Variant Edition | Devin R. Bruce
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Author:Devin R. Bruce

Greetings one and all! This week's installment is going to be a short one because I got hit with a cold that knocked me flat. (That didn't stop me from performing at the Apocalypse Kow Kristmas Kabaret, though, where we raised over $700 for the Edmonton Humane Society!) My voice might be a little gone from that one-two punch but my fingers still work. Here's what they have to tell you this week. * * * * *   I'd known about The Memory Palace podcast for many years now, but I listen to so many podcasts that it's sometimes hard to add another...

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Hello my friends! We only have one month left in 2016, and I don't know about you all but I want to try and make it the best one. Go out with a bang and all that. Luckily for me, the month started off with me reading the best comic book I've encountered all year. So let's get right to it! * * * * * Even the most casual comic book fans are likely familiar with Will Eisner. A pioneer of the form, Eisner is most familiar as either the creator of The Spirit or for his groundbreaking work A Contract With God, published...

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Greetings weary Internet travelers! It's been a busy week for yours truly, and I've spent a lot more time on the go lately. That's in large part because I've started visiting a physiotherapist and have been told in no uncertain terms that unless I want my back to become an immobile mass of tortured muscle, I need to move around and stretch more often. Moving and stretching is good in theory but boy, does it cut down into the lounging around time. However, I somehow managed to sit still long enough to indulge in some choice pop culture offerings. Hopefully these will stretch your...

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After two weeks of technical difficulties we are back and presumably better than ever! It's been a while and my computer has basically transformed from a multimedia multitasker into a machine that plays Civilization VI and that's basically it. So I'm going to fire off a bunch of bite-sized reviews and raves in the hope that one or two of them will spark some joy in the hearts of others. Is there something here for you, gentle reader? Let's find out! * * * * * A comedy about a young woman trying to find her way through the secret world of voice-over artists? It...

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Some weeks I have the urge to get extra-artsy about things. To focus on the craft of the culture I'm consuming, to really deconstruct the subjects, to uncover the deeper meaning of everything. This week is different. It's about the excitement and the power of the art. How it can excite as well as enlighten. Here are three quick little gut punches that got my blood boiling. * * * * * [caption id="attachment_348984" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Cover to Gon, Volume 2.[/caption] This week I finished up the last three volumes of Masashi Tanaka's Gon and by the time I'd finished the last book my cheeks were sore from smiling...

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[caption id="attachment_348950" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Cover to Batgirl #14 by Stanley Lau.[/caption] This week I finally read all 25 issues (24 regular issues plus one Bruce Wayne: The Road Home tie-in special) of Batgirl, Volume 3.  It ran from 2009 to 2011, when it was cancelled along with the rest of the DC Universe thanks to the Flashpoint-New 52 reboot. Which is a damned shame because this title was a load of fun. Batgirl, Volume 3 stars Stephanie Brown, former Spoiler, former Robin, and formerly-dead daughter of C-list Batman villain The Cluemaster, as she tries to prove herself in a Gotham City where Bruce Wayne is presumed...

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  [caption id="attachment_348932" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Cover to All-New Doop #5 by Mike and Laura Allred.[/caption] Full disclosure: All-New Doop is a strange, strange book. And I really like strange. I sometimes like things just because they are strange and for no other reason. Even for me: this is a strange book. For those who might not be aware, Doop is a character introduced in Peter Milligan and Mike Allred's critically acclaimed X-Force run from Marvel in 2001. Doop was a mystery for most of the series, a floating green blob with two arms who followed the team of feuding mutants around filming their escapades for their reality television...

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This week’s pop culture column is going to be short but sweet, folks: the real world is on my tail and gaining fast. So let’s get to it; there’s no time to waste!

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After raving to Brandon and Danica in person about how good Midnighter is, they referred me to a book by the same writer, Steve Orlando: Virgil. It is right up my alley, a book that the Orlando call a “queersploitation” thriller. Virgil is a comic that revels in all the familiar trappings of the great exploitation revenge films of the 1970s while updating the social issues that drive the plot. The title character is a police in Kingston, Jamaica, who’s living a double life. As a (dubiously) respectable cop he has an image to maintain, as Jamaican culture is notoriously homophobic and Jamaican police culture even more so. But away from the “real world” he has a passionate and loving relationship with his boyfriend Ervan. In their stolen moments alone the two of them fantasize about escaping to Toronto where they can live their lives openly. That is until a police raid breaks up small dinner party that the two are having with other queer friends, leaving four people dead, Virgil beaten within an inch of his life, and Ervan missing. With his private life front page news and no-one to trust, Virgil has to fight his way through the ranks of the police department to get back the man he loves. As Virgil is an exploitation story, Orlando and artist J.D. Fath don’t shy away from scenes of sex and violence, which heighten the tensions involved in Virgil’s one man war on the establishment. Fath’s art is full of power and tension, the faces of the characters heightened without being exaggerated, and unmistakable body language driving the story more than the narration. I also love the use of inks to cast deep shadow, giving the same effect that shadows and light did in old films noir. A quick read but not lightweight by any means, Virgil‘s setting and subject matter revitalize the familiar revenge thriller tropes and make for a must-read book.

Greetings adventurekateers! Thanks for joining me again on this crazy ride. When I asked myself “Wait, what did I actually read/watch/listen to this week?” I didn’t realize that the very best things were the ones that made me laugh. I know I like to delve into the dark and cynical on a pretty regular basis, but this week I just needed to laugh, I suppose. If you need a laugh too, I have a few suggestions. I mean, if you’re interested.

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I am so, so happy I got to see The Nice Guys in the movie theater. I am a big proponent in watching movies on the big screen with other people; it’s a kind of communion that really speaks to me, sharing an experience with strangers, in a way that makes you all part of a community even if it’s just for a couple of hours.

Ahem. Forgive me, I have very strong opinions on this topic. But let’s get back to The Nice Guys, which is an extraordinary movie and one that I have been looking forward to for months.