Devin R Bruce is a friend to Variant Edition and to all good-hearted creatures who roam the Earth. In each installment of This Column Has Seven Days, Devin discusses his favourite pop culture experiences of the past week in an effort to share the joy of an overlooked gem, an old favourite that’s bubbled up to the surface, or a classic work that he’s finally gotten around to. Comic books, movies, television, novels, podcasts, music, Old Time Radio: there’s something for everyone. Here’s what he’s been up to this week.
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During DC’s far-too-short-lived DCYou experiment, someone had the strange but brilliant idea of turning Black Canary into a rock star. In Black Canary, Volume 1: Kicking And Screaming, we get Dinah Lance back in the fishnets and leather jacket, fronting a rock and roll band. But not just any rock and roll band. This band (also called Black Canary) features a mysterious ten-year-old mute guitarist with superpowers that is being hunted down by inky black humanoid creatures. Oh, and also Black Canary’s former lead singer is out to destroy the band. It’s a weird book. But it’s cool.
I really enjoyed this first collection of Black Canary, even though there were definitely moments of cognitive dissonance. (Really? Black Canary is an obscure enough hero in the DC Universe that Dinah’s presence in a band named after her goes completely unnoticed??) Brenden Fletcher crafts a fun story, smashing up superheroics and touring band road adventures in a fun and crackling story, and I am always glad to see the work of artists Annie Wu and Pia Guerra in any comic book. The visuals are given extra sizzle by colorist extraordinaire Lee Loughridge, who doses the art with cool blues, rich purples, and vibrant yellows. Plus, the powers that be at DC have also released not one, but two Black Canary EPs! Each EP has three songs dripping with 80s synth pop, including a terrific cover of Bauhaus’ “The Man With The X-Ray Eyes” (itself a reference to one of my favourite movies of all time). Whether in comics or music form, Black Canary does not disappoint.
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In August 2017 one of the best podcasts I have ever heard wrapped up its epic first story. The Adventure Zone, an actual play podcast where The McElroy Brothers play Dungeons & Dragons with their father Clint, took 69 episodes to wrap up their “Balance” story, and I cannot overstate how much I loved it. The Adventure Zone has a massive and passionate fan following, and for good reason: as much as the show started out as four goofballs trying to play D&D and make dick jokes, it turned into something really wonderful and moving. I cried three times listening to the final episode. Three times. At a D&D podcast. I know nearly five dozen episodes can seem daunting, but I really believe that The Adventure Zone is worth listening.
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That’s all for this week folks! It’s back to school time for your old buddy Devin and I have to tell you, I am happy to be back at work but also exhausted all the time for some reason. Until next week, take time to immerse yourself in a different world and also maybe try on some fishnets, if you have any lying around the house. I’ll see you in seven days.