The Variants

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The Variants
Genre Comedy
Created by Richard Neal
Ken Lowery
Joe Cucinotti
Directed by Joe Cucinotti
Jason Chinnock
Starring Richard Neal
Barry Fuhrman
Keli Wolfe
Ken Lowery
Joe Cucinotti
Curt Franklin
Chris Haley
Opening theme The FarStar
Adam WarRock
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 28
Producer(s) Richard Neal
Ken Lowery
Joe Cucinotti
Camera setup Garrett Dollar
Nathan J Harris
Luke Hawkins
Running time 8 to 10 minutes/ep.
Original network
Original release August 4, 2009
External links

The Variants is an American web series comedy about four employees who work in comic retail. This scripted comedy has completed 28 episodes comprising three seasons. The Variants aired its first episode August 4, 2009[1] and wrapped season one in May 2010.[2] Its second season began May 3 of 2011[3] and completed in February 2012.[4] The Variants completed a successful Kickstarter campaign on May 29, 2012 to fund a season three.[5][6] A promo teaser was released on August 8, 2012 to Comics Alliance in advance of the new season.[7] Season three launched weekly on September 3, 2012.[8] The show is filmed on location at Zeus Comics in Dallas Texas.[9][10]

While the series is available free on YouTube, Season One of The Variants was compiled on DVD in June 2011.[11]


Richard and his employees handle the ins and outs of a struggling comic shop and its particular customers. While working retail in a unique market may offer bizarre situations, the employees have to work out a way to keep the store open through sales gimmicks and comic book artist signings.[12]


The Variants received a Dallas Observer "Best of" award for its Dallas based production.[13]

Reviews and Criticisms[edit]

Early criticism of The Variants include comparisons to Kevin Smith and his film Clerks.[14][15][16][17] However reviewers have called The Variants "a sharply written and produced series"[18] and noted positively the Variants strong LGBT and female characters in a medium dominated by men.[19][20][21][22]

Guest Stars[edit]

Notable comic celebrity guest stars have include cartoonist Scott Kurtz of PVPonline,[23] artist Dave Crosland,[24] artist and creator of the Crow James O'Barr, artist Ben Templesmith,[25] writer Mark Waid (as Richard's brother William),[26] R. K. Milholland and Curt Franklin and Chris Haley of the Let's Be Friends Again web comic.[27]


  • Joe Cucinotti as himself
  • Barry Fuhrman as himself
  • Ken Lowery as Vlad
  • Richard Neal as himself
  • Keli Wolfe as herself
  • Chris Haley as Terry
  • Curt Franklin as Svenus Jorgin


No. Title Release date
1 "Pilot" August 4, 2009 (2009-08-04)
Joe misses out on a limited hardcover and can't recover a copy for himself.).
2 "Dead Man's Comics" August 31, 2009 (2009-08-31)
In discovering a vintage comic, Joe discovers his co-workers' ignorance in Kurt Russell filmography.
3 "The Upsell" October 4, 2009 (2009-10-04)
The crew gets into character in order to increase sales.
4 "Passholes" November 3, 2009 (2009-11-03)
A movie pass giveaway forces the employees in the store overnight. Can they keep back the hordes and survive until dawn?
5 "The Signing" November 1, 2009 (2009-11-01)
The gang hosts a comic book signing for guests Scott Kurtz and Dave Crosland, but they may be too much for the store to handle.
6 "The Heist" January 5, 2010 (2010-01-05)
Joe accidentally sells a comic from a customer's pull box. Now Joe and Keli have to track down another copy at another store while Richard and Barry handle a comic convention solicitor.
7 "Tsunami" February 2, 2010 (2010-02-02)
An upset customer leads to the staff changing job responsibilities.
8 "Manga Mia" March 2, 2010 (2010-03-02)
Joe's keeping a secret and the rest of the store is determined to get to the bottom of it.
9 "Power Outage" April 6, 2010 (2010-04-06)
The staff suspects losing sales to a street vendor while dealing with a loss of power and sanity.
10 "Serious Business" May 4, 2010 (2010-05-04)
Richard brings comics artist superstar Ben Templesmith to Dallas to generate some revenue for the store in dire times. But just how dire are they? Only Keli seems to have a hint, and Richard is more distracted than usual. Joe and Barrys rivalry also heats up with the arrival of Templesmith. Who will he side with?
11 "Serious Business, Part 2" May 11, 2010 (2010-05-11)
Plans are set in motion as Barry and Vlad try to undo Ben's influence, but the outcome reveals bigger consequences. Starring Ben Templesmith

Season 2[edit]

No. Title Release date
1 "Think Bigger" May 3, 2011 (2011-05-03)
The store is under the control of the IRS and Joe, Keli, Barry, Richard and Vlad are all struggling to make ends meet in horrible jobs.
2 "Think Bigger, part 2" June 1, 2011 (2011-06-01)
Keli and Joe are on speaking terms again, and it couldn't come too soon. Richard's in jail, the IRS still has the store and Barry is trying to find satisfaction in the Vertical Smile.
3 "Man Jam" July 7, 2011 (2011-07-07)
The gang’s back together and they’re all agreed: they need to get Zeus back from Agent Johnson of the IRS, but they need to raise $10,000, and fast. A bake sale might just be what they need: tarts, cupcakes and even some baked goods. But will it be enough?
4 "Roll for Initiative" August 4, 2011 (2011-08-04)
We find our intrepid heroes on a dangerous quest to save their kingdom from the curse of the warble beast… and it’s not going well. The Variants are in incredible danger and may not make it out of this enchanted land alive. Who is behind it? Who is pulling the strings and setting events against their favor?
5 "Reboot" September 1, 2011 (2011-09-01)
After a particularly memorable first date Keli returns to work to find that things have... changed. Richard's a womanizer. Barry's got a goatee. Vlad's helping at the counter. And Joe... hey, where IS Joe? Has the world changed forever, or will we find out things are not as different as advertised?
6 "Fat Pants" November 3, 2011 (2011-11-03)
Keli slowly comes to realize the honeymoon is over in her new relationship, while Barry tries to teach an eager would-be self-publisher named Eddie the facts of the comic peddling life. And who better than Barry to teach Eddie what it takes to really make it in the business?
7 "Where There’s A Will, There’s A Waid" December 20, 2011 (2011-12-20)
Richard's brother William(Mark Waid) visits Zeus with a confession! But the staff is in on the secret as the brothers devolve into juvenile antics.
8 "The Sellouts" February 1, 2011 (2011-02-01)
A potential investor(Curt Franklin) and his attorney(Chris Haley) turn the store upside down. Can the Zeus employees handle their scrutiny, or will they throw each other under the idiot bus in pursuit of vacation days and dental?

Season 3[edit]

No. Title Release date
1 "Zeus Comics Worldwide Baby" September 5, 2012 (2012-09-05)
Terry and Svenus are filming the first commercial for the Zeus Comics Worldwide initiative, and everybody's on board -- everybody except Keli and Barry, that is. But Terry and Svenus have ways of bringing them to heel.
2 "Con Game" September 12, 2012 (2012-09-12)
To clear some dead stock, Svenus accompanies Keli and Richard to a convention. A booth babe and some seriously unfortunate cosplay pushes Keli to the edge.
3 "Dicks on Comics" September 19, 2012 (2012-09-19)
Tension mounts in the store when Terry and Svenus recruit Alan Smithee, noted filmmaker and comic book nerd, to bring his new reality show to Zeus Comics.
4 "The Deceivers" September 26, 2012 (2012-09-26)
The cold war between Keli and Zeus's new owners turns hot when she retaliates for the Alan Smithee debacle by bringing her OWN reality TV crew to Zeus.
5 "These Boots Are Made For Walking" October 3, 2012 (2012-10-03)
Terry makes Keli pay for her insubordination, and then decides to take a shot at running the store himself.
6 "Occupy Zeus" October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10)
Keli isn't taking her firing from Zeus lying down. She's rounded up sympathetic Zeus loyalists and protests the store's new direction under Terry and Svenus. But is her cause lost before she even begins.
7 "Girl Drink Drunk" October 17, 2012 (2012-10-17)
8 "Breaking In" October 24, 2012 (2012-10-24)
9 "I Love Money" October 30, 2012 (2012-10-30)
10 "Behind the Svenus" November 7, 2012 (2012-11-07)


  1. ^ "'The Variants' debuts". Dallas Voice. 2009-08-07. 
  2. ^ "'The Variants' caps 1st season with 2-parter". Dallas Voice. 2010-05-13. 
  3. ^ "Get into Free Comic Book Day spirit with 'The Variants'". Quick. 2011-05-01. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "'The Variants' wraps up its second season". Comic Book Resources. 2012-02-03. 
  5. ^ "THE VARIANTS web series shows comics shops in a different light". Comics Beat. May 12, 2012. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ "THE VARIANTS season 3 0". Kickstarter. 2012-05-29. 
  7. ^ "Link Ink: 'The Variants' Season Three, More Mickey Rourke As Marv And Custom Baz". Comicsalliance. August 8, 2012. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Link Ink: 'The Variants' launches third season". Dallas Voice. September 5, 2012. 
  9. ^ "'Variants' Brings Guild-esque Charm to the Comic Book World". gigaom. May 28, 2010. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Watch 'THE VARIANTS' The New Comic Book Show". Newsarama. 2009-10-09. 
  11. ^ "Watch 'The Variants' season 1 on DVD". Dallas Voice. 2010-05-30. 
  12. ^ "'The Variants', Dallas Comic Book Shop Turned Web Series". Tubefilter. September 14, 2009. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Best Clerks Ripoff/Marketing Ploy - 2009 'The Variants'". Dallas Observer. 2009-10-11. 
  14. ^ "'The Variants' debuts". Dallas Voice. 2009-08-07. 
  15. ^ "'Variants' Brings Guild-esque Charm to the Comic Book World". gigaom. May 28, 2010. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Nerd vs. nerd". Dallas Voice. 2009-07-30. 
  17. ^ "Wherein We Connect John Hughes to Kevin Smith to Zeus Comics' New Web Series". Dallas Observer. 2009-08-06. 
  18. ^ "Get into Free Comic Book Day spirit with 'The Variants'". Quick. 2011-05-01. [permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Watch 'THE VARIANTS' The New Comic Book Show". Newsarama. 2009-10-09. 
  20. ^ "Web show "The Variants" deals in Comic books and comic laughs". RedEye. 2012-01-11. 
  21. ^ "The Variants Web Series Gets More Fabulous With Episode 6". Queer Me Up. 2011-11-06. 
  22. ^ "ARE YOU WATCHING VARIANTS?". Geeks Out. 2011-06-05. 
  23. ^ "Watch 'New Variants' Episode arrives, PvP's Scott Kurtz guest stars". Major Spoilers. 2009-12-09. 
  24. ^ "Watch 'New Variants' Episode arrives, PvP's Scott Kurtz guest stars". Major Spoilers. 2009-12-09. 
  25. ^ "'The Variants' caps 1st season with 2-parter". Dallas Voice. 2010-05-13. 
  26. ^ "'Variants' scores coup with guest actor: Comic writer Mark Waid". Dallas Voice. 2011-12-21. 
  27. ^ "'The Variants' wraps up its second season". Comic Book Resources. 2012-02-03. 

External links[edit]

Request review at WP:AFC[edit]