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Podcast: House To Astonish
House to Astonish is a fortnightly podcast about comics, presented by Paul O'Brien (The X-Axis-) and Al Kennedy (One Hundred Days of Comics). Both formerly wrote for the Ninth Art comics webzine before it folded.

The podcast takes an irreverent (and UK-based) look at comics news (which invariably leads them on some strange tangents), looks through Previews, reviews a few titles that the presenters think look interesting (which does not necessarily mean "good"), and concludes with The Official Handbook To The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, which digs up deservedly obscure characters and imagines how they might fit into the modern Marvel Universe.

It can be found here (with earlier episodes here), and an associated blog here.

This podcast contains examples of

  • Ascended Extra: The Official Handbook to the Offical Handbook is all about how oneshot villains might Ascend.
  • British Accents: They're both Scottish. There's also Al's impression of Cockney Frank Cho, which has branched out into giving other American comic creators arbitrary regional accents. (Making Cho a cockney wasn't entirely arbitrary; it drives home the main theme of his work by making him sound like a stereotyped sleazy Page Three Stunna photographer.)
  • Caustic Critic: Sometimes. They're quite happy to declare how much they liked a book, but they'll really put the boot in if they didn't.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: The Netherlands has an entry in the Official Handbook. Therefore, the Netherlands was made up by Marvel writers.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Their reaction to some of the Flashpoint books with "X and the Ys" titles.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the middle of their 2012 awards episode - in which the winners are announced by Belfast Nick Lowe, Australian Gail Simone, Glaswegian Jim Lee, Received Pronunciation Brian Michael Bendis, Midlands (mostly) Geoff Johns, Cockney Frank Cho (of course), French Alan Moore, and Welsh Stan Lee - Al criticises the way Bendis writes Emma Frost, because you can't just take someone with an established accent and give them another accent at random.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Always opens with "And in the week when [genuine news event], we ask: [strange comics tangent]?"
    "And in the week when riots and flames engulf the whole of England, we ask: Are these Fear Itself tie-ins going a bit far?"
  • Metaphorgotten: On the cancellation of Morbius the Living Vampire after less than a year:
    Paul: Basically, straight out the gate it's fallen off a cliff. And that's a stupid place to put a gate.
    Al: {Laughter} That is very, very true. Perhaps the cliff wasn't there before?
    Paul: Well, it's there now.
    Al: Maybe it's been subsidence. Maybe it's been one of those things where an entire cliff face has fallen into the sea.
  • Milestone Celebration: An extra-long 50th episode, created by not editing it at all. And an extra-long 100th episode which is just a round table discussion with special guests.
    • And a two hour 5th anniversary episode which was another discussion group and a crossover with the podcast Wait, What?
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Mocked in the episode "Zombie Pirate Ninja Monkey Viking Cowboy", in which they complain that this sort of thing often isn't nearly as awesome as it sounds, and diminishing returns are setting in on how awesome it even sounds. What set them off was a comic called Werewolves on the Moon Versus Vampires.
  • Released to Elsewhere: Apparently, DC Comics have sent Wildstorm Comics to live on a farm, and it's very happy there.
  • Something Completely Different: Parodied. At the end of one podcast, Al announced that TOHOTOH was being retired and replaced with a new, totally original concept ... which turned out to be Who's Who in Who's Who in the DC Universe.
  • Title Drop: The title of each episode is the most bizarre phrase used in it, such as "A House Made of Baked Beans" and "Is the Nazi the Donkey?"
  • Verbal Tic: Paul says "to be fair..." a lot.
  • Word Salad Title: "House to Astonish" looks like the names of two comics were dropped in a blender. Which is precisely the case: it comes from a proposed Amalgam Universe title by Mark Waid that would have combined House of Mystery and Tales To Astonish.

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alternative title(s): House To Astonish
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