The Variants is a web comedy series set in a fictionalized version of Zeus Comics in Dallas, TX. Zeus Comics' owner Richard Neal thought all the crazy stuff he saw in his store would make excellent fodder for a comedy series, and in early 2009 he approached Joe Cucinotti and Ken Lowery longtime friends, writers and regulars at the store to help him develop the series. They recruited Zeus Comics employees Keli Wolfe and Barry Fuhrman to play Flanderized versions of themselves, and filmed primarily at the store.
It can be viewed here.
This series provides examples of the following tropes:
- The Cameo: R. K. Milholland has his hopes and iPad crushed in "Reboot", episode 5 of the 2nd season.
- Cosmetic Award: The weekly Dallas Observer awarded The Variants its "Best Clerks Ripoff/Market Promotion" in its Best of Dallas awards in 2009.
- Magic Realism: With no explanation, zombies demanding movie passes swarm the store and infect one of the regular customers, the season one finale shows a man fly away on an umbrella Mary-Poppins-style, and Vlad's plushies seem to be alive.