The Next Phase

Over the past couple of months, a lot of people asked me what I was going to do after leaving Wizard’s – the comic store I’d been working at for over eight years. For the most part, I’ve been telling people to keep an eye out because… well, because I wasn’t quite sure myself. I knew I wanted to write more, and that I wanted to take more control of my placement in the world, but beyond that, the options were pretty wide open. In the end, a few strange and wonderful life-shaped curveballs brought me to this:

In 2015, I will be starting my own comic shop.

You can find a bit more on what prompted the decision at Comics Beat, where my first retail column of the year is up. As for what the store will be called or where it’s going to be… well, stay tuned. I’m not trying to be coy, I just don’t have everything locked in yet, beyond the fact that I’m bound and determined to make this happen and I don’t want to blow some of the hows and whys before they become solid, tangible things. Just know that when everything’s ready, you’ll all be among the first to know.

Until then, keep a tight eye on this site. In addition to the odd small update, it’s going to keep track of what I’m writing and where, in addition to the big announcement when it happens.

Oh, and thank you all so much for your support over the years. Without you, none of this would be possible and… well, honestly, without you none of this will be possible, so thank you thank you thank you, and we will definitely talk soon.

Party Pooper

I’m dropping this safely in the confines of my personal blog because… well, it’s not so much a valid criticism so much as it’s personal feeling.

I love the idea of the Image Expo. I love a big, industry melting thing that celebrates the achievements of one of the best publishers in the business today. But you guys. These announcements. They need to be reigned in a little. I mean… yes, pretty much everything announced today was exciting and I absolutely can’t wait for the majority of these to get into my hands. But. Image is having the same problem Marvel and DC used to have when they started announcing books coming out six months to a year from their ship dates. They’re getting excited about product in development, and they’re blowing announcements in a big splash in order to make the company look strong for a couple of days at the detriment to the books that just aren’t ready. I mean hey, remember all those Nick Spencer announcements from… what was it, a year ago? Those looked pretty good, right? Where are they? And honestly, can you tell me what they were about without looking them up?

Each Image Expo has announced books that have yet to ship – and they started doing this roughly 3 years ago. And man, I love getting excited about comics, but I’d rather the company hold onto some of those announcements until they know the titles will be shipping out in a healthy time frame after the announcements, you know? And yeah, I know it’s all creator owned content, and Image can’t control what they don’t own, but… I dunno, maybe focus the lens on books on the schedule proper, you know? It’s not like they don’t make great books – so what if the names attached aren’t big. Isn’t this all about content anyway? It should be.

In Between

Today felt strange.

I’m in a strange period where the old thing is done and dusted and the new thing has yet to start in ernest, so today was… strange. I’ve discovered that a large chunk of my identity has become attached to being a guy who talks about and sells comics, and now that a chunk of that is missing, things feel a bit off. It made for a very weird Monday where a lot of stuff got done, but it didn’t feel like Monday used to feel. I’m looking at tomorrow, and expecting more of the same. I’m looking at Wednesday, and nervously wringing my hands. It will be weird to walk into the shop and peruse the shelves without having had a hand in getting them there.

I want to be at the next thing. I want to be there now instead of working on these secret fiddly bits. Unfortunately, without the secret fiddly bits, the next thing doesn’t begin. So there’s that. Which is fun. Ah well, this period was always going to be a bit weird. I’m focusing on the future, and working towards it. That’s good. It’ll be good. Until then, I still need to get some of my shop talk out somehow so, here’s a few notes from the past week:

  • I think DC would have done a whole lot better if they had held off on announcing the end of a good quarter of their ongoing comic line-up in March. I mean, at this point, it’s a bit of an open secret that the company is going to do a bit of a soft reboot in June, so why not do what Marvel does, and hold off on the final issue announcement until March rolls around? By that point in time, they’ll be announcing the new titles they’ll be putting out in June, and they could have squashed a lot of the negative connotations of sweeping cancellations with exciting new books! It would certainly give their PR team an easier go, that’s for sure.
  • On the other side of the aisle, Marvel announced a new look for Spider-Woman in March with her fifth issue. It’s a pretty cool move, but I almost wonder if the move would have been better suited for the first issue of the series. As it stands, the first four issue of her new ongoing tie directly into a big crossover event, which certainly gives the series a cheap and easy pop in sales, but I think it hobbles the series’ sales potential in the long run. It’s hard to sell new readers on a series when the first story arc requires a bit of extracurricular knowledge. I think the company could have gotten away with a Spider-Woman mini-series to tie into the Spider-Verse event, leading into a nice, easy #1 in March or April after the dust settles. Give her the new costume and motivation, and start from the ground with something new, and build the foundation of the ongoing from solid numbers instead of inflated crossover interest that will erode at a much quicker pace.

Aaaaand, that’s about it for today. I’m off to read some of the comic industry history books that I’ve been accumulating over the years. I finally have time for them now. It’s a pretty great feeling.

Day One

And so the next phase begins now.

My last day at Wizard’s was on the 31st and Danica had me take the 1st and the 2nd off for recalibration purposes. I was a bit squirrelly about that at first because I resented the implication that I have a workaholic problem – but then I immediately tried to bargain with her so that I could get a little bit of work done on my “days off”, which really proved her point. So I took the time off, and it was great. I feel quite energized, primed for everything that’s about to come so… as always, my darling wife was right. She usually is.

So yes. Today is the start of everything. So far, the day has been spent tweaking a new website, cleaning the apartment a little as the support team for a January project the lovely wife is undertaking, and tidying up other bits. As the day goes, I hope to get a bit more writing done, but I really want to focus on working on the aforementioned new website in the background of everything today. It’s going to be pretty great once it’s all put together. But for now? There’s a whole lot of wool gathering to be done, and I’m mostly wasting time meandering during this post. Onwards. Talk with you all soon.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 046 // Loveable Grumpus

In 2015, Submetropolitan will be home to a bunch of different kinds of content, including Doctor Whooch!

In which we wish you a Happy Who Year!

It’s the first episode of 2015, and we’ve dishing on this year’s Christmas special, “Last Christmas”. There’s a lot to talk about in this episode, from the surprising return of a character we thought was gone, to our feels on The Doctor and Clara’s new dynamic. Also: Santa! Bojack Horseman! Racism! Wait, maybe that last one shouldn’t have an exclaimation point. Oh, and Brandon over-corrects and is not nearly drunk enough.

Outro music is “Dream On” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds


Doctor Whooch // Episode 045 // Timey Wimey, Bitch!

In 2015, Submetropolitan will be home to a bunch of different kinds of content, including Doctor Whooch! Please enjoy our Christmas episode, and come back next week to hear us slur our thoughts on this year’s special “Last Christmas”.

In which we talk a lot about strippers. Because Christmas?

Merry Whoochmas, everyone! In this week’s special Christmas episode, we revisit two specials from Christmas past – “The Snowmen” and “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe” – and we have some interesting feelings about them. Brandon yolos and mangles some Frenh pretty bad and Danica worries about the Kids These Days (take a drink) as swords-lizards and Nernia happen on the screen. It was pretty great.

This episode of Doctor Whooch was sponsored by Josh B., who provided us with some yuletide whooch for this episode! We would like to encourage this behaviour, so if you want us to mention you or maybe a project you have on an episode, send us alcohol somehow!

Outro music is “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News.


A Building Pressure

Can 2015 be here yet?

I don’t mean to be ungrateful. 2014 has been great for me. It was the year Danica and I got another cat, took a wonderful three week vacation in Connecticut, got engaged, and then married. It will probably go down in my personal history books as one of my biggest and best. That said, with the year coming to a close, I find myself eager for new challenges.

My employment at Wizard’s Comics comes to an end on December 31st, 2014. After that? Something really crazy starts. Something that I can not wait to start working on properly instead of in half-measures.

And yes, this is a tease of a post. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m writing this more for me than anyone else. I need to let a little steam out to deaden the pressure that’s building. I need to spill words onto a page so that others can have room in my brain. I need to do something while I float about accomplishing far too little by design and necessity.

2015, get a god damn move on.

Previously: On Your Television Sets

Oh hey! It’s Brandon on your television! Or more accurately, on your computer.

So hey, I was on the local CTV Morning Live program this past Monday, and when the video went out, I placed it on all my social media outlets… and forgot to post it to my vanity site. Like a dummy. Anyway, if you click on that handy link above, you should be able to see me being awesome, representing Comics! The Blog and the industry. It was a lot of fun, and I’m hoping to get invited back some day. If that happens to be the case, I will keep all of you posted!

Happy Van Der Thanksgiving

Happy Van Der Thanksgiving, everyone.

For those who don’t know, Van Der Thanksgiving is the day the ghost of Dawson Leery visits all the good grown ass adults in Canada and gives them a good cry face.

Van Der Cry Face

It might also be the day which all the comic news websites go down for the weekend, and I am bored as hell. So. Get ready for that, I guess.

The End Is Where We Start From

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

-T.S. Elliot

After over eight years of general work, and four spent as store manager, I have tendered my resignation at Wizard’s Comics, effective December 31st, 2014.

This is not a decision that came easily. I love the shop and the people who frequent it. In addition, the owners have been very kind to me over the years, going above and beyond to help me out when various stresses started to overwhelm. My leaving Wizard’s is not a comment on the owners, the business, or the people who frequent the store – it’s a statement about myself, and what I want to do with my life.

Over the next few months, I’m going to be preparing for the next phase of my life. I can’t really tell you all much about it yet, but in the new year, I will continue to be a part of the comic book community. I’m not leaving, so much as adjusting my position within it, and as such, I’m hoping to become a much more powerful advocate for the medium.

Naturally, there will be a few more announcements to come. Those precious few who know more specifics, I’d appreciate it if you kept the information close to your chest. I can’t wait to share everything with all of you, but the timing of announcements is crucial for the next big thing, and I’m already scared enough.

Thank you all, for everything. We’ll talk again soon, I’m sure.

A complicated pop culture construct made from podcasts, words and gnomes, based in Edmonton, AB.