"A KIND OF MAGIC"
October 3, 2008 marked the release of the beginning of the Shards block. Shards of Alara was released. This block was still down in slumps of sales for us but by the end of the block Wizards of the Coast release the Alara Premium Packs which was the first of it's kind. A booster pack filled with only foils from the entire block. This was a very interesting idea that I wish Wizards would do again, but instead we get Collector Booster Packs. It's similar but not quite as interesting to me. Sales of even the premium booster had been slow. We had to put these on discount on Black Friday and on just to clear them out. But today, I think they would be pretty fun to open again.
November 2008, the Ultimate Universe was in dire straights. It was time for it's first and main crossover event. The Ultimate Universe was undergoing a huge cataclysmic event that would kill off numerous characters in the line. The titles Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four were cancelled at the end of this event. This was going to set the stage for the last few years of the Ultimate Universe and definitely affected the sales for Chimp's Comix.
January 2009, Marvel released it's aftermath of Secret Invasion called Dark Avengers. This set up the villains as heroes. Norman Osborne became Iron Patriot (Red, White and Blue Iron Man Suit) and the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and he created his Dark Avengers. Villains dressed up as heroes with the current Venom (Mac Gargan) as black suit Spider-man, Bullseye as Hawkeye and Daken as Wolverine. They would portray heroes in the public eye but behind the scenes were still doing some sinister schemes. This of course would set the stage for the next big Marvel Event called Siege where the real heroes would come back and reclaim their names and reveal these villains for who they truly were. There are a lot of rumors that the MCU is heading the direction of doing New Avengers, Secret Invasion and Dark Avengers.
May 2, 2009 marked another Free Comic Book Day. This year it was matched with a movie release that is sadly pretty forgettable. X-Men Origins Wolverine released this weekend too. This movie was met with mostly regret. It was highly looked forward too, but the way the movie treated Gambit and Deadpool upset many fans. To the point that Deadpool became such a joke that it still gets made fun of in current Deadpool movies. The special effects were very subpar as Wolverine's claws didn't even look as good as the first X-Men movie. After Free Comic Book Day ended, myself, the volunteers and my friends went to see this movie. This was the first time I seriously considered walking out of a movie. But we are here to talk about Free Comic Book Day and the movie that was released with it so we will move onto the event. Free Comic Book Day was another success. Growing again over the previous year with donations and attendees. The Free Comics this year were: Archie, Simpsons, Cars, Star Wars Clone Wars, Blackest Night, Transformers Animated, Savage Dragon, Avengers, Resurrection, Shonen Jump, Worlds of Aspen, Dabel Brothers Showcase, Aliens Vs Predator, Impact University, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 from Mirage, Cyberforce, DC Mega Sampler, Wolverine and more.
June 15, 2009 marks when I joined social media with Facebook. It has a bit of a learning curve to try to get your posts seen but I believe we have been working on it. There is many social media websites out there right now, but we find currently that we get the most coverage here. That may change someday as technology changes over the years to come. If you don't already follow us on Facebook, make sure to do so as that is where we do most of our updates on sales, new products and such. https://www.facebook.com/chimpscomix
July 15, 2009, Blackest Night #1 released. This was the third part of Geoff Johns trilogy and was originally expected to be Geoff Johns last story. We of course were treated to 4 more years of Geoff's writing. This story is probably one of the most requested Green Lantern stories in the store. Zombie Lanterns? What's not to like? This did come out at the highest point of zombie books. Zombie comics were coming out so frequently at this point that it felt played out. Fortunately, this was not just Zombie Lanterns. It was much deeper and played off of the previous 5 years of Geoff Johns' run. It used all of the spectrum (ROYGBIV) and black and white. Black Lanterns were the undead characters and when the White Lanterns showed up it was about bringing characters back from the dead. This is a very good story, but honestly like previously said, you should read all of Geoff's run to give this the full impact that it had on comics. Geoff's 9 year run is amazing. I know I've said it before, but I will always say that this is a run that you should read all to enjoy it to it's fullest. You wouldn't start watching the MCU with Avengers Infinity War, you would build up to it starting with Iron Man. This is the same idea.
August 22, 2009 marked another day that we at Chimp's Comix needed to close. It was Roy's wedding day. Spore and I were again groomsmen in a large group. If you notice, there is one picture showing again how the groom CAN NOT have any Ice Cream Sandwiches. All 8 of the groomsmen (in the picture) Ice Cream Sandwiches around Roy who couldn't have one. It would break tradition. One of the other groomsmen tried to give him one and I said "NO". This is a long running tradition for us so we couldn't have that ;). Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Roy & Kailea Peachey.
September, 2009 marked the release of the original Zendikar set. This was the set of Magic: the Gathering that started to increase our sales back to kind of normal. For the past few years (since Lorwyn), sales and attendance had been at an all time low. Creating paranoia the the game was going to end. Zendikar changed all of that. This set introduced Sorin Markov the Planeswalker along with lots of good useful vampire cards. It also brought in the other five fetch lands into the Magic. These five fetch lands would become the most valuable and sought after versions of fetch lands around. So many good cards that this block was a huge hit and gave Magic the boom that it needed locally to get customers back in the door playing MTG. This was definitely the moment Magic needed to get back up and running. This would mark a long running increase in sales, customers and attendance to Friday Night Magic. Such a great set with so many great cards. This was the set that helped me lose the paranoia of Magic ending.
In November 2009, Wizards of the Coast released the first of a new line of product. After the failed attempt of the Premium Alara Booster packs, WOTC made it's first in the line of the premium deck series: Slivers. This came out at a retail of $30 per deck. The deck was a Slivers deck all in premium format foil. It was a great idea but for Chimp's, it didn't sell that well. We had these for quite a while and discounted them a few times to sell out. Looking back now, I do wish I had held onto a few of them sealed. I had to sell them almost at cost by the end just to not lose money on them. This was after Zendikar started to raise sales yet this item flew under the radar of our clientele.
Now shortly before this time, we started to deal in used DVDs and Blu Ray discs. We also started to deal in 3rd party new video game accessories such as controllers and hookups as finding enough originals to keep on hand was getting difficult. Our inventory grew so fast with this. Video Games were bursting at the seems and we had to add shelves by the short "Magic" wall to display DVDs and more shelves in between the back issue tables for more of them. We had a CRT TV set up for customers to play test games before they bought them. Most customers did not take advantage of this. Our trade paperback (graphic novels) section had blown up in size and we had to put bookshelves in from of the windows to discourage break ins and to fit all of the books. It had gotten a tad dark in the store and we were filling it to the brim with inventory. We had set up a Clearance table in the front of the store for products that we had been sitting on for awhile. It was becoming obvious that we were running out of space. We had purchased some used glass display cases a few years earlier to replace the wood display cases you had seen in previous posts and those were full. The wire racks we added in front of the "Magic" wall was full. The racks we added in between the comic tables were full. The comic back issue tables were full on the top and the bottom. And our seating for Friday Night Magic was limited. We were clearly needing more space.
January 2010, the fallout of many years of Marvel stories comes to its final chapter. New Avengers, Illuminati, Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, House of M, Civil War, Avengers Disassembled, Thor Ragnarok, Secret Invasion, Dark Avengers and more have let to this moment. Norman Osborn declares war on New Asgard (now located in the USA) and brings his Dark Avengers in to sieze it. The real Avengers show up to put a stop to this and help Thor protect his people. The Sentry goes crazy in this story and tries to take over everything himself. By the end of this story, we return to the Dark Avengers being outed as the villains they truly were and the real Avengers coming back to the limelight. This series definitely felt like the last hurrah of Bendis' huge Avengers run and was a nice endcap to it before he eventually moved onto the X-Books.
So like with the Kick-Ass contest that Mark Millar ran and we were in (which was in more than just that title, we ended up getting in following Kick-Ass books too), he decided to do another one for War Heroes. We were in that series as well. He followed that with one for Superior. Only this time it wasn't for a listing in the back, it was for a full page ad. I found out about this opportunity when issue #1 came out and I saw it in the back. I decided to give it a try and submitted my ad.
Lo and behold WE WON!!!!! He never let anyone know ahead of time who would win so when I was unboxing issue #2 (yes issue #2), I flipped right to the back and saw my ad! This was super exciting as being a small store, I could never afford an ad like this. Also growing up I had always kind of wanted to draw comics or run a store. I got one of these and with this ad I also had my art published as I hand drew the Chimp on the logo! Bucket List item achieved. Now the series did start to have some delays and not every issue had an ad from the contest. I think there may have been 1 more but I don't remember exactly. So winning this on such short notice is one of my favorite memories of something I had achieved.
November 19, 2010 Magic the Gathering released it's second Premium Foil Deck: Fire and Ice. This premium deck fell flat for us like the Slivers deck did. These were a really neat and fun idea but this hit at a time when we really didn't have foil collectors like we do now. Most people were just trying to play on a budget so the new shiny fancy item was usually looked over. Just like the Slivers, I had to discount these eventually just to sell out of them. And also like the Slivers, I wish I had kept at least a couple of them around.
January, 2011 another neighbor had moved out of our building and my landlord offered again to knock down the wall to let us expand again for yet another great rate. Now having been through this before, I knew what to expect and how long it should take. I looked at the limited space we had left and knew this space was needed. I took out some graph paper and drew up what the store would look like with the new size. Unlike last time where I just winged most of the set up, I measured out each and every item and laid them out on the graph paper. I wanted to make sure that the layout was going to work as I thought it would.
January 14, 2011 we began yet another expansion undertaking just 7 years after the last one. I felt that the last one was going to last us a long time, but I filled that one up. We once again began by condensing down as much of the store as we could before knocking down the wall on Friday morning. This time instead of hiring someone to help knock down the wall, we were tasked with doing it completely ourselves instead of just helping. We also unfortunately had to find our own way of disposing of the pieces of the wall as there wasn't a company hired to haul it away.
Also, instead of recarpeting the entire store (as that would be costly and was immensely time consuming), we tried to find a match for the color of the carpet used last time. We couldn't find an exact match but found one very close. Doing it this way saved us about 6 hours of time and allowed us to work around the carpeting crew instead of waiting on the entire store to be redone. With a project this big, every minute counts. We had to put new comic pages up on the new section of the wall that we had acquired. This still took a huge amount of time, but we knew what we were getting into this time.
We moved the Magic half wall over to the new wall and decided to wallpaper the other side. We used old Nintendo Power posters to cover that part of the wall. Since we had done this before, a lot of the actual work was just using our space accordingly to work around each other and set up, repainting a few spots, and organizing.
I ordered in new racks and three new black glass display cases that were delivered during construction. We had a few people putting these together while the rest of us were setting other things up and attaching the new racks up. Phil Hackworth was my handy man for the weekend who helped move the wood wall over to the new wall. I wanted to take the metal wire racks I ordered in and use them as a theft deterrent too. I had an idea of attaching them to the windows so that we could use them for product and swing them out like a door to change the posters behind them. I didn't know what would work the best for this but Phil figured something out that was able to support enough weight that one of us could almost hang on them and they weren't coming out.
Now don't get me wrong, we were still pulling days from around 10 am to midnight. On Sunday night we were so close to being done, but so many of my friends that were helping had to work the next day and people were dropping like flies. Starting around 3 in the afternoon we lost a couple and about every couple of hours after that we lost a couple more until it was just me and my mom trying to finish up. I knew it was asking a lot of everyone and don't get me wrong, I am forever grateful for what we could accomplish in such a short window. We were so close to finishing on Sunday, but this was not the case this time either.
Monday morning was another early start for me as I was down to the wire for the finishing touches. Restocking racks and display cases, cleaning and moving around some of the last pieces so that we could open up again at 4 pm (as we still had the shortened hours with my day job).
This new set up left us with room to grow again and the Magic gaming area was more roomy than it had been previously. This was another huge moment in the history of Chimp's Comix as we were finally growing in size to where I felt we could wow out of town customers with our inventory and hopefully the local ones too.
I want to personally thank each and every one of you who helped this become a reality:
In no specific order: Jason Spore Ryan and Laura Riggle Cindy Kelley Phil Hackworth
Roy and Kailea Peachey
Bruce and Leslie Andrews
If I have missed any of you, please shoot me a message and I'll get it fixed. This is all from memory almost 10 years later.
Thanks again for reading this and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Join our website Level Up! blog.
End Part 11...