Anti-Comicsgate Comic Book Shop Rewarded for Virtue Signalling


This is related to an earlier case of a comics store manager in Edmonton, Canada, who wanted to make a name for herself by publicly stating she wouldn’t stock the Jawbreakers graphic novel of Richard Meyer. Now, according to CTV News, this very same store is getting what could just as well be a fixed stunt:


It once took criticism for refusing to stock a controversial book, but Edmonton’s Variant Edition Comics is now making headlines for a new reason – it’s been named the best comic book store in Canada.

Variant received the Harry Kremer Award for Outstanding Comic Book Retailer in the 2019 Joe Shuster Awards.

One can reasonably wonder if the people now in charge of that award ceremony dished it out based on their politics, and hers, which she confirms in the following:


The business has been in the news before for not stocking a book by Richard C. Meyer, an author who has previously been critical of what he termed “forced diversity” in comic books.

LeBlanc said she couldn’t sell a book authored by someone who has been known to misgender trans people, but her decision to pull it from shelves was met with hate mail, poor online review and calls for a boycott.


This is almost hilarious. The world’s plagued with Islamic terrorism, antisemitism, something the guy the award’s named for suffered as well, rape crimes, and all this woman’s worried about is illogical contradictions of science and biology? (Presumably, she’s alluding to Mags Visaggio a.k.a. the former Brian Visaggio, a would-be writer who doesn’t seem to produce sales.) I’m sorry, but that’s awfully cheap, and just proves she’s a virtue-signaling leftist who wanted to win favor with the establishment.


In the midst of the controversy, her store was broken into and had money stolen from the register, a crime she said was likely not a coincidence.

Here’s what isn’t clear, and not mentioned in the article: did she file a report with local authorities, and was anybody arrested in the aftermath? And, did she actually leave gobs of cash in the register before closing up for the day? Most store managers and cashiers usually remove the loose flow from the drawers and store it afar, rather than just leave everything inside at risk of break-ins and thefts. None of which is touched upon in this idiocy, so how do we know the break-in was for real? And didn’t she even have a security camera installed? I think most cost under $200, so why’s that so hard to handle? Unless any of the above allegation can be properly verified, it can’t be taken at face value.


But LeBlanc says winning the award for best comic shop in Canada is proof that sticking to your principles can pay off.

“I have no regrets about that,” she said. “It was an incredibly tough time but I know that in 50 years from now I’ll look back and say ‘I did that.’”


Boycotting a writer and framing a consumer movement as nothing but devils is something she should be ashamed of. It’s certainly not something to be proud of, and I’d rather not spend money at a store run by someone who thinks garnering press attention over peanuts is the best thing that can happen.


Danica LeBlanc co-owner of Variant Edition was allegedly mobbed on social media for refusing to stock Richard C. Meyer’s unreleased comic book at her store in Edmonton, May 12, 2018. Ed Kaiser/Postmedia


CBC also fawned over this news:


An Edmonton shop that is in the business of selling stories has written a happy ending for itself by being named Canada’s best comic book retailer.


What if in the long run, there’s a sad ending after sales at their store tank, much like a lot of retailers in the USA, and they have to fold too? In any event, I don’t see stunts like these as something to celebrate.


“It’s a labour of love,” shop co-owner Danica LeBlanc told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM. “We basically started a store that we would enjoy and found out it’s a store that a lot of people enjoy.”


That depends. There are people out there who’d be alienated by the owner’s politics, which should’ve been kept out of the picture, and not paraded around in order to curry favor with the PC establishment.


LeBlanc noted that the thriving world of comics and graphic novels offers a wide variety of stories to put on the store shelves. Lots of times, she said, they’ll order books with specific customers in mind.

It also means that the store’s owners make decisions about titles or authors that they don’t want to promote through in-store sales.

That was the situation in May 2018 when Variant endured a barrage of criticism for choosing not to stock a book written by Richard Meyer, who LeBlanc described as a supporter of online harassment and someone who mis-genders trans people.



From what’s described here, it sounds like their decisions on what to order are based on their politics, subtle or otherwise. Which is hardly a good way to run a business, though I do wonder: if they had been in business back in 2003, would they have stocked a miniseries as repellent as Marvel’s The Truth: Red, White & Black, notorious not only for deconstructing Captain America, but also for being illustrated in a very childish manner with racial stereotypes that make even the most questionable Golden Age character designs look tame by comparison? If they have no issues with selling something so gross, it certainly wouldn’t help their image.


In a blog post announcing its award, LeBlanc and co-owner Brandon Schatz make reference to that incident and describe the honour as a “certain measure of vindication” for that and other difficult decisions.

“At Variant Edition, we’ve always been careful to curate a welcoming experience, not just to some, but to all,” the post reads.

“We fight against ideologies that push for ‘comics for the few.’ In doing so, we’ve been told that our fight for inclusivity is coming at the expense of those who have maintained power positions in this industry for years.

“We’re here to say: that’s a good thing.”

Sure they oppose ideologies supporting books for closed subsets. If they’re anti-conservative, then they are for the very few. This is rather ironic, since there’s nothing here to suggest they take issue with Joe Quesada and Dan DiDio, for example. People like them have maintained power positions in the industry for years already, but all these phonies seem worried about is indie creators whose politics aren’t in synch with theirs. If they’re not against bad omens like Quesada/DiDio, then their statement is a lie.



If they really don’t want to sell books by authors whose politics don’t coincide with theirs, fine. But that’s no reason to go airing their dirty laundry in public just to gain 15 minutes of fame, and it won’t turn them into a giant conglomerate business like Tim Horton’s restaurants as you could assume they’re hoping. All Variant Edition’s managers did is be divisive, rather than uniting.



Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1