25 January 2017

We had our Pokemon Pre Release last Sunday and it was a huge success! We had 86 people show up to play which as of today is the largest Pre Release in the state by 22 people! There is still a week to go for other stores to beat it but as of right now, Gabe has a nice feather in his managers cap.

We have another higher level Pokemon tournament this Sunday and will be interesting to see if we get any boost from our Pre-Release. The game overall is growing fast across the US but Spokane seems to be ahead of the curve on this one player wise. We are lucky we got into it when we did so we were ready to ramp up quickly when it hit.

All the cups and mugs are now up at the Northtown store so we can now start playing with the back wall. Along with that, we should have a regular supply of new games coming in starting in two weeks set up a bit like our comic book shipments. Game distribution is considerably different than comic distribution and I have been trying to figure out a way to mold it more to the way I do our comics and I think I figured it out. Hopefully.

Our second group of t-shirts for the division store should hit this week or early next! Small quantities of multiple styles.

If you havent seen the 2nd trailer for Logan yet, here it is. It looks to be the best of the Wolverine movies so far.

11 and 18 Jan 2017

The after Christmas restock has started! We have been getting in huge shipments of new t-shirts and stuff at the mall for the past week and a half and today we just got in a large order of all new mugs and cups! Those will all be at the mall Comic Book Shop and also at Candy Works.
The Division location has been packing up their mugs and cups and moving them up to the mall location to make room for new stuff! We will bring it all back next October in time for Christmas.
Division has started receiving new t-shirt designs in limited quantities. We will have several new designs each month and move previous months out as quickly.
There is a new Pokemon release this month and of course we have a pre-release tournament. Pokemon is on a huge upswing and we have about 40 people who play each Tuesday—If you would like to learn, we hold classes the last Saturday of each month at 2:00 and they are just $5 for an hour and you get to keep the deck we teach you with. I play each week along with my son and it wouldn’t take you much effort to get better than me and kick my butt every Tuesday.
Free Comic Book Day is already back on the radar. The books are all in the current Previews and include a new Scottie Young book, a Rick and Morty, a new Spider-man and a Mysterious DC book. Of course the DC might not be mysterious, they might just no know what they are doing yet and are just pretending…..

-Craig!

We have almost finished packing up the mugs and cups from Division – there were a ton more than I thought there were. They should all be up at the mall withing a few days and we can start on the back wall. Right now, it looks like it will make a nice display for board games and wall art for the next couple of months. We will see what it morphs into.
I am putting in another tshirt order for Division this week as it looks like we already need some new designs. I like the small incremental orders better at the Division store better than trying to do it like the mall and just order a ton of a million styles. They have the traffic for that kind of ordering which Division lacks.
Division should be getting in several new/old statues in this week to add to the batch that we got in several weeks ago. If you havent seen the last batch, they are in the bookcases near the used graphic novels and include Grendel, Batman and even an Aeon Flux!
The first of the Marvel promotional comic boxes arrived this week and they look great! They are about the same size as a regular short box and feature Champions art on each side and top and only cost 5.99! Hopefully this program will continue as its probably the best promotional type item Marvel has offered in years.
-Craig!

3 January 2017

Its the new year! Spring is just around the corner! I cant wait.

It was a very good year for us and I would like to thank everyone who helped make it happen! That means you! We really appreciate all the support and friendship that you have given us for this year and for the past 27. I am grateful that you have helped make us one of the longer lasting comic book stores in the US. I think the average life span of a comic book store is under two years and very few that make it past that even get to five so what you and all of the current and past employees here have accomplished is really something special.

I would also like to get a special round of applause for our wonderful staff:

At Division we have Steven and Kevin! Our weekly bagging staff is Andy, Shawn, Adam, Madison and sometimes Keith and DJ!

At the mall we have Gabe, Jen, JW, Mitch and Josh!

At Candyworks its Anna (who works all three stores), Moonie, and Trinity!

They all put in a lot of effort each week to make the stores and events run smooth and look effortless which is a huge pain in the butt at times but they usually pull it off and you seldom hear the behind the scenes screaming, cussing and pain.

I hope you all have a great upcoming year and I am looking forward to lots of new directions and tinkerings ’cause thats what I really enjoy!

28 December 2016

Its the last notes of the year!

We are finishing up on a really great year of comics and a really bad year of comics all at the same time.

DC blew it out of the water with their entire Rebirth line with even 2nd and 3rd tier characters getting some great books. There were several stinkers mixed in there as well but it was by far the best retooling of an entire universe in comics history. Even titles like Superman which was generally a mid sales level book is still selling more than 2x its pre Rebirth numbers. Green Arrow who has always been a character with lots of potential but seldom realized has for the first time since the early 70’s been selling a lot of comics as DC finally realized when push comes to shove, all people really want from their books is a good solid story with decent art. You would think that would be on a plaque in the publishers office but … not so much.

Marvel has some huge hits like Civil War and uhhhh …. give me a few minutes and I could probably come up with something else but they seem to be a lot of fantastic characters in search of a story and a direction. Most of their line has been gender or race switched in search of a new audience at the expense of supporting their base. We have also gone through another year without Wolverine and the Fantastic Four and Marvel attempting to pull attention away from the X-men and put it on the Inhumans and Avengers all due to whats happening with movies and movies rights ownership. Hopefully they will realize that comics really dont influence box office receipts and get back to producing comics on their core books with writers who can deliver some decent stories. Daredevil. Theres one thats been better than it has been in awhile and the new Hawkeye is fun. See, I knew there were a few.

Wolverine has been “dead” for a couple years now and we are getting dangerously close to an entire group of new comic readers who have never seen a Wolverine comic on the stands and so it will not ever be part of their comic habit or memory. They will know who the character is and maybe have read a graphic novel or two but at that point he is just an old character who used to have a book. Like Captain Britain or Blue Devil.

I am getting ready to make a few changes in the stores for the year and have opened some new accounts with distributors to try out new product lines. Dont be too shocked if you come in and see some new stuff. Change is good. The mall store will get a lot of new product but Division will be adding new lines as well. It will be like a party! A party of happiness and stuff!

29 November and 6 December

Three weeks until Christmas! Black Friday was massive at the mall, beating last years sales which is always a nice thing to have happen. Division was about normal as it normally doesnt get a huge Christmas bump until the frantic week before Christmas Day stocking stuffer and gift certificate rush.
We just received another huge shipment of Gundam for both stores – If you like hiding in your house during the winter and have already read all your comics, building a really cool Japanese Mech is a great time killer. They are all snap together but the higher the grade the more difficult and the upperlevels even have individually articulated fingers among other really intricate designs. The instructions are all in that universal language of pictures and all you need is some needle nose pliers, time and patience.
We have had several large shipments of POP figures arriving in the past couple of weeks including multiple exclusives that you wont find at Hot Topic or Walmart. Its nice to get some love from Funko every once in awhile.
Lots more back issues priced and put out and two more shipments of CGC books including two more copies of Preacher #1, Hulk #5, Batman and Green Arrow Rebirth #1’s and other assorted goodies.
We have a massive order of mounted posters coming in this week. Two Hundred from one company and about 150 more from another – You should have no problem finding something cool to put up on your walls.
The mall lease thing is still dragging on and on. Since they had a deadline of the 30th, they will hopefully get their act in gear. Its odd dealing with a company as large as the mall management in Chicago. One part of the company is gung ho, one part is vaguely interested and another seems to be looking out the window daydreaming. Some of them dont seem to understand that since day one, 10 years ago when we first opened a store in the mall, they approached me and each change after is something they approached me about and not the reverse. Even this new project is something they came to me with and then they alter and change it and complain about it and drag their feet and act like I am asking for the world. Its frustrating and funny all at the same time. Oh well. We will see if they resolve everything by today. -Craig!

The Mall lease is all done, finalized and wrapped up! We are there for another 5 years and its looking like they will have to build us the new store sometime next year around the corner from where we are currently. It ended up being an agreement that neither the mall nor I was extremely happy with so I figure it was as probably as close to fair as I could get it.
If the current deal the mall has for the store that is supposed to make us move falls through, we will stay in our current location and use some of their money to make improvements on the space. That part is a win/win for us.
Our Candy Store which is also located in the mall is signing a new lease this week as well although that one is for two years. We will have the option of another lease then or just move it to another location which I already have in mind. Why can I plot 2 years out and cant seem to figure out what to do next week?
We are down to 19 days until Christmas which is always an interesting time when you see how you ordered too much of something and have already sold out of something else and are scrambling to get more in.
We will be hosting a Christmas Magic Tournament at the mall location on Friday the 16th with free entry for everyone and about $300 in prizes that we are putting in. If you play, this is your opportunity to play competitively on our dime!
The Division location will be closing at 4:00 on Christmas Eve and the mall will be closing at 6:00 and both will be closed Christmas day. -Craig!

22 November 2016

Well it looks like several of my notes didnt actually post to the website over the past couple of weeks but I will post the ones I can find at the end of this note.

This Friday is Black Friday! Its came up awful quick and now Christmas is only 4 weeks away! Are you ready? I am not. We will be open regular hours at the Division location and since its a national sale type day I guess we will have a special sale as well. I am nothing if not a bandwagon jumper. From 11 to 3 all graphic novels will be 20% off at the Division location only.

The mall store will be opening at 6:00 in the morning and as is the norm, no one will show up to shop until about 9:00. We will be having some as of yet undetermined special. You would think we would know this day is coming up or something. Maybe we will get it down in a year or two in time for our 30th anniversary.

We put out another couple boxes of back issues last week including a bunch of later silver and bronze age stuff including a nice run of Amazing Spider-man.

Local Comic Shop Day was last weekend and the Division location still has some really cool variant cover comics and graphic novels that were made just for the event! We also have one Lying Cat Statue left and a Killer Frost statue left which are both painted considerably different than the mass market version.

As a reminder, both comic book locations have Toy Drive boxes provided by Spokane Fire Department for donated toys and gifts for local children.

Hopefully next week we will have some kind of final word on our new mall lease. Its been an interesting negotiation. At the very least…. -Craig!

The missed notes from the past couple of weeks….
Thanks to everyone who showed up for the sale last week! If you didnt get a card in the mail and are a subscriber, please check the address we have on file in our system. You dont want to miss out on future mailings.

We have a huge shipment of cool new anime and manga related stuff coming in from China this week for the mall store! Lots of stuffed Pokemon and anime and manga related toys and cool stuff! The really odd thing about ordering direct from China is that we can usually get the product within 3 or 4 days but when we order something from Utah, it can take a week. Of course shipments from Utah might be faster if we paid the same $1500 in transport costs….

Division just got their first small shipment of toys for the season. Star Wars, Transformers and even some Nerf! We will rotate a lot of it back to the mall after the shopping season along with most of the mugs and cups making room for more cool stuff we dont carry at the mall location. Hopefully we will be doing more of the rotation of product stuff in the future.

We just got in dozens of new Gundam! It ended up being about 140lbs of the giant robots and when I split them between stores, it still looked pretty empty so I just put in another huge order. I think Division will start carrying a much larger selection on a permanent basis. They are just too cool.

We made it though the election cycle! Only two and a half years until it all starts again! Yay!
We got in massive shipments at the mall of all kinds of geek clothes and hats and mugs and cups and more and more and more. Holy cow my credit cards are melting. Additionally I just ordered a ton of new Gundam (giant robot model kits), Gian Microbes (plush cute deadly disease thingies), 250 more tin signs featuring DC and Marvel characters and a bunch of Wood signs featuring different Marvel and DC characters and cover recreations!
There are a ton of new t-shirts and posters and superhero related toys coming in each day. Literally. tons. By the pallet. Christmas is weird.
Just when all our chickens were counted and hatched with the new store location at the mall, the lease they gave me to sign didn’t have any of the stuff we agreed to on it…. Right now we are at the my lawyer is reviewing the paperwork and making all the additions and changes that the mall originally agreed to in order for me to sign it in the first place stage. I don’t think they will argue too much since they had agreed to it all once upon a time but you never know. On the plus side, they need it signed by December in order to pad their bonus’ for the year so if they do any complaining, it will probably be while they are signing. Maybe I should make some additional changes just to screw with them… A daily bowl of M&Ms with all the red ones picked out or something….
Black Friday….. Yeah we will do something but I am not sure exactly what yet. I should be able to figure it out in the next week or so…. -Craig!