All posts by Brandon Schatz

You Read This With Your Eyes: Skyward

YRTWYE is where we recommend things that you can read. It happens with a frequency, but not as frequently as we’d like.


The shift happens in a moment. A sudden event, a quick shift, and the world as we knew it, the structures, the systems, is gone.

The world loves a good apocalypse. If it happens in seconds, then we’re not to blame for the things we’ve done. That’s a great hook right there. “Sure, we pushed the earth past the brink and doomed future generations with our thoughtlessness, but huzzah! The zombies are here.” So nice to think of.

I’m listening to sad boy music and reading comics today, and clearly that’s been working out well for me. Howsabout we talk about a comic that’s been sitting in my head for the past few days?


One day, years ago, gravity left the earth, taking the heart of a young man with it. Years later, his daughter Willa is feeling cooped up, and is seeking release. Removed from the experience of the event and the loss of so many, this woman struggles to understand her father’s needs as he continues to live with severe agoraphobia. It’s a tie that keeps her tethered as someone needs to earn money for a place to live and to have things to eat. Frustrated by this, she sets out to solve some problems… and in doing so, sets forward events that will change the entire world again.

The world contained within Skyward is beautifully realized. A touch of science mixes with a loose, bombastic movie feel to create a vibrant story about family, friends and survival. There’s a beautiful heart at the core of this specific apocalypse, one that didn’t see the world end, but shift entirely. There are elements of conspiracy, of social disparity and of disparate ideologies that send characters crashing into each other in unique and wonderful ways. Like all good apocalypse fiction, it is a story about humanity, and the ways it evolves when faced with adversity, in good ways, and bad.


The end of the world is too small for Willa, and she’s looking to take to the skies to find more. Only her will starts a chain of events that will change the world around her in significant ways once more.

Recommended if you like lighter apocalypse fare, and sci-fi stories with a lot of humour and heart.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook

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

Quickly: On HOX / POX

If you’ve been following me on social media lately, you know that I’ve become particularly enamoured with the newest season of X-Men comics that have been coming out from Jonathan Hickman, R. B. Silva and Pepe Larraz.

I’ve been trying to articulate why in a matter that doesn’t involve getting neck deep into spoilers for one of the wildest superhero books I’ve read in quite some time, and I think I’ve finally cracked it.


With roughly 80 years of history behind them now, comics from Marvel and DC have the unenviable task of trying to remain appealing to as broad an audience as they possibly can… while simultaneously making a product that appeals to folks who they’ve already managed to grab. There always needs to be a push for something new while maintaining the core of the property so the thing can keep going forever. It is a ridiculously tough balance to strike, and I think Hickman has cracked the proverbial code in the pages of House of X and Powers of X.

The story functions in such a way that it is very specific to the X-Men. If the power dynamics on display happened with any other Marvel team, the whole thing would fall flat. However, the events in the books aren’t so specific that past knowledge is required. The characters could be replaced with a set of knock-offs without the implied history and everything would still remain functional. However, because this is the X-Men, the weight remains.

There are small bits layered in that are additive for someone who has an extensive knowledge of the team, but nothing is taken away from those who might not know all the minutia. It creates a beautiful ease of access that relies more on themes than past plot points, and builds something that looks forward to what comes next.

It’s a remarkable thing, to see something like this happen. Here’s hoping it continues when the line blooms outwards in October.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 156 // Space French

In which we remember the days of laser tag.

On this week’s Doctor Whooch, we’re still plugging through the first season of The Sarah Jane Adventures with a little ditty called “Warriors of Kudlak” aaaannnddd… well, our notes say things like “everybody loves stick, dead dad, and Ds n Vs” so… work that out?

Outro music is “Foux Da Fa Fa” by Flight of the Concords


More episodes of Doctor Whooch!

Doctor Whooch // Episode 155 // Meanwhile, At Nun Castle

In which parents are terrible.

On this week’s show, The Sarah Jane Adventures continue with the Series 1 two parter, Eye of the Gorgon. Brandon and Danica talk about evil space nuns (?) and how Maria’s mom is the worst. Or probably second worst. There’s still Swedish Eric out there, after all. They also mention they should have Paul as a guest on the show. And they did! Two weeks ago! Time travel is fun.

Outro music is “Eye of the Tiger” by Paul Anka


More episodes of Doctor Whooch

Doctor Whooch // Episode 154 // The Best Throuple

In which Brandon is a jerk. (But what ELSE is new.)

Our eclectic 13th season of Doctor Whooch rolls on with a brand new Companions episode, featuring Paul Gifford of Drink This Pod! Danica and Brandon and Paul watch “Vincent and the Doctor” from Matt Smith’s first season, and WOW is there a lot of feelings in there. Depression sucks, folks! And reach out if you need to.

Outro music is “Why Do You Feel So Down” by Declan McKenna


Future Playlists

  • For the ghosts in your heart.
  • Laughing madly, running and smiling as the long grass licks your heels.
  • Fuck songs.
  • I mean, it probably won’t kill you.
  • Drowning?
  • Fear can eat my dick.
  • I’d have more friends if I wasn’t under this blanket always.
  • No.

This is a thing Brandon uses to fuel his own heart ghosts and sometimes they make him write.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 153 // Red Dawn

In which we learn that Danica takes nicknames very seriously.

We’re in the midst of the dry season (also known as “all of 2019, probably) with no new Doctor Who television content in sight, so we’re continuing to explore the vast riches of other media… this time, with Big Finish audio! On this week’s episode, we listen to an Eighth Doctor adventure, Blood of the Daleks, that has some similarities to a pair of episodes from the Russel “The” Davies run.

As always, if you haven’t listened to the audio itself, don’t worry! You’ll get all the info you need, except drunk. It’s fine. Trust us.

Outro music is (once more!) “Ghetto Supastar” by Pras feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Mya


Doctor Whooch // Episode 152 // Everybody Gets Two Dads!!!

In which the Slitheen return which… wow. WHY.

So hey, this is an episode about daddies – but strangely, Tennant is nowhere to be seen? What sorcery is this? It’s the second batch of The Sarah Jane Adventures – “The Revenge of the Slitheen”. And there is a baby. It is… horrifying. So. Yeah.

Outro music is “DADDY (feat. CL)” by PSY


Whoa hey, there’s a lot more Doctor Whooch to listen to. Like THESE fine episodes.

I Have Some Notes – S04E06 // BARBARELLA

Danica is back to host another edition of I Have Some Notes alongside Anita Bourgeois and Erin Beaver, to talk about the only good some good ol’ fashioned weirdness!

Listen to the episode here!