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Projections — 4/17/2014

This last week was a good week. Saturday I worked nine hours and it was a very good Saturday. Lots of new people buying comics. Kids were in picking up comics. The age group that some claim will not get into comics due to the digital age.

Truthfully I almost broke my rule about being sure to be open on the stated hours last Saturday. It was a rare nice day. I actually figured people would be out and about and not stopping in. I actually toyed with the idea about closing for a few hours in a moment of weakness. The weather was calling. Thankfully I didn’t. I was wrong it was a busy day.

Before anyone passes judgment on me I have always opened on days I was suppose to and do pride myself on being professional. Meaning making sure as much as possible that the store is open when it is suppose to be. Have I been late before? Yes, ironically I think both times I had an angry voicemail at the store from someone when it happen. One was for a tire that blew. The person that left an angry voicemail that day said his name and so forth acting like I should know who it was but it didn’t ring a bell with me. The other time was when one of my part timers went to the hospital for the flu. I was also sick that day. Instead of having someone put a sign up saying we wouldn’t be open I decided I should open. At the risk of sounding gross on my way to the store I lost my lunch. Worse it was very sudden. Meaning I didn’t even manage to get the car door open. So I turned back. Prayed a cop wouldn’t pull me over and wonder if I was on drugs or something. Went back home cleaned up. And proving how hardheaded I can be went up and opened. Of course there was a person who was upset that I wasn’t already open and chewed me out with a voicemail and left his number. I made sure to call him back and let him know we were open now and he was more than welcomed to come up. He did and I was very chummy with him. Making sure he was able to breath the same air I was breathing so to speak. He didn’t buy anything and I never seen him again and I never knew if he got the flu or not.

Moral of the story is there might be a reason that someone is late.

One of the down sides of owning your own business. No sick time. And if I am sick I do try to get someone else in of course.

Original Sin 0 comes out next week.

Elektra 1 also comes out.

Justice League United 0 arrives next week.

Lots of good comics due out.

Amazing Spiderman 1 when it comes out will have sold over a half million copies for Marvel. That will help reverse the nation wide slump comics sales have seen. Though online it has been reported that Marvel re launching of titles have seen bigger and bigger drops with each re launch. Meaning each time Marvel does it the titles bleeds readers quicker and quicker. It is now being reported that DC will follow sadly. Such as with Suicide Squad re launching in July.

This is why I am pushing weekly titles such as Batman Eternal and Future Ends. I am hoping since they last a year and are weekly that there will be better marketing and a better push to keep readers coming back each week instead of focusing on the first issue and letting it free fall readership wise afterwards. In this day and age of instant gratification I believe a weekly format can easily succeed. Customers coming in repeatedly every week is also what I need. It helps customers to make it a habit of stopping in every week.

Back to the pull boxes. We have cut back on pull boxes. And I am not trying to pick on the customers whose pull boxes we stopped. Those customers are now in more often than when we they had pullboxes. The pullboxes just got them out of the habit of coming in.

Make no mistake over all our comic customers are great. They keep the store going. Always seem happy to deal with us. Wednesdays are my favorite days to work at the store since it is new comic day. You guys and gals make it worth it.

Now if I can just get some of the gamers who spend hours here to think like our average comic customer…… Again not all. We do have some great gamer customers. Just some cause more headaches. Yet again a gamer backed into another person’s vehicle. And that vehicle is owned by one of the people that own a business in this strip mall. His parked vehicle has been hit twice now by customers from this store. To make matters worse it looked like the person was going to drive off but noticed he was spotted. The gamer hopefully will be ashamed enough not to come back. To be truth full before it even happen I was hoping to never see the person again. There is just some people I know will bring issues. I just didn’t know there would be one that night.

Saturday Night gaming may be going away in the future. Again after dropping Sunday and Monday games I make more money. Too often after spending hours here a gamer will look at it as if they did me a favor by hanging out to play for free. And as I have stated before it isn’t a question of if Magic will sell. It is how fast will it sell.

It just is odd that the average comic customer will spend more, be here far less, and be more appreciative then the average gamer who will spend less, be here for hours on end, and think since they played here I owe them. And are far more likely to buy off the internet than at the place they play at.

And yes the gamers do the same thing as some of the pull box customers had done. Order a box of this or this rpg book and then to often we will just stick it to you. “You, know I will pick it up”, “You can trust me”  ” I really want that and can’t wait to have it!” And then it comes in and they change their mind. I no longer do preorders for gamers.

And no the customer is not always right.

Maybe since I am in a unique position of having mulitple incomes I just don’t put up with things as much. My attidude is everyone is more than welcomed to shop where they want to. It doesn’t have to be here. This isn’t a chain of stores. There are not multiple partners of the store. I opened the store. Treat it like you are at someone’s house. Just because one person lets you do something at their house doesn’t mean it is allowed at every house in America.

Now the part that will sound familiar to weekly readers of Projections.

May 3rd is National Free Comic Book Day. As some people have noticed I have stressed it is a national event thanks to people looking at me in disbelief thinking I was a fool for having a free day. By letting people know it is a national day it makes them feel more at ease knowing I am not the only one crazy enough to own a business and give away product. Still waiting for the local dealerships to give away cars.

I am still not having free pizza that day either. Greasy pizza hands and comics do not mix.

I received a majority of the Free Comic shipment this week and look forward to giving it away on May 3rd. If anyone wants to take the invoice off my hands for the “Free” comics feel free to.

Again I look at Free Comic Day as a Customer Appreciation Day. A day I give back to those that frequent Rodman Comics. That are proud to call Rodman Comics their local comic store.

May 3rd Free Comics included DC’s new Futures End, Marvel’s Rocket Racoon, Spongebob, Powerangers, and much more.

Oddly enough there is no Spiderman related comic that day even though it is the first weekend of the new Spiderman movie?

April 26th is the Prerelease for Journey Into Nyx! We will have one at midnight, noon, and eight.

June is still suppose to be when War of Light starts for Heroclixs. With Deadpool and X Men Days of Future Past recently announced as delayed we will see if it comes out on time. And I expected both Deadpool and the new X Men set to be late. The X Men set is even later than I expected though so the Heroclix schedule has been updated.

Also we will be seeing the new Spiderman movie on May 3rd. On Free Comic Day. May 3rd will also be AVX Round 4 for heroclixs along with the day after Journey into Nyx is released. A busy day indeed!

Rodman Comics is on Facebook. I still have people that are surprised to find out we are on Facebook. We are darn. I am not Captain Caveman. Even though people after seeing my flip top phone may think so. I like it darn. Pocket calling people is annoying.

A shout out to our neighboring business Visual Eyes . Great group of people. I just bought new sunglasses through them.

As I said it was a good week. Not to much to type about. Skipped over the touchie subject of what director Bryan Singer is getting accused of.

Stop on in to Rodman Comics for a great selection of comics with a knowledgeable staff that knows comics!

Projections — 4/10/2014

Welcome back everyone.
Captain America the Winter Solider the movie was a hit. I enjoyed it more than the first one. Two end credit specials. Almost didn’t see the second one till Joel announced there was another end credit scene. Are mutants now called “miracles” in the Marvel film universe since Marvel Studios can not use the term “mutants” giving that term to another studio (Fox) to use. Miracles doesn’t have the same ring to it that the word mutants has. Plus miracles are usually associated with “good” things. Subbing the word mutant with miracle could be odd. That dirty mutant! Sounds better than that dirty miracle! Oh no it’s a mutant! Oh no its a miracle! Kill the mutant! Kill the miracle!
Next up for a private movie showing is the upcoming Spiderman on May 3rd. Which will also be Free Comic Book Day. Along with the final AVX Heroclix throw down. Will the Avengers score at least one win as a team before its all over with? May 3rd will be a very busy day. We will be opening at 11 our normal time that day.
The Godzilla preview did look good. Sadly we will not be doing a private showing for Godzilla. I have a previous engagement on May 17th.
It has been brought up in the store about the fact that American comic sales are so much lower than comic sales in other countries such as Europe and Japan. The good old U.S.A is where comic books first originated from. But are selling far less.
I think it has a lot to do with free time. Other industrial countries have more vacation time for employees. Other countries have laws that mandate companies to have vacation time for their employees. No law or laws exist in America on if and how much employers need to give their employees vacation time. The USA ranks low in vacation time compared to other industrial countries. Many people don’t even use up all their vacation time and just lose it each year. Many more do their work during their vacation. In the current economic conditions many people work even more and harder worried that another could take their place. People with kids spend a lot of time being in their kids’ various activities. There are more after school programs and activities for kids than ever before. All of this takes up time.
Many people work multiple jobs (like me). Meaning far less free time. Heck, watching T.V. is a rarity for me. Walking Dead, Agents of Shield, and Arrow are all shows that I don’t watch due to lack of time. Part of the reason I rent the movie theater for the various superhero movies is so I get to see them. Do I still read comics? Yes, I usually stay late on Tuesdays and try to be up to date on various titles coming out. Such as Batman, Forever Evil, Walking Dead, Superior Spiderman, ect. Again less free time means less time for hobbies.
In short us Americans work to much! Me included. I joke that I have yet to talk to anyone on their deathbed and hear them say “I wish I would have spent more time at the office.”
2014 has seen a ten percent drop from last year on comic sales nationwide. Again that is nationwide and not here at the store. That I would say is due to the lack of new ideas and new talent. Daredevil’s re launch had the exact same sales as the previous issue here. There were no new readers checking it out sadly here at the store. With all of Marvel’s slapping number ones on various titles with a new storyline and not truly first issues it most likely just blended in. Plus the previous Daredevil came out roughly a month before the new number one with the same writer. Meaning it could have easily just carried on the pervious numbering. So well Daredevil 1 sold well nationwide a lot of those copies are unsold. Not all by any means. Since comic stores can not return what we order we are stuck with all unsold material. Meaning Marvel makes money on all the unsold copies and we don’t. Same with all the other comic companies. Unless on the off chance a title is offered as returnable. Which DC does more than any other company. But still not that often.
The Marvel non stop re launching of their titles has been done to many times. The well is running dry. Batman once again outsold all Marvel comics along with the new number ones. Marvel increased their market share over DC but the whole market shrunk. Re launching is a quick fix sell. Not a long term solution.
Marvel’s Original Sin (not to be confused with Marvel’s Original SinS which will be running at the same time) and Amazing Spiderman 1 will sell a lot of copies for Marvel. But it will be due to variants, not an increase in readership. Amazing Spiderman 1 is estimated to sell 500,000 copies. That is indeed a lot of copies. Heck, I ordered hundreds of copies of Amazing Spiderman. To get the various variants high orders had to be placed. Such as the one in three hundred variant. There are so many different variants now I have lost track of how many different variants are due out for that issue. I knew how many when I first ordered then more were added as time went on.  Marvel kept adding more and more. Instead of focusing on bringing in more readers Marvel is taking a short cut and making money on the people who want the variants. Again it is a short cut and not a long term solution to bring up sales.
Marvel has already announced there will be a second printing for Original Sin 1. Which we can still order the first print of and Marvel is still taking orders on the first print to set the print run for the title. Meaning Original Sin 1 hasn’t been printed up yet and orders for it are still being accepted. By announcing a second print Marvel makes it look like the first print of Original Sin has sold out even though at this point it is impossible to have sold out.
Thankfully we sold out of Inhumans issue 1. Marvel has announced that Inhumans issue one which just came out last month will be reprinted for free and included with this months Amazing Spiderman 1. Which means if you bought Inhuman 1 already and are buying Amazing Spiderman 1 when it comes out you might regret you bought Inhumans 1.
Word is Marvel paid artist Joe Madureira a lot to have him work on Inhumans and it is selling far lower than Marvel would like. Inhumans has been advertised to be like Game of Thrones. I read the first issue. If Marvel thinks that issue is like Game of Thrones then they have never seen the show or read the book. Yes, Medusa is a queen. Other than that zip.
Marvel’s previous Infinity crossover was not a hit with the readers. It was also used to launch the Inhumans crossover that introduced new superpower characters that were Inhumans. It was also under whelming. This has led into a rocky launch for the Inhumans comic.
This may be why Marvel is offering so many variants and incentives to retailers to order more of the upcoming Original Sin crossover. It has worked. I ordered lower originally on Original Sin than I did on Infinity due to many customers saying Infinity has burnt them and they wanted nothing to do with the next Marvel crossover. Now I have ordered higher to get the better discounts and variant covers. Marvel does great marketing their material they just need to improve their products to keep readers interested.
Where is the new character for the next generation? With creators having more rights and more freedom to create where is the new hero for the next generation?
Is Spawn which first appeared in 1992 the biggest newest comic creation? Meaning there have been no new characters created since 1992 that have eclipsed Spawn in popularity? That is very sad. Spawn is even a shell of what it once was.
A new rumor is that Nick Fury (not Nick Fury Jr) will be getting “killed” to make way for Nick Fury Jr to be the one and only Nick Fury. All in the effort to get the Nick Fury from the movies into the comics more. Which results in no new readership even though that is Marvel’s hope that it will. The mythical new readership as I call it. The big screen and comics are two different beasts. What works for one doesn’t translate well for the other all the time. Remember the X Men in the comics went to the black leather look to be more recognizable as the X Men from the movies? It didn’t work and that era of the X Men has been mostly forgotten. Marvel focus on telling good comic stores. Not trying to get that one mythical new reader who went and seen a Marvel movie and all the sudden will see that character in comic book somehow. There is no advertising by comics in the mainstream to get the average movie goers attention. The average non comic reader is unaware there is a monthly comic based on what movie they just went and seen. Some people don’t even know comics are still published.
When the Keaton Batman movie first came out the media blitz was very good about covering the source material. I remember watching the news and being impressed by the coverage. Local comic book owners were interviewed about Batman. Big news outlets actually went over in great detail about the history of Batman and the Joker. Naming their first appearances. Who created them and more. Now mainstream media just announces upcoming movies and mentions in passing what comic book hero they are based on. Which is surprising since there is so much more info readily available in this day and age. There was no Internet when the Batman movie staring Keaton came out. Yes, I am old!
I used to have a display case at the local movie theater featuring comics of upcoming comic related movies. It did result in new customers. I also remember thinking “Wow, I do more promotion that there are comic based on these movie properties than the million dollar corporations that publish the comics and movies do. ” Isn’t that odd? Yes, I admit Time Warner and Disney have more money than I do. Don’t tell anyone
If you are interested in running Star Wars rpg or D&D rpg come in and talk to me. I have people that want to play it but not run it. If we do have game nights again for D&D and Star Wars rpg it will need to be on Tuesdays.
Journey Into Nyx MTG prerelease on April 26th!
Also I am working on  a possible purchase of a major collection of Magic cards. Meaning there is a lot of them and a lot from sets from before the store opened. It isn’t just binders of magic cards it is a storage of Magic cards. From the last From the Vault collection to multiple original Jace’s. What happened to make such a major Magic collector get out of Magic? A bad gaming experience that ticked him off at a store. Not here thankfully. Tonight I should know more.
I am hoping this month to have an updated website with a working checkout for online shopping!  With some new images for the site. Wish me luck.
Plenty of great reading material here at Rodman Comics. Come on in and purchase some!

Projections — 4/1/2014

If you haven’t checked out the new joker face mask on our facebook page go check it out. It is very wicked. It is due out in September. I may order it for myself for a Halloween mask.
After typing up about Wizkids high priced heroclixs prizes last week I seen online they posted what they “might” do for prize support in 2015. They claimed they wanted the fans feedback on a message board. That is great and all but what about the retailers feedback? The retailers are the ones that actually buy the prize support and they are the ones that should know what best works for the fans and the store.
I copied this article from ICv2.
WizKids plans to add weekly events to its organized play program, and to begin limiting its large storyline events to one per year.”At GAMA this year we’ll be announcing a new foundation level organized play, which I’ll call the weekly organized play, as well as what our plans are for storyline,” WizKids CEO Justin Ziran said. “I’d call it weekly organized play, and then once a year we’ll come in with a big program, which will be story based/driven.” He clarified that this will be one large storyline event per year, and not one each for Marvel and DC.

WizKids is still experimenting with different configurations for its large storyline events. “We’ve toyed around with six months, four months,” Ziran said. “We’re really trying to figure out what is the right length of time. Six has been good for us, but I do hear feedback that four would be good too. War of Light is a six month program, with four months of boosters. So you’re seeing us test the waters at different intervals, so we can get a better gauge of what works and what doesn’t.”

End of copy and paste of article.
NECA who owns Wizkids has made so many changes and then changed the changes yet again. Who remembers the Supremacy League? The dart board like thing that people put their names on and tried to make it to the center. I bought it and we played it. It was a hit. Sadly Wizkids only sent prize support for it when it was brand new. There was no follow up prize support. So the League died. No announcement about ending it or anything. So after all the stores incured the cost of buying the board they let it die. All Wizkids needed to do is have another set of four figures sent out for prize support and it would have been a hit again.
The 6 month Fear Itself heroclix ended and then the event turned into a four month AVX event. Fear Itself was exclusive boosters for play available only directly from brick and mortar stores. About $25.00 to play. AVX was at first a choice of two exclusive starter packs. Avengers or X Men. They were even listed as OP Kits (which is what prize support is called for heroclixs) when they were shipped. The starters were $39.99 each. Many players understandably bulked. The AVX starters became available for mass retail and were no longer exclusives. Confusion issued.
Usually I am all about trying different things. But change just for the sake of change I am not a fan. I usually don’t like copying what has been done before. Because if my store offers what all the other stores do what is the point of coming to mine?
That said it sounds like they are getting closer and closer to what Wizards of the Coast does for Magic. Wizkids wants weekly gaming of heroclixs in stores which Magic currently has.
Wizkids has an online event recorder such as Wizards does. But Wizkids is still trying to do things on the cheap. Wizards does not charge stores for prize support unless the store wants extra. We have booster boxes of Magic boosters for prize support being sent to us for next months Magic Prerelease at no cost to us. That is very nice of Wizards of the Coast.
Wizards of the Coasts event tracker is pretty good. I had a lot of problems with the program when I first opened and still have some but over all it works. Wizards of the Coasts sends free sign up cards to help get people signed up. Based on how many people play in Friday’s games is how much prize support is sent for the store. So it is useful to record players and events.
Wizkids online event tracker just uses whatever name someone wants to make up. RodmancomicsRULES could be a “person” who signs up. It does not effect anything. The events can easily be wrong. AVX II prize support was delayed negating the dates that some stores signed up for on their event tracker.
Wizards of the Coast releases are like clockwork. Once a release date is announced it is set in stone.
Wizkids announces a release date and I pay little attention to it. 90 percent of the time the release date is delayed.
Wizards of the Coast does make more money than Wizkids and they are far better staffed. I can actually talk directly to Wizards of the Coast. Wizkids I have never directly talked to and couldn’t if I wanted to.
If Wizkids wants to grow and be more more than they are now and closer to the sales level Wizards of the Coast is they need to invest in more employees.
Wizkids needs to bring back the buy it by the brick program where people mail in for an exclusive figure after getting a receipt for buying a brick of heroclixs at a brick and mortar store. Those were very popular and did help brick and mortar stores. But no that was phased out. First the buy it by the brick figure was included in random boosters in bricks of heroclixs then done away all together. The Worlds Finest Figure mail away was so popular the post office in I believe Ohio stated Wizkids received more mail in such a short period of time than any other business in their state. The only mail to beat the mail away program was when people sent in their taxes.
Wizkids start sending prize support for free. One set per store. If the prize support program helps so much then why would it be an issue to have it be free?
Why not try a prerelease of an upcoming new set of heroclixs? I think it would be a hit. Get people excited for the set.
And the most important thing I think Wizkids can do to improve their sales. Expand how many heroclixs are in a set. Go back to the R/E/V system if need be. Where one sculpt is used but it has three different dials. A rookie, experienced, and veteran version. People shouldn’t buy four packs and get repeats in those four packs.
Speaking of Magic April 26th will be the prerelease for the newest set, Journey into Nyx. There will be one at midnight, noon, and 8 p.m.
Captain America Winter Soldier is on like Donkey Kong! Saturday morning we will be going to see it. Reviews so far have been very good for it.
Now on to the bread and butter part of the business, comics!
Amazing Spiderman 1 comes out this month. Peter Parker has returned.
Batman Eternal 1 comes out next week. The preview of the first issue I enjoyed. Will this weekly be a big hit?
Future’s End the next weekly DC Comic comes out next month on May 3rd. For Free! As part of Free Comic Book Day. I already had one person ask me if that meant all the comics in the store were free that day. Um, no. Also on May 3rd we will be seeing the newest Amazing Spiderman movie. May 3rd should be a big day.
Here are the results of Diamonds FCBD retailer survey.
Are you participating in FCBD 2014?
Yes – 98.04% No – 1.96%
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being Not Successful to 5 being Very Successful), how would you rate your 2013 FCBD?
1 – 7.84% 2 – 3.92% 3 – 17.65% 4 – 15.69% 5 – 54.90%What percentage of your FCBD crowd were new customers (i.e., never before in your store)?
0-4% – 13.73% 5-9% – 5.88% 10-24% – 47.06% 25-49% – 25.49% 50+% – 7.84%

What percentage from FCBD turn into regular customers (i.e. visit you at least once a month)
0-4% – 37.25% 5-9% – 31.37% 10-24% – 15.69% 25-49% – 5.88% 50+% – 9.80%
Do you expect your event this year to be bigger than previous years?
Yes74.51%No5.88% Same – 19.61%
How many books total did you order?
0-500 – 29.41% 501-999 – 15.69% 1-2K – 21.57% 2-3K – 13.73% 3-4K – 9.80% over 4K – 9.80%
What method(s) are you using this year to promote your store’s event?
Facebook – 98% Twitter – 48% TV Ads – 12% Internet Ads – 24% Newspaper Ads – 20% Flyers – 74%
Library/School Promotion – 46% Local Business Cross Promotion – 44%
*Results based on approximately 55 retailers surveyed.
Wow, only 55 retailers took part in this survey? Without actual numbers the percentages do not mean much. It would be like me saying 10 percent of a our customers bought the latest issue of Superior Spiderman. What does ten percent equal?
As most of our regular customers know I look at Free Comic Day as a customer appreciation day event. I do wish the average person showing for Free Comic Book Day did know that the comics are not truly free to us retailers. Most people assume that the publishers send us comics for free to give away. That is not the case. They are at a great discount but still not free. I am not saying they have to be free to us I just wish the fact they are not free to us to be better known.
One customer told me on the show Comic Book Men one of the people that work at the comic store featured on the show does not like Free Comic Book Day. He doesn’t see it as actually improving business.
Free Comic Book Day is all about the publicity it brings. The estimated “millions” of advertising it brings. Meaning the media coverage it gets. There is no estimates about how many new comic fans it actually brings in.
And to all the people that will joke about “Where’s the free pizza so I can get the comics all greased up?” No! Darn it.
Come May 3rd we will start out the day with a private showing of the new Spiderman movie. Followed by opening up at 11 for Free Comic Day. Star Wars X Wing miniatures at 1. AVX round 4 at 4 will also go down. Magic at 8 featuring Commander and Standard will end the day. It will be a busy day.
May 24th is the new X Men movie private showing. The last trailer I seen did make me want to see it.
DC has announced a third weekly comic series due out in the future. What will it be?
Seen on set photos of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch for Avengers Age of Ultron movie. Is this just me? When I see their Quicksilver I think of a sneaker commercial. Granted it is much better than the X Men movie version of Quicksilver. Also is it just me or does Marvel’s movies seem to focused on making their characters to “real”. To Ultimate version? Would have loved to see Falcon in his red and white costume. Not Marvel’s standard costume of it has to be black and if it isn’t it has to be dark. Or Ultimate.
The trailer for Galaxy of the Guardians has really boosted interest in the comic. I keep selling out the day a new issue comes out.
And then oddly enough the upcoming Captain America Winter Soldier movie has not helped Captain America’s title in the slightest. Granted he is currently fighting one of the lamest villains ever made….. Doctor Mindbubble! I kid you not. Even die hard Captain America fans are having trouble staying with the monthly book. Marvel has really dropped the ball with the monthly Captain America title.
For those who have asked if I will be getting in the Watcher’s eye as a promotional piece. I will. Sadly they were quite a bit more than the various rings that DC gave out as promos. We received more rings for our buck basically. I guess having more than one paint color on a piece of plastic can add up the production cost. So if you want one be sure to let me know.
Been even more busy than usual. By busy I mean selling more. I am having trouble keeping up with all the business. Which is great! I even hired yet another employee. Soon Rodman Comics will rule the world! Or maybe not.
Warmer weather is here! Come out and enjoy it. Then head to Rodman Comics!
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