Thursday commenced with the Diamond Retailer Summit taking place at McCormick Place on the Fourth Floor of the North and South buildings, where most of the panel rooms will be located this weekend.
There was a plated breakfast (too light for me, I was hungry by 11) and the traditional “Dialogue with Diamond” presentation and questions. This year, the levity theme was “retailer olympics”, with volunteer retailers performing comics specific tasks (bagging and boarding comics, constructing long boxes, wrapping and boxing shipments). Winners received a “Graphic Elvis” hardcover, and everybody got an extra set of the retailer variants being handed out.
Most of the big announcements will take place at dinner tonight, but there was some news during the focus group sessions, where attendees were divided into three groups and discussed various topics with publishers.
I’ll list the bullet points below, but first, some pictures!
What’s this? That’s the inside of the Cloud Gate, known locally as “The Bean”. Some C2E2 fans might remember the Green Lantern poster of last year, with a POV from the outside. You can actually walk underneath it, and look inside, where the interior curves are much higher than those on the outside. It’s a funhouse mirror in multiple dimensions, tricking your depth perception quite easily.
The entrance to the convention center. The concierge desk, dancing water fountains, and IGN Theater are to your right, the coat check and Hyatt Hotel are immediately to your left. This is Level ONE. The show floor is Level Three, and thus two more flights of stairs. If you attended the first C2E2 at the Lakeside building, the show is in the same general direction.
The view from the top of those stairs.
You’re almost there! One more flight of stairs!
As the sign says, the show floor is to your left. Yes, the signs says “B1″ but it’s really the Third Floor. DIRECTLY below this, on Floor 2.5 (don’t ask), is where you find food. There’s McDonald’s and other choices, and a vending area with two microwaves. There is an automat vending machine, but it was empty today. Dunno if it will be refilled before the show…
So, if you keep walking, there’s a staircase and escalator to your right. That leads to the Fourth Floor, where the panels and other stuff is being held.
Keep in mind… this is the only easy way up and down. There are elevators, but those will take time.
To be updated later… FedEx is closing… It’s Five PM.
[update 9:30 PM]
Once you get to the fourth level, it’s another TWO blocks of walking south to get to the big panel rooms. Seriously, there needs to be a shuttle bus in that hallway. Fortunately, Reed has water stations strategically stationed so you won’t die of thirst on your trek.
See those columns in the distance, near the focal point? That’s where the wall curves because it’s so long.
I tried to make it through dinner, but DC’s reader survey review was lasting longer than Trinity, so I bailed.
Here are my notes from the day. These are notes, nothing too detailed. Other sites will probably verify these later, with pictures.
- E.T. figurines to celebrate the 30th anniversary (sigh) of the movie
- Hunger Games games! A strategy game, and a 52-card game called “Jabberjay” which is actually two games. There will also be 27 figurines, the 24 Tributes, and three chase figures: Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. So those other, nameless Tributes may not appear in the sequels, but at least they get a figurine.
- Quarriors! expands with a deluxe version titled “Quarmageddon” with 40 new dice, 32 cards, and a nice carrying case. There will also be a “Quorld” Championship.
- Pirates of the Spanish Main gets a fixed card set game
- There’s a new strategy game titled “Lord of the Rings: Nazgul” where you battle others, and the game, to become the villain of the epic. There are various levels, and the hardest level is almost impossible to win. (Yes, you would expect that, given the storyline.)
- Got some empty space in your cubicle? There will be 30+ Hobbit Heroclix figures released soon. (And since it’s Heroclix, Bilbo can grab the Ultimate Nullifier to become victorious over Darkseid.)
- The New 52 will appear as a Heroclix line titled “Justice League”, which does use the new logo.
- Heroclix runs an eight-month tournament for Marvel titled “Infinity Gauntlet”, and players get a new promo piece each month. Well, They will replicate this store-based tournament with Batman: No Man’s Land. The promo will be Batman’s utility belt. It will also be the first Heroclix line to feature vehicles. (Might we see the Spidey-mobile one day soon?)
DC spent their dealer talk discussing “Before Watchmen”:
- There will be a 1:25 variant, and a 1:200 Jim Lee variant for every #1 issue.
- Since most readers of Watchmen are lapsed readers, DC wants stores to be well-stocked for the long term. Thus, any number of copies ordered which surpass the store’s order for Green Lantern #6 will be returnable.
- There’s also a backlist incentive. Once an order threshold is reached for each issue, retailers will be able to order a specific edition of Watchmen (hardcover or paperback) at a 75% discount.
- Television ads promoting BW and the New 52 hardcovers will air in May and June. Networks: Cartoon Network, TBS, BBC America, IFC, and G4. DC will also pay 75% of any co-op advertising.
IDW won the “cool” award, as the writers of “Smoke and Mirrors” (which sold out of the first issue) taught the audience a magic trick where the promo materials were torn up. The series has a cool hook: a stage magician finds himself on an alternate Earth which is run my magic not science. Since he doesn’t know the spells to make things work, he fakes it with stage magic. A kid discovers his secret, and in classic sidekick mode, blackmails the hero into teaching him his tricks. There’s a corporate villain involved. Each issue teaches a magic trick, and there is back-matter written by magicians. (Issue #5 will have an essay by Teller.)
IDW also announced at the dinner that they will do 55 variant covers of the upcoming “Mars Attacks” comic. Why 55? Because each cover will feature a reproduction of the original cards from Topps on the front and back! I suspect the 13 censored cards covers will be much sought after. (I’m buying #36.) There’s also “Road Rage” from Stephen King, “Womanthology: Space”, and “Danger Girl and G.I. Joe” by J. Scott Campbell.
Oh! The coolest thing? Archaia gave me an advance copy of their Free Comic Book Day sampler. Comics sized hardcover, 48 pages, with five stories inside (including a Dapper Man teaser!) They are charging stores $0.30 a copy, and when I asked what the estimated retail price of such a binding would be, I was told $5! I’m letting you know now, since the number distributed will be limited, and it’s going to be one of the hottest FCBD titles this year. It’s an amazing book… perfect in so many ways.
Also, one bit of data I learned, following the Diamond Digital panel. I asked Dave Bowen, Director of Digital Distribution, how many stores had e-commerce sites. He said less than 600. Fewer than 1600 had a web presence. Out of some 2100 accounts. I asked, since Diamond Digital offers three different ways of selling the comics digitally. I was curious if Diamond would also offer e-commerce plug-and-play services, but he said iVerse would have to create the API for the store. Not having an e-commerce site in this age is like not having a cash register in the 1980s. It’s even more critical, as a savvy online retailer could automate the Diamond Digital sales, cutting their 33% margin to pennies, undercutting every other retailer in America. Of course, once they visit a website to get digital content, they’ll probably end up buying other stuff there as well. Will there be a Borders/iTunes Moment in comics retailing?
On that cheery note, I’m off to update the C2E2 how-to, and then collapsing horizontally. Tomorrow’s a a big day, and I’ve got my nephew attending his first comic-con! I’ll try to get him to write a few columns here, but I think he’ll be the Jeremy Ramirez to my Barry Ween.