A Building Pressure

Can 2015 be here yet?

I don’t mean to be ungrateful. 2014 has been great for me. It was the year Danica and I got another cat, took a wonderful three week vacation in Connecticut, got engaged, and then married. It will probably go down in my personal history books as one of my biggest and best. That said, with the year coming to a close, I find myself eager for new challenges.

My employment at Wizard’s Comics comes to an end on December 31st, 2014. After that? Something really crazy starts. Something that I can not wait to start working on properly instead of in half-measures.

And yes, this is a tease of a post. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m writing this more for me than anyone else. I need to let a little steam out to deaden the pressure that’s building. I need to spill words onto a page so that others can have room in my brain. I need to do something while I float about accomplishing far too little by design and necessity.

2015, get a god damn move on.

Previously: On Your Television Sets

Oh hey! It’s Brandon on your television! Or more accurately, on your computer.

So hey, I was on the local CTV Morning Live program this past Monday, and when the video went out, I placed it on all my social media outlets… and forgot to post it to my vanity site. Like a dummy. Anyway, if you click on that handy link above, you should be able to see me being awesome, representing Comics! The Blog and the industry. It was a lot of fun, and I’m hoping to get invited back some day. If that happens to be the case, I will keep all of you posted!

Happy Van Der Thanksgiving

Happy Van Der Thanksgiving, everyone.

For those who don’t know, Van Der Thanksgiving is the day the ghost of Dawson Leery visits all the good grown ass adults in Canada and gives them a good cry face.

Van Der Cry Face

It might also be the day which all the comic news websites go down for the weekend, and I am bored as hell. So. Get ready for that, I guess.

The End Is Where We Start From

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

-T.S. Elliot

After over eight years of general work, and four spent as store manager, I have tendered my resignation at Wizard’s Comics, effective December 31st, 2014.

This is not a decision that came easily. I love the shop and the people who frequent it. In addition, the owners have been very kind to me over the years, going above and beyond to help me out when various stresses started to overwhelm. My leaving Wizard’s is not a comment on the owners, the business, or the people who frequent the store – it’s a statement about myself, and what I want to do with my life.

Over the next few months, I’m going to be preparing for the next phase of my life. I can’t really tell you all much about it yet, but in the new year, I will continue to be a part of the comic book community. I’m not leaving, so much as adjusting my position within it, and as such, I’m hoping to become a much more powerful advocate for the medium.

Naturally, there will be a few more announcements to come. Those precious few who know more specifics, I’d appreciate it if you kept the information close to your chest. I can’t wait to share everything with all of you, but the timing of announcements is crucial for the next big thing, and I’m already scared enough.

Thank you all, for everything. We’ll talk again soon, I’m sure.

Inside Your Television

The first of two big announcements: in two short weeks, I will appear on CTV Edmonton’s Morning Live show.

Basically, if you turn your dials to CTV Edmonton on December 1st at 7:50am MST, you’re going to see my smiling face representing the world of comics. Probably. I mean hey, sometimes news happens and these segments slide. So that might be a thing. But right now, we’re good to go.

Stay tuned to this space in the next couple of days for another big announcement. I know I said I’d be dropping more news today, but I’ve been offered some other options I have to think about.

Comics Beat // A Confluence of Events

A few of you were wondering about my thoughts on DC’s upcoming Confluence event, so I went ahead and wrote ‘em all down for Comics Beat last week.

Of the two, Convergence is being built as a necessity, more than something extravagant. Even if the concept was born out of creative decisions, the execution is all business, marrying the need for DC to pump out enough books to fill out their budgets while simultaneously alleviating editorial and creative pressures during the big move. As such, it’s already on the back foot, appearing as though it’s a fill-in event, something that is decidedly not their main line of books in any way, shape or form. If they don’t tackle this perception in the marketing, April and May might be a couple of DC’s worst months as many opt out of the two months of content.

The article goes pretty deep into what the company would need to do to make the event as successful as possible. Unfortunately, I think they’ve already screwed a few points up. You can read the whole article here – and when you’re done that, you can run straight into my thoughts on Marvel’s big multiversal event, Secret Wars.

While Convergence is an event being built out of near necessity, Secret Wars is an event that’s emerging from years of planning on the part of Marvel and writer Jonathan Hickman. Both approaches have their pros and cons. While I’m really enjoying Hickman’s work on the Avengers line, it was never anything I would be able to hand to a new reader easily – and his work on the title has only gotten more complex. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this approach, especially when you have several titles on the stands that new readers can easily gravitate to like Black WidowMs. Marvel, and Hawkeye – but when it comes to the big event, you want to try and make that thing as accessible as possible. DC can theoretically do this with Convergence by structuring their event as a low-threshold buy-in, featuring two part stories that exist without too much connective tissue. Marvel could theoretically do this, but there’s very little known about the actual structure of Secret Warsbeyond the fact that it will be impossible to escape if you’re interested in their line.

You can read that full article here.

Sometimes I think I go a little easier on Marvel because… well, because I’m enjoying more of their line right now, but I think I stayed pretty even-handed with presenting the potential problems and positives that both events could have. As always, your thoughts are appreciated, so comment below, or on the articles themselves!

Comics Beat // Degree of Variants

Because I love puns, you guys. I love them so much.

This week, I returned to providing weekly final order cut-off commentary at Comics Beat with a little ditty about some of the splashier variants coming down the pike.

I’m not a big fan of variants in general (a longer column for another day), but I can at least get behind variants that you can order without qualification. That says you’re offering another variety for a reader to sample, letting them choose what cover they’d like. That, I understand. Qualified variants, on the other hand, are the dirt worst. They’re a dirty manipulation of the whole “supply and demand” market designed for cheap, easy money, both for publishers and retailers alike. If a retailer wants a bigger supply, they will have to order more copies. In order to cover the cost of those copies (many of which won’t sell), they will charge a premium for that cover. And hey, even if they don’t need to charge a premium to cover the costs of extra copies, they’ll probably mark it up because of the low supply, and the high demand.

You can read the full article over at Comics Beat where you’ll also see a quote from the publisher of one of the industry’s biggest companies talking shit about variants. It’s fun for the whole family! Probably. Maybe.

NoNaNo

In year’s past, I’ve tried to do the whole NaNoWriMo thing to varying degrees of success. Last year, I made it to almost 20,000 words before stalling – a failure given the scope of the project, but a success in many other ways. I now have a bit of foundation for a series I’ve been planning to do for a few years, and a bit of working history for a whole I’ve wanted to bring to life for even longer, so that’s pretty cool.

I’m not going to try to do NaNoWriMo this year. Between upcoming projects and current commitments, I’m stretched pretty thin as it is. That said, I’m still making it my mission to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, through posts like this, and my work over at Comics! The Blog and Comics Beat. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I might even write some short fiction. Who knows? Regardless, I will be writing this month, and I will be writing quite a bit. Some of it might even be good. One can hope.

Monday, Briefly

  • Tomorrow, I’m going to post about that time that I got married. By the way, you guys, I’m married now. I’m somebody’s husband. Specifically, the wonderful Danica LeBlanc’s husband. She wrote a wonderful piece about the day on her blog, and you should definitely check that out.
  • Today was a day off, which probably meant I should have been writing. Instead, I went into work for a bit and fielded a call from the shop owner that got me fairly riled up. I’m sorting through what the consequences of that call might be. Suffice to say, the next little while might be very interesting.
  • A big box full of Kyle Starks showed up at the homestead today, and all of Edmonton should be able to get their hands on it soon! Stay tuned for details…
  • Comics! The Blog got a bit of a redesign over the past week, and content is gearing back up after a lull. Look for a lot more in the near future.
  • It’s bed time. Time for bed. Night all.