TagSeen & Heard

Ethically Questionable

In which there will be much bellowing about the things that are happening.

I’m shamelessly pulling the style sheet of Warren Ellis’ great Orbital Operations newsletter for updates, because as always, Ellis knows how best to send out communications from dark hovels where no one can actually see or touch him.

Ellis’ life is a life goal – the ability to do projects and growl at humanity from hovels while generally being beloved. I am not doing the man justice in this description, but digging into the man would be a considerable post in and of itself.


This weekend had me thinking a lot about comics journalism and my place in the grist mill. As it stands, I do work for Comics Beat, and gladly so. It doesn’t pay, but that’s pretty much what I signed up for: a platform and the ability to retain the rights to all work produced, which suits my current purposes. For many people, that would not be ideal of feasible, and so the delicate dance of being a journalist in this industry, and finding sources of revenue begins. The biggest problem? Most of the money you’ll see comes either directly, or indirectly from publishers of comics. You can see where this might get a bit sticky ethically?

I feel a little sick about this phrasing, but ethics in comics journalism came up again this weekend when Hannah Means Shannon was announced as a new editor at Dark Horse Comics. Means Shannon used to be the editor-in-chief at a comics “journalism” site that I’m not naming here, lest the head honcho appear like a shitty vanity searching horror goblin, and through that outlet, may have participated in some slightly shady reporting. The Outhouse (the charmingly named site taking point on a lot of the back and forth) has a solid timeline of events listed at the end of this article, complete with a look at some leaked correspondence  that was released by the same party I refuse to name.

A lot of the side-discussion of this issue has many in the industry rolling their eyes as they talk in circles about the ways that comics journalism bathes in this kind of ethically questionable substance as though its occurrence makes it okay. I’m not exactly sure where I fall on this spectrum, but I do know that I’m bothered by the whole thing. I mean, is it really okay for comic companies to hold access and exclusives over various sites in exchange for puff? The site views and ad revenue will say yes, but my heart will always say no. Where does one draw the lines in this industry between love, integrity and money? At the end of the day, that’s something each of us has to come to terms with on our own. Honestly, I doubt the industry will ever change, but at the very least, the people inside of it can, and hopefully find what works best for them, whatever that means to any given person.

For my part, I’m considering a few different reactions to this. One of them might be a writing project. We’ll see if the time produces itself.

Seen & Heard in Edmonton

This weekend, both Danica and I were featured on Karen Unland’s wonderful Seen and Heard in Edmonton podcast. The audio was recorded at the very first Edmonton Podcast Meet-Up that was held at Variant Edition, and despite having quite a few podcasts under our belts, we were still really nervous. You can almost definitely hear that in the audio. But hey, if you want to hear us talk about content creation and what that might mean for a business or community, definitely check it out.

The wonderful and effervescent Devin R. Bruce has another instalment of his regular This Column Has Seven Days column up at Variant Edition’s Something Different blog – this time talking about two different forms of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, amoung other things. 7 Days is always one of the pop culture highlights of my week as Devin routinely introduces me to amazing new things. I highly recommend you check it out.


  • My plan to create 50,000 words worth of content will continue to run through the first… third? Of November before collapsing completely, so keep an eye out for that.
  • On Wednesday, I hope to be starting something quite exciting that will become even bigger in the new year. Hopefully. I’m going to need a lot of help to pull this off, but that’s kind of baked into the design. So let’s see if I can’t start that up sooner rather than later. More to come.

Somehow Better

So somehow, Variant Edition was voted Edmonton’s third best comic shop by Edmontonians – after just five months of being open. That’s… that’s pretty cool, considering how many stores are here. Next year, the goal is to be number one. It’s going to be hard, because the two sitting at the top are both well known and established in this city – and they do a lot for the pop culture community. I mean, there’s absolutely a reason why they are number one and two. But goals are always good to have, and sitting at the top after a year-and-a-half would be pretty cool.

Anyway, what else has been happening… um… well, as of when I’m writing this (mostly in advance, with room for touch-ups later), I’m just wrapping up the first week of content in this “season”, and starting on the second. There are a few bits that have already been written for other weeks, so that has me feeling pretty confident. I am not used to that feeling.

Being me, I’m already thinking about how the second and third seasons of content will go, and I’m hoping to be able to include some original fiction as part of those runs. That would take a lot of pre-planning though, because the schedule already fills itself nicely, and the break I’m planning in between seasons isn’t really long, so much as it’s timed so I don’t fall behind. I will probably always be making content, and skirting deadlines. So that will be interesting.

I really do want to get done at least one story starring the detectives I built for a NaNoWriMo a few year’s back. I’m happy with the characters, just not with the first mystery I want them to solve. I have solid mysteries planned for future cases that they solve, just nothing that screams “pilot” – though I’m edging closer and closer to a traditional A+B=C noir story with character traits I’ve given the two leads shading the story in different ways. We’ll see how that goes.


Over at the Something Different blog, we’ve started up our Pod People feature – which showcases podcasts that we’re into. This time around, we talk about Karen Unland’s great Seen & Heard in Edmonton podcast, which focuses on Edmonton based digital content creators. For more, just head over to the post, or just go to Karen’s website.

Also out yesterday was the newest episode of Yegs & Bacon, where Danica and I talk about all of our store events (so many), and our favourite comics that are hitting the stands this week.


In a few short hours, you’ll be able to listen to Danica and I slur our way through the newest episode of Doctor Whooch, posted right here at Submet. We’re heading straight into Series 9, and talk a little about our experience watching the finalé to Series 8 in the theatre with a large group of fellow Edmonton Whovians. It was pretty awesome.

Tomorrow will feature the wrap up of this first week of content, and a new feature over at the Something Different blog called 5 for Fridaywhich is the only weekly feature that has been added to my content schedule. Everything else functions on a strange and wonderful sliding timeline of my own mad concoction. I would explain it, but honestly, it barely makes sense to me. So. 5 for Friday. A weekly set of links to five things happening in comics, pop culture, or Edmonton in general. Ideally, all three, but we are beholden to the tides.

Thanks for reading! I’ll see you tomorrow.

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