes it perfectly possible to wrap a decent story around it.  A plot point for the big story can double as a macguffin for the small one.

Old Man Logan is a series that exists to get a character from A to B.  But when you get down to it, that’s pretty much the sum total of what happens in the book.


Oct 13

Watch With Father #3: Bing

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 by Paul in Watch With Father

“Round the corner, not far away / Bing is [Insert Subject Here] today.”  So begins – give or take a subject – every episode of Bing, in which an animated three-year-old bunny encounters and learns to overcome the challenges of toddler life.

Bing‘s five-minute episodes have a pretty standard formula.  Bing is doing something that makes him happy; something goes wrong; Bing is upset, or scared, or angry, or some such thing; but the gentle guidance of Flop helps Bing come to with things, and all is well again.  Then Bing recaps the story to end the show.  (Who’s Flop?  We’ll come back to Flop.)  All scenarios are completely realistic – Bing is scared of fireworks, Bing accidentally breaks Flop’s phone, Bing isn’t patient enough to be quiet so that he can feed the ducks properly.  That sort of thing.


Oct 10

E is for Extinction

Posted on Saturday, October 10, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

While much of Secret Wars may be taken up with callbacks to the great crossovers of yesterday, but E is for Extinction turns its attention to Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run from 2001-2004.  (Strictly speaking, “E is for Extinction” was just the first arc of his run, but you can’t really call a book Grant Morrison’s X-Men when Grant Morrison isn’t doing it.)

In its way, of course, Morrison’s run was far more significant to the X-Men than any “event” book.  For the first time since the 1975 relaunch, it broke with the idea that the X-Men was a single, ever-growing saga.  Not everything in the preceding decade had been a straight emulation of Chris Claremont – the Seagle/Bachalo run was in that period, for example – but it was all positioned as a continuation.  Morrison’s run, both at beginning and end, is a break point.


Oct 7


Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Back in the day, What If…? used to do nothing but imagine what might have happened if a high-profile story had turned out differently.  The answers tended to be pretty similar: something terrible would have happened – otherwise, what would it say about the stakes in the original story?  Bad things would ensue, alternate versions of major characters would probably die, and some sort of bittersweet redemptive ending would follow.  It’s where the premise tends to lead you.

So with the Secret Wars X-books playing such a straight bat in terms of revisiting old stories, maybe it was inevitable that we would end up with a dystopia glut.  It’s more surprising to see two separate books both built around the set-up of the X-Men quarantining an island.


Sep 30

Charts – September 2015

Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 by Paul in Music

So then.  As promised when I stopped the weekly chart posts, I’m going to do a monthly round-up of what’s been in the singles chart – plus, in this case, the last two charts of August, since I didn’t cover them either.  That’ll cover the number 1 singles and a brief run-down of what else has made the top 40 during this period, picking out anything actually notable.  Annoyingly for my purposes, it’s been a period with a heavy turnover of number one singles…

21 August 2015: Jess Glynne, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” 


Sep 29

X-Tinction Agenda

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

If Years of Future Past was a confused book with some good ideas, X-Tinction Agenda is a simpler beast. By all appearances, it’s here to fill the pages.

“X-Tinction Agenda” is not immensely fertile territory for a Battleworld mini.  The original story, way back in 1990, was notable mainly for wrapping up two long-running stories – it finally reunited the X-Men after a lengthy period when the cast were scattered around the globe, and it tied up the original Genosha arc, in which the country was a thinly veiled allegory for apartheid-era South Africa.   Neither of those is a particularly pressing issue today.  Of course, the story also opened the era of Genosha as a basket case state on the verge of collapse, and that’s effectively what Marc Guggenheim and Carmine di Giandomenico are running with here.


Sep 28

Years of Future Past

Posted on Monday, September 28, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The X-Men do so love a nice dystopia.  In fact, vast tracts of X-history are built on either the threat of the world becoming one, or a side trip to some alternate world which already is one.  So with Secret Wars being based largely on What If…? stories spinning off from old event stories (at least in the case of those books which are steering clear of the patchwork mechanics of Battleworld itself), it’s perhaps unsurprising that the X-books find themselves largely contributing an array of parallel-world misery.

On paper, Years of Future Past should be one of the most promising.  For one thing, the reference point here is “Days of Future Past”, which is the story that sent the X-Men down this path in the first place.  And for another, it’s by Marguerite Bennett and Mike Norton, which is a pretty strong creative team.