Do you read Bleeding Cool? The popular website serves as the definitive rumor-mill for the comic industry – no matter what you think of Rich Johnston, the founder and primary writer for Bleeding Cool (formerly “Lying in the Gutters”) is almost ALWAYS ahead of the curve on new rumored projects, creator movements between companies, price increases, the ongoing battles over issues like digital comics and creator rights… and it probably gets about 25 updates a day. Whether you appreciate rumor-mongering or not, Rich’s “rumors” inevitably turn into fact within a few weeks or months.
Last week, Bleeding Cool attempted something new. While many creators and publishers have been trying to make a successful transition from print to digital, Bleeding Cool went the other direction, producing a print version of its online site. The #0 issue, which arrived last week, is a precursor to a full-blown monthly Bleeding Cool print magazine, and one cool quality of this magazine is that it is shaped and presented like a comic book – so it’s a format you’re used to. The #0 issue cost $1.25 – but not FOR CLEM’S CUSTOMERS!
No, sir – this week, if you buy a copy of Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre (and let’s be honest, you were going to buy it anyway!), you’ll get a FREE copy of Bleeding Cool #0, while supplies last. And maybe even while they don’t last – we can order you a free copy if we’re out when you pick up your Spectre, and you ask us to get it for you. Happy to do it. Pleased as punch. Because we actually think that this Bleeding Cool #0 issue was everything Wizard wasn’t – an unblemished, unbiased look at the comics industry that doesn’t simply cheerlead for Marvel and DC, but gives you some news and rumors that you can do something about and make purchasing decisions with.
Wednesday, June 13th – New Comic Book Day! – The walls between Marvel’s regular comic-book universe (often dubbed the “616”, another comic book influence of Alan Moore), and their Ultimate universe of comic books have always been completely solid. The Ultimate line of books was an alternate-reality series of titles that launched in 2001 with Ultimate Spider-Man, and Marvel envisioned it as a completely different universe of stories, where could they do things that they couldn’t do in the 616 – like killing off Spider-Man or Cyclops, for example.
Those walls are being completely obliterated this week, in a couple of different ways, but the biggest story is the launch of Spider-Men, a mini-series from Brian Michael Bendis, who has been writing the Ultimate Spider-Man tales from the very start. This mini-series will bring the still-breathing Peter Parker of the 616 into contact with Miles Morales, the controversial Spider-Man of the Ultimate-verse. What will happen after that is really anybody’s guess. Will this lead to more crossovers between the two universes, or is this a one-off stunt? The story will apparently have ramifications for both characters that will continue on for them after the mini-series is over. There are a lot of possibilities – DC has maintained some sort of co-existent “Earths” as a part of its storytelling for many decades, with crossovers taking place intermittently, and this might line up as the same sort of thing for Marvel.
The other instance in which these worlds are coming together this week is a little more subtle, but just as rare. Brian Wood is taking over as the new writer on TWO different Marvel series this week, one in the 616, and the other in the Ultimate universe. Wood is the new scribe on both X-Men (#30 this week) and Ultimate Comics X-Men (#13), which makes him the first writer with a foot in both X-Men realities, since Chuck Austen briefly did it last decade. Hmm, the timing of it all – another cross-universe story building there?
Speaking of Brian Wood, who has built a huge fanbase with his writing abilities on books like Northlanders and DMZ for Vertigo Comics, he has a new original property launching this week with Dark Horse called The Massive. It’s referred to as a “post-crash” book, maybe something of a post-apocalyptic storyline, in which Wood is able to take a society we used to be familiar with and re-craft it (perhaps similar to what he did with DMZ). One great thing about Wood’s creator-owned books is that he always has an endgame in mind – Northlanders and DMZ both reached satisfying conclusions, and Wood has a 30-issue plot in his head for The Massive, if sales allow the series to go that far. Let’s get him off to a good start this week!
Wednesday, June 13th – 6pm & 7:30pm – D&D Encounters – We’re officially into Season Seven 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, June 13th – 9pm – New TV: Dallas – So my mom used to watch Dallas. It was the flagship TV drama of its day (unless you want to argue Dynasty – let’s not open up THAT can of worms). Me, I never looked at it – I was too busy watching The Cosby Show and Family Ties. But now that I’ve aged a little – only a little – and have a greater appreciation for TV dramas, I can see the attraction of Dallas. When you look at the primetime television schedule, it’s still dominated by lawyers, doctors & cops. Network executives try something new when they can, but since lawyers, doctors & cops can pretty reliably pay the bills, they always drift back to those shows to fill the slate. So something like Dallas, a family drama about big oil, greed & betrayal, if executed well, comes off as a breath of fresh air. The Sopranos. Lost. The Walking Dead. These stick out to us because they were huge, well-written dramas that veered off the beaten path.
Now, the question is, will people like me, in their 20’s & 30’s, who have a minimal connection to the Dallas show of last century – will we show up to watch a relaunch? They’ve got Larry Hagman on there to bridge the gap from the old show to the new, and to get my mom and her ilk to tune in. But will I tune in? Will the key 18-39 demographic tune in? I’m extremely curious to find out. And to be truthful – yes, I will. But on my DVR.
Thursday, June 14th – 6:30pm – Magic the Gathering Standard tournament – Avacyn Restored 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, June 15th – New Movies : Rock of Ages – One thing you have to appreciate about Tom Cruise is the variety of roles he’s tried out. Think about the character he’s played in these movies – Mission Impossible, The Last Samurai, Collateral, Tropic Thunder, Rain Man. He’s demonstrated some range, and that range looks like it will get even wider this weekend with the release of Rock of Ages. I’ve never, NEVER, been able to picture Cruise as the Axl Rose character, but as the lead singer in a hair band, he even landed Bret Michaels’ seal of approval for the job he did in Rock of Ages. That’s high praise. What, Tommy Lee wasn’t available for comment?
But to continue the theme of “Hollywood Stars you might not expect to see wearing leather pants”, you can add Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston & Russell Brand to the cast listing for this movie that should be a lot of fun. Yeah, I get that you don’t WANT to see Russell Brand in leather pants, but go check it out anyway.
Saturday, June 16th – 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 Galactic Guardians sets are in-stock, and you can use those figures in our tournaments! Plus the new “Avengers Movie” Heroclix – there’s a lot of fresh figures around here lately, making our Saturdays even more creative. Plus, if you’ve entered our Supremacy League (or if you would like to), you can usually get in a few of those games on a Saturday here too.
Sunday, June 17th – 7pm – Wharton Center: Bill Maher – I completely missed the fact that Jerry Seinfeld was performing at the Wharton Center this spring (he was there in May), but if you enjoy seeing big-name comics coming into our nice little capital town, Bill Maher isn’t a bad alternative. If you lean left with your politics, you’ll find him hilarious, and if you lean right with your politics – well, we have a fantastic Farmers Market here in Lansing where you can pick up some fresh eggs.