Brandon @ The Edmonton Expo

A lot of people have been asking about whether or not Variant Edition will be at this year’s Edmonton Expo – and the answer to that is… no. And sort of.

While the store does not have a booth at the show this year, I will be at the show all three days, walking the floor a little, and acting as moderator for a few of the panels. Here’s where you’ll be able to find me (and some amazing guests):


Panel: Spotlight on Marcus To
Date & Time: Friday 3:45pm
Room: 109
Description: Now in Toronto but originally from Red Deer, Marcus is known for his work on Batwing, Red Robin, Huntress and Soulfire. Come meet another Albertan success story and share in his experiences!


Panel: Spotlight on Ivan Brandon
Date & Time: Saturday 1:00pm
Room: 108
Description: Known for his work on titles such as DC’s Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape and Kobra and Marvel’s Secret Invasion and Men of War. He is also the co-creator of Image’s Viking, Drifter,  and the creator and producer of the Eisner-nominated anthology series 24Seven.


Panel: Portfolio Review with Robert Atkins
Date & Time: Sunday 1330
Room: 107
Description: Ever wonder what to include in your portfolio when applying for professional comic work? Join Robert Atkins, a penciler, inker, and colourist within the comic industry, for a Portfolio Review panel that will discuss what to include and why.

All of these are going to be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to talk with these great creators and about their works, and the process of making comics.

Podcast! The Comics // Episode 181 // Those Last 20 Minutes Tho

Features some real talk. Because all of the podcasts that I’ve been a part of this week do.

From the episode description, as presented by P!TC co-host James Leask (@Leask):

This week, the boys get together to catch up after a week off, as James insisted to Brandon that “in the middle of moving” is not a good time to record a podcast and gave him the night off, before promising that he’d “figure something out,” which turned out to be “nothing.”  James talks watching a 5.5h Bollywood movie with the hosts of Bollywood Is For Lovers (@bollywoodpod) and they settle down to discuss the most recent episode of Gravity Falls and the season premiere of The Mind of a Chef.  Then they talk about some comics, and then things get real.

You may have noticed a discussion about the announcement of Marvel’s Red Wolf solo series last week and the controversy around it.  You may have also noticed that DC canceled their book with an aboriginal character in it.  James has some emotional thoughts about these announcements, the overall landscape of indigeneity in comics, and getting burnt out on bad news.

Uh… enjoy.

It was a good conversation. I mean, I always have fun making this podcast with James, but those last few minutes, that’s where the money is. It’s always good to hear James dig his hands into something he’s really passionate about because honestly, he’s one of the best pop culture commentators I know – though unfortunately, it was under some infinitely less-than-ideal circumstances.

To that end, if you’re around Edmonton on Monday, September 28th, and would like to dig into the issue of indigenous representation in pop culture, Variant Edition will be holding a panel featuring James, Richard Van Camp, Patti Laboucane-Benson and Kelly Mellings talking on that very subject. You can RSVP here, if you’d like – it is an important conversation that needs to take place more often, and we’re happy to at least help facilitate part of that conversation.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 064 // Peak Ms. Frizzle

In which we swear a bunch and nobody has any problems with anyone or anything that happens in the episode. Yup.

On this week’s show, we’re talking about the series 8 episode “Into the Dalek” and Brandon does a MadLibs by himself, and it’s horrible. HORRIBLE. We also learn about space, maybe, and things get mega adoraballs. Oh, and we get really mad at Moffat and then try to rap with him with some real talk, which almost definitely works.

We’ll see you next week for SERIES 9 WHAT.

Outro music is the theme song for THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS


The Retailer’s View // DC Youoops

Last week over at Comics Beat, I wrote about DC’s recent DC You initiative, and how their current marketing structure failed the books that were coming out. Then DC went and announced the cancellation of a significant chunk of their line with their December solicitaitions. So that was fun.

Here’s a bit from my retail article:

Now that the company is attempting to push outwards from its formerly narrow viewpoint, it is essential that they learn how to market accordingly. Having lost a good source of implied retail vocabulary in Bob Wayne, they are attempting to do without any style or verve. What retailers need to see – especially in terms of their line outside of their mainstay superheroes like Batman and Wonder Woman (and hell, sometimes even Wonder Woman) – is a projection of confidence from the company, whether that’s implied by the incentive structure, or by the language they use to solicit the books, and a perceived interest from their readership, which can be done by mobilizing social media buzz and doing sustained pushes during final order cut-off weeks. Some companies are particularly good at providing previews of their upcoming books during the FOC period, alongside promotion from the creative team and editorial. DC doesn’t quite have a handle on that, as evidenced by the haphazard way they scheduled the 8 page previews of all of their DC You titles in May. Very few of those (if any) lined up with the book’s actual final order cut off date, so retailers weren’t hearing whispers of excitement right before they adjusted their numbers. What’s more to the point, all of these previews were consistently released in a chunk, instead of staggered out over a several hours and days – which would have provided the company with sustained and building noise across a longer period of time, instead of a jumble of noise created all at once.

What’s really interesting about all of this is the fact that it sets up a very interesting January for the company. With a bunch of DC You mini-series wrapping in November, and quite a few books dropping off the schedule in December, the decks are clearing – and not matter what happens in January, it will essentially be a statement on where the company will head next. There’s definitely an article in that line of thought, so more on that in the next few days…

Doctor Whooch // Episode 063 // Horseshit Levelry

In which we revisit the day we got engaged, with cursing.

First: EXCITING NEWS! Doctor Whooch will be weekly through the end of Series 9, and that’s going to be a thing.

Now: as we count down to the premiere of Series 9, we’re revisiting the first episode of Series 8: Deep Breath. And guess what. We have Moffat opinions. Also, we search for The Master slash fic (but generally forget to finish that quest), find out that we’re not good with boats, and Danica swears at the cats and generally can’t say words or names.

And hey, tune in next week for what’s essentially the second part of this episode – and then it’s straight on to NEW WHO. YESSSSSS.

Outro music is “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac


Podcast! The Comics #180 // Minnesota White Talk with Sam Humphries

Somehow, I started doing three podcasts regularly. This is a thing that normal people do, yes?

On this week’s episode of Podcast! The Comics, James and I are talking to one of our favourite guests and creators – the incomparable Sam Humphries! You might recognize him as the man with the sensational white-guy aphro that rotates on this blog’s very lazy header. You might also recognize him as the writer of Marvel’s Star-Lord book and the incoming writer of Weirdworld. Anyway, he’s on the show to talk about his new Image book Citizen Jack, but in true Comics! The Blog style, we get off track and stay off the rails for most of the conversation. And bless him, Shump is all in.

So drink in the magic and bask in Minnesota splendour.

Bonus Notes:

Sam Humphries Online // Twitter // Tumblr

Download the episode here or subscribe through iTunes.  If you want to subscribe the old-fashioned way, insert the following text into your audio program of choice (in iTunes, click “Advanced,” then click “Subscribe to Podcast”):

You can also find all the episodes to date on Libsyn’s site here.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook