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Feb 20

Charts – 17 February 2017

Posted on Monday, February 20, 2017 by Paul in Music

This is a gloriously uneventful chart, so let’s bang through it.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”

That’s six weeks, though with the rest of the chart pretty much dead, it’s not exactly a surprise.  The logjam in the top 2 is broken, at least, as “Castle on the Hill” finally drops to 3, with “Human” by Rag’N’Bone Man returning to number 2.  That’s thanks to the release of the parent album.  But wait – Ed Sheeran has just released another single!  So he could be at the top for some time to come, in one form or another.

5.  Zayn & Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades)”

Up four.

7.  Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley – “Chained to the Rhythm”


Feb 13

Charts – 10 February 2017

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2017 by Paul in Uncategorized

Not much happening, but let’s run through it.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”

You amaze me.  That’s five weeks, and “Castle on the Hill” remains at number 2.  This is a new record for the longest run at numbers 1 and 2 for a single artist… but it’s one of those records which is going to be broken more routinely as the digital era allows for multiple tracks to be available at once, and as the charts slow down.  The previous record holder was Justin Bieber, who managed four straight weeks at the tail end of 2015 (and was only stopped by Christmas); before that, the record had been stuck at three since the Beatles.

8.  Stormzy – “Big For Your Boots”


Feb 9

All-New X-Men #1.MU

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Completism ahoy!

All-New X-Men #1.MU is a one-shot tying in to the Monsters Unleashed crossover, because where would we be if All-New X-Men didn’t tie in to two crossovers in one week?  I haven’t been reading Monsters Unleashed, you’ll be astonished to learn, but according to the recap page the high concept is that giant monsters are falling from the sky and people have to fight them.

Really.  That’s the hook.  There are giant monsters.  People have to fight them.


Feb 7

All-New X-Men #17-18: Inhumans vs X-Men

Posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

The crossover is upon us.  All-New X-Men has two issues tying in to Inhumans vs X-Men, a crossover which is welcome only in the sense that it might finally draw a line under a direction that didn’t work at all.  It’s not the sort of thing that All-New X-Men, a book about teenagers on an endless road trip in a magic bus, particularly lends itself to.

But the biggest problems here stem, not surprisingly, from the fact that Inhumans vs X-Men itself is just a dud premise.  I’ve been through this before, but let’s recap briefly.  The story is driven by the Terrigen clouds which are floating around the world empowering latent Inhumans and killing mutants.  The X-Men, having bent over backwards to try to find some other way of solving the problem, have now exhausted their options and are getting rid of the cloud.  This, apparently, is supposed to be some sort of moral dilemma.


Feb 6

Charts – 3 February 2017

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2017 by Paul in Music

Hey, we did a podcast, and it’s one post down!  Meanwhile, it’s Dua Lipa Week on the UK top 40.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You” 

Fourth week, and “Castle on the Hill” is still at number 2.  Nothing else is particularly close, so this could last a while yet.  The album “x” rebounds to number 4, and “+” is back up to 21, because people really really like Ed Sheeran.  Maybe he’s an oasis of calm in uncertain times. (more…)

Feb 5

House to Astonish Episode 152

Posted on Sunday, February 5, 2017 by Al in Podcast

Hot on the heels of our chat with Mike Quackenbush, we’re back with another regular House to Astonish, talking about the New York Times dropping its comics bestseller charts, the lack of an Image Expo in 2017, December’s sales estimates, the retirement of Bernie Wrightson, the relaunching of Rocket Raccoon, Valiant’s upcoming Secret Weapons miniseries and the casting of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger and Runaways TV series. We’ve also got reviews of Bullseye and The Spirit: The Corpse Makers, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is a poor workman. All this plus the re-dubbed American House to Astonish, Scott Lobdell killing and eating a homeless person and a potter in a Jacobean tragedy.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, either in the comments below, via Twitter, by email or on our Facebook fan page. And hey, it’s February, the month of love – and you know what else we love? How good the t-shirts from our Redbubble store look on you!

Jan 31

Charts – 27 January 2017

Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 by Paul in Music

Not a very eventful week, but hey, at least there are some new videos!

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape Of You”

Third week, with “Castle On The Hill” still locked at 2.  “Shape Of You” had 56,000 downloads and 9.57 million streams.  It’s likely to be here for a while to come.  And it has a video now, because that’s the modern way – the video isn’t there to build to the release any more, it’s there to give it a boost once it’s underway.


Jan 28

Holds to Astonish – Mike Quackenbush

Posted on Saturday, January 28, 2017 by Al in Podcast, Wrestling

As mentioned on our last episode, Paul and I sat down this week to talk with Mike Quackenbush, the creative mind behind the heavily comic book influenced independent wrestling promotion Chikara Pro. We had a great discussion, taking in the upcoming National Pro Wrestling Day; the shifts Mike’s seen in Chikara over the past few years both in terms of the wrestlers they’ve trained and the business and distribution models independent promotions have adopted; the crossover between wrestling and comic books; the 2015 and 2016 Chikara UK tours; their 2013/2014 shutdown angle and accompanying ARG; the ins and outs of IDW’s Revolution and much more besides.

The episode is here, or here on Mixcloud, or you can stream it through the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. We’ll be back with a regular episode of House to Astonish next week (probably), so keep an eye out for that. And remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas, and one of our t-shirts is for a good couple of years at least.


Jan 25

Charts – 20 January 2017

Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 by Paul in Music

To be honest, it’s a pretty quiet week, now that all the corrections from last week’s recalibration are out of the way.  But let’s get it covered anyway.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape Of You”
2.  Ed Sheeran – “Castle On The Hill”


Jan 20

All-New X-Men #14-16

Posted on Friday, January 20, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Mmm.  I had it in mind that All-New X-Men #14-16 were a three parter.  And re-reading them, they kind of are, but they’re kind of not.  This is the tail end of a string of solo stories, which seemed to be on the one hand spotlight time for individual characters, and on the other a gentle subtext of the team falling apart the longer they spend in their new setting.

Issue #14 is basically Scott’s issue, even if Hank is lurking ominously in the background throughout.  Scott is still stuck at home with his leg in a cast, going stir crazy.  Probably this book’s best feature is Dennis Hopeless’s ability to find a different angle on the characters’ established traits by sticking them in a different context.  In Scott’s case, the workaholic obsessiveness that would have made him the X-Men’s ideal leader (or field leader, anyway) needs somewhere else to go, now that the antics of his older self seem to have debarred him from a leadership role.