Sunday, July 17, 2011

Magic 2012 Prerelease and Launch Party Events July

As we get set up for our weekend of crazy prerelease events, I thought I would take some time to post some bits and blurbs from the Magic 2012 Prerelease. We will begin with a Midnight event Saturday morning.  Many people get confused by this, which is why I will clarify it is Saturday morning and not Friday morning! So with that in mind, here is a list of our events we will run for the weekend:
  1. Midnight Saturday July 9: Sealed
  2. Noon Saturday July 9: Sealed
  3. 5:00pm Saturday July 9: Draft
  4. Noon Sunday July 10: Sealed
  5. 2:00pm Sunday July 10: Draft
  6. Open Play both days with the Intro Decks
We will have product and promo cards as long as they last.  We have had several average events for prereleases in the past at 60+ with several that have been over 100 players.  Magic has been a great game here and we have had many great players come through the store.

So we ended up with 74 for the midnight event and another 28 for the noon that day! With over 100 players doing sealed it was a great day.  We saw all the Planeswalkers during the course of the events and we even had one player pull 2 different ones in the midnight event Saturday.  Sundays events were much smaller, but it did bring the total number of players in all the events closer to 150 (counting all the drafts).

Launch Party we did a Draft and ended up with 29 players.  It was a great turn out on a Friday night for draft and so many players are now getting excited for the set.  I've now heard many players talking about combos and how the new cards will work in Standard.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #666

Coming in 2 weeks! Amazing Spider-Man #666 has a personalized cover with both store logos on the front! Limited copies will be available, ask for yours now!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DC in September - My Impressions

I didn't have a knee-jerk reaction when I first heard that DC might be relaunching their entire line in September. The comic industry has a history of reinventing itself; I.E. Marvel has launched and/or relaunched the Avengers title 4 times in the last 15 years. The Silver Age of DC was used to reinvent and create new characters following the Golden Age, etc. I wasn't overly concerned about the comics, but I was excited about DC for the first time in along while.

I was worried about how the customers of this store (and others) were going to take the news. I was not happy with how they rolled out the information, especially since it took a couple weeks before anyone got a definite answer on whether this was a fresh start (cold reboot, new continuity) or a soft relaunch (keep previous continuity). I had some questions.

In mid-June, DC Comics hosted a series of Retailer Roundtables across the country. I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon in NYC with other retailers, asking questions and getting answers from some of the top people working at DC.

My thoughts:

- Over half the time (the meeting went 3+ hours) was spent discussing the new titles and creative teams. There were half a dozen executives and VP's on hand to discuss the books. Dan Didio and Jim Lee answered all of the creative answers.

- Jim Lee might be the nicest guy in the entire industry. Funny observation: Retailers weren't afraid to ask Didio tough questions, but they softened their tone for Jim. Conclusion: No retailer ever wants to get on Jim Lee's bad side.

- Every one of the DC and Warner Brothers people were enthused about The New 52. There was definitely a feeling of passion and commitment. DC is going all-in on this, in every department across the board.

- Didio stressed how important timeliness was going to be on these books. Remember the old days, when you got a Superman and Batman book every week, the same week of every month? The old days are back. Dan Didio was asked several times about DC's newfound commitment toscheduling. He said, and I quote, "I was personally embarassed when 3 Green Lantern books all shipped the same week." They are focusing hard
on making sure books come out on time. Someone asked him "What happens if someone misses their deadline?" Without missing a beat, he responded, "Someone already has." [They're off the book]. You could've heard a pin drop in the room after that one.

- Speaking of continuity, I got some answers: Batman, Green Lantern and all the characters associated with Brightest Day are continuing what's going on in their books right now, more or less. I get the idea they might be tweaking a couple things in the Batman books (specifically with Tim, if the Teen Titans solicitations are any indications) but that's it. All the Green Lantern titles LITERALLY be taking place after the War of the Green Lantern Aftermath mini-series. Swamp Thing's book will come out of Brightest Day. Deadman will come out of Brightest Day.

- They're integrating some of the Wildstorm characters into the DCU. As a longtime WS fan, I'm not certain how I feel about that. Voodoo has never had her own book, and Ron Marz has been writing Witchblade forever, so that character is in pretty good hands.

- Superman and Justice League are getting cold reboots. I know this might cause some gnashing and wailing, but neither book has sold well. It makes sense that DC wants their strongest and best properties to regain the sales dominance they used to have. Superman is an icon, and is selling very poorly. Justice League sells good, but not great. Putting Grant Morisson, George Perez, Jim Lee and Geoff Johns on this books will change that fast.

- Graphic novel collections of The New 52 won't start until May 2012. Yes, it's really going to be that long before you see collections.

- DC released a video of the top creators and VP's talking about The New 52:


More soon.


DC in September - The New 52

We're getting a lot of questions about what DC Comics is doing in September with the 52 #1's: They're relaunching all the books?  They're rebooting them? Morpheus is taking over the Teen Titans? They're making Krypto the new Wonder Woman?

(Yes, No, Um, and waitwhatareyou-), respectively.

DC sent out a FAQ last week. Get the answers. Feast your eyes.



* Why do it?  There is a lot of speculation out there, are you "rebooting" the titles?

This is an epic and ambitious initiative that ushers in a new generation of comics for DC Comics and will set the tone for storylines and characters for years to come.  With all of the titles starting at #1, our creative teams have the ability to take a more modern approach - not only with each character, but with how the characters interact with one another and the universe as a whole, and focus on the earlier part of the careers of each of our iconic characters.  A time when they didn't have as much experience defeating all their nemeses.  A time when they weren't as sure of their abilities. A time when they haven't saved the world countless times. It's this period that is rich with creative opportunity as we show why these characters are so amazing, so iconic and so special.

We think fans will be excited by this approach and The New 52 will provide DC Entertainment an opportunity to aggressively reach the widest possible audience worldwide, through captivating stories and an accessible entry point.  We see great opportunities to tell new, contemporary, cutting edge stories building off the best known, classic stories that make up each of the title's back histories.

* DC Comics has had a number of reboots, what makes this one different?

This is not a reboot, it's a launch.  This is a historic initiative for DC Entertainment and the DC Comics characters - and a first in the company's publishing history. This next era of DC Comics characters will see 52 all-new #1 issues of its super hero titles at the same time AND same-day digital across the board. In addition to the number changes, our talented creative teams are working behind the scenes to create compelling storylines and new costume designs for many of our iconic DC Comics characters.

* Why not call it a reboot?

It's not a reboot.  A reboot is typically a restart of the story or character that jettisons away everything that happened previously.

This is a new beginning which builds off the best of the past.  For the stories launching as new #1s in September, we have carefully hand-selected the most powerful and pertinent moments in these characters' lives and stories to remain in the mythology and lore.  And then we've asked the best creators in the industry to modernize, update and enhance the books with new and exciting tales.  The result is that we retained the good stuff, and then make it better.

* Does The New 52 undo events or continuity that I've been reading?

Some yes, some no.  But many of the great stories remain.  For example - Batgirl.  The Killing Joke still happened and she was Oracle.  Now she will go through physical rehabilitation and become a more seasoned and nuanced character because she had these incredible and diverse experiences.

* So will all titles be entry points or will you need to know back-story for some?

Each title will read as a #1 issue that will make jumping into the story extremely accessible for all types of readers. The stories are designed in a way that new fans will be able to pick up a book and immediately be drawn into the story, while at the same time existing fans will be engrossed by the new and epic moments that take place.

* Do the new #1s mean that the previous stories didn't take place?

Our creative teams have a firm understanding of the storied heritage of characters and titles. The new #1 issues will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse universe of DC Comics characters, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character's legend - but will map to real world situations, interactions, tragedies and triumphs.

Overall, DC Entertainment is focused on putting out the most innovative storylines, featuring the most iconic characters, created by the most creative minds within the industry.

* Might you just introduce a new DC "Ultimate" line and give it the spotlight for a few months, then have the opportunity to bring back the other continuity? Will this all be put back to "normal" after a few months?

No - this is the new universe of DC Comics characters.  This is an epic and ambitious initiative that ushers in the next era of the DC Comics characters and will set the tone for storylines and characters for years to come.  This is not an "event," because events expire.

* Why are you changing the costumes?

DC Entertainment is led by some of the biggest fans of comics out there. We know that if Geoff and Jim are excited about the stories and artwork, we're on to something big.  While there may be some naysayers, when we thought about starting the entire DC Comics universe line of comics with #1/first issues we looked at the benefits for the long haul, not just a year or two.  Our goal is to create a watershed moment for DC Entertainment - and the industry as a whole - where fans will remember this as a time of innovation while maintaining DC Entertainment's commitment to creating entertaining and masterfully created stories.

* Do you not care about your company's history? If you do this right, what do you want your legacy to be 75 years from now?

The legacy of DC Entertainment, and DC Comics before it, is based on the creativity of our editors and our creative talent, and our commitment to the best storytelling possible.  DC has always been about character development and growth.

Take Batman for example.  In the early days he was a vigilante who brandished a gun.  Then he morphed into a whimsical character and then in the 1960's he became more of the gritty, grim avenger of the night.  We can all agree that we are glad Batman evolved.

Our goal is to create a watershed moment for DC Entertainment - and the industry as a whole - where fans will remember this as a time of innovation while maintaining DC Entertainment's commitment to creating entertaining and masterfully created stories.

* Specifically why end Action and Detective before they reach their 1,000th issues? Action Comics is the longest running American comic book, followed closely by Detective Comics, the company's namesake. Isn't renumbering these series actually a retreat from the love of "comics as comics"?

Our Co-Publishers and editors thought long and hard about this.  It was an extremely important decision that was not taken lightly.  But executing this unprecedented event meant taking creative risks on every level and pushing forward with big, new ideas.  A partial renumbering would not have had the impact we needed to showcase the amazing changes and direction we have planned for the new DC Comics universe of characters.  Counting issue numbers is focusing on the past, not the future.

* Can this event fix/undo an event I don't like from the past?/ Can this event bring back a character from the past that I miss?/ Does this event change the status of (insert pretty much any character here)? What would you say to someone whose favorite superhero no longer exists?

Characters are always evolving in the DC universe and part of the evolution means that characters come and go. While not all current characters will be part of the new DC Comics line of books, we are confident the ambitious plan we are creating will introduce a new generation of protagonists and antagonists that will captivate readers.

We are kicking things off with our best and brightest characters and what makes them so compelling and great.  Simply because you don't see a personal favorite in the September launches doesn't mean your favorites are gone.  This is just the beginning.


For variants, we chose our core iconic titles..  And of course, we sought out those titles with the most compelling visuals.  This variant program will continue for September, October, and November at least.  We will be offering variants on five different titles, effectively one each week.  Some specifics so far:


There will be 1:25 and a 1:200 (yes, we're ordering the 1:200 - Scott)


There will be limited variants for each of the following, plus a 1:200 (No, we don't know if we're ordering those for these titles - Scott)

Cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams

Cover by Ethan Van Sciver

Cover by Greg Capullo

Cover by Ivan Reis and Tim Townsend


More soon.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Flames of War: D-Day 2011 Recap

Every year we run a large, multi- player and table event near the anniversary of D-Day to honor and remember the day and all who served during the war to end all wars.  To celebrate this anniversary we run this massive Flames of War event.  I know that I've already posted information about the day and how the event went, but now it is time to show some pictures that we now have from this day.

As today is the 4th of July, I figured it was appropriate to get these up today! Happy 4th of July to everyone who is celebrating today here in the States!

If you want to read more about the event, check out the blog post from June: D-Day

Sean "Striderlotr" Banks

Free RPG Day Recap

Brave adventures, 
those of you who are still standing... 
we salute you!

Saturday June 25th, 2011

The Day

Now that the dust has settled and the players have rolled for some great prizes, we are going to recap the day and let people know the highlights so that they can better understand the craziness that they participated in or missed out on.  If you did miss out... where were you????? Free RPG Day falls in the middle of June on a Saturday yearly, so you should make it next year! 


 The Staff even got involved with the fun of coming in costume to the event. If you notice in the picture above, even some of our DMs got dressed up. Sean, Brittani, and Stasi all went out to the front of the store to pose for pictures, next year YOU should come in costume also!


Over the course of the day we ran many different events.  We set up several different tables so that players would be able to see the signs letting them know events and times for different games. We were able to have 4 tables with 4 different time slots for games all day.  We also set up tables for free stuff and for demo games of board and card games that are RPG-like (Castle Ravenloft, Thunderstone, etc).  With all the great demo games we ran with the FREE RPG Day adventures, as well as some special RPG demo events we ran with materials from previous years, including some L5R and source material from the past 2 years for Star Trek, we had full tables for all the events.

  Live Action

One of the oddest events of the day was our live action D&D Event! We created 6 different characters with very basic stats and then created 2 killer boss monsters with their crazed minions! So if you wanted to face off against the Crazy Samurai or the Insane Wizard you could chose your class from Fighter, Wizard, Ranger, Cleric, Monk, or Warlock.  As the event went on, we learned about the the characters we built... and darn can we build some killer basic characters!  On the fly, we had to make the bad guys just a little tougher to challenge the players.  We also needed a few more minions to round out the combats.  Next year, we will make sure it is EPIC and maybe even add on a dragon!


 By the end of the day we had given away almost all the FREE RPG Day event product.  We also had a free contest where every event you played in got you a checkpoint.  When you had to leave for the evening you got a D20 to roll and you got to add +1 to the roll for each event you were in!  Depending on what you rolled, you got a choice of prizes, just for coming in to play some FREE games.  Another great free item was from Dapper Devil. Dapper Devil sent us these great tiles that make D&D tracking fantastic.  If you have not seen there product, check them out here: Dapper Devil, or stop in and check out what we have here in-store. They also make great tokens for creatures in Magic, so stop in and see a sample here at the Dragon's Den!

Sean "Striderlotr" Banks