Monday Monday

That is what today is. So nice, we named it twice.

Either that, or we are really tired.

Here are a bunch of random updates. Enjoy?

++ VARIANT EDITION: CHAPTER TWO

As you all probably know by now, Variant Edition is moving in a few short days.

As you’re reading this, Danica and I are probably painting the new space. I say probably, because it might be super late at night when you get around to this, so we might be sleeping, or it might be midday, in which case, one of us is probably at the old location, selling comics on the cheap. Who knows!

Anyway.

As we get closer and closer to the relaunch date (August 31st!) we can feel the excitement rebuilding inside of ourselves. The past year has been difficult for several reasons, which caused us to realize that we need to take more of a direct approach to our life, grabbing as much control as random happenstance will allow and steering where we want to go. Whether or not we make it? Well, that’s pretty much up to us now, and us alone. It’s both terrifying and exciting, but no matter what, it just feels better. So there’s that.

++ EVENTS

We took the summer off from planning events at the store, partially because we knew the store move was coming up (although we didn’t know exactly when) and partially because it’s foolish to try and plan a summer event when there’s already so much happening in Edmonton over the summer. But now that August is coming to an end, it’s time to get right back into things, and we’re starting with one of our signature events: a Community Clothing Swap.

The rules, as always, are simple: drop stuff off and/or pick stuff up. It’s all free, and everything left over at the end gets donated to a charity. The only changes this time are the location (now at our new store – 10132, 151 Street) and the length of time the event will run (all opening hours on Sat Sept 10th and Sun Sept 11th).

We’re pleased to use this event as an introduction to our new community, and we’ll be continuing to announce more events in the days and weeks to come. Our goal, as always, is to continue the hard work we started – to build a place that doesn’t clandestinely build a secret community or clubhouse, but one that actively invites all inside to experience the joy of pop culture without barriers.

++ HIP

I don’t think I’d be able to post this batch of random updates without at least acknowledging The Tragically Hip concert that CBC aired this weekend. I want to start off by saying that… I’ve never really connected with The Hip before. I could recognize their ubiquitous presence in my life, but for whatever reason, be it the specific batch of chemicals that make up my brain or whatever, their importance never quite sunk into my heart and mind.

And then, there was this concert.

Admittedly, Danica and I were at the new location, doing some light space redecoration in advance of next week’s big opening. We didn’t have the internet, so we didn’t get a chance to stream the show at first, but we brought a radio, and listened to the event on CBC Radio One here in Edmonton. As we started to build something new, we had a soundtrack of pure Canadiana. Songs that we grew up listening to, that had somewhat inadvertently become a part of our life. As we built, those songs became a part of a new foundation. It felt… it felt right.

We managed to make it home before the concert ended, and treated ourselves to the live stream. CBC did a exemplary job of presenting this concert to the country, taking no opportunity to advertise in any way, shape or form. Olympic coverage on their main channels were halted in full for this presentation. Everything about this presentation said that this wasn’t about The CBC – it was about The Hip, and providing this moment in time to Canada.

Seeing the love, and hearing the words that had lingered in the background of my life float through the air, something inside me finally switched. “Yes,” it said, “This. Always this.” Of course, it took an ending to discover a connection, but everyone comes to things in their own way – and none of it is bad. It’s something that Danica and I try to build into the shop – we don’t judge where you’re going or where you’re coming from, and as long as you’re in our space, and as long as you’re not, say, disparaging others for their own journeys, you are welcome. You are home.

Others will be able to say what this moment in time meant a whole lot better than we ever will, but… I felt that it was important to share what it mean to us, regardless.

A great way to start a new chapter… even as one is drawing to a close.

++ TO BE CONTINUED…

Obviously, there’s a lot to be done. New store prep continues, as does wrapping things up at the old shop. Doctor Whooch’s 100th Episode is fast approaching, and we’re still attempting to get our voices out there in general, letting people know that we still exist, despite all the work that needs to be done.

More updates in the coming days, but for now, a very (all too quick) thank you to all of you who have helped us out during this crazy time. We can not express how much your support means to us, and how much it has carried us through these days. We love you all.

Talk with you soon.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 096 // The Bling of Azkaban

In which we tell you all our thoughts on God.

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon are floating like leaves in the wind and rolling their eyes at a whole lot of things. Our hearts are cold and dead! Our livers are swimming! It’s a whole thing. Anyway, we watch “The Rings of Akhaten” which is hard to spell, and is full of tree hands and shenanigans. And is also fun. But you know, whatever. Also, there’s cupcakes, for REASONS.

Outro music is “Counting Blue Cars” by Dishwalla

Doctor Whooch // Episode 095 // Free Range Moffat

In which Danica is a war criminal.

On this week’s episode, we reach the end of The River Song Timeline with “Forest of the Dead”, in which there’s more flesh eating darkness and some heart rending sadness. People run! Some of them die. Others don’t? And then there’s a thing that happens with a screwdriver. So you know. Spoilers.

Outro music is “Confident” by Demi Lovato.

On The Move

Busy times here at Submet Industries. Not only are we approaching Doctor Whooch’s 100th Episode, but we recently made  major business decision that has eaten up a lot of our time… but in a good way.

VARIANT EDITION COMICS + CULTURE IS MOVING

You can get yourself up to speed by checking out the initial announcement, and the follow-up (wherein we reveal the new location) by clicking those handy links, but the two main things you need to know are this:

1. We will still be selling comics at 10441, 123rd Street until August 27th, 2016.

2. We will be open at our new location – 10116 151st Street – on August 31st, 2016.

New Location

This move has been a long time coming for a lot of different reasons. Anyone who has been reading this blog for the past few months will know that Danica and I have been dealing with quite a bit of strain. As a result of this, we took a long hard look at how the coming years would potentially go, and decided that we needed to make some changes for our emotional well being. This lead us down the path towards this big move – one that results in Danica and I being firmly in control of our own destiny.

WHAT’S NEXT

 

Right now, we’re in the heart of the whirlwind. The business is splitting in twain as a result of this, with Danica and I taking the comic business to the new location and the gaming section remaining in the current location. That does not mean we won’t be ordering games or gaming items at the new shop – it just means we’ll be rebuilding that section from the ground up, keeping an eye on the demand that we’ll see at the new location.

It also means we’re be building a lot of different structures back up, while winding down our association with the old ones. At times it feels like we’re running two separate businesses. Probably because we are. The old things can’t just grind to a stop, and the new things can’t wait to start, so they all have to run at the same time while Danica and I continue to run a solid chunk of the day-to-day for both. It means that the immediate future looks insane, but honestly? I don’t think either of us have been this excited to be this busy.

As I’ve said before, we’ve shared a lot of our ups and downs with you this year on Submet and I can genuinely say that for the first time in a long time, the future looks pretty bright. I’m excited, and I’m finally feeling as though I have a bit of emotional and physical energy every now and then… which is more than I could say for most of this year. I don’t want to speak for Danica (and yet…), but I know that she has similar feelings.

The future is bright. We hope you’ll join us on the journey.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 094 // Books Are Everywhere, Bitch!

In which we near the end of the River Song timeline, and do not get really sad at all.

On this week’s show, we kick things off by ruining the Doctor Who theme song for everyone forever. We regret nothing. Or… we regret some things, just not this. Anyway, then it’s time for “Silence in the Library”, in which there are no Silence, just silence, and also sadness. Yeah. Yep.

Outro music is “Ghostbuster Theme” by No Small Children

Doctor Whooch // Episode 093 // He Can Come Get It

In which we return to Series 8 with our eyes narrows and our hearts cold and dead.

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon take a trip back to the early days of the 12th Doctor by visiting “Robot of Sherwood” and get distracted with a very loose ranking of various Robin Hoods. It’s a whole episode filled with two white dudes being snippy at each other and man, you wonder if there will be any drunk opinions about THAT.

Outro music is “Men Explain Things To Me” by Tacocat

Doctor Whooch // Episode 092 // That Would Be Hell

In which the angels do a thing, again. Ugh.

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon continue to stumble through the River Song timeline with “The Angels Take Manhattan” from Series 7, an episode that seems to crumble the more we watch it. Marvel at the straight up weirdness of the whole thing! Listen carefully as words become less coherent along with the episode!

Outro music is “Good Girls” by Elle King

Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY.

On Frank Cho

When you’re running a comic shop that is trying to be mindful about the product being brought in and the creators being promoted, there will be times when your ideals will be tested. This week is one of those times.

A few days ago, Frank Cho announced that he would be prematurely terminating his gig as an artist on the Wonder Woman variant covers currently being offered by DC Comics. Originally scheduled to produce 24 covers (covering the first full year of the title’s run on a twice-monthly schedule), Cho’s covers will end at issue 6. The creator has cited interference from editorial and series writer Greg Rucka as being a large reason why, claiming undue censorship.

On the surface of it, this is a very simple situation: DC hired someone on a work-for-hire basis and provided that artist with guidelines that the artist found to be unpalatable. That artist quit. End of story, right? Well, it gets sticky when said artist comes out swinging and claiming censorship. Is it censorship for DC to require guidelines for how their characters are depicted to artists on their payroll? No, that’s brand management. More to the point: is it censorship if you quit, rather than being fired? Again, I would say “no”, that’s more of a principled stand than anything else.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a principled stand. There is something wrong with mischaracterizing the situation. Cho was not hired under the provision that he could draw whatever he wanted, however he wanted. Even if he were given quite a bit of artistic freedom, DC definitely has the right to demand changes to a product before said product reaches the stands. That’s a large part of why the editorial and business structure of their company exists.

Now, Frank Cho has come out and said he was promised complete artistic freedom with his covers – only to discover that Rucka had been granted a large amount of sway over the editorial direction of the series. If this is the case (and who knows, it could very well be, but I doubt DC or Rucka will be willing to come forward with details regarding contract negotiations) then you can definitely see where Cho is coming from. Had the roles been reversed, knowing Rucka, a similar stance would have been taken, and Rucka would have walked off the book. The issue here isn’t with a principled stand – it’s with the accusations attached to this particular stand. Rucka has walked out of both Marvel and DC for his own principled reasons in the past, and if you listen to any interview he’s given about these decisions, he always concedes the fact that he signed a work-for-hire contract, and that at the end of the day, his goals didn’t match the company’s, and so he left. No finger pointing, just stark realities: sometimes the stars just don’t line up.

So. How does this all apply to Variant Edition? Well, we’re known for making principled stands of our own. We are attempting to cultivate a positive culture in our store and as part of that we attempt to be very mindful about the products we’re bringing in, and the creators we promote. When we’ve come across stories about creators who have ideas counter to building an inclusive culture (I’m looking at you, Dave Sim), we often don’t shelve their works – or, at the very least, we don’t hand sell their products to customers. Now that doesn’t mean we won’t sell their books – we are not the gatekeepers of your preferred aesthetic, and we will always provide people with the means of access to products that they want, as required and requested. It just means that we will generally be putting our efforts into promoting the works of those who tend to be additive to an inclusive environment, rather than reductive. In this case it means… well, it doesn’t mean much. Our subscription orders and shelf copy sales of this new Wonder Woman title are remarkably healthy, and quite honestly, were built from Rucka’s reputation as a writer (as well as the reputations of Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott, the two main artists on the series). Frank Cho’s existence as the variant artist has been additive to the book’s sales, but at the end of the day, he’s not why most of our customers were getting the book. Will we lose some sales as a result of this? Almost definitely – but I can’t help but side with Rucka in this situation – if he is indeed a part of the situation at all.

Editorially, having Frank Cho provide these covers was an artistic and aesthetic choice that does not really match the drive and the contents of the series itself. In the situation as presented, if DC had to make the decision of keeping Cho, or Rucka, their choice had to benefit the company’s long term goals for the book and the character. In siding with Rucka, that choice is clear. In the short term, it might hurt sales (although it looks like the extremely talented Jenny Frison has been brought on for future variants, so maybe not?) but in the long term, it promotes the overall health and cohesiveness of the storyline as the character is being reestablished. The decision by DC to stick to their guns, resulting in Cho walking off, is a sound one, given that both creators were supposedly promised a certain level of control.

I respect DC’s decision to back Rucka, if that is indeed what happened here. I also respect Cho’s principled stand of walking away from a situation that didn’t suit his goals. That’s all this situation should be, and that’s essentially our stance on it going forward.

As always, we encourage everyone who comes into the store and makes regular purchases with us to share their opinions on the matter and vote with their words, and their money. If our opinions of the situation (or any situation) differ, that’s more than okay, so long as the conversation is frank, honest, and not insulting. It’s another cornerstone of the store: we treat others with the respect they offer towards us, and others. If confronted with a message of intolerance, we generally push back against it, meeting exclusionary remarks with our right to exclude those ideas from our store. We’ve found that it’s made for a great environment, one that we hope to foster and grow for a long time to come.

Thank you for your time.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 091 // A Priest, A Rabbi, And A Cleric Walk Into A Bar

In which we return to deal with a floppy man complaining about his first world time and space problems.

On this week’s edition of the show, Danica and Brandon continue to trip down the River Song timeline with FLESH AND STONE, a not-at-all terrifying episode involving weird stone space monsters. (I WONDER WHICH CREATURES THOSE ARE??!?) Along the way, people die. And some don’t! And Matt Smith remains floppity. Also, we discuss Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, because everybody should at some point in their lifetime.

Outro music is “Let’s Misbehave” from Miss Fisher’s.