The weather warms up, the birds are in the trees, the baseball players will soon be coming north. What a great time to be alive! – especially when you consider that we’ve got another great lineup of comic books coming in this week, some great new board games on the shelf… and about 28 of our customers are going to be getting a free comic book this week, courtesy of my TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE picks in our March Madness contest this year. Oh well, sometimes you’re the steamroller, and sometimes you’re the pavement, right?
Wednesday, March 28th – New Comic Book Day! – This is actually the first of TWO weeks in a row that you’re going to be reading about Avengers Vs X-Men. The #0 issue hits this week, and #1 is due next week – we’re even throwing a party for that one, next Tuesday. It’s a bit of a big deal.
WHY is this such a big deal? Well, simply put, Marvel’s got a lot on the line here. The last time they produced a universe-wide “event comic”, it was Fear Itself, and the overall returns and reader interest were not very enthusiastic. On top of that, they’ve just come through a fiscal year that saw their publishing rivals, DC comics, undertake the enormous task of re-launching their entire line of comics, with great success: DC hasn’t taken away this much market-share from Marvel in a long, long time – decades, perhaps. So this is a crucial moment for Marvel to strike back.
The early signs are promising: heavily subsidized with incentives, retailers have now ordered MORE of Avengers Vs X-Men #1 than they did of the first print of Justice League #1, indicating a big launch week next week. And the buzz around this #0 issue has been strong, with Jason Aaron and Brian Michael Bendis being assisted by Frank Cho on artwork. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read up on all of this, you can check out two other posts on our website: the first explains the storylines leading into this event, and the second explains how we’re promoting it – with a PARTY and a CONTEST where you can win big $$ by guessing the winners of many of the Avengers Vs X-Men fights!
Wednesday, March 28th – 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.
Thursday, March 29th – 6:30pm – Magic the Gathering Standard tournament – Dark Ascension is here!! We run fully sanctioned Standard tournaments for Magic every week, starting around 6:30pm, and you can now incorporate some Dark Ascension cards into your deck. 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! 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.
Friday, March 30th – On This Day – Jeopardy debut on NBC – 1964 – Did you know that the TV show Jeopardy premiered in 1964? I didn’t either, and I was even more surprised to learn that the show actually ran as a DAYTIME show for its first decade-plus on the air. There was about a five-year window where it wasn’t airing, between 1979-1984, when it returned under the familiar guidance of Alec Trebek. Since then it has spawned board games, video games, Saturday Night Live sketches, and the best Weird Al song of all time.
What I found the most interesting in the Wikipedia article, though, was that Sony owns the rights to DVD distribution, but so far has only release a 5-episode “greatest shows” compilation. I wonder if there are die-hard trivia nuts out there that would actually pay for full DVD seasons of a game show. Probably – but probably not enough to merit the DVD production investment.
Saturday, March 31st – 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, April 1st – April Fool’s Day – April Fool’s Day is a big day for our store. We start out the day with special guest appearances by Steven Spielberg, President Obama, and the ghost of Yoda (please, no photography)… you’ll definitely want to stop in for an autograph, but you may also be interested in our special 100%-off sale from 10am to 2pm, which then advances into an even greater NEGATIVE 100% off sale, in which we pay YOU the cost of the item you’re interested in, just to take it off your hands. We’re also giving away five all-expenses-paid trips to Las Vegas for door prizes, and a raffle drawing to win a 10-year, $100-million dollar contract to be the batboy for the Detroit Tigers. So, you know, if you’re nearby, stop by that day, some cool stuff going on, but nothing you really need to go out of your way for.**
Sunday, April 1st – New Television – Spider-Man has gone through many, many animated versions on the boob tube since 1967, and most of them met with middling success – the last two, for example, lasted only one season and two seasons, respectively. Even with a fan favorite like Neil Patrick Harris voicing the webslinger, Spider-Man’s great power did not translate to great TV ratings. So what’s a spider-bitten superhero to do to improve his Q-rating on television? Easy answer, kids! Kick back the licensing rights from Sony to Marvel for greater creative control and financial stabilization!
So here we are again, and this time it’s called “Ultimate Spider-Man”, and it’s airing on Disney XD starting this Sunday at 11am ( to be followed by the second-season premiere of the also-animated “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”). What will be the formula to make this one work? Well, for one, as we said, Marvel owns it and is calling the shots. I think the success of the Marvel movies since Iron Man first premiered, has demonstrated that these properties are probably best managed by the company that owns them. Second, the show is being written by Brian Michael Bendis (who also writes the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book) and Paul Dini, two creative names that comic book readers will recognize and appreciate. Worth your time? DVR the first couple episodes this weekend and let us know! Or watch the trailer here!
Also of note to geek culture – the second season premiere of Game of Thrones is ALSO this Sunday, at 9pm on HBO. And if you haven’t had a chance to watch this Emmy-nominated show, I highly recommend checking out the HBO GO app on your Android or I-Thingy devices to watch the first season. Plus, the app is coming this week to the X-Box as well!
Monday, April 2nd – 6:00 pm – Crossroads Church board game club – Crossroads is a new non-denominational church that recently moved to downtown Lansing, actually, just around the corner from us! I spoke with Noah, the preacher / organizer for their organization and he wanted our customers to know that they have a pretty large gathering of people to play board games once a month at the Grand Traverse Pie Company, also right down the block from us (corner of Allegan and S Washington). So if you want to check that out, head down there on Monday at 6:30pm (they recently moved it from Thursday nights). You’ll probably even see some Clem’s demo games down there! They have a website, and a page for their Board Game night, here.
** Please note that everything written in this denoted paragraph is complete and utter fiction. Nice try, freebie-breath.