AuthorBrandon Schatz

Doctor Whooch // Episode 112 // Y’All Basic

With apologies to all the Marks and Mikes out there.

This week, Danica and Brandon are spooked by bugs and a house that is creepy as hell. Also, the cats almost murder them and ruin the podcast. Boy, that sure would have been a twist. But no one died. Probably. Or maybe we’re ghosts. You’ll have to listen to find out.

Outro music is “Black Magic” by Little Mix


Year Three

This weekend, I was remarking to Danica that Free Comic Book Day felt like a “season finalé” of sorts for Variant EditionAs we talked about it, we discovered that we were both feeling the same way – we built up to a big event, dealt with hardships, and now things feel like we’re at a big of a reset point, where we can push forward with new ideas and energy.

We went through a lot during our second year of business. We’ll probably go through a few things during our third, just… hopefully not as many. We’ve learned a lot of lessons, taken a lot of hits. And now? Now we’re moving forward again, with a bit of a changed paradigm and focus. We know where we function best within the business and with each other. And we’re going to build from there.

Thank you for all of the support you’ve all shown us so far. We’re very excited for you to see what comes next. Partly because we’re pretty excited to see what comes next.

Thank you all.

5 Things // Mostly Up

Five Things is an occasional check in on what’s been and what might be. It’s not regular or anything, because deadlines are for nerds and squares.

01. This past week, we celebrated Variant Edition’s second anniversary. We also held the annual Free Comic Shop Day event, which was a thing.

As you all might have heard, this week was a little rougher than most for your ol’ pals Branton and Danica. Small floods in your business make for garbage times, especially when you’re in the homestretch heading towards the biggest event your store will run all year. I would like to think that we did pretty good, all things considered. In the past year, we split off our business from our third partner, moved the shop, rebuilt everything from scratch and a bank account filled with nearly zero dollars, weathered a flood, and still came through pretty well. Most businesses would have collapsed under the weight of it all. But us? We’re fine, and we’re looking at an even better third year ahead of us.

Oh just you wait until you see what’s coming next.

02. Speaking of business things, Danica and I just wrapped up an incredibly great dinner with a like minded business person, in which we traded stories about our business philosophies and goals and it was probably one of the most rewarding experiences we’ve had in quite some time.

There’s something electrifying about hearing someone who has lived through it all enforcing things that you believe in – and not in a glad-handing way, but in a very genuine and open way that warns of various dangers and pitfalls. Anyway, the conversation was amazing, and it helped us feel a lot better about what we’ve been doing, and what it will mean going forward.

03. Plans for the week are thus: a long overdue article for Comics Beat about Marvel’s immediate future, and why their current plans might be an even larger step backwards then they might realize. Some more prose fiction writing, which you probably won’t see because this will probably be significantly longer than the last. A Doctor Whooch recording, because… well, yesterday was Free Comic Book Day and today was a great business dinner. A trip to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Aaaaand regular ass business stuff. Should be busy.

04. What else. Did I tell you about the hate mail the store received recently? We’ve decided to wear it like a badge of courage, so be prepared for that a little later in the week.

05. And finally, a bit of Motivation Monday

She knows what she did.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 111 // European Pie Culture

In which Danica’s cold, cold heart is awoked.

On this week’s show, Brandon and Danica travel to 1814 to see The Doctor and Bill fight Scaffolding in the Series 10 episode “Thin Ice”. Along the way, they classify different types of orphans, the show addresses racism (?) and Bill is rad as hell. We loved this episode and Sarah Dollard is our new queen now.

Outro music is “Elephant” by Hannah Georgas



The following is the first bit of prose fiction that I’ve written in roughly two years (or more). It’s not good. But at least it exists. Excuse me while I cringe in the corner forever.

He wakes up at 6.

He wakes up at 6 and he is lying on his back and he’s looking at the ceiling, at the stucco pattern, at the lights that are sleeping. Lying in the dim, his mind begins to stir. He moves his left hand from its chosen position extended haphazardly outwards to his chest where it can feel his heart.

A look to the side, to the left. A slow opening eye, a contented sigh of recognition. 

It’s morning.

It’s time to get up.

“Good morning,” a voice sweetly, a slow smile obscured.

He sits up, body reluctant. Blinking, his feet find the floor, cool to the touch.

Hands on his back, the weight of a chin on his shoulder.

It’s morning.

“It’s time to get up,” he tells himself.

With a push, he begins his morning routine, movements carefully practiced, a mundane dance to greet the day.

A short walk to the bathroom, a cat or two underfoot, eagerly awaiting attention or water or both.

The radio from afar, the clatter of drawers, of metal and porcelain.

He relieves himself and turns on the shower. At the instance of the cat or cats (depending on the day) he works the tap on the sink carefully until a controlled dribble of water comes out. He is rewarded with a head bop for his troubles and is then ignored. This is good, because he needs to be ignored.

He sits on the floor, looks into the shower. The room fills with heat.

A knock on the door, a voice muffled by the cascade. 

Soon, the water hits him, warm, inviting. His eyes close and his neck tilts, hands pushing back his hair. The noise of the water and the fog of the heat envelop him, a place to hide.

A hand on his torso. Breath on his neck.

He doesn’t like to leave the shower. It wakes him and makes him more alert and the day can begin.

And so the day begins.

He is much more comfortable when the days are over, when it’s all done and then some nights, a few nights, there’s nothing for a while and he forgets.

But the day.

He turns the shower off with reluctance, carefully stepping out to the floor. He towels off.

“Good morning.”

It’s morning.

Back in the bedroom, it’s time to get dressed. He sits on the bed. The world creeps in.

It’s here where it starts, where he remembers.

There’s so much, and he is so little.

Sweet words whispered in his ear.

This is when the world arrives, so big and unwieldy. This is where he remembers. It’s always nice to forget. But the night always gives way to the day, and more than he is forgetful, he is small.

Fingers sliding around his torso.

An unseen smile.

Breath on his

But then

on his neck.

more than he is small

The weight of a chin

and more than he is forgetful

on his shoulder

he is hopeful.

“Good morning.”

Might Be Okay

It’s May already, which means this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day over at Variant Edition. Normally, this makes for a pretty insane week by itself, but hey, that’s nothing a heck ton of water falling from the ceiling can’t help.

As you all might have heard, the shop experienced a minor flood this past Sunday, which has put us in a state of high level stress. You can read more about the particulars in our store newsletter, but suffice to say, we’re doing our best to put forward the best Free Comic Book Day event we can muster, and we would love to see you attend.

Other things that have been happening lately? Well, I took part in an upcoming episode of Bollywood Is For Lovers, which should be out in the next few days, and Danica will be recording an episode of In Defence Ofwhich will be out soon as well. We’re also going full steam ahead with Doctor Whooch, so you’ll see a new episode of that on Thursday. Anything else? Shouldn’t that be enough? Knowing me, I’ll add a few more logs onto the fire. Nothing says “easy going times” like running a comic shop and pumping out content, yes?


The real reason why I wanted to check in today – beyond the fact that I am committing myself to keeping Submet rolling with at least four posts a week – is the fact that… I had a pretty good day today.

You’ve all probably been checking in here and there, so you know that life has taken few swings at Danica and myself over the past few days. Or years. Whatever. But today? Even with everything, today felt… okay. Not great – I think I still had a couple of minor panic attacks when I let my brain too far off the leash – but it was still nice, for the most part. And I think “okay” is a good place to start, even with the bumps in the road.

Anyway, I wanted you all to know that.

Tomorrow: I’m posting the first prose I’ve written in two years up. It’s not good. It’s not refined. But it exists, and I’m trying to be more comfortable with my words so. Y’all get to see that. Be kind.

See you then.


Good morning.

Because You Deserve It

Good night everyone. We’ll talk again after the weekend.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 110 // Bone Fountain

In which we put a phrase in a mausoleum. And there’s a good chance that Brandon doesn’t know what a mausoleum actually is.

This week, Series 10 continues with the second episode “Smile”, and for the most part Brandon and Danica stay on topic. But then there’s the potential of Torchwood porn and alternative meanings for the BBC. And also Danica is horribly insensitive about British history, but to be fair, the British are history’s villain. Except when there are Nazis or sometimes the French.



Another day is swiftly ticking to an end, and it looks like something has to give once more. I am committed to making sure words appear on this site, however, so welcome back to another garbage post.

You’re welcome.

01. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been having odd fits where it gets hard to breathe. These only tend to last for a few seconds, but can be prolonged depending on what caused the attack in the first place. I’m assuming this is what panic attacks are, so yay. Very lucky to have those in my life. Topics to avoid in order to prevent me from slight hyperventilation? Well, dying, mostly. Or anything having to do with experiencing loss. I have some things that I’m working on right now, and I’m not sure it’s going so hot. But maybe sharing this will help? I don’t know.

02. What I do know is that while aspects of my life have definitely shifted as of late, many other areas are shifting towards a bit of clarity. I’ve discovered that opening up my options has given myself a lot more breathing room. Allowing for thoughts of many paths instead of single paths has been freeing, and has helped with any anxiety that has crept in lately. Also breathing. Breathing is wonderful.

03. Something that really resonated with me this week? The Big Moose one shot from Archie Comics. 

This oversized comic featured three great stories about Moose Mason, one of which I think might be the most heartfelt story I’ve read all year. It’s the second story in this book, written by Ryan Cady with art by Thomas Pitilli and Glenn Whitmore, with Jack Morelli on letters. The story explores how Moose sees himself – a well meaning meathead of a teen, just trying to do his best with the abilities that he has. He always has the best of intentions, even if he lets his temper get the better of him sometimes. He also lends his big heart so easily that his friends will pretty much do whatever they can to help him out. It’s… it’s a really great story, and I implore all of you to try and give it a read. It definitely made me feel better about life in general, if even for a little while.

04. I don’t want the tenor of this update to alarm any of you. Life is… life is actually pretty good right now, but I’m trying to get better at admitting when things aren’t exactly perfect. Pretending doesn’t help and didn’t help. In fact, it gave the appearance that I didn’t care when things got rough. “Everything will be fine” is not always a great response, especially when a person just needs to hear “This is bad and I’m scared too” before you start trying to fix a thing. I’m learning, I hope. This is me reaching out, even just a little.

Thank you for reading. The next post will be this week’s edition of Doctor Whooch, which gets a little sexy. You’ve been warned.

Talk with you soon.

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