I’m still trying to get the hang of scheduling. Here’s where I’m at: I love writing, and I love making content, but all the store work will often get in the way of that, because… well, you own a business kid. That’s what happens. Oh and also, you have a ton of shows that you want to see. Like, a ton of them. And books to read. And comics to enjoy for the sake of enjoying them. Does everything have to be an article? Does it really?

The short answer to that last part is yes, at the moment. If I can’t tell myself there’s article potential in something, then I will honestly push it aside for something else. It’s almost becoming a sickness, not being able to enjoy something just to enjoy it. This is how I’m consuming media right now.

I might have to take a day off soon. Like a real one, where things just get shut off. My brain too. Just – dead. And possibly no comics. Definitely no computer. I don’t know if I’d be able to handle it, but at least I’d be fresh to start up again. At least there’d be that. Maybe.

The Week of A Million Launches

Some very quick thoughts as the night ticks to a close, and a huge Wednesday looms…

  • Marvel’s opening salvos for their new line up are hitting hard this week – and they’re attacking on all fronts. At the center, they have  Invincible Iron Man – which seems to be acting as a makeshift emotional core for the new line. The new title is powered by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez, and features a bit of a recalibration for Tony Stark, while offering bright new ideas for this “new universe”. There’s a lot of promise in this book, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
  • On the “flash and bang” end of the spectrum, there’s the truly insane first issue of Doctor Strange from Jason Aaron, Chris Bachelor, and surprise guest Kevin Nolan. This is definitely one of the bigger “new take” books that they’re hoping will make a big splash – and it’s interesting to have these two books come out in the same week. One features a stable, always marketable character, and the other takes a big swing with a traditionally less stable character with a blockbuster creative team. Two distinct swings at the plate – and IMO they both connect. Or at least will connect with quite a few people.
  • And finally on the Marvel front, they’re offering tasters of several new titles in three differ books. In Avengers #0, there are brand new stories that give a glimpse into all the upcoming Avengers books – including the highly anticipated All-New, All-Different Avengers. The in All-New, All Different Point One, there’s a bit of a grab bag of items, including a very intriguing Carnage story – which is something I don’t think I’ve said about Carnage, ever. (That one also has the first look at the new Daredevil book, which I haven’t gotten to yet. Very excited about that.) And finally, Amazing Spider-Man drops the new high concept for Peter Parker, and offers glimpses at the other upcoming titles in the Spider-line. If you want to taste any flavour of Marvel this week, those are the five books to look out for. It will essentially give you a good feel for how the water is before you jump in.
  • Beyond that, there are far too many other #1s to talk about – but we’ll be getting to more of those tomorrow.


We’ll be announcing all the panelists for the upcoming Gender Is Not A Genre: Growing Up Geek panel, which is going to be crazy exciting. As always, we’ll be broadcasting on Periscope, and recording audio, so stay tuned for that!

And that’s the night. Tomorrow? Yegs and Bacon and probably a Podcast! The Comics! Then on Thursday, a new Doctor Whooch. So many things!

He Lives to Write Another Day

So this past weekend was 24 Hour Comics Day – in which I participated in the challenge of making a 24 page comic in 24 hours.

I’m just at the dawn of my 30s, and even at this nebulous young-yet-old age, I can say that I have never in my life felt more tired and sore in my life. The key word, I guess, being “sore” and not “in pain”. I’ve definitely been in more pain. But anyway.

Over the course of 17 hours and 33 minutes, I made a comic. When I was finished, I had been up for about 26 hours. In the grand scheme of things, it could have been longer and I could have done another pass of spit and polish, but at five pages left, I literally felt like I had nothing in my engines. I called it a “night”, and at somewhere between 1 and 2pm yesterday, I had a shower, and promptly passed out for what felt like ten hours and two seconds – but was in fact, about 1 1/2 hours. That’s when Danica got home (herself, being up for roughly the same period of time I had, with a 2 hour or so nap in the middle) and we decided to sleep for another 45 minutes. Almost 2 hours later, again feeling as though I had both slept through the night, and only gotten about 2 minutes worth of actual rest, we blearily forced ourselves awake, had supper, watched the newest episode of Doctor Who, and proceeded to record this week’s episode of Doctor Whooch. Because we are champions.

Today, I feel like death. And I also feel a bit of dread. I left my 24 page comic at work, and when I completed it, I had long since gone passed the point in time where I could both read and make sense of what words were trying to say to me, so it could just be pages of absolute nonsense. That said, Danica read it yesterday and seemed to really like it, so… yay? She’d be the person I’d care about liking it anyway, so there’s that.

In addition to all that on the weekend, the store held it’s first ever Community Geek Swap, which featured a ton of great stuff. Everyone came with something, departed with far less, and Inclusion Alberta got a lot of great things donated. All in all, a successful weekend.

More to come in the next few days about… well, the next few days. Until then, I’m just surviving. (But man, is there a week of comics coming out…)

Doctor Whooch // Episode 066 // Mouth Feels

In which NOTHING will stop us from recording Doctor Whooch. Not even adorable little assholes.

On this week’s episode, Brandon and Danica tackle the second part of the Series 9 opening – The Witch’s Familiar. There are Daleks! And fighting! And metaphors that we totally understood, maybe. Also slurring. But there’s always slurring. Being drunk will do that to you, it seems. That’s a thing we’ve learned, you see.

Outro music is “I Need Never Get Old” by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats


Calling It A Day

The Expo weekend really threw me for a loop, but I’m not using that as an excuse to not get my writing done. I’ve spent so much of my life shrugging and saying “oh, that can wait for tomorrow” – only to have things continue to compound into a wall of inactivity. Writing will happen. Things will get done.

That said, I am in a bit of a regroup mode. Tomorrow is the return of what I call my two hour morning. When Danica and I moved back into the city, we staggered our schedules a little to work towards our strengths. I usually function better at work in the afternoon, so I get a period of two hours in the morning to write and also watch episodes of The OC or Everwood or something. But mostly writing. Probably. Hopefully.

Oh my god, I’m doomed, aren’t I.


As promised, the Indigenous Representation in Pop Culture panel made it out into the world in audio form as this past week’s episode of Yegs & Bacon. If I knock enough things off my list this week, I’ll be able to finally make a nice landing page for Yegs & Bacon with all of the interviews and panels that we’ve done in nice, prominent areas. But the list is… formidable, and very much like a hydra. So there’s that.

In less important news, I also posted my very own comic book origin story – if you’re at all interested in how I got into the medium. It’s the first in a series called Getting Into It, which will not only be about… well, getting into things in general, but will hopefully be about you, and how you got into things that you love. But more on that in the days to come.


In the days to come: I will be attempting to complete a 24 page comic in 24 hours, and I’d love it if you stopped by to either do the same, or hang out with your writing tools and/or drawing supplies in a creative space. I think I’ll actually talk about this more in depth tomorrow. But we’ll see.

Room with a Vue

I should probably start by saying that I am grateful. I really am.

Last week, it was revealed that Variant Edition has been voted the 3rd Best Comic Shop in Edmonton by readers of VueWeekly – which is a pretty huge deal for a place that’s only been open for five months. If my sense of history holds up, this hasn’t happened for any of the other shops in Edmonton, and I am both excited and humbled by the whole thing.

That said, I have been confronted with my feelings on the whole voting process that Vue’s Best of Edmonton awards are based on. While working for Wizard’s Comics, I was always upset when the highest we would climb was this very spot. I would grouse and grumble internally and externally. It doesn’t mean anything, I would moan. It’s all just a popularity contest – it isn’t an actual reflection of the customer base. And let’s be honest here: it isn’t. It’s a great award, but I can guarantee you, getting those votes mean absolutely nothing in relation to a shop’s sales or full customer base. Like I said before, we’re five months in, and I’m 100% sure we aren’t the third top grossing shop in the area.

Now on the other hand, the award really does measure something important: a person or business’ connection to their audience – or to over simplify, it measures quality rather than quantity. If these awards were all about quantity, chart toppers would be a litany of large box corporations and entities – but of course, they are not. And if I’ve learned just one very important lesson over the few months this business has been running, it’s never about the quantity of your customers – it’s about the quality, and the experience that you share with them. It’s about connecting in some way, and bringing a smile to their faces. It’s about seeing these wonderful people almost every week, because they enjoy your business and the way you’re presenting it.

For some, that’s not a good measure of Best – but for me, that’s more than enough. Variant Edition is the third best comic store in the city for connecting and engaging their customers. We care about them, and they care about us, and when you’re running a small business, sometimes that’s all you need to keep your engines running as the hours continue to pile up.

So again, I would like to say thank you to everyone who frequents Variant Edition, and who voted for us this year. You’re amazing, and you keep us going – and we look forward to serving you and being a part of your pop culture experiences for a long time to come.


This year’s Edmonton Expo has finally wrapped, and with it, a whole lot of work. I hosted three panels over the weekend (and I thought they all went rather well – I’ll probably have a recap up somewhere in the next few days) and handed out a few business cards to people that I haven’t seen since leaving my old work. There’s always a lot of rumours when it comes to the how, when and why Variant Edition became an ongoing concern (and I will definitely talk more in depth about that some other time), but suffice to say, I wasn’t thinking of opening a shop when I handed in my resignation, nor when I left. I was actually going to do some freelancing for a while, and see how that went – but other opportunities came up, and I honestly found myself missing comics retail more than I had thought I would. Anyway, the long and short of that is, for many people, I just disappeared from their lives without so much as a note, everyone expecting me to be quietly writing for the internet or what-have-you – and honestly, it was nice to see some of those old faces again. I hope that a few of them were happy to see me too, and might check out the store in the near future.

And speaking of the store, yesterday was our big Indigenous Representation Panel. Tomorrow, we’re releasing the audio. I’ll definitely be linking to that on this blog, but for now I’ll just say that I’m eternally grateful to the panelists (Richard Van Camp, Patti Laboucane-Benson, Kelly Mellings and James Leask) for participating. It was a great discussion, and I’m just glad to be a small part of putting something like that together, and getting it out into the world.

And with that, another day wraps! Tomorrow… stuff? Things? Honestly, I’m still catching up from the weekend, so we’ll see. Until then!

Low Content Day

Trying to stay off of the internet ahead of the store’s big Indigenous Representation in Pop Culture event tonight – and honestly, to let all the Spider-Mable of the day wash over anyone. Anything I have to post as a person or as a store can take a back seat to these more important conversations. I’ll be right back to white male-ing all over the place tomorrow with my privilege, dumb comments and opinions, and the season of promised content will continue apace.

And Many More…

September 27th.

Four years ago, on September 27th, I was working. Or I was at home, depending on the time of day. Regardless, I was existing and not doing much more than that. A few weeks before, I had resigned myself to being alone. At the time, it wasn’t a resignation, but a decision – a conscious choice that kept me from feeling so lonely. And it worked. I was… content. I had a decent life. Good job, good friends, nice place to live… it was good.

Then came October 1st. On October 1st, I was invited to my buddy James’ house to watch that year’s Doctor Who finalé (the end of the sixth series). I went, dressed as the 11th Doctor as a bit of a laugh.

About an hour or so after my arrival (I had gotten there fairly early, I believe), this woman walks through the door. This… instantly charming and beguiling woman. I stop dead from across the room when I see her. She’s taking off her shoes. I yell a greeting (probably too loudly) and she turns her head and… I see her hesitate slightly, and smile. She returns my greeting, quieter.

We often recount this moment. It seems like something out of movies – eyes meeting across a crowded room, and your heart skips a beat. It almost doesn’t seem real, but… it happened. Wow, did it happen.

I spent the night trying to cooly talk with this woman. I may have been (absolutely was) tipsy and so I definitely stumbled a bit. I remember thinking once if she was laughing with me, or at me. There was always a warmth to our interactions, and in hindsight, I know my brain was playing cruel tricks on me, second guessing smiles, and looks. This beauty of a woman. Surely, she couldn’t be interested in me?

After the party concluded, I drove her home. As I attempted to muster the courage to ask her out on a date, she very cooly and confidently beat me to the punch. I immediately agreed to the standard “we should meet for coffee or something”. After driving home, I knew leaving it so nebulous would drive me crazy – so I messaged her immediately, and somewhat excitedly, to say that I was completely incapable of playing it cool, and that we should absolutely meet as soon as possible. Thankfully, she felt the same way.

And so began our story. Two nerds making our way through space and time together, trying to be cool, failing miserably, but doing it together in our own wonderful and dorky ways.

Four years ago today, Danica was out having a party with friends – beautiful. Confident. The woman of my dreams who I had yet to meet. Today, I am lucky enough to say that we will be spending the rest of our time together.

My lovely Danica. I love you so and I always will.

Happy birthday, love.

Week One

As of this writing, Danica and I still don’t have the internet at home, which is… strange. I never realized just how connected I had become to things until I was forced to disconnect and to be honest with you, I kind of like it. For whatever reason, I seem to lack the willpower to stay on task when a roadblock pops up, and my brain says take a break and deal with this problem after checking Twitter. The problem being, Twitter usually sends me off running on a million different other things, and when I get back to what I was supposed to be writing, the old problem remains unchanged. Which is fun. So I dunno. I’ll be happy when the internet happens because it’s a little hard getting things posted when you can’t… you know… get the access to post things, but at the same time, it’s giving me a nice clear space to get things done.

What I need is something that’ll keep me on task, more or less. Something that blocks the internet from my computer for certain amounts of time maybe. There’s probably something out there like that. It’s probably just a google away, but uh… yeah. No internet.

Anyway. Today marks the end of the first week of this season of content. I’m really proud of everything that I’ve worked on so far. What’s more, people seem to really be responding to the stuff that’s getting out there, so we must be doing something right. And hey, with any luck, a lot of this will help the shop bump up to being voted the best in Edmonton by next year.

I suppose a guy can dream.


Yesterday I started one of the more ambitious projects for the Something Different blog: Brandon vs. The Clone Saga. It’s almost exactly what it sounds like – a piece by piece look at the sprawling (and notorious) Spider-Man epic. I’m starting with the original Clone Saga from the 90s, and going straight through to the end of the Ben Reilly era of Spider-Man. If all of that sounds like nonsense to you, don’t worry – I’ll make it all make sense. Or at least as much as I can. 90s superhero comics are one hell of a drug.


And that’s a wrap on the first week of the season – but the next few days should be pretty active. The Edmonton Expo  starts today, and I’ll be moderating three panels on three different days – and potentially doing a small tour of duty around the con floor. (Though probably not on Saturday. I’m… not great with crowds.)

Then on Monday, Variant Edition is presenting an Indigenous Representation in Pop Culture panel, which should be really great. And then there’s next weekend’s Community Geek Swap and 24 Hour Comics Day, and all the regular content you’ve come to know and love. Because hey, why not. We’ll see how the content survives through all of that. At the very least, there should be some decent recaps in store.

That does it for me until Monday. We’ll talk then!

Doctor Whooch // Episode 065 // #vodkabitches

In which we love all of our little muskox listeners.

Series 9 is here, and has somehow wrecked our alcohol tolerance, so we’re preeeeeeetty drunk. So drunk that we might have ended up offending German people definitely, Christian people probably, and potentially everybody else. So… par for the course? Anyway, if you’ve been waiting (WAITING) to hear us slur our opinions about The Magician’s Apprentice, then you’ve come to the right place. Oh, and at the end, we talk about racial issues and sexism on our drunk podcast and that’s definitely a thing.

Outro music is “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child


Subscribe to Doctor Whooch on iTunes