Nothing says geek like comics and nothing says “dream-job” to geeks more than working in a comic book shop. That’s the basis for The Variants, a new situation comedy co-created by Richard Neal from Zeus Comics Media in conjunction with Stepladder Productions.
One might imagine that a comic book shop is an insane yet exciting place to work, and the show aims put insanity front-and-center. The series, directed by Joe Cucinotti, captures the craziness of retail life made all the more complicated by characters in tights and those obsessed with said characters. Think Clerks, with every bit the irreverent humor brought on by the Kevin Smith films. Cucinotti said the show is meant to bring to life some of those insane situations.
“Our set is the actual store. Other than Ken and myself, our main cast consists of the people who really work behind that counter,” said Cucinotti. “Many of the extras and minor characters are played by loyal customers of the store. While we exaggerate some of the events, the presentation is still very authentic.”
Similar to the comic books themselves, the series presents viewers with a wide variety of archetypes. “The Variants is a web comedy series about the trials and travails of the staff of Zeus Comics. The series follows the loveable nerd, the retail curmudgeon, the aspiring actress and the oft oblivious gay owner through the obsurdity of the retail grind,” said Neal in a recent email.
Despite a few technical flaws, the show and its characters are very compelling and the setting unique. Jokes are normally spot-on and will get laughs from mainstream viewers and comic-book geeks alike.
The series has been getting quite a bit of press from its hometown in Dallas including the Dallas Voice, D Magazine and the DFW Quick a free, weekly entertainment rag distributed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In total, the first season will run for 10 episodes around 10 minutes each. Episodes are released every first Wednesday of the month. Since the show’s August 5th launch, two episodes have been made available.