Monday, November 22, 2010

Will anyone get to go to SDCC 2011?

Monday, November 22nd. Strike two for the San Diego Comic-con's online registration process.

Today marked the second attempt for the organization to open registration for the 2011 show and it was the second time the absolute crush of nerds logging in immediately melted the servers to a pile of mush.

The message should now be ringing loud and clear to Comic-con are in over your head. Both for booking hotel rooms for the event and now simply selling tickets to get in. Time to stop messing with non-profit, part time services or second rate Information Technology guys need to start calling on the services of the big league ticket/event vendors such as oh, say, Ticketmaster.

Sucks to go there, we know, but this is the reality of show now. Start dealing with it, step up your game and stop ‘F’ing with the con’s exhibitors, pros and attendees.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Toys-R-Us 2010 Black Friday Plans

'Tis the season to be discounting!

All the Black Friday circular ads for the major retailers are leaking out onto shopper websites all over the 'net. TRU's BF ad leaked overnight and reveals a bold and aggressive new plan of attack for the last giant toy store in the world. In a first for just about any retailer, Toys-R-Us will open its doors to the masses on Thanksgiving night at 10pm.

While every year it seems more retailers are opening earlier the day after Thanksgiving than the year before, a few at midnight, several now at 3 and 4am this year, TRU breaks tradition and will be open for a limited time until 1am, then reopen at 5am Friday.

Not exactly a fun weekend of the year to be working inside any retailer. If you have ever seen firsthand how that Black Friday shopping crowd tears apart the aisles of any store, you then have to realize how long it would take to clean the place back up, re-stock and be ready to open fresh again in just a few hours. I doubt any of those TRU managers will even leave the stores between 1am and 5am.

The deals in TRU's Black Friday ad are very good this year. Check out the scans here!

While the majority of these deals are a draw for the average Holiday toy shopper, there are several great deals for the toy collector as well that include:
Transformers Voyager or Power Bots series $9.99. Reg is $24.99 at TRU
Transformer, Iron Man & GI Joe action figures half off reg retail.
Last year's GI Joe giant PITT vehicle will be only $49.99 or half off.

We've seen the Target BF ad and now TRU's. So far TRU has the best overall toy deals by a mile. Wal-Mart's ad will likely leak by next week and you can bet the team at is happily taking notes on all these ads and will be setting up their own deals to match much of the competition over the course of those few days.

Next to the post Holiday clearance, this is the best time of the year get out and spend money like you actually have it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

SDCC site crashes on launch of 2011 ticket sale date

We all know the organization behind SDCC and their partner Travel Planners absolutely suck when it comes to IT planning for booking hotels online for the massive event every year but on November 1st, the anticipated and dreaded on sale date of remaining passes to next year's con, SDCC's site crashed close to the hour reckoning but soon rebounded.

Once we had seen the 2011 Four Day ticket package that includes Preview Night had sold out during the 2010 show, we knew this date would ring in a new era of insanity for anyone wishing to attend the spectacle. Attendees had to sweat out the mess that is Hotel Booking hell every Spring, now begins the yearly mad crush for those faithful dying to purchases access.

As we post this news roughly 30 minutes into the on sale hour and the site finally shows up, we can already see in the site’s ticket availability meter that nearly one quarter of the 4 day passes are already sold. That measurement may even be inaccurate as the crush of users force the site to chug along.

We are now talking about a new era of SDCC pass purchasing akin to trying to nab tickets to a mega-star rock concert via Ticket Master.

Any poor SDCC fanboy or girl who forgot to set this date up on their calendar will be crying in their comic longboxes.

Guess this confirms I need to get my 2012 SDCC passes while attending the 2011 show next summer.

UPDATED: SDCC shuts off 2011 event ticket sales roughly 90 minutes after the sale began. Site apparently unable to hold up against the onslaught of pass seekers. New message posted on the site confirms ticket sales will resume on November 8th. That is, if the organization can enhance the site in seven days so it is able to function properly with that kind of traffic load.

Although it looks like 4 Day and Single Day passes for the con will still be available, I would doubt they have a good picture of how many will be avaialble at this time. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Well it's about damn time!

Holy cow, thought I'd never see the I know what will headline my Christmas want list this year.

What a package! And only available with TIME/LIFE. Shipping on November 4th. Click the link for all the details.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Iron Man 2 $15 Blu-ray Deal

Welcome to the official kick off of Retailer Price Wars for the fall of 2010!

Wal-mart is firing the first salvo of the season with an irresistible deal of only $15 when you preorder the upcoming Iron Man 2 Blu-ray. That's $10 less than everyone else in the game as of this date. and will have no choice but to follow shortly.

Each retailer has internal policies that maintain they must price match the major competitor. Amazon will react shortly but it takes Target longer as the arguments have to take place internally between buyers/marketing/upper management and the studio. Target will want to try to make the studio cough up some sort of payout to minimize the markdown damage. They won't. This means an ugly Monday for that division of Target. It means more deep discounting damage has to be planned for on high profile media products (movies, video games, books) and it all starts much eariler than expected. Last year the deep discounting didn't really begin until early to mid October.

Love it. Going to be another great shopping season of deals for the consumer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blockbuster's tale is lesson for Comic Book Industry

Blockbuster and it's once high flying video rental chain is finally going to call it quits.

Ok, so they are not exactly about to board up every location but once they enter into bankruptcy in September, no one really expects them to come back out of it with a better plan and sail on to greater glory a la the Auto industry. No government bail out here fellas. The days of the consumer renting movies from a neighborhood chain are officially over. When you can summon up movies anytime you desire on your TV, game system and phone, it's the beginning of the end of mass retail media consumption.

Blockbuster played this game far too long and actually did try to bail out a few years back before it was too late when the now defunct Circuit City Electronics retailer looked into buying the company. After a lengthy review of Blockbusters finances and future prospects, CC ran away from the dying idea of video rentals. Not too long after, CC finally died themselves because of their own poor management.

The quickly shifting landscape of retail media is a problem every major retail chain is facing right now. Even the juggernauts like Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy know that their once traffic driving area of books, magazines, music, video and games are shedding sales year by year. Internally, each company has been working with the major studios and distributors on what the future looks like for each of them. These media areas of the stores are shrinking and so is revenue. We know of one of the big chains that has devoted a specific team to map out when and how these areas of the stores will further shrink and what kind of products should then take over that valued space.

Media is going straight to the consumer and it's getting cheaper. Not news to anyone but still good news for the consumer and bad news for just about everyone else.

This is where we tie it all into what is happening to the comic book industry. A very small group where aging and stubborn fans and retailers refuse to accept what is happening before their very eyes. An industry where both publishers and distributors are fearful of bringing the subject up to any retailer's attention.

I don't call this problem out to gloat, I want comic retail and publishing to survive and I want the industry to finally engage in meaningful conversation about the change.

Anytime any site or blogger wants to discuss digital comics you can count on plenty of short sighted retailers and fanboys to decry any discussion of change and claim the pulp will never go away. Right, just because no one buys a music CD anymore in favor of digital files doesn't mean they would stop buying the 'Adventures of Captain Cape' publication any longer when they could read it on their phone on the bus to work.

The heads have got to come out of the sand in this industry. If your comic shop's primary revenue is generated by weekly comics, they are not long for this world unless they study retail trends and history, make plans for change and accept what is happening to every retailer around them that sells any form of media.

The traditional single comic store retailer and distributor are especially at risk. First, the consumer goes, then the retailer with no plan goes then the distributor finally falls 'cause no one is paying their bills. The big publishers will go on, wounded of course but propped up by the mega-conglomerate that supports them because they can at least still sell Spider-Man & Batman underwear. Everyone else in publishing will have to choose between digital distribution or an ever increasingly expensive publication option with less retail support. Real change is coming and Disney/Marvel, Warner Bros/DC and select others do know this and are making plans. You won't catch Jim Lee and Joey Q discussing such plans in public but they are. God forbid they mention any of this to the overly sensitive retailer and upset the apple cart.

So to the loudest comic retailers like Brian, Chuck and the rest, I submit that you consider the Blockbuster saga a warning from the Ghost of Christmas Future: If you are a retailer sitting out there and not making plans for your inevitable future with less and less weekly goods to sell to a shrinking consumer base, then you may as well get in line with Blockbuster next month.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

You can judge a comic book by it's cover

Any vet in the world of publishing be it mainstream or comic books will always confirm the cover is key to capturing the attention of any potential reader and therefore potential sale in any retail establishment.

Here is proof positive the editors at DC don't follow that train of thought.

These are the upcoming covers for Superman. DC Comics number one icon. A four color, larger than life superhero that can perform any remarkable act any artist can imagine. Out of a sea of titles on any retail shelf...who the hell would look twice at these?

And yes, the storyline is a dull and interor art is as subpar as this would lead one to believe. Save your pennies. Better yet, support your local comic shop and buy a back issue from 75 years of Superman publishing.

You'll be much more satisfied in the end.