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You Read This With Your Eyes // Daytripper

“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

We meet Brás de Oliva Domingos on his birthday. He’s sitting at a bar, wearing a tuxedo, on his way to celebrate the life of his father, who has recently passed away. There is blood on his tuxedo. He is 32.

Death looms large in the life of Brás – a fact we are made privy to very early in the time we spend with him. He writes obituaries for a newspaper, describing lives through fondly sculpted memories. His work, though prolific in its own small way, is brimming with character. He describes the life of a famous painter, who had been in love with 274 different women in his life, proof of this being found in the portraits he would make of each lover, every painting carrying the name “Lola”. You know this painter for a fleeting moment, and yet a life has been spread before you, rife with nuance.

He is a master of words – a talent handed down to him from his father – though neither would openly admit this. Brás’ father was a famous writer and in his death, he was to be celebrated – though as cruel fate would have it, this celebration would occur on Brás’ own birthday. As he reads the paper detailing the soiree, he attempts to believe that his father would’ve balked at the suggestion of having the event occur as his son would begin another year of life. Reality says otherwise, however, and Brás is given a rough start to his 32nd birthday.

In short order, we see our hero struggling to stay above water, awash in a sea of memory. His typewriter was a gift from his father. A bad habit picked up from his mother bares his father’s fingerprints, the smoke coming from his favourite brand of cigarette. Throughout our inaugural trip with Brás, these themes of death, family and the attempt to live with and without both swirl until an ending. There is blood on his tuxedo. There is a gun in his face.

Brás dies on the date of his birth – and his story begins.

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Press Play, Etc Etc

Clearly it’s the time of year where I confront my goals, and realize I’m a sham. Which is one hell of a thing to say from someone who co-won a national award last year but here we are.

As always, I want to be a writer. As always, I never write. As always, the new year arrives, or my birthday comes up, and suddenly, here it is! The gumption! This is the year it happens!

But it won’t be. It never is. But what the hell. Let’s see how long this burst lasts.

The Reading Pile // Lois Lane #6

In the future, you’ll be hearing more about Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins’ run on Lois Lane from me – but today’s post isn’t about that.

I just finished reading issue 6 of the series – and issue that focuses on the aftermath of (mild spoilers for general DCU happenings) Lois’ father’s death.

The issue itself is emotional fallout. The through line is the funeral itself, but the flavour comes in the form of quick jumps into the past, showing the push and pull between Lois and her father at various stages of their life.

In every scene, there is no doubt that a love is present. Their interactions dig into the soul, illustrating perfectly the kind of love and frustration only family can provide. The overwhelming sense of wanting the other to see reason, if only because it would make interacting with this human you love just a bit easier.

It is a heartbreaker of an issue, in a run of brilliant comics.

I’m sad this series is set to run a scant 12 issues. Here’s hoping they talk everyone into another batch somewhere down the line.

The Reading Pile // Just Imagine Stan Lee’s Batman

I’ve wanted to go through the wild Just Imagine books for quite some time, and a collection that arrived at the store gave me the perfect opportunity to do so.

For those unfamiliar, in the early 2000s, DC backed a money truck up to Stan Lee’s door and had him and several huge artists reimagine the DC Universe as though Stan had come up with the characters.

For the Batman instalment, Stan teamed with the incomparable Joe Kubert to produce something I thought was a brilliant funhouse mirror of a story. The plot focuses on a young black man by the name of Wayne Williams who’s circumstances leave a lot to be desired. Through the course of the story, he’s made to take the fall for a crime he hasn’t committed, and by the time he gets out of jail, all the family he has left is dead.

Upset that he’ll never be able to prove his innocence to his family, Wayne sets about dismantling the web of crime that put him in jail by making a ton of money as a professional wrestler – which definitely pulls in strange elements of Spider-Man’s origin.

The result is something very strange and unique – two classic creators reinventing history and flipping Spider-Man’s story of hard luck. With Spider-Man, you get the story of a kid realizing his privilege and spending it on those less fortunate, and with this version of Batman, you get Wayne Williams realizing that his lack of privilege has left him vulnerable, so he has to fight tooth and nail to obtain it – and once he does, he can help the world.

I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this book, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised – and I look forward to digging through more.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 160 // Hammer Time


On this week’s episode Danica and Brandon dig into the Series 12 episode “Orphan 55” and folks, we’re not gonna lie, the world is on fire and boy are we happy and terrified there’s a show out there not pulling their sci-fi punches.

Anyhow, get ready for A LOT, and also nonsense from Brandon.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 159 // Nazis Are Bad

In which we have theories. THEORIES!

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon are talking about SPYFALL PART TWO and wouldn’t you know it? They liked it. And may or may not have found some bits and bobs that remind us of the modern internet. Say, did you hear that Nazis are back? You’d think the world would have learned the first time, but NOPE.

Outro music (we HAVE it this time!) is Skyfall by Adele

Doctor Whooch // Episode 158 // Masterful

In which, we’re back! And worse than ever?

After (checks notes) six months away? Wow. Um… Brandon and Danica are back, because Doctor Who is also back! And holy HECK was it exciting. Anyhow, Spyfall is dope, and you can listen to us fight a timer in order to describe what the sweet hell just happened. Also, we won an award for being the best comic store in Canada, so EAT BUTTS other comic shops! Shut up, YOU’RE drunk.

(Also, apologies for the lack of even the BARE MINIMUM of editing we usually do: GarageBand keeps freezing. Delightful.)

For the kids

So I keep meaning to talk about this.

When I was younger, my parent was obsessed with making me read “real” books. I was a voracious reader, burning through whatever I could find by R.L. Stine and K.A. Applegate – but she was firm in her belief that these books didn’t count as proper reading.

To my mom’s credit, this was all an attempt to get me reading outside of my comfort zone. She was particularly interested in getting me reading bits about history… including this children’s book about The Donner Party.

Honestly, I thought I had made this book up, but roughly a year or two ago, I came across it within a batch of my old books. It’s… what you expect. A fairly sanitized account of events that heavily imply cannibalism… if you know the story.

Anyhow. My mom was big into true crime books around this time, so maybe she was sharing her interests with me? Who’s to say.

The Three Count // PWA’s Battle in the Dome

Folks might not know that Variant Edition sells tickets for a local wrestling promotion called PWA – Prairie Wrestling Alliance.

PWA is an organization that functions a lot like we do as a comic store. Both comics and professional wrestling are not known as open, progressive industries. I believe that both of us are trying to change that through diligence and hard work.

To that end, I’m very happy to share with you an event the PWA recently ran at the friggen’ Saddledome as part of a Bret “The Hitman” Hart tribute night. The event was done in partnership with the Calgary Hitmen hockey team to raise money for prostate cancer. I was supposed to be at the event, and even made my way down to Calgary for the weekend to watch the show – only to be felled by some kind of 24 hour stomach flu.

Thankfully, the Hitmen have uploaded the complete PWA portion of the night up to their website. If you want to check out some great local wrestling, hit the link below. You will not be disappointed.

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