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Apr 18

House to Astonish Episode 191

Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2021 by Al in Podcast

We’re back, with discussion of Marvel’s distributor changes, John Romita Jr moving from DC back to Marvel, the new X-Men lineup, the upcoming launches of Amazing Fantasy and Moon Knight and Future State: Gotham, and the newly-broken record for sale price of a single comics issue. We’ve also got reviews of Batman: The DetectiveDarkhawk: Heart of the Hawk and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is sticking to its story. All this plus Roderick, Duke of Emory, zining villains and the Vantablack of superheroes.

The episode 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 if you want to buy one of our fabulous shirts over at our Redbubble store, then hey, we’re certainly not going to stop you.

Bring on the comments

  1. Bengt says:

    The latest issue of Black Cat is drawn by Michael Dowling and his Black Fox looks very much like his Devlin Waugh, which took me out of it for a moment. I agree that it’s a good book though.

  2. Adam says:

    Polaris was also in Ed Brubaker’s run, at least during the Shi’ar storyline – and speaking of the Shi’ar, I really thought connecting Darkhawk’s armor to that race was brilliant, seeing as how their aesthetics so clearly matched.

    Paul’s analysis of Darkhawk’s origin is interesting. Whether that had much to do with why he failed to catch fire is much harder to say—it’s not like Darkhawk got the full-court press, marketing-wise.

  3. Chris V says:

    I always found the Darkhawk series from the early-1990s to be a failure because it never found its identity.

    Was it trying to be a teenager learns to be a hero story, ala Spider Man?
    A dark, edgy early-‘90s title? With the name Darkhawk and the design of the costume, it was presumably trying to cash in in that craze, although the actual plots were rarely “extreme” and violent.
    A cosmic title? That was the direction that most interested me about the book when I decided to read it, but it seemed like the book only committed towards that direction around the end of the series.
    The different ideas just never congealed during the series. It was trying to move in too many directions at the same time.

  4. SanityOrMadness says:

    UCS don’t distribute DC any more – DC tried to squeeze their margins further and they decided it wasn’t worth it. It’s just Lunar in North America, and Diamond UK in Europe.

  5. Mark Coale says:

    The 90s Distributors were Diamond, Heroes World, Capital City and, for small press, Cold Cut. Cap City’s only exclusive, IIRC, was Kitchen Sink. Our store had accounts with all four at the time.

  6. Allan M says:

    Andrea di Vito’s been drawing The Union miniseries written by Paul Grist, that’s partially a spinoff of King in Black. (The KiB stuff is only in the first two issues.) Grist is finally getting to write the real Union Jack. Never thought I’d see the day.

  7. Daibhid C says:

    When you say the Knight in The Detective is the current Squire, do you mean Beryl? Because Beryl became the Knight in Grant Morrison’s run after Cyril was killed by the Damian-clone, and last I heard that had stuck (in the sense that Knight and Squire have not actually appeared anywhere since to say it hadn’t).

    Did Gronk ever hold up a stagecoach in the rain?

  8. Adam Farrar says:

    I’m a Darkhawk fan stretching back to when I first saw him in the first Spider-Man comic I pulled off the wrack at my local gas station: Amazing Spider-Man #353 “Round Robin: The Sidekick’s Revenge, part one of six.” Nine-year-old me thought he was cool and soon I was getting the Darkhawk series.

    To his appeal, the Spider-Man formula worked: a young guy in over his head but burdened with being a hero can’t really miss. But on top of that is the Captain Marvel-esque body swap. Chris has a amulet that lets him become a superpowered alien cyborg and there’s still something exciting and primal about being able to transform yourself with magic and save the day. And the design of the basic look is good, fairly simple with some busy bits. It’s easy enough that a kid can draw it themselves.

    I don’t think they’re great books but I still like them and get excited whenever someone wants to do something with him. Even though most of the revivals have been disappointing and gone in directions I haven’t cared about.

    He needed more interesting villains from the start to really make it. He borrowed Hobgoblin and Venom from Spider-Man. And there were the already dated Soviets to fight. The other Hawks were interesting but not great. The evil cops would work better now than they did then but it didn’t help that their Iron Man armor was kinda dull. Portal was great though.

    Also, the nostalgia is real. The Marvel Age that counts as Darkhawks’ first appearance actually sells for a decent amount of money.

  9. Zachary Q Adams says:

    Since Dan Slott repurposed Maelstrom as someone who lived to emotionally torment Mr. Immortal, I feel like any use of his underlings should involve that. Like, Gronk sticking all of Craig’s costumes to each other.

    Also, they call it “Touch the Truck” in Scotland? A dealer in my benighted Texas hometown appears to have invented that game, and they called it “Hands on a Hardbody.” “Hard body truck” isn’t really a thing you hear said anymore, but “Touch the Truck” just seems so on the nose.

  10. Matthew Murray says:

    I’m 100% there for zines on how to be a supervillain.

  11. Taibak says:

    Matthew: The Taskmaster could advertise in them.

  12. BringTheNoise says:

    @Zachary Q. Adams: that was what the TV show over here was called at least:

  13. Jerry Ray says:

    Really enjoyed this episode – my favorite in quite a while (not that I don’t enjoy them all). My girlfriend listens in the car with me – she’s not into comics, so she’s just in it for the accents – and she did a literal spit-take at one point during the episode. Well done!

  14. […] to Astonish opened its doors once more, as Al Kennedy and Paul O’Brien dove headlong into what’s been going on in comics distribution […]

  15. As you partially recalled, both Sleepwalker and Darkhawk had miniseries tied in to the Infinity Wars event in 2018. Both were written by Chad Bowers & Chris Sims and they were both pretty good. (Before that was Darkhawk #51, also by Bowers & Sims; if I recall correctly, it was part of a mini-event with a bunch of one-shots that continued the numbering from long-canceled Marvel books.)

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