"RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM"
Saturday, May 7, 2011 marked another Free Comic Book Day and the first one in the newly revamped store. We were gonna use this space a lot on this day as you will see. This was gonna be our biggest blow out yet. Attendance was at it's highest since we started doing Free Comic Book Day. We had our normal coverage from the Times Union which was always working to get new people in the door to check out the free goodies and to help the local Salvation Army. I believe we started hitting 500 regularly this year.
I brought in as much help as I could for this event as I had a feeling it was gonna be a busy what with Free Comic Book Day being paired with another event. That other event is coming up below. The Free Comics this day were: Kung Fu Panda, Richie Rich, Mouse Guard, Dark Crystal, Archie, Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, Avatar, Star Wars Clone Wars, Green Lantern, Locke & Key, Amazing Spider-man, Smurfs, Super Dinosaur, Sonic, Simpsons, Young Justice, Mickey Mouse, Overstreet, Captain America/Thor, Magic The Gathering and more.
Also this day, Wizards of the Coast thought it would be a good idea to hold the Prerelease for New Phyrexia for some reason. This made for a rough day to do both events together, but we made it work thankfully with all the new space we had recently acquired. We set up an island where our video game strategy guides had been and used the Magic gaming tables set up behind our Free Comic Book Day display. It was a tight fit, but we made it work.
Now as with previous years, this Free Comic Book Day was paired with a movie again. This time around it was the first outing for Chris Hemsworth as Thor. After the long day we had this had become a tradition to go see the new comic book movie with anyone who helped out would. We usually would have a pretty good size group together for these movies.
We also held a costume contest for our customers this year at Free Comic Book Day. We took pictures of anyone who wanted to be a part of it to be posted on Facebook so that our online community could vote on who would win. Entrants had to agree to have their pictures posted online to be counted in the contest. We had a children's category and a teen to adult category. Too much time has passed for me to remember who won but here are the pictures we have of the entries.
Also in May, DC had a big event planned. Flashpoint had begun. Written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Andy Kubert, Flash decides to race back in time to undo his mother's murder. This creates an alternate timeline called Flashpoint where Barry has never become Flash. There has never been a Flash at all. Bruce Wayne didn't lose his parents. Instead his parents lost him and Thomas became Batman. Wonder Woman and Aquaman were in the middle of a war between Atlantis and Themiscyria. Upon realizing how worse off the world has become because of this, Flash knows he needs to get his powers back and reverse what he had done. To do this he contacts Thomas Wayne to get help to fix this. He convinces Thomas to help by telling him that Bruce will be alive when things go back to normal. The Reverse Flash plays a major role in this but I won't ruin that for you if you haven't read it yet.
August 2011 marked the release of Ultimate Fallout #4. This was the first appearance of Miles Morales Spider-man after the Ultimate version of Peter Parker was killed off. His legacy affected Miles and inspired him to take on the mantle after he was also bit by a radioactive spider. This was the first time Spider-man wasn't Peter or a clone. Miles has become such a popular character today that this story had long lasting impact.
In September 2011, Magic's newest block had begun. Innistrad had a gothic horror feel to it with all of the vampires and werewolves that were in it. It also would produce one of the most popular planeswalker cards: Liliana of the Veil. This set did very well for us and still to this day the singles from this set are sought after.
September 2011 was a scary time to be a comic book retailer. DC Comics had decided to redo the entire line of books. After Flashpoint, we found out that Barry was not able to completely fix his mistake. Most everything went back to normal but things did get changed. Now instead of having normal runs of series, we were starting over. There were 52 new titles all starting at #1 this month. Some of them were replacing titles we had before but most were completely new. This was scary as we had to guess how many of these books were going to sell AND hope that our long time readers didn't drop titles. Every jumping on point is also an opportunity to jump off. Fortunately, DC went heavy on the advertising for this and created a bunch of buzz. This turned out to be a good thing for sales. Books were getting reprints left and right and quite a few customers wanted to try all 52 of the new books. The biggest hits of these were the Batman books, Justice League, all Green Lantern books (as it continued Geoff Johns' run) and there were some surprising ones like Swamp Thing.
After Peter Laird sold the remaining rights (since Kevin Eastman sold his to Peter years prior) to Nickelodeon, IDW got the rights for a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Now at this time, the licensed comics from IDW were not the best and put some worry into consumers that they might drop the ball on this title. Also in September, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 5 #1 was released. This time, IDW hired Kevin Eastman to helm the title. Kevin pulled some of the best ideas from all of TMNT lore. He took ideas from the original Mirage run, the 1980s cartoon, the 2003 cartoon and more and meshed them together in a very cohesive way. It worked amazingly. He did change a couple of things that weren't very popular with long time TMNT fans, but fortunately they weren't dwelled on. If you have been a TMNT fan of any of the forms, I highly recommend this title. It is very well done and has been a mainstay on our shelves here as it has earned it's spot.
November11, 2011 marked the release of the third and final Magic the Gathering Premium deck: Graveborn. As with all of the previous premium decks, this one flopped for us as well. We at Chimp's have always tried to carry all of the Magic the Gathering product that get's release, but after three in a row of these bombing for us, we had to start to be a tad more selective. We still try to carry the majority but there is the occasional item that we opt not to carry based on customer demand. Graveborn as well had to be discounted at a later date to sell through.
Now in this same year, we tried another customer rewards program. Based on your regular purchases of comic books, you would earn one of these for every $100 spent. This would count for free back issues, dollar bin comics, 50 cent bin comics, sets and autographs up to $10 or to be used as $10 off. The idea behind this was hoping people would dig and get big stacks of books to clear up space for us or that it would be used as $10 off. That was my goal at least. It didn't go that way. Instead it was mainly used on old Silver Age or Key books and almost always used for books equaling $10. So we were moving our most sought after books for free which was great for the customer, but for our back issues would thin out our best sellers. We had to get rid of this promo too as it was hurting the business more than helping it. It wasn't increasing sales and was just seeming to be giving out free product again. Each time a "customer rewards system" is created, it is always the hope to increase business. When it doesn't do that, it is time to move on.
January 1, 2012 Marvel releases the "final" issue of Amazing Spider-man #700. This issue was marketed as the final issue but we all know that Marvel restarts books at #1 and when it gets close to a monumental number, they revert back to legacy numbering which is what they did with this series. The premise behind this issue was that Peter Parker was going to die. Which kind of happened and kind of didn't. Instead, Doctor Octopus died but not before he could do a "Freaky Friday" body swap with Peter. So when Doc Ock died, Peter went with him and since Spider-man lived, Peter's body was now inhabited by Otto Octavius. This would lead into the new Superior Spider-man series where Doc Ock said he would prove how Peter could be a better Spider-man and scientist but in the first few issues, he started to have another consciousness (like a ghost) in his head. Peter Parker.
Now in 2012, DC decided to do something very controversial. They went back to the well of Watchmen and did stories that take place "Before Watchmen". Alan Moore is quoted as being very upset about this as he felt that he created these characters and others shouldn't use them The catch is each of these characters is a spin off of the Charlton Comics characters that DC had purchased many years before and his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen title uses characters who are in free public domain. So Alan Moore is upset that they are using his characters that they own the rights to and yet some of his most famous work is using characters or ideas others came up with. The original rights to Watchmen were supposed to revert to Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore at any point that Watchmen goes out of print. DC never lets Watchmen go out of print. This entire thing is why it was controversial.
Now the talent that DC hired to do these books were all superstars of the industry at the time and huge fans of Watchmen. You could tell each and every one of these titles was a labor of love for everyone involved in them. From Amanda Conner's 9 panel layouts to the chronology of these, they were all a great example of when the talent loves the product they are working on you will get superb content. If you are a Watchmen fan and have never read these, I highly recommend them. They don't change anything that happens in Watchmen. Instead they just add some more history to the characters and lets you get to see them in their universe before events of the original Watchmen. It is enjoyable to see more origin stories, cases and character development. It just made me appreciate these characters a lot more and I hope if you give them a try you will agree.
April 2012 marked another pivotal moment in the History of Chimp's. After 14 years of working 2 jobs I made the scary move to work at Chimp's Comix full time and discontinue working at The Papers. We now would open up at 1 pm instead of 4 pm. I would use the extra hours in the morning to keep up with video game testing, taking care of shipments and restocking. This was a scary thing to me as for the first time since I purchased Chimp's, I was working without the safety net of another income. Fortunately, luck was with me and my dream could come true.
End Part 12...