Doctor Whooch // Episode 073 // Sleepingtons

To sleep, perchance to dream of a better episode.

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon drunkenly talk about this week’s… interesting episode of Doctor Who – Series 9, Episode 9, “Sleep No More”. Basically, we kind of make fun of it, because… sleep monsters? Or maybe a legitimately viral video? Or something. We were pretty drunk.

And as an added bonus, Brandon forgot to edit the podcast on his day off, so uh… there’s that. Wait, is that what we call a “bonus”? Hmm.

International Mens Day

In my lifetime, I have never been told that I couldn’t do something. Instead, I’ve been told I could be something “better”. A doctor. A pharmacist. A lawyer. A teacher.  Something “more” than a retailer.

Setting aside the bullshit of what constitutes “better” when you’re following your dreams (because HI PRIVILEGE!), I think that’s indicative as to why International Mens Day is dumb. Every day is Mens Day. When a guy gets told what to do, it’s with the idea that they should be “more”. When a woman gets told what to do, it’s with the idea to be what she’s told to be. Not more. Sometimes less.

So uh… Happy International Mens Day, I guess. Maybe take the time to check your privilege or something. That’d be nice.

A Bundle of Useless Things

Because obviously, my little flounderings are a drop in a bucket. This has always been the case, but when Real World Events are happening, I usually squint at myself when I lament the size of my pay cheque, while I live safe and sound an apartment, with my loving wife and some indifferent cats without considerable amounts of trouble.

Hi there. My name is Brandon. Welcome to a new week.

For the past few weeks, Danica and I have been discussing The Future, and where we would like to be within the next few years. It’s a conversation that we have regularly, which has thus far resulted in moving in together, getting engaged on our own time table, getting married on our own terms, and starting up the kind of comic shop we always wanted to frequent ourselves. Those projects already in progress, we’re starting to think about adding more focus and purpose to our various projects. The first bit of that has involved quietly getting this site into a place that’s strong enough to be a working hub – meaning more frequent (and regular) updates, and a lot of back posting. In the future, it’s going to mean quite a bit more, but honestly, you can’t build anything without a solid foundation to start from. So hey look: an attempt at building a foundation. Doesn’t it look neat and load-bearing?

This would be what I think of whenever anyone says the words “load-bearing”.

Bear Wall

Because it’s a load-bearing wall. Get it? Haha, everything is funnier when you explain it afterwards. (Laughs and slowly walks onwards towards oblivion.)

Yesterday, the shop was lucky enough to have the one and only Kelly Sue DeConnick Skype in to talk about Pretty Deadly (the new issue arrives this Wednesday!) and Bitch Planet. This is the kind of event that I always wanted to do when I was working at Wizard’s, but just never had the space, resources or support to pull off. And now? Well, we pretty much determine how to use our space and resources and can support whatever the hell we damn please. So: Kelly Sue DeConnick Skypes in to talk to a room full of folks about her comics.

I you missed the event, and you’re looking for a bit of a Kelly Sue audio fix, I highly recommend you check out the interview James Leask and I did with her back in April 2012. It goes a bit everywhere from talking about the soon-to-arrive Captain Marvel series to dealing with personal fears and self-doubt – and even has something akin to a “cameo” mention of what would become Pretty Deadly. To this date, it is still one of my favourite interviews that I’ve been a humble part of.


I won’t always talk about the articles that go up on Variant Edition’s blog, but I will always talk about new instalments of Devin R. Bruce’s Seven Days columns. In a world where Danica and I are either at the store or reading comics for the store (or eating and sleeping), it’s great to get pop culture dispatches from Devin, so that we don’t completely lose touch with pop culture. And as a bonus? The dude is consistently finding cool things.

In this week’s instalment, Devin explores the twisted world of The Maxx, talks about a cool podcast that he’s been listening to, and then lets everyone know about a really cool band called Got A Girl. They’re pretty amazing.

I think this week is the week some #YEGGeek stuff gets announced. Or at least when intents are announced. We’ll see how well I keep things together this week.

Until next time.

We Learned This In Kindergarten

So when I was in pre-school and kindergarten and… well, just all school in general, I would have the occasional bully. The advice I was always given was, bullies want a reaction. They want your anger. They want you to swing back, because then, they are justified, and they can, and will hit you back – or at the very least, be proven that their hatred of you, irrational as it might be, is just.

Paris, and anything like this, goes back to what we learned back then. You don’t respond to hatred with hate. That justifies actions, and makes you a part of the cycle. You swing back. The reaction you get justifies your actions, and the cycle continues, never broken.

What the world needs more than anything, is empathy, humanity, and understanding. Because with each punch thrown, from any side – ANY side, hundreds and thousands of people die. Fighting has never solved anything. It’s a cheap way to appear strong and it comes at the cost of lives.

Using words and rejecting the cycle of fear and hatred is a lot more terrifying, because it requires you to rely on the humanity and empathy of others. Sometimes, you won’t be rewarded for this attitude, and it will seem easier to fall back into old habits – but far less people die from the actions of empathy – and a cause has far less support if attacks are met with words.

The best thing that can be done in the face of Paris, is to be empathetic to those around you, and to show humanity to all. EVERYONE. The assholes won’t back down, but at least they’ll be alone against a united front of wonderful, patient and understanding human beings – which is something no one can fight against.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 072 // Sexy Allegories or Metaphors

In which, uh… we really liked the new Doctor Who episode?

Hey everyone: fun fact. It’s hard to be wacky drunks when an episode of Doctor Who is so good. Which means Danica and Brandon just watched Series 9, Episode 8 (The Zygon Inversion) and it was pretty amazing. That’s not to say they aren’t weird and stumbling, because they are. We are. Writing in the third person is hard, you guys. Also, they talk about some other shows probably. Scandal? I think? And something else. Remembering is also hard, when you WERE drunk, and ARE sober several days later.

Outro music is “War (What Is It Good For)” as performed by Cory and Topanga on Boy Meets World. Because of course it is.


White Dudes

I probably shouldn’t. But then again, I really don’t care.

This past week, I partook in what I think was my first ever Facebook debate, not for anything important, but for posting a link to this article about why retiring the Slave Bikini from Star Wars merchandising is an excellent move. Some people took acceptation to this. And by “some people”, I mean “white dudes” – which hey, full disclosure, I am too.

Anyway, I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of it here. Suffice to say, I am in agreement with the article in question, and others are not, for their own reasons. We won’t ever see eye to eye on that, etc etc. What I want to talk about, however briefly and inadequately, is why I felt the need to so vehemently defend this position.

For the past few years, I’ve been learning more about gender inequality. It was something that I’d always been aware of, but hadn’t really sunk in until – quite honestly – earlier this year when I was watching a movie and realized that all of the female characters in this very serious drama existed only in reference to the male lead. One was his psychiatrist who was consistently stymied by her patient’s quippy comebacks, aghast at the male lead’s Complete Rightness All The Time. Another was the relentlessly doting mother who gave the main character everything, but would be treated to similar quips until she realized she should… give him everything but on his terms? And the other was the cheating ex-fianceé who realized too late how “amazing” this guy was, only to be Righteously Rebuffed in the end. Gag.

Anyway. Before watching this movie, I had long known the talking points behind gender inequality… but for some reason, this dumb movie crystallized things. A friggen movie did this. Not a personal experience, not an anecdote from my wife or another loved one, but an emotionally manipulative bit of drama built to lionize the hardships of a white dude with a medical problem. Kind of screams privilege on all levels, doesn’t it?

So yeah. I experience this shift, in the dumbest, most privileged way possible, and I go about my business. Together with my wife, and a third partner, we start up a comic store. We decided to build it as a place that is mindful of disparity, whether it be gendered, sexual, racial or what-have-you. We do this, because the comics industry is riddled with privilege, and we want to be better. In short order, we discover the only way to do this, is to be active, and mindful, but not cruel. Everyone will have their opinions and tastes, and some of them won’t necessarily line up with yours – and you will need to find a way to balance that out with the way you want to present your business. Our solution? If you want something, yes, of course we will make sure you can get it. But if we’re going to talk about books, or feature them, we want to be mindful that we’re not hitting the parade of best selling white male heroes or creators. In an industry in dire need of diversity, it is important to push, and make people aware of amazing products by amazing people who don’t usually get the spotlight for whatever reason. It is also important to be aware of things like the Slave Bikini from Star Wars, and be mindful of it’s context – and to say something, rather than remain silent. It is also important to speak up against differing opinions, not because the person is coming from a bad place, but because silence, and an adherence to the status quo is how the world got here in the first place.

I know I am absolutely not the advocate for this, but I can, at least, be a helping voice. I can speak, rather than remain silent, and I can challenge not just the ideas of others, but my own. I can try to be better. I do try to be better, and I hope and wish that what little I can do or say helps. I don’t want anything like this to be a victory for me, because white dudes don’t need any more victories, especially in the name of diversity. I just want to be able to lend my voice, and I think that doing so is important, in a small way. And so I do. And I will. Which I guess is how I start yelling at dudes about a costume from a fiction movie for far too long on the internet. But I guess at least I’m saying something.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 071 // Wife Law

In which we are brimming with allegories and metaphors, and totally know the difference between the two.

This week, Brandon and Danica are watching “The Zygon Invasion” (Series 9, Episode 7 of Doctor Who) and end up being drunkenly riveted by the whole episode. I mean really, you guys – this was a crackerjack episode. There was Osgood! Jokes! Doctor Funkenstein! Seriously, what more do you want? Some Once Upon a Time chatter? Maybe. Probably not, but we don’t care. WE DON’T. (We do. We love you.)

Outro music is “Hello, My Treacherous Friends” by OK Go


Yegs & Bacon // Episode 027 // What Is Snow

It’s time to wake up and grab a fresh plate of YEGS & BACON – Edmonton’s very own pop culture and comics morning show!

On this week’s episode, Brandon and Danica are discussing the new Star Trek announcement, and the Preacher trailer – along with some drama that happened with comics journalism over the weekend. Then it’s straight on to comic book recommendations!

Bonus Note: Here’s a link that features pretty much all you need to know about the comics journalism thing.

Deconstructing the Clubhouse

Here’s a thing I absolutely forgot to tell everyone: my latest retailer column for Comics Beat is up, and features a guest co-author – my lovely wife, Danica LeBlanc.

The article itself is slightly modified from a talk that we gave at an event quite a few week’s back. We called it Deconstructing the Clubhouse, and talked about how exclusionary walls were built around the comic book industry and how important it is to be mindful towards breaking those walls down. I’m really proud of what we put together, and I hope that you enjoy it to.

You can read it here.

Howard the Duck #1

HOWARD THE DUCK #1 // Out on Wednesday. We live in a world where there isn’t just a Howard the Duck ongoing book, but it is one of the funniest, most heartfelt books on the stands. While this issue picks up on the some of the threads and relationships formed in the previous volume of the title, the story functions beautifully on its own, taking you on a fun adventure while it builds in bits of mystery and tension. Then, there’s the Gwenpool back up story that… that really defies explanation. Just accept that the character exists (for reasons?) and strap in, because it’s a fun ride.

Yesterday I talked a bit about a some recent problems within comics journalism. Well, Heidi MacDonald has a great wrap up of the weekend’s events that goes a long way towards saying what really needs to be said.

Tomorrow is new comic book day, so I’m spending the night getting Yegs & Bacon ready, as well as reading some more number ones before the doors open at Variant Edition tomorrow. I can’t stress how important it is for a retailer to have a solid grasp on the stock that they carry. It’s infinitely more easy to connect products to people when you know the flavour of the contents.

Until next time…

Ethically Questionable

In which there will be much bellowing about the things that are happening.

I’m shamelessly pulling the style sheet of Warren Ellis’ great Orbital Operations newsletter for updates, because as always, Ellis knows how best to send out communications from dark hovels where no one can actually see or touch him.

Ellis’ life is a life goal – the ability to do projects and growl at humanity from hovels while generally being beloved. I am not doing the man justice in this description, but digging into the man would be a considerable post in and of itself.


This weekend had me thinking a lot about comics journalism and my place in the grist mill. As it stands, I do work for Comics Beat, and gladly so. It doesn’t pay, but that’s pretty much what I signed up for: a platform and the ability to retain the rights to all work produced, which suits my current purposes. For many people, that would not be ideal of feasible, and so the delicate dance of being a journalist in this industry, and finding sources of revenue begins. The biggest problem? Most of the money you’ll see comes either directly, or indirectly from publishers of comics. You can see where this might get a bit sticky ethically?

I feel a little sick about this phrasing, but ethics in comics journalism came up again this weekend when Hannah Means Shannon was announced as a new editor at Dark Horse Comics. Means Shannon used to be the editor-in-chief at a comics “journalism” site that I’m not naming here, lest the head honcho appear like a shitty vanity searching horror goblin, and through that outlet, may have participated in some slightly shady reporting. The Outhouse (the charmingly named site taking point on a lot of the back and forth) has a solid timeline of events listed at the end of this article, complete with a look at some leaked correspondence  that was released by the same party I refuse to name.

A lot of the side-discussion of this issue has many in the industry rolling their eyes as they talk in circles about the ways that comics journalism bathes in this kind of ethically questionable substance as though its occurrence makes it okay. I’m not exactly sure where I fall on this spectrum, but I do know that I’m bothered by the whole thing. I mean, is it really okay for comic companies to hold access and exclusives over various sites in exchange for puff? The site views and ad revenue will say yes, but my heart will always say no. Where does one draw the lines in this industry between love, integrity and money? At the end of the day, that’s something each of us has to come to terms with on our own. Honestly, I doubt the industry will ever change, but at the very least, the people inside of it can, and hopefully find what works best for them, whatever that means to any given person.

For my part, I’m considering a few different reactions to this. One of them might be a writing project. We’ll see if the time produces itself.

Seen & Heard in Edmonton

This weekend, both Danica and I were featured on Karen Unland’s wonderful Seen and Heard in Edmonton podcast. The audio was recorded at the very first Edmonton Podcast Meet-Up that was held at Variant Edition, and despite having quite a few podcasts under our belts, we were still really nervous. You can almost definitely hear that in the audio. But hey, if you want to hear us talk about content creation and what that might mean for a business or community, definitely check it out.

The wonderful and effervescent Devin R. Bruce has another instalment of his regular This Column Has Seven Days column up at Variant Edition’s Something Different blog – this time talking about two different forms of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, amoung other things. 7 Days is always one of the pop culture highlights of my week as Devin routinely introduces me to amazing new things. I highly recommend you check it out.


  • My plan to create 50,000 words worth of content will continue to run through the first… third? Of November before collapsing completely, so keep an eye out for that.
  • On Wednesday, I hope to be starting something quite exciting that will become even bigger in the new year. Hopefully. I’m going to need a lot of help to pull this off, but that’s kind of baked into the design. So let’s see if I can’t start that up sooner rather than later. More to come.