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Dec 31

House to Astonish Episode 140

Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2015 by Al in Podcast

It’s the last day of 2015, so an end-of year wrap-up seems appropriate. It’s the Homies awards, as is normal for us at this time of year, and we’re awarding all sorts of gongs and other glittering prizes to the comics, creators and stories that most impressed us this year, including totting up the results of our listener vote. Hark! as we lay a potentially surprising amount of praise at DC’s door. Herald! as we try to work out what exactly is Gwenpool. Sing! as we let our central conceit slide with remarkable frequency. There’s no news, reviews or Official Handbook this time round, but we’ve got mince pies and hot chocolate, so you never know who might come carolling. All this plus a human Jaffa Cake, Halley’s clockwork comet, Jeff Lemire’s Blue Tooth and Monty Python’s Secret Wars.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. Remember, Christmas may be over, but that just means summer’s on its way, so you should stock up on fab t-shirts like the ones available at our Redbubble store.

Thanks to everyone for sticking with us this year. Onwards to 2016!

(If you want to check out our previous awards shows, they’re here and here, and they’re various degrees of fun.)

Dec 28

Charts – December 2015

Posted on Monday, December 28, 2015 by Paul in Music

Ah, Christmas.  That wonderful time of the year when the chart abandons even the faintest pretence of making sense.

Let’s try starting with the month’s number ones, and then have a look at the rest.

4, 11 and 18 December 2015 – Justin Bieber, “Love Yourself”


Dec 23

House to Astonish – The Homies 2015

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 by Al in Podcast

It’s that time of the year again, where comics blogs and podcasts do their obligatory look-back best-ofs, and that means it’s time for the House to Astonish Homies Awards!

This year, we’re doing something slightly different. We’re ditching the “worst” categories, because really, we’d rather spend the time we have bigging stuff up than moaning about stuff we didn’t enjoy. So there are more new categories, each with the usual rigmarole attached – we want YOU to help, so you all name your picks in the comments, and Paul and I each choose our own, and we talk a bit about each of the three on our awards show.

We’re recording on 30th December, so you have until 8pm UK time (3pm Eastern, noon Pacific) on December 29 to make your choice. When you list your picks, don’t just name names either, because we’ll be reading out the best comments on the show, so let us know your thinking!


This one’s pretty self-explanatory – any comic whose first issue was published between 1 January 2015 and the date of recording (30th December) is eligible. What new series got your attention the most this year?


This one’s a little less self-explanatory – what series, again first published between 1 January and date of broadcast, did you think was best, with the proviso that it has to be something where the property wasn’t in existence prior to the start of 2012. We’re counting re-use of titles as well as concepts, so Squirrel Girl, Jem and the Holograms and Omega Men wouldn’t be eligible, but (for example) Southern Bastards or Island would.


The counterpart to the categories above, which covers books whose first issue was published in 2014 or before. They’ve been around the block, but they’ve still got what it takes.


These are explaining themselves by this point, right? We’re looking for OGNs, one-shots and minis published in 2015 (or partially in 2015, in the case of minis).




Each of these three is pretty self-explanatory – whose name on the cover or credits box of a book makes you want to pick it up? Whose work do you most look forward to seeing?


This is for the comic, series or graphic novel that saw print this year which you’d want to see more of, whether that be a book that was cancelled before its time, a one-shot or mini that just begs for a follow-up, or an OGN that you’d love to see a sequel to.


It may have seemed unappealing when you read about it online, and those preview pages may have looked unremarkable, but when you finally got the winner of this category in your hands you were ready to eat your words. What comic, series or graphic novel did you find yourself enjoying much more than you thought you would?


This award will go to the comic or graphic novel that most made us gasp with surprise – an unexpected plot twist, a daring cliffhanger or a shocking denouement will stand a book in good stead here.


This is exactly what it says – which creator, creative team, publisher or other contributor to the world of comics really knocked it out of the park this year?

Let us have your picks in the comments thread below, along with your thinking on each one – we’ll read out a range of the responses on our big end-of-year show. Happy nominating!

Dec 21

Watch With Father #7: Something Special

Posted on Monday, December 21, 2015 by Paul in Watch With Father

Even if you pay no attention to pre-school television, it’s quite possible that Mr Tumble has still managed to impinge on your consciousness, at least if you’re British.  Mr Tumble is the signature creation of Justin Fletcher.  And if anyone in pre-school TV counts as a megastar, it’s Justin Fletcher.

His shows are in near-permanent rotation on CBeebies.  He stars in three – there’s Mr Tumble’s home show Something Special, the sketch show Gigglebiz, and the pantomime sitcom Justin’s House.  But those are just the shows that he fronts.  He also crops up as a voice artist in Tweenies and Timmy Time.


Dec 16

Chikara 15.9: “Spring Breakout”

Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: In the real world, the Chikara 2015 schedule is now over.  But here on the blog, we’re following along a good few months behind.  It’s been nearly a month since the last show, when Hallowicked defeated Icarus to win the title.  Usually Chikara does several shows in a weekend, but “Spring Breakout” is a one-off.  This one is storyline heavy, since it has to pick up on the characters who weren’t on the UK tour, and it’s the last chance to set up the matches for “Aniversario”, one of the big shows of the year, which is in a few weeks time.

When and where: It’s 2 May 2015 and we’re in St Joseph’s School in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  It’s a school hall, but a pretty decent one as indie wrestling venues go.  No proper lighting, but hey, it has sound and a stage.  Chikara play it fairly regularly, and they’ll be back later in the year.

1.  Challenge of the Immortals: BDK v. Crown & Court (more…)

Dec 6

House to Astonish Episode 139

Posted on Sunday, December 6, 2015 by Al in Podcast

We’re back from Battlepod, with a whole bunch of comics and comics-y chat for you. We’re looking at Paul Dini and Eduardo Risso’s Batman OGN, Marvel’s Apocalypse Wars crossover (with assorted Secret Wars dissection waffle), the Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War trailers and Telltale Games’s upcoming Batman release. We’ve also got reviews of Mystery Girl and Robin War, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is wicked and divine. All this plus Dawn of Justice and her mates, Sobchak’s Syndrome and the Kickstarter video for the future of humanity.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page, and don’t forget, the holidays are coming, so wrap up warm in one of our lovely shirts.

Dec 4

Watch With Father #6: What’s The Big Idea?

Posted on Friday, December 4, 2015 by Paul in Watch With Father

What’s The Big Idea? is a strange little show.  CBeebies seems to schedule it mainly on the principle that it is five minutes long, and can thus be neatly slotted into any awkward five-minute gaps.  For a while, they were showing it directly after Swashbuckle, which was a sudden gear change if ever there was one.  Because What’s The Big Idea? is a pre-school philosophy show.

This might sound insanely niche, but judging from the barrage of production credits that appears at the end of each episode, some 13 channels around the world all thought they had a use for a five minute philosophy animation.


Nov 27

Charts – November 2015

Posted on Friday, November 27, 2015 by Paul in Music

Okay, let’s get this month’s chart post out promptly!  Um… new Watch With Father post probably over the weekend or early next week,  and some sort of state of the X-books type thing maybe in the pipeline too.  I know.

Meanwhile, hope you like the words “Justin Bieber”, because they’re going to be cropping up a lot.

6 November 2015: Adele, “Hello”

A second week at number one, and this is a juggernaut of a record.  Justin Bieber, stuck at number two for the second week, would normally have walked it to number one with his sales of 48,000 and his 4.41m streams.  But Adele shifted 121,000 and had streams of 5.78 million.  Nobody was going to match that.  And nobody really tried, with the highest new entry coming down at 10 for “Focus” by Ariana Grande.


Nov 19

Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts – Part Seven

Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2015 by Al in Uncategorized

It’s part seven of Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts, and I’m joined by Elle Collins (of Into It with Elle Collins), Helena Hart (of Journey Into Misery) and Jeff Lester (of Wait, What?) to talk about the comics, characters and creators from the bottom of the barrel whom we love despite their occasionally ostensibly awful nature, those who’ve never had a fair shake, and those we just feel sorry for. For other episodes of Secret Convergence, and for info on the crossover and its participating podcasts, check out and @scoipodcasts on Twitter.

The episode can be found here, or via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page, and remember – a shirt is for life, not just for Christmas, but it’s also for Christmas.


Nov 15

Watch With Father #5: Swashbuckle

Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2015 by Paul in Watch With Father

“A band of naughty pirates took some jewels from me / I hid on board their pirate ship and sailed on out to sea / But they weren’t watching where they went and shipwrecked on the sand / I want to win my treasure back – will you lend me a hand…?”  This is the theme song for Swashbuckle, one of the catchiest on British TV.

While Kerwhizz apes the format of a game show, Swashbuckle actually is one.  That might seem like a very obvious thing to do – you’ve got a whole network to fill, surely there’s space for a game show.  But think about it further.  This is a channel whose target audience runs up age 7 at a push (after that, you’re officially CBBC’s problem).  Game shows with older children have been around for decades, but this age range is another matter.