I think this may be the earliest I have ever declared to our customers that they need to save the date, but Free Comic Book Day is coming!! The annual event / holiday / madness is always on the first Saturday of May, and so this year, that falls on May 5th.
What on earth would make me think about Free Comic Book Day on a cold day in January? Well, it turns out that THIS is the week that we place our final orders for all the free comics – while they are all FREE for you, they are unfortunately not free for us, so we have to figure out our final numbers. So I wandered over to the official Free Comic Book Day website to see what’s in store for this year – and there is some SWEET stuff! Those of you who have come in for this event can attest – these comics are not chopped liver, the different publishers usually bring their A-game for these giveaways, and this year is no exception.
Beyond the comics that will obviously tie in to movies this summer, like the Avengers 12.1 book, and the Spider-Man Season One preview, we’ve got a DC “New 52” special edition, a 20th anniversary celebration comic from Image, a Serentity / Star Wars flip book from Dark Horse, and get this – a HARDCOVER offering from Archaia featuring Mouse Guard! No joke – a FREE hardcover! How long will it be before we’re just giving away graphic novels every May?
Well, truthfully, probably only about three months, because we usually give away all kinds of stuff on Free Comic Book Day, and this year will be no exception. Door prizes like variants, toys & graphic novels, a coloring table for the kids, lunch specials next door, special Heroclix tournaments, and probably a couple more surprises that I haven’t thought of yet. Mark it down – Saturday, May 5th!
Tuesday, January 24th – New to DVD: Real Steel – I made a bet with a friend back in the fall of 2010, that when this movie eventually debuted in theaters, it wouldn’t hit $40 million on its opening weekend (my friend convinced this would be a monster hit). It just felt to me like a desperation paycheck movie for Hugh Jackman, a bizarre premise (boxing robots) that would get laughed at by dedicated moviegoers. And the first trailer made the whole thing look pretty campy – I wasn’t impressed.
Well, I won my bet. Real Steel only made $27 million its opening weekend. But it made $295 million worldwide, and almost every review I read called this one of the most genuine family films to come along in a while. That, combined with the fact that it was almost completely filmed in Michigan (with huge parts filmed in Ingham County!), has finally convinced me to look it up when it hits DVD this week. How about you?
Wednesday, January 25th– New Comic Book Day! – So, five months into the DC New 52 Reboot Of Everything That DC Readers Have Held Dear, how are we doing?
I know that many of you are sometimes interested in the nuts-and-bolts of these kind of projects. Not just the national sales information that you can pull from press releases and other types of websites, but what it has really meant for your own LCS (local comic shop).
Well, I’ll tell you, the news is pretty good. Sales on our top-tier DC titles, such as Batman, Superman, Justice League, Green Lantern, etc. is up – way up. In most cases on those titles, over 100%. But the most encouraging news is on the “mid-tier” stuff – titles like Teen Titans, Aquaman, Detective Comics, Flash, stuff like that. Those numbers are also significantly up, by about the same ballpark ratio, and are holding steady.
Some of the lower-end titles are similar to what we saw before from DC – we’re down to mostly ordering for subscribers, and maybe a copy or two for the shelf. But it looks like DC doesn’t plan to sit on its hands long with its new universe, as they have already canceled 6 titles, and announced 6 more to take their place. It appears that they will stay with the 52 number for ongoing titles, and keep any other new offerings to 1-shots or mini-series.
So, the verdict so far is – pretty good. We saw a lot of new faces in September, as well as some faces that we just hadn’t seen in a long time, and we added a lot of new subscribers. The DC relaunch has been good to us, and as the popularity rolls along this week with the release of Justice League #5, I can’t help but wonder to myself – with sales on many of their core titles flagging, how long before Marvel starts talking about a similar move?
Wednesday, January 25th– 6pm & 7:30pm – D&D Encounters –We’re officially into Season Six of Encounters!! A new format of play for D&D that has really been a hit, the Encounters experience allows you to essentially “drop in” on Wednesday nights for a quick, one-hour D&D encounter that is not part of a sequential story. In other words, you don’t need to worry if you can’t make it every week, because the experience is setup in a way that whoever shows up each week will not need to have participated in anything prior. If you participate regularly, you can bring back the same character that you begin with since week 1, but character progress is well-paced enough so that you can show up for the first time in week 7 and not be totally outclassed with your brand new character. Each Encounters season lasts 13 weeks, and is supported by our RPG Reward Points program. You can also read more about the Encounters program here, on D&D’s official website.
Wednesday, January 25th – 9pm – New TV: Touch – Two big television icons of the 2000’s return to TV tonight as producer Tim Kring (Heroes) & actor Kiefer Sutherland (24) are back on the boob tube with this new series on NBC. Kring’s Heroes made a huge superhero splash when it debuted its first season, but slowly trailed off – and Sutherland obviously has a huge success under his belt with the eight-season 24. Really looking forward to seeing what they bring us this time – check out the trailer and a short write-up here.
Thursday, January 26th – 6:30pm – Magic the Gathering Standard tournament – We run fully sanctioned Standard tournaments for Magic every week, starting around 6:30pm. We also support these tournaments with great prize support using our Magic Reward Points program. Of course, for these tournaments to be sanctioned, we need 8 participants – most of the time, that’s no problem, but sometimes during college finals or bad weather, it can be a stretch, so make sure you call around and get your friends to come with you! Looking forward now to the next set, Dark Ascension, due at the end of January (PRE RELEASE TOURNAMENT IS ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 29TH!). Make sure you come in and trade in the cards you’re not using anymore and get ready to pick up a box or two of the next set! Check out our current stock online, and figure out which cards we’re taking in.
Saturday, January 28th – 10:30am – Heroclix tournament – Every Saturday at 10:30am, the longest-running game at Clem’s gathers, the time for Heroclix. Ever since this game released, we have had a sure and steady cast of players, and it shows in our weekly turnout. We’ve hosted pre-release tournaments, marquees for every set, special tournaments for promos and big-figure sets… and the best is yet to come!! Typically, though, every Saturday is a constructed tournament, with details being released on our message boards usually within 5 days of the next tournament. The tournaments are all in good fun, and are supported by prize support from the game’s manufacturer, Wizkids, who send us limited-edition figures to give away each and every Saturday. The new Incredible Hulk set, plus the Halo, Street Fighter & Gears of War sets are all fair game for these!
Sunday, January 22nd – Noon – Magic the Gathering PRE-RELEASE tournament – It’s here! The second set in the immensely popular “Innistrad” block, our pre-release is set for noon this Sunday. The first (and primary) tournament will cost $25 (with which you get 6 sealed boosters) and be a Swiss-format tournament, the number of rounds played will depend on attendance.
Sunday, January 29th – NO LFR – Yeah, unfortunately, due to the awesomeness of the above Magic pre-release tournament, there is no D&D Living Forgotten Realms game at the store this week. Sorry bout that.