Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

And of course, I haven’t written a thing on this vacation. Not really. I usually have grand plans for getting stuff done, but I keep forgetting: I’m on vacation. My mind is pre-tuned to a more relaxing mode, and that mode is never in the mood to analyze or organize thoughts. So hey, check it out! Words!

*We’ve been a bit of everywhere so far, mostly hanging out in Connecticut with short trips out to Cape Cod in Rhode Island (for fun) and Ontario (for fun and family and friends). I actually met Scott Williams in person for the first time ever. By my count, we’ve been working in similar circles going on… 13 years now? Which is insane. He’s a great dude, and just as awesome and funny in person.

*Connecticut is a wonderful place. It’s everything Edmonton isn’t, which isn’t a slight to Edmonton – it’s just the point of a vacation is to go elsewhere and experience something outside of your regular realm of experience. This is definitely that. Beautiful old houses are everywhere, and everything is just so spread out. It’s great.

*And yes, I’ve been ruminating on a few articles. I mean hey, Marvel is apparently trying to get people to go deep on AXIS in order to trade in unsold copies for future Avengers variants. I have opinions on that. There’s also a few half finished things ready to go. So the first week back should be buckshot in terms of content and writing.

*And uh hmmmm…. What else, what else…

Oh right! I’m engaged! I was going to toss up a picture there, but it doesn’t look like my site will let me at this point, for whatever reason. Disappointing. Anyway, as of a week ago, the wonderful Ms. Danica LeBlanc agreed to marry me, and I’ve been grinning like an idiot ever since. I’m ridiculously happy, and having the time of my life. Vacation ends on Thursday, and while it’s always great to come back home, I’ve had a wonderful time, and the last few days look like they’ll be pretty great as well. Talk with you all later.

And So It Goes

1. Trying this out on the iPad, with nothing more than the formatting options that the WordPress app has to offer. I’m pondering a bit of a chronicle of the upcoming vacation, and figured ease would be the key. Low formatting, high content, blah blah blah. Consider this a test.

2. We’ve arrived back home after my sister’s wedding, and while there are definitely stories, they’ll probably happen later or not at all. I was the MC at the reception, and that was a bit of a task, but the whole day went relatively well, and my sister looked happy and wonderful, and that’s really all I could ask. Her husband is a great guy, and I’m glad to have him and his son (and my nephew) be a part of the family.

3. Speaking of weddings, no writing was accomplished this weekend. Oh and also, Danica and I will be attending another wedding this coming weekend. And then it’s time for vacation! Aaaaand I’m still writing what I can for the lovely internet. Ah, the crazy times. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

4. Speaking of writing, I think I have a decent schedule happening for Variant Edition, one that I hope to maintain while we’re off on vacation. It won’t be anything I’m going to push too hard – the point of a vacation is to relax a bit – but hopefully, it should help get things moving a bit smoother in that regard.

5. This week at Comics Beat: an article about using the power of comics retail responsibly, and that Archie piece, again, probably.

More to come…

Quite Quiet.

And he disappears for a while. Of course he does.

  1. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece on Archie Comics over at Comics Beat and the damn thing disappeared. There are reasons for this that I may or may not discuss later, but keep an eye out for a similar article to go up early next week.
  2. This weekend, I will be attending my sister’s wedding, and man, I’m already stressing. I’m not even a big part of the wedding. Or well… I think I’m supposed to play a piano song at some point and I’m definitely supposed to MC the supper. So there’s that. But as for planning? Not so much. Anyway, still a little stressed, as we have this wedding and another to attend before we head off on our vacation and time is… condensing? I think. It’s weird.
  3. I’ve set some impossible goals to hit in terms of content. I think it will help me focus on doing some things, if not all things, and help me keep on track. I mean, if I aim for the impossible, but can be pleased with what amounts to a decent amount of content, that’s still good, right? Right.
  4. I started Variant Edition last week, and I didn’t post about it here. There will be something more substantial about it tomorrow, mark my words. MARK THEM.

And I’m out. We’ll talk soon, I promise. Almost definitely. Probably. Maybe.

Batman #35

Comics // Selling (Or Not Selling) Batman

(In advance of a longer article over at Comics Beat.)

In October, DC’s current best selling title (Batman) will be starting a new story arc. What can you tell us about the story, DC?

From the superstar creative team that brought you a new start to the Caped Crusader comes the story that could end him.”

Hmm. Okay, sounds… well, sounds like every superhero story out there, but we’re at the first sentence. Surely you’ve got a good hook coming down the line.

Be there in October for the biggest, deadliest and most epic story yet from writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo – ‘Batman: Endgame’ begins here!”

…um… right. Cool. That’s it? Wait, surely the cover has more information… or at least a cool tease…

Batman #35

Huh.

Okay, yes, I get it that the new Batman arc is going to sell because… well, Batman is currently selling – but the goal should always, always be to move more copies. This solicit gives me no information to sell the book with, so I will inevitably be selling it to the customers who are currently buying Batman – which is a shame, because this will be the first opportunity to sell new readers on the book in over a year.

(And no, I’m not counting whatever ridiculousness DC’s September Future’s End event will bring – that issue, as with all the tie-in issues, will have little if not nothing to do with the ongoing story lines within Batman. So.)

I get that it’s Batman, and I get that you’re going to move copies, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to be lazy. This book could be doing even better with the right marketing. Someone please make this happen.

Introducing // Variant Edition

So I’ve finally announced Variant EditionIt’s something that’s been a long time coming, having it’s roots in the #YEGgeek hashtag that I started spreading after receiving a bit of local attention quite a few years ago. Originally, the hashtag was going to be a prelude to an organization. This failed to happen for a myriad of different reasons, but the idea still stuck with me. So yeah, now it’s Variant Edition, a one-man operation bent on recommending comics to the masses without judgement or back biting. The site officially launches on August 1st (my birthday) and there’s a lot of prep work to be done between now and then – but man, am I excited for what’s to come.

A few secret tidbits for those who follow this blog: during the opening week, I’m going to be showcasing a great up and coming talent who has a mini-series coming out from a small publisher in the coming weeks, and as a cool bonus, I’ve been given the go ahead to hand out their first published work for free on the site as we promote the new book. Crazy, right? Whelp, that’s the kind of thing we’ll be doing. Crazy shit. Are you ready?

Elsewhere: Summer Reading on Terra Informa

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A few months back Chris Chang-Yen Phillips of Terra Informa stopped by the store to talk about some sci-fi series that had something the say about The Future and various effects on the environment – and this past week, the episode unspooled on CJSR.

Head over here if you want to hear my dulcet tones talk about Wasteland (by Antony Johnston, Chris Mitten, and a smattering of others), The Massive (by Brian Wood and others), and Deadenders (by Ed Brubaker and Warren Pleece). My bit starts about… 10 minutes in? Or hey, you can just give the whole show a listen. I highly recommend it.

State of Vague and Menacing Events

Not quite a month away from the personal blog. Sadly, this is better than my usual attempts. Shall we?

01. July sees the building of personal insanity to a fever pitch. I’ve become quite enamoured with using my birthday as a personal launching point of sorts, taking the opportunity of ticking ever closer to the unending void to regroup and conquer a new year. In the past, the results have been mixed. I suspect this year will be more of the same. However.

02. Keep an eye on Variant Edition for some very exciting news. As it stands, I’m counting down to the site’s launch on August 1st on various bits of social media. In the five days running up to the launch, I’ll be unleashing the premise of the thing, and what I hope to accomplish with it… for the immediate future, anyway. As always, stay tuned for more.

03. My articles over at Comics Beat keep running. I usually aim for one in depth piece a week, alongside several smaller bits, as it fits my purview. Expect links to a piece on how and why some launches and relaunches work, and why others explode on the runway.

04. As for Comics! The Blog? It’s still humming along. You’ll notice that many of the regular features have disappeared slowly over the past while. I doubt that will change any time soon – the creative juices, they are changing, and there are some personal circumstances that are preventing the blog from functioning at full capacity. I should note: this doesn’t mean things won’t keep going there, nor does it mean that James and I still aren’t interested in doing the bloggity things or hanging with each other. Nothing has changed on the WHY we do the site, just maybe the HOW. Look for bigger and better as we go.

05. As for this blog? I think I’ll finally start using it for what I intended – a catch all for my stuff, as well as the occasional exclusive article. It looks like more and more of my efforts will be focused on a wider variety of sites soon enough, so it will be nice to have a place that acts as a nice firm glove, catching all the… articles that… baseball metaphor. But yeah, like I said, we’ll see how that goes. Until tomorrow, good folks…

Anger and Other Junk

Well that was a day. How about we get this over with?

01. SUDDENLY

You ever have one of those days where people just seem to keep coming at you? Today felt a lot like that. I’m mostly just minding my business, attempting to do my various jobs, paying or otherwise, and then it starts happening, all at once. An asshole on the internet tells me I’m being a dick to his kids because I except some actual god damn journalism from a so called journalist – and he didn’t fact check an article before clicking the send button. Did I mention his kids? Shit no. Although maybe I did say a good slogan for his site would be “It Feels Right”, because hey, if it feels like the truth, that’s good enough, right? Whatever. That got me in a bad mood. Then shittier things started happening on the internet, but look, trolls are trolls, and you shouldn’t feed them, right? And all of this is feeding on a bit of anger that popped up yesterday when someone saw fit to talk shit about me and my ordering in the store to a co-worker. The person in question is one of those types who squirrels things away, putting aside five books a week and picking up three. They’re the type who asks for items to be ordered and then hmms and haws when they come in and never, ever buys them. The talking shit about the ordering got to me for other reasons that I won’t go into, but suffice to say, in this case, it was amusing to hear them say that.

What I’m getting at is the fact that I’m a bit frustrated at this point, and nothing seems to be calming me down. I’m just lucky I have people in my life like Danica and James and a pretty good boss in Heidi, who went to the mat for me in the comment section of an article today, otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d be a ball of anger, and this post would have had a lot more swears. Anyway.

02. PREVIOUSLY

  • Yesterday, Danica and I started our First Whoochiversay for our podcast, Doctor Whooch. In celebration, we drank a lot, watched the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, and made fun of Eric Roberts. A lot. It was some of the most fun I’ve had recording the podcast.
  • Dark Horse announced new printings of New York Four/Five and Demo from Brian Wood, and while I still have opinions on him, I’m glad those books will be available for purchase once more. Demo was what sold me on the concept of comics outside of the Big Two, and I love the idea of it doing something similar for someone else.

03. MEANWHILE

We might be seeing a Rat Queens cartoon at some point! That has me pretty jazzed. I could see it as a nice addition to Fox’ current line-up (in a weird way). I would watch the hell out of that.

04. SOMETIME! IN THE FUTURE!

This weekend is the New York Comic Con – Special Edition, and I’m going to be covering news for Comics Beat as it happens… ish. There’s the small matter of also interviewing Kieron Gillen in advance of Wednesday’s release of The Wicked & The Divine. So there’s that, which is nice.

05. ELSEWHERE

His shaking, calloused hands reach for the keys.

“A little bit of Louie tonight, I think,” he says.

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Music // Thirteen by Big Star

So I’m a little late to Big Star. There’s a reason for this, kind of, sort of. About five years ago, after trying to be the guy who knew everything about everything, I made a conscious decision to pare down and focus on something that I knew I loved instead of trying to master things I thought would net me bits of nerd cred. It was there that I decided to focus down on comics, my true pop culture passion, and as a direct result, all other parts of my consumption has suffered. I stopped seeking our new music (or at least music that was new to me), stopped watching as much TV and buying as many movies. Inevitably, gaps formed and widened. Big Star was one of those gaps.

My buddies James and Scott have gone on at length about how great Big Star is, but until very recently, I hadn’t gone out and tracked them down. Then, for whatever serendipitous reason, I kept hearing this one song over and over in bits of different media: “Thirteen”. You all probably know it, but… whatever. This is my blog, is it not? I can talk about whatever the hell I want to, yeah? Yeah.

“Thirteen” is a wonderful song that shouldn’t be as good as it is. It takes the sheer ridiculous importance of being thirteen, and plies it to music, ascribing a certain importance to the events as listed by the narrator.

“Won’t you let me walk you home from school?” opens the song. The first verse then trundles through a bit of an awkward ask-out. It should be cloying, but the music and the lyrics swirl in a heady mix of pure nostalgia, turning the song into a fond memory even as it documents the life-and-death importance of teenage drama. I’ve listened to this song on repeat quite a bit lately, I just can’t get over it.

Do you have any gaps in media that you know of? Have you stumbled across something you know you “should have” experienced sooner, but are just starting to get around to? Hit the comments if you wish, and let me know. Let’s talk this out, friends. This is a safe place.