All posts by Brandon Schatz

The Line Is Drawn // They Cry Moore, Moore, Moore

The Line Is Drawn features floating thoughts on recent comic book happenings. They may be gathered for a more substantial meal at a later date.

WITH A REBEL YELL

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably experienced something co-created by the reclusive wizard Alan Moore. He’s the writer behind comics such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and a myriad of others. To many, he’s a god made mortal, spinning tales that are filled to the brim with craft. To others, he’s a dude who is way to into his own shit, building to please himself rather than satisfy with story. Regardless, he’s one of the big names in comics, and his influence can not be denied.

Because of this, and because of the way this industry runs, his ideas are coming back, without Moore at the helm. People are upset by this which… I understand. There are very few projects in media that seem to spring into life, and are left alone when the initial story and purpose is laid to rest. For most of Alan Moore’s career, he’s focused almost exclusively on ideas with with more of a finite being – in direct contrast to the bulk of the content in the comic book industry. Now, there’s Before Watchmen, a series Watchmen prequels. There’s Doomsday Clock, which brings many of the characters from Watchmen explicitly into the DC universe. And now, Tom Strong and Promethea (two characters from his America’s Best Comics line at DC) are popping up in comics that are about to hit the stands.

Naturally, there’s a debate raging on if the use of all of these characters are appropriate. Honestly? It’s something that I’m not sure of myself. As a person, I like a good finite story – one with purpose and meaning. On the other hand, I’ve helped build a business that thrives off of the never ending narrative… and quite honestly, built on the bones of a lot of poor creators. Some days, I have a harder time balancing all of that than others, but at the end of the day, I am in the business of selling this product to folks who really enjoy it – and I have yet to let the morality of, say, the creation of Superman or the Fantastic Four stop me. Which is where my disconnect lies.

I can’t quite reconcile all of the fervour that the use of Alan Moore’s co-creations get with the machinations of the rest of the industry. I understand that people can be many things, and have many opinions… but it always seemed weird to me that a line be drawn at Moore with sure passion, while everything else… just is. I can definitely appreciate the concern with which they bring up Moore’s contributions and wishes, just like I do when folks bring up Jack Kirby. I ache at the thought of where comics left Jack, and he wanted the industry’s respect. Moore almost clearly doesn’t – or at least he’s resigned himself to the fact that it won’t. If resignation involves kicking dirt when prompted.

It’s a tough thing. But at the end of the day… I’m excited to see what Jeff Lemire and Ivan Ries will do with Tom Strong and his family, and curious as to what the future has in store for Promethea in the pages of Steve Orlando’s Justice League run (which has many artists). I like those ideas, and I’m genuinely curious as to what another voice has to say about them. That might make me a bad person. Or at least a thoughtless one. But hey, I guess we’re still also reading Mister Miracle and I’ve heard significantly less hand-wringing about that book. So.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Submetropolitan is powered by Variant Edition Comics + Culture – Edmonton’s best source for comics, used books + mindful pop culture.

Variant Edition // Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Doctor Whooch // Episode 127 // Best Space Friend Chad

In which we say good-bye… and good riddance.

Danica and Brandon are back to finally give their tipsy opinions on “Twice Upon A Time”, the final Moffat era Doctor Who episode. And while it ALSO sadly marks the end of Peter Capaldi’s time as the Doctor, they pull no punches.

And sure, some might say we should have put this episode out before now, but here at Doctor Whooch, we like our takes like we like our drinks: on ice.

So there.

Outro music is: “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Riot of Color

Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY

5 Things: Maximum Derek

Five Things is an occasional check in on what’s been and what might be. I refuse to set a regularity for it, because life is some bullshit, you know?

01. So I learned something about myself last year: I find it a whole hell of a lot easier to write when I am angry or feeling depressed.

You can actually track my production level on Submetropolitan as shit hits the fan in my personal life, or when the comic book industry (and by extension, my professional life) blows itself up. That’s… something I want to get away from this year. So I’ve done two things. First? I’ve promised myself to try and make things when I don’t feel like trash. And two? I built myself a schedule. One that’s ambitious, but contains several breaks to maintain sanity. We’ll… see how that all goes.

02. Folks who have been popping into Variant Edition lately have probably noticed a bit of a change – mainly that Danica is around a lot more often, and I seem to be out and about a whole lot more. For the past two years, Danica has really been holding things down for us financially, and… well, things have shifted. First, the store is doing really well. I mean, it’s always done well under the circumstances, but when you don’t have to pay a lawyer to figure out how to get yourself properly split from a garbage old business partner, and your roof stops flooding, things tend to run a bit smoother.

Anyway, Danica has drastically scaled back her out-of-shop work, and I’ve picked up some of the slack by helping out the liquor shop that’s just down the road from our store. It’s been nice to have a job where all I have to do is a set amount of tasks, and then walk away when the clock hits a certain time. Almost relaxing in a way.

03. Tomorrow is the long-awaited return of Doctor Whooch where we tell you all of our opinions about the last episode of the Stephen Moffat era. It gets a little spicy. After that? We have plans to revisit another show in the Doctor Who universe that was practically made for a drunk podcast to talk about, as we wait for Jodie Whittaker to pop in again.

04. Some upcoming content to keep an eye out for:

  • Several articles about DC’s brilliant Young Animal line.
  • A 2017 year in review in comics retail for Comics Beat.
  • Some reconstituted pieces from the past, including some Drunk Comic Recaps that will start appearing as a part of Thirsty Thursdays when there isn’t a Doctor Whooch to post.
  • Cat pictures.
  • Terrible motivational words.
  • Definitely some words about Tom King and his amazing work in comics and prose.
  • More? Sure. Whatever.

05. I am tired. I shall die now.

But Seriously

2017 was quite a mixed bag.

Danica has spoken about where we were and where we are quite a bit more than I have this year, and there’s good reason for this. I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I never write. I will take almost any excuse not to, thinking in my head “but I should be writing” while reaching for the remote to let the next episode of Bob’s Burgers play.

This year, like most years, I’m pledging to be better. And not just when it comes to writing. When I look inwards, and when Danica looks at me, we both see someone who is avoiding his problems. I put off going to the doctor, I put off talking about my problems, I push back and back and back, attempting to find comfort in my discomfort instead of trying to… be better.

So.

In 2018… I just… I want to be able to confront myself. And to do that, I think I’ll be confronting others a little less. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be quiet about bullshit, but as Danica and I have talked about personally a lot lately, I need to stop worrying so much about everyone else, and really take a look at the things that are making me feel like garbage. I need to stop avoiding how my brain perceives myself.

Anyway.

I hope last year has treated you well, and I hope the new year is good for you. We’re both going to be here, talking and listening.

Thank you all.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Submetropolitan is powered by Variant Edition Comics + Culture – Edmonton’s best source for comics, used books + mindful pop culture.
Variant Edition // Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Let’s try this again

At the end of last year, I do what I always do, and made myself a work schedule to get a decent amount of content out in 2018.

So I guess what I’m saying is, I’ll see you all back here in a few weeks when I explain how everything went horribly wrong. Or who knows, this time, things might work out. I might actually accomplish a goal.

Psh. Sure sure.

SaveSave

Happy New Year!

Edmonton has not been reduced to a crater just yet, so it’s time for another spin around the sun.

Danica and I would like to thank you all for the support that you’ve shown us this year, both emotionally and through Variant EditionWithout you, we would be lost, as we are wee depressive baby ducks, often wondering off the path into the jaws of certain danger. Or something like that.

Metaphors are fun.

Thank you and we love you and we’ll hopefully talk with you soon.

Good, Great, Better

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. At first, it was because I had nothing to say. Then, I had no time to sit down and properly create words. I have some time to catch up and gather my thoughts about everything that’s been happening.

I’ve begun taking my mental health seriously. This year was about putting myself first, and making sure I’m healthy enough to take care of my family. I started on a mild antidepressant back in August, and it felt like the little boost I needed. I had spent the months prior starting to exercise, meditate, and communicate better with my loved ones. This was simply the final step. I am also seeing a therapist, although with my schedule, it can be difficult keeping appointments. I feel like me again. No, I feel better than me. I feel functional, which at times I’m still uneasy about. This Current Me is confident, and can handle most problems. She feels positive about the future, which is good, because there’s a lot of good coming down the pipe.

At the end of October, I was let go from my part-time office job, which was basically how I paid my bills (I won’t let the store pay me until we’re doing really, really well). Funnily enough, I wasn’t worried at all. I knew I could contact my recruiter and pick up some temp work, and even if I didn’t, I was happy to be at the store full-time. The timing worked out, and I began a full-time contract about 10 days after being let go. I’ll be there until December 1, and possibly longer(my contract may be extended). It’s a delightful job, and I’m enjoying reception work much more than I thought I would.

The store has some new opportunities beginning. Variant Edition announced our partnership with the The Alberta Library last month, and some libraries have already signed up for the program. It’s like getting dozens of new file customers all at once! Brandon spoke at a conference in September, and he said lots of people were excited about being able to order comics from a store that would assist them with recommendations. A huge part of the program is the interactivity.

We also took the first big step towards being focused on graphic novels. The store now has beautiful gray curvy shelves, full of cubbies. Brandon had the brilliant idea to curve the single issue shelves to match, and now walking through the middle aisle feels like you’re in a storybook.

In media news, I’ve been in a few podcasts over the last couple weeks. I was invited to speak on That’s So Maven!  With Andrea Beca about being a woman entrepreneur and the ups and downs of running a business with your life partner. If you’re at all interested in female representation in business, check out Andrea’s podcast. She’s interviewed many amazing women, and has no shortage of options for future episodes.

I also spoke with Steven, Warren, and Chris of Radio Free Skaro as part of their “Second Chances” season. I had picked “Eaters of Light”, written by Rona Munro, and it was an absolute delight chatting and sparring with the group. We didn’t agree on everything, but I feel that made the discussion more interesting to listen to.

Since I last wrote, Brandon and myself have also reinvented and relaunched Yegs & Bacon, Variant Edition’s now twice monthly podcast about the comics industry. Rather than a weekly show talking about the new comics, with light comics news, we’ve opened it up to evergreen discussions about the comics industry as a whole. What are the issues, what could be better, etc.

I’d say that’s all for now, but I know that’s a lot, and there’s likely more on the way. I’m going to take my days off when I can, center myself when needed, and try to write a bit here and there. My time is limited, but I’m usually on Twitter. Reach out if you need me!

Danica LeBlanc // Twitter

Submetropolitan is powered by Variant Edition Comics + Culture – Edmonton’s best source for comics, used books + mindful pop culture.
Variant Edition // Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Doctor Whooch // Episode 126 // Nobody Dies… That We Saw

In which a kid slides directly into his dad’s DMs and then catches the consumption.

It’s part two of our spectacular Companions Season finalé, in which we continue to talk about The Curse of the Black Spot with Doctor Who podcast luminaries Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky!

In this episode, a Steven Moffat conspiracy theory is hatched, and we discuss how Doctor Who fans aren’t detail oriented at all, and how crowns are pretty dope. Plus: drunk Chris Chibnall talk! Also, the appearance of some pod cats! No, we don’t really edit, why do you ask?

Outro music is “Pinball Wizard” as covered by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, which you should see the full video for.

Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY

Pod People // Brandon on Drink This Podcast

Did you know that getting drunk on a podcast is a thing? Wild, right?

A little while back, Brandon was invited onto Drink This Podcast to talk about story. For regular listeners of Doctor Whooch, you’ll know it goes… as well as can be expected, as Brandon gets more and more incoherent over the course of two episodes.

Episode 74: HOW DO WE GET THERE? WE KILL THE WIFE? GREAT IDEA! (Listen here)

Today we are joined by new friend of the show Brandon Schatz, owner proprietor of Variant Edition Comics for our first Paul written docket, and another in our ongoing series about story telling and pop-culture narratives. We dive into our favourite shows, what kind of story telling we want to see, and how different mediums play off each and influence each other.

Episode 75: I ASSUME ITS WHAT DOING CRACK IS LIKE (Listen here)

Today we are joined again by our new old friend Brandon Schatz for part 2 of our conversation around narrative story telling. we attempt to abandon our TV conversation and move in to other forms of narrative, get drawn back into the same old podcast conversation, and then back to television, before settling on video games, and then it all falls apart, in the best possible way.