Edmonton comic book shop named best in Canada

Comic book fans in the Capital City now have proof that one of Edmonton’s stores is a top-tier hero.

Variant Edition Comics, located in west Edmonton, has been named the best comic retailer in Canada.

“My hands were shaking,” said Brandon Schatz, the co-owner of Variant Edition.

“I just kind of scrolled through [the website] and I look, and I go, ‘no.’”

The shop won the Harry Kremer Award for Outstanding Comic Book Retailer, one of the 2019 Joe Shuster Awards.

On the award website, the national group says of its choice: “Variant Edition provides a comic shop experience unlike any other, perfect for those looking to discover or rediscover the joys of sequential storytelling.”

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“There’s a lot of Canadians that are out there doing amazing things,” said Steve Hodges, a regular customer of Variant Edition. “To see a store that’s succeeding on the level that Variant Edition is, and getting that national recognition is something that I think deserves to be celebrated.”

Variant Edition faced backlash in May of last year when it made the decision not to stock an author it said was controversial.

Shortly after it made that announcement, the store was broken into and robbed of all its cash.

Schatz says the support the store received following that break-in shows how tight-knit the community in Edmonton is.

“You end up taking some stands on things and be an open and welcoming place. It can be hard. Our community has supported us so much. Including… we don’t know how we got nominated.”

The Joe Shuster Awards also praised Variant Edition for its recommendation system and knowledgeable staff.

“Brandon is definitely a comic book sommelier,” said Hodges.

“He can make recommendations based on things you’ve read in the past, or what you’re reading presently, and take you to a different direction that you would never expect to go.”

The award winners were announced in Guelph on Sept. 15.

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