MonthOctober 2016

Doctor Whooch // Episode 101 // Quill & Quail and the Case of the Space Dragons

In which Class is in session. Because… because, get it? Class? Oh, you get it.

Danica and Brandon return this week to talk about the first two episodes of CLASS – the latest Doctor Who spin-off show that they can’t quite remember the episode titles for! (Psst: they’re “For Tonight We Might Die” and “The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo”). Along the way, they stumble through plot points such as SPACE DRAGONS and ROBOT MAKE-OUTS and then meander into other pop culture stuff happening like TIMELESS. Have you been watching that? You should be watching that.

Outro music is “Cold Hard Bitch” by Jet



As I’m writing this, it’s the night before the shop launches our used book section, and I’m relaxed for the first time in ages. This is strange.

At the end of 2014, I quit my job as a comic shop manager. The plan was to go freelance. That quickly changed as my heart missed the particular patter of the weekly grind. And also, I’m not good at writing or hustling. So.

2015 began with a new mission statement: start a business. Build a comic shop. Together with my wife, we came up with a plan. It was a really great plan, so I immediately got scared and compromised. When we launched that version of the shop in May of that year after months of long, restless days. The first day was a good day. There were quite a few after that too… but it wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t what we’d pictured. In the fall of that year, things started to strain. In the beginning of 2016, things began to break. As voices raised, I finally realized what Danica had known all along, had been pushing for since day one when I got scared: this wasn’t what we wanted. This wasn’t where we wanted to be.

Flash forward to today. In the late spring, it was decided to split Variant Edition as it was, with Danica and I taking the comics elsewhere in the city. It came at a cost, and the dust is still settling on that front. So far, it’s been very amicable, with everyone taking responsibility for their resources offered, earned and used – costs, profits and all. Danica and I took our depleted energy and resources with us and began a fresh start. We worked hard for months as obstacles were thrown in our way, and… somehow… we’re now here. A few months in, at the precipice of something new. It looks a lot like our original vision… and it feels amazing.

For the first time in a long time, I actually feel like there is solid ground under my feet. For the first time in a long time, Danica and I are in control of where we’re going, and how fast we’re going there. What happens next is on us, and while others might affect our velocity, they can’t affect our direction. This is key.

Tonight, I’m feeling relaxed for the first time in a long time. It feels strange, but it also feels right. The compromising is at an end. Our path is clear and our hearts are full.

Now. To see if I can sleep.

Doctor Whooch // Episode A Hundred // Sober Reflection

In which we celebrate good times. C’mon.

On what is almost definitely Doctor Whooch’s first and only A Hundredth episode, we have a couple of guests that have never been on the show before… sober Brandon and Danica! No lies, this one is weird. But if you ever wondered how much of the show comes about because we’re drunk, and how much of the show is just us, well… you’re going to get your answer.

Thank you to everyone who listens to the show – you mean a lot to us, and we’re pretty fond of you. Here’s to many more over the next few years.

Outro music is “Hang on to The Night” by Tegan and Sara

Always Forward

Life usually shifts in small, unnoticed ways.

This isn’t a new idea. There are reams of words written on slow shifts – how we often accept a norm without thought or make small compromises on our way towards our goals, and suddenly… things are different then they used to be. Life, is usually passive and requires our quiet consent. Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to be quiet.

On Sunday, I started the day with a panic attack. This tends to happen on occasions where I confront the idea of death. As it turns out, I’m not a fan of inevitabilities that are beyond my control and the idea of a stop, sudden or otherwise, fills my heart with dread and my lungs with poison. Danica calmed me down, as she always does, and I walked through the day with a brain filled with a dangerous electricity.

During these post-panic phases, I usually find myself reenergized. As ludicrous as this might sound, I repeat a mantra I discovered from comics – specifically an issue of Fantastic Four that was written by Matt Fraction a few years back. In the issue, Reed is confronting his own mortality in an overly bombastic super heroic way, and has left a message for his children. He speaks about not believing in an afterlife or a higher power, and notes that while some people find that possibility to be bleak, he derives power from it. He discards the idea that nothing matters if this is all there is. In fact, he states that if this is all there is, then everything we do now matters. How could it not? If this is it… if this is all we have… then it is only our actions now that have consequence.

I carry that idea with me. It is what fuelled me to start up a comic store with my wife, and it has been the fire behind the way we run our business, and the decisions that we have made for it. People often ask why we choose to be so outspoken about representation in pop culture as a business entity, when we could merely sell the product with greater ease by keeping our mouths shut. The reason? Our actions matter. Our inactions matter. It all matters.

In the past few months, there have been a lot of changes in my life – the most public of which was the moving of Variant Edition’s from Oliver, to the west end. This was a decision born from the idea that everything we do, matters. When it became obvious that the store’s original form wasn’t going to work with three different parties involved with very different ideas, we split, instead of letting things linger. Time, after all, is a limited quantity, and why waste what we have when we could all be sharper version of who we wanted to be. So, Danica and I moved Variant Edition’s out west, and took our ideas of what we’d like a comic store to be with us. It wasn’t the easiest path we could take… but it was, and is, the right one.

We are not content to let life slip by unnoticed. We want to do more, to be more, but… we also know our limitations. We’re just two people, with limited resources and circumstances. We can’t, won’t and shouldn’t speak for all – and we can’t, won’t and shouldn’t be everything to everyone.

What we can be, is the best version of ourselves, and of our store. We can put forward our ideas, and hope they are met with empathy and kindness. We can be a foundation… or at the very least, help build it, with your help.

The past couple of months have been hard… and while we would never change our decisions, we know that we would be in a far worse state if it weren’t for the community of people who have gathered around us. While our own insecurities cause us to scratch our heads in disbelief when others attempt to tell us about the good we do, we have appreciated all of the kind words, and all of the support that’s been provided to us over the past few months. Because of this… because of you, the store landed on its feet. We landed on our feet. We have the ability to move forward, and that’s saying something.

We are here, because of you. The people who see something in us that we can’t see ourselves. The people who believe in our vision. The people who arrived while, for a period of time, we let life shift around us and compromise where we wanted to go, and who we wanted to be.

Thank you for making us stronger, and for helping us get back to where we need to go.

We won’t let you down.


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