On The Move

Busy times here at Submet Industries. Not only are we approaching Doctor Whooch’s 100th Episode, but we recently made  major business decision that has eaten up a lot of our time… but in a good way.


You can get yourself up to speed by checking out the initial announcement, and the follow-up (wherein we reveal the new location) by clicking those handy links, but the two main things you need to know are this:

1. We will still be selling comics at 10441, 123rd Street until August 27th, 2016.

2. We will be open at our new location – 10116 151st Street – on August 31st, 2016.

New Location

This move has been a long time coming for a lot of different reasons. Anyone who has been reading this blog for the past few months will know that Danica and I have been dealing with quite a bit of strain. As a result of this, we took a long hard look at how the coming years would potentially go, and decided that we needed to make some changes for our emotional well being. This lead us down the path towards this big move – one that results in Danica and I being firmly in control of our own destiny.



Right now, we’re in the heart of the whirlwind. The business is splitting in twain as a result of this, with Danica and I taking the comic business to the new location and the gaming section remaining in the current location. That does not mean we won’t be ordering games or gaming items at the new shop – it just means we’ll be rebuilding that section from the ground up, keeping an eye on the demand that we’ll see at the new location.

It also means we’re be building a lot of different structures back up, while winding down our association with the old ones. At times it feels like we’re running two separate businesses. Probably because we are. The old things can’t just grind to a stop, and the new things can’t wait to start, so they all have to run at the same time while Danica and I continue to run a solid chunk of the day-to-day for both. It means that the immediate future looks insane, but honestly? I don’t think either of us have been this excited to be this busy.

As I’ve said before, we’ve shared a lot of our ups and downs with you this year on Submet and I can genuinely say that for the first time in a long time, the future looks pretty bright. I’m excited, and I’m finally feeling as though I have a bit of emotional and physical energy every now and then… which is more than I could say for most of this year. I don’t want to speak for Danica (and yet…), but I know that she has similar feelings.

The future is bright. We hope you’ll join us on the journey.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 094 // Books Are Everywhere, Bitch!

In which we near the end of the River Song timeline, and do not get really sad at all.

On this week’s show, we kick things off by ruining the Doctor Who theme song for everyone forever. We regret nothing. Or… we regret some things, just not this. Anyway, then it’s time for “Silence in the Library”, in which there are no Silence, just silence, and also sadness. Yeah. Yep.

Outro music is “Ghostbuster Theme” by No Small Children

Doctor Whooch // Episode 093 // He Can Come Get It

In which we return to Series 8 with our eyes narrows and our hearts cold and dead.

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon take a trip back to the early days of the 12th Doctor by visiting “Robot of Sherwood” and get distracted with a very loose ranking of various Robin Hoods. It’s a whole episode filled with two white dudes being snippy at each other and man, you wonder if there will be any drunk opinions about THAT.

Outro music is “Men Explain Things To Me” by Tacocat

Doctor Whooch // Episode 092 // That Would Be Hell

In which the angels do a thing, again. Ugh.

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon continue to stumble through the River Song timeline with “The Angels Take Manhattan” from Series 7, an episode that seems to crumble the more we watch it. Marvel at the straight up weirdness of the whole thing! Listen carefully as words become less coherent along with the episode!

Outro music is “Good Girls” by Elle King


On Frank Cho

When you’re running a comic shop that is trying to be mindful about the product being brought in and the creators being promoted, there will be times when your ideals will be tested. This week is one of those times.

A few days ago, Frank Cho announced that he would be prematurely terminating his gig as an artist on the Wonder Woman variant covers currently being offered by DC Comics. Originally scheduled to produce 24 covers (covering the first full year of the title’s run on a twice-monthly schedule), Cho’s covers will end at issue 6. The creator has cited interference from editorial and series writer Greg Rucka as being a large reason why, claiming undue censorship.

On the surface of it, this is a very simple situation: DC hired someone on a work-for-hire basis and provided that artist with guidelines that the artist found to be unpalatable. That artist quit. End of story, right? Well, it gets sticky when said artist comes out swinging and claiming censorship. Is it censorship for DC to require guidelines for how their characters are depicted to artists on their payroll? No, that’s brand management. More to the point: is it censorship if you quit, rather than being fired? Again, I would say “no”, that’s more of a principled stand than anything else.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a principled stand. There is something wrong with mischaracterizing the situation. Cho was not hired under the provision that he could draw whatever he wanted, however he wanted. Even if he were given quite a bit of artistic freedom, DC definitely has the right to demand changes to a product before said product reaches the stands. That’s a large part of why the editorial and business structure of their company exists.

Now, Frank Cho has come out and said he was promised complete artistic freedom with his covers – only to discover that Rucka had been granted a large amount of sway over the editorial direction of the series. If this is the case (and who knows, it could very well be, but I doubt DC or Rucka will be willing to come forward with details regarding contract negotiations) then you can definitely see where Cho is coming from. Had the roles been reversed, knowing Rucka, a similar stance would have been taken, and Rucka would have walked off the book. The issue here isn’t with a principled stand – it’s with the accusations attached to this particular stand. Rucka has walked out of both Marvel and DC for his own principled reasons in the past, and if you listen to any interview he’s given about these decisions, he always concedes the fact that he signed a work-for-hire contract, and that at the end of the day, his goals didn’t match the company’s, and so he left. No finger pointing, just stark realities: sometimes the stars just don’t line up.

So. How does this all apply to Variant Edition? Well, we’re known for making principled stands of our own. We are attempting to cultivate a positive culture in our store and as part of that we attempt to be very mindful about the products we’re bringing in, and the creators we promote. When we’ve come across stories about creators who have ideas counter to building an inclusive culture (I’m looking at you, Dave Sim), we often don’t shelve their works – or, at the very least, we don’t hand sell their products to customers. Now that doesn’t mean we won’t sell their books – we are not the gatekeepers of your preferred aesthetic, and we will always provide people with the means of access to products that they want, as required and requested. It just means that we will generally be putting our efforts into promoting the works of those who tend to be additive to an inclusive environment, rather than reductive. In this case it means… well, it doesn’t mean much. Our subscription orders and shelf copy sales of this new Wonder Woman title are remarkably healthy, and quite honestly, were built from Rucka’s reputation as a writer (as well as the reputations of Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott, the two main artists on the series). Frank Cho’s existence as the variant artist has been additive to the book’s sales, but at the end of the day, he’s not why most of our customers were getting the book. Will we lose some sales as a result of this? Almost definitely – but I can’t help but side with Rucka in this situation – if he is indeed a part of the situation at all.

Editorially, having Frank Cho provide these covers was an artistic and aesthetic choice that does not really match the drive and the contents of the series itself. In the situation as presented, if DC had to make the decision of keeping Cho, or Rucka, their choice had to benefit the company’s long term goals for the book and the character. In siding with Rucka, that choice is clear. In the short term, it might hurt sales (although it looks like the extremely talented Jenny Frison has been brought on for future variants, so maybe not?) but in the long term, it promotes the overall health and cohesiveness of the storyline as the character is being reestablished. The decision by DC to stick to their guns, resulting in Cho walking off, is a sound one, given that both creators were supposedly promised a certain level of control.

I respect DC’s decision to back Rucka, if that is indeed what happened here. I also respect Cho’s principled stand of walking away from a situation that didn’t suit his goals. That’s all this situation should be, and that’s essentially our stance on it going forward.

As always, we encourage everyone who comes into the store and makes regular purchases with us to share their opinions on the matter and vote with their words, and their money. If our opinions of the situation (or any situation) differ, that’s more than okay, so long as the conversation is frank, honest, and not insulting. It’s another cornerstone of the store: we treat others with the respect they offer towards us, and others. If confronted with a message of intolerance, we generally push back against it, meeting exclusionary remarks with our right to exclude those ideas from our store. We’ve found that it’s made for a great environment, one that we hope to foster and grow for a long time to come.

Thank you for your time.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 091 // A Priest, A Rabbi, And A Cleric Walk Into A Bar

In which we return to deal with a floppy man complaining about his first world time and space problems.

On this week’s edition of the show, Danica and Brandon continue to trip down the River Song timeline with FLESH AND STONE, a not-at-all terrifying episode involving weird stone space monsters. (I WONDER WHICH CREATURES THOSE ARE??!?) Along the way, people die. And some don’t! And Matt Smith remains floppity. Also, we discuss Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, because everybody should at some point in their lifetime.

Outro music is “Let’s Misbehave” from Miss Fisher’s.

Recommendation: Blackbird

Blackbird GN

BLACKBIRD GN (Conundrum Press)
By Pierre Maurel

Synopsis: When self-publishing becomes outlawed, a comics zine group attempts to be heard when the entire world is closing in on them.

01. Semantics to kick things off: what follows is a recommendation and not a review. There’s no critique involved here, only emotion. Honestly, I think there would be a lot less drama within the comics industry right now if folks didn’t blanket term opinion pieces with the word “review”. This has nothing to do with the book I’ll be talking with you about shortly.

Or well… almost nothing.

02. Right now I live many of my days with a weight in my gut. A bit of it is a longing for when things were a bit simpler. Most of it is the knowledge that things were never “better” so much as I was sheltered from a lot of the bad, or just didn’t care.

While I was reading Blackbird, I felt as though I was reading a manifestation of what lives in my gut. The story itself if pretty straight forward. A small group of creators puts together a comic zine called “Blackbird” and distributes it around town. Over the course of the story, a law is passed banning self-publication in all forms but advertisement, so that certain assurances can be made about content. Understandably, this doesn’t go well.

03. Over the course of the story, the zine creators are alternatively courageous and fearful. They have something they want to say, in a format that speaks to them, and they are being told that they can no longer do so without bigger consequences. The act of creation has become a risk, and speaking up, even worse. But they don’t stop. They never stop.

When I feel around for the weight that lives in my stomach, I linger on the things that placed it there – my own courage and fear. My own push for creativity and voice and the forces against it. I feel… I feel my privilege, and the fact that – much like one of the characters in the story – I am readily afforded a voice and a platform. I feel the weight of all who don’t, and I see that in a lot of ways, this story is about them. All the means to produce, with a world telling you that your voice isn’t worth as much as the person next to you who just happens to be a cis-het white male.

04. I don’t want to deal with the weight that I feel. But then again, nobody really does. Am I the person to really sit here and say that the world isn’t fair, and that things need to change? Am I the person to read Blackbird and say to you “this world of artistic and aesthetic oppression speaks to me”? Probably not. But regardless, this is a book that I found something recognizable in – something that I want to push desperately against. I can only imagine how it would read for others.

05. As it turns out, the contents of this graphic novel were originally serialized by Pierre Maurel in the zine format. There’s definitely quite a few layers of meta-commentary that could be pealed back within the contents and the difference between the original means of production and this finished product. We should all be so lucky to build with our hands, and have our voiced be heard.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 090 // Whoops! It’s Angels.

In which we’ve fallen back onto or off of the wagon, depending on how you look at it.

It’s been a while, but we’re back with new episodes, and we’re still travelling on the River Song timeline. Which gets confusing. But we’re doing it. This week? It’s The Time of Angels from Series Five and nothing bad happens at all! Except for, you know, all the horrible things that happen. Then it’s straight onto pop culture, because we watch other things to, sometimes. When we’re not doing comic store stuff.

Alright awesome talking with you all love you byyyeeeeee.

Outro music is Just Fine (Sam & Cat theme)


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Danica LeBlanc // Twitter

The Long Road

I’ve known I needed to get back into therapy for nearly two years now. This was at the same time as I was opening a business. I’ve been funnelling all of my money, time, energy, and mental bandwidth into the shop – with great results. Unfortunately, I have less and less to give. A big reason I’m working temporary contracts is the ability to save some money. Eventually, I’d like to have enough to start spending on myself again. And while nail polish is fun to purchase sometimes, I’m aiming for something that truly relaxes and reinvigorates me. I don’t mean to diminish anyone. If nail polish is your self-care, you do you. When I have time to sit down, and the world doesn’t feel too hopeless, painting my nails is one of my top choices for making myself feel a bit better.

I’ve tried a few different things that people seem to respond to during self-care, but so far, nothing works better than a few hours of Netflix and not thinking about my problems. Which I’m pretty sure is more avoidance, rather than taking care of the problem(whatever it may be that day). Whatever, I’m a long way from getting proper recovery, and this is what I can afford and have time for at the moment.

Pretty sure I worried some of you in my previous post. I’ve been dealing with depression all my life – you think I’d be able to handle it by now – and This Too Shall Pass. There are some things in my life I can’t control, and I’ve improved at not focusing solely on those factors and scenarios. Doesn’t mean the stress and horror of life doesn’t paralyze me occasionally, but I’m getting better at concentrating on that tiny little light at the end of the tunnel.

Yes, I desperately need someone to talk to, but we are all going through something right now, and my patchwork explanations must be focused at one person as soon as they comfortably can be. I’m going to try my best to write sometimes, and hopefully, the whole story can come out at some point(if you want to hear it).

Hey, remember when I used to write about organization and decluttering? That was fun.

Anyway, please leave your preferred type of self-care in the comments below. I’m curious what everyone does to get through the day.