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Oct 10

House to Astonish Episode 194

Posted on Sunday, October 10, 2021 by Al in Podcast

We’ve got a bit of NYCC-dodging news chat for you this time round, as we discuss the Ditko lawsuit, creative changes on the X-books, Kurt Busiek’s new Image slate and Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese coming to Disney Plus. We’ve also got reviews of Amazing Spider-Man, We Have Demons and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is a little dark. All this plus Spidey and the Family Stone, a little girl that swears and the Scott Snyder/John Allison crossover project you didn’t know you needed.

The episode is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the player below. Let us know what you think, either in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. And don’t forget that our fab shirts are available over at our Redbubble store! We will remind you if you do forget, it’s okay.


Bring on the comments

  1. the new kid says:

    Wizard was really into Untold Tales of Spider-Man back in the day as well. Busiek was really a big name in the 90s between Astro City, Marvels, Thunderbolts and Avengers.

  2. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Vector as symbiote NASCAR driver is just perfect.

  3. Berend says:

    In the Disco-Universe, Dazzler is a gritty objectivist comic in the style of Mr. A.

  4. The Beyond Corporation™ was soft-rebooted by Al Ewing in Captain America and the Mighty Avengers, bringing it over from nextwave into 616.

    Ewing turned it into a Grant Morrison style viral corporation that, I think, kidnapped the nextwave team and put them through their “adventures” as an experiment before they managed to escape and return to 616. Monica Rambeau was carrying some PTSD from the experience.

    Peter Parker was in the issues that dealt with that storyline, so he’s had some experience already with Beyond™ and knows that it’s dodgy. Although I’d expect him to be a bit more worried that his clone is working for an invasive multidimensional viral entity.

  5. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    I didn’t know Ewing wrote a Cap Falcon Avengers book, I’m gonna have to check that out.

  6. Chris McFeely says:

    Have to agree with Paul re: Spidey and Miles. Miles is and will always be Spider-Man with an asterisk. He’s the other one, the one where you have to sepcify he’s the one you mean, not the “real” one. Al mentioned the PS4 game as a counter, but… well, they called one of those games “SPIDER-MAN,” and the other “MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN.” They KNOW this is a problem, because they keep trying to come up with new names to market the character under in other media, but the ones they’ve tried have been uniformly rubbish – “Kid Arachnid” is from the “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon, and the 2017 series briefly tried “Spy-D,” but spent most of its run having to duck and dodge around the fact he didn’t actually HAVE a superhero name because they didn’t want to call him Spider-Man as well. And if they’re using “Spin” in the new show Al mentions, then they’ve obviously not given up yet, but I think too much time has passed for an elegant solution to be possible at this point.

  7. Daibhid C says:

    Re: Ditko’s own views on creator issues: I’ve forgotten where I read this, but ISTR someone once said to the effecy of Steve Ditko being the only Objectivist they were aware of who acted according to Objectivism even when that acted to his disadvantage.

  8. Daibhid C says:


  9. Mark Coale says:

    I’m surprished someone along the way didn’t try to give Miles a name similar to Araña, before she became Spider-Girl (presuming she is still Spider-Girl). Or name him after another insect in the Spider family.

    Need to know what would happen to Angarr and the Hypno Hustler in the Disco Universe.

  10. Chris V says:

    Angarr would be upset at how everyone had sold out and become a yuppie.
    So, basically another average day for The Screamer after the 1960s.

  11. joshua corum says:

    @thekelvingreen Wasn’t Otto in Spidey’s body at the time of Ewing’s Mighty Avengers?

  12. Si says:

    The problem with Miles is there just aren’t any good spider-themed names left. You could maybe call him something else, as super agility, strength, precognizance, colour changing and shooting electricity really have nothing to do with spiders anyway. But then you lose the branding. Maybe there’s some good Spanish names, I don’t know the language.

  13. Mark Coale says:

    @Chris V

    Even better, Angarr could be the angry former hippie who has become a grumpy with all the today’s kids with things like pronoun fluidity and the like. ANGERR THE SCREAMER

  14. Si says:

    Angarr was great in the animated MODOK show. He’s more 70s counter-culture than hippie or disco. His power was a hair-metal power scream, which is just perfect (if wrong for that particular aesthetic).

  15. Dave says:

    So in 13 years of Harry Osborn being back from the dead, before returning him to the dead, they gave him the storyline where Menace was his girlfriend, then this latest one, and NOTHING of any note inbetween. That was really worthwhile.

  16. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Ghost Spider is a properly awful name.

    I’ve never followed the book, is she in the 616 now?

    Miles has been a mess of a character since the weird semi-reboot of him joining the main universe. He doesn’t fit anywhere. The should have just given him his own Miles-verse.

    Mark Coale- Anya is currently in the cast of Black Widow (good book) and going by Spider-Girl.

  17. Josie says:

    @Dave “they gave him the storyline where Menace was his girlfriend, then this latest one, and NOTHING of any note inbetween”

    And thank god for that. We didn’t need any more of a character whose time had expired decades ago.

  18. Luis Dantas says:

    Looking at Miles’ powers now, I feel that he could work as “Geco” (Spanish for “Gecko”).

    I don’t think that there is even any need for a costume change.

  19. Si says:

    Yeah, Ghost Spider is the kind of name you get if you click here to find your Halloween name and your initials are G.S. She’s got the same problem as Miles.

    Looking at names of types of spiders, you get lots of stuff like Bird Dung, Orb Weaver, Crab, Daddy Longlegs, Trapdoor … they just don’t have cool names that are good for superheroes.

  20. Chris V says:

    The best ones were already taken…Tarantula and Black Widow.
    I guess he could be the Brown Recluse.

  21. Si says:

    Actually Daddy Longlegs would be a great name for the Discoverse Spider-Man.

  22. Chris V says:

    There was a Daddy Longlegs from Anne Nocenti’s run on Spider Woman.
    I think he might enjoy being part of the Discoverse.

  23. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Yeah they’re not going to call the half African half Puerto Rican kid “brown” anything anymore than they’re going to call him Spider-Boy.

  24. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    I contend Daddy Longlegs is a great superhero name.

    God I didn’t even think about Ghost Spider/Gwen Stacy. Ugh

  25. Chris V says:

    Uncanny X-Ben-I didn’t even think about that. It’s the only other venomous spider in North America with the Black Widow.
    I thought it’d be funny to call him a Recluse though.

    If this were the ‘70s now…Black Goliath…

  26. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Oh yeah I know we have em around here, my buddy named a character in a superhero RPG Brown Recluse because his last name is Brown and he hates going out in public.

    I think there are cool spider names out there

    The real issue is how pissed people will get if they “demote” a POC character to another name, regardless of who had it first.

  27. Josie says:

    They should introduce a spider-powered Obama and call him Baracknid.

  28. @joshua corum CAMA started just after Peter and Otto switched back, I think, but it’s certainly Peter in the suit by the time the Mighty Avengers deal with the Beyond Corporation™.

  29. Chris McFeely says:

    Achhhh, Ghost Spider’s… FINE. It’s fine. She’s got a largely-white costume. White like a ghost. It’s functional. It’s fine. But yeah, it’s the same core problem as Miles – “Spider-Gwen” isn’t a real superhero name, and there’s already a “Spider-Woman,” so she needed a unique name to be marketed under – and at leat they figured out a workable one and got in early enough to implement it.

  30. JD says:

    Harry Osborn was perfectly fine as a supporting character in the Brand New Day & Slott eras ; rarely on the forefront, but he was just useful as a good long-time friend to Peter who actually managed to get past his issues. Nice to have him around, you know ?

    The whole Kindred Saga was especially frustrating because it had the attitude that none of that “counted”, as an inwards-looking retcon-ception that would rather kill off a character than just put him back on the shelf.

    Good stories add toys to the box ; bad stories just break them for everyone else.

  31. Dave says:

    They needed a GOOD reason to bring Harry back. A useful long-time friend was nowhere near good enough. And he was rarely around even as that.

  32. Josie says:

    Not only was Harry uninteresting as a long-time friend, but his character had literally nowhere to go, because they’d already painstakingly told the story of him dealing with the Osborn legacy and evil of his father. So what did they do after bringing Harry back? Just do the same thing again.

    I also contend they shouldn’t have brought Norman back. He’s the least interesting Spider-man villain after the Jackal.

  33. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I liked Norman when he evolved beyond Spider-Man – as the Thunderbolts’ director and, during Dark Reign, Marvel’s Lex Luthor. If anything, he shouldn’t have been scaled back to Spidey’s nemesis after taking on basically all the heroes.

  34. Josie says:

    But his character didn’t change in Thunderbolts or Dark Reign. He just had a new cast to interact with. He’s still a one-note villain with bouts of insanity, a split between Luthor and the Joker. He doesn’t actually want anything other than vague claims to power and harm done to superheroes.

  35. Josie says:

    The fun thing about Spider-man villains is that their goals are usually very small scale and self-serving. The Rhino isn’t trying to take over the world. Electro isn’t thinking about how to wipe out the Avengers.

  36. Adam says:

    Spoilers below.

    Huh. I had thought throughout the endless and atypically brutal pummeling Peter took over the previous six straight issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN that the conclusion to the portentous Kindred story was obviously leading directly into Peter lying in that hospital bed on the cover, with Ben taking over for him.

    Instead Peter just gets right back up from his three-years-in-the-making beatdown, feeling a little morose but otherwise fine, and then gets put in traction by a random encounter with the bloody U-Foes.

  37. Bengt Strand says:

    @Uncanny X-Ben: Spider-Gwen was commuting between her own earth and 616 to go to college there when her last series ended. I think she also permanently got dimension powers so she didn’t need to use the spiderverse watch thingy any more. Story-wise because her identity is known and she’s been to prison in her own dimension. But obviously it’s really so she is easier to use in 616 stories.

  38. Col_Fury says:

    Yeah, the Clone Saga was Marvel’s attempt to get back to a “classic” Spider-Man, but really it was Marvel’s attempt to get back to a single, un-married Spider-Man. And then they tried again during the Byrne/Mackie run where Mary Jane blew up in a plane. And then they tried again with One More Day. Marvel had been trying to undo the Spider-marriage for decades and finally found something that stuck.

    re: and then the Darkforce armor got stuck to his son for… reasons.
    Well, SHOC was a Howard Mackie character. 🙂

    Just call Miles “the Spider” and be done with it. However, I think “the Spider” might still have a copyright on it…

  39. Mark Coale says:

    DC ended up with The Spider aka Alias the Spider, who was a GA Quality character.

    Wiki tells me there was a British comic hero in the 1960s called the Spider.

    And then there’s the pulp character.

  40. Josie says:

    I don’t get Marvel’s obsession with making Peter Parker single so he can date. I’ve been reading through Slott’s run lately, and Peter hooking up with various women is just . . . the least appealing part.

    Isn’t he supposed to be a loser? A geek? Someone who’s either socially awkward around others, or whose priorities creates social problems for him with others?

    And yet throughout Brand New Day and Big Time, he is consistently romantically successful and promiscuous. Some characters even comment on how naturally good looking he is.

    I don’t know why Marvel thought this is what people want to read Spider-man comics for.

  41. I remember Quesada saying at the time that Peter being married to a model and soap actor was “unrealistic”.

    Uh huh.

  42. Chris V says:

    It is unrealistic.

    The point was that Marvel was attempting to appeal to a younger demographic.
    A married man seems like a stodgy older guy that youngsters won’t relate to, hence the obsession with trying to keep Peter young and unmarried.

    The problem is that the younger demographic reading comics is being lost more and more each year.
    Young readers don’t have $4 or $5 to spend on one comic.
    The average age of a comic book consumer was is mid-30s to early-50s now.
    An age group which is likely to relate to a guy who is married and has a job.
    So, it’s time for Marvel to move on.

  43. Josie says:

    How is being married to a model unrealistic and unappealing to a younger demographic, but sleeping around with several perfect-looking women isn’t?

  44. Chris V says:

    Both are unrealistic…then again, my spider sense tells me that maybe having the proportionate powers of a spider after being bitten by a radioactive spider is somewhat unrealistic as well.

    Do I really have to explain why dating several beautiful women might appeal to a young male mind over choosing to marry just one?

    I always thought that Peter should have ended up with someone like Deb Whitman, myself.
    So, of course they had to tear down someone like Deb Whitman.

  45. […] • House to Astonish returned to set the comics world to rights, as Al Kennedy and Paul O’Brien discussed litigious goings on in the world of superhero properties, and the creator-owned/work-for-hire publishing merry-go-round – cue the calliope. […]

  46. Josie says:

    “Do I really have to explain why dating several beautiful women might appeal to a young male mind over choosing to marry just one?”

    “It is unrealistic”

    First you need to pick one.

  47. Rybread says:


    First you need to stop being so confrontational with people.

  48. Chris V says:

    You mean young males think about things that are….unrealistic?!

    If someone wanted strict realism, I don’t think they’d choose something called Spider-Man.

  49. Josie says:

    What claim are you even responding to?

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