The people who run Chimera’s Comics are fans and collectors just like you. And just like you, we mourn the loss of our beloved Toys “R” Us. A few of us gathered to pay our last respects.
From Dave Q:
As a toy collector, I have very fond memories of my local Toys “R” Us. From visits as a child to toy hunting as an adult, it is truly my favorite store. My favorite memories will always be visiting with my nieces and letting them pick out one toy as a gift from their favorite uncle.
In the past few years the giant toy retailer had been struggling. From the inability to compete with online retailers like Amazon and Walmart to electronics being a growing source of entertainment for kids. Toys “R” Us’ inability to adapt to this new culture would be its biggest downfall.
The announcement of the return of KB Toys gives me hope as a toy collector. I understand that most if not all online stores gives consumers the option to preorder items, but there’s nothing like toy hunting.
Toys “R” Us you will be sorely missed!
From Carmelo C:
Millions of children looked to the proverbial toy store as a promised land of fun and excitement. A trip to the toy store was almost more fun than returning home with a toy. Because the store represented possibilities.
Toys “R” Us never ceased to give me that sense of wonder. And no matter how much online retail grows, it will never capture the wonder and imagination inspired by the site of a warehouse of toys.
Sadly, when it comes to power, size, and selection, physical retailers are losing to the giant online retailers. Here’s hoping that small business, whose strength lies in community, friendship, and care can rise to fill the void left in our hearts by Toys “R” Us.
C2E2 is open for business, a weekend-long convention that has taken the Midwest by storm and is quickly becoming THE go-to show for those even outside the region. But what about the show before the show? This year, Diamond Comics Distribution held their retailer summit in Chicago, sharing C2E2’s hosting venue at McCormick Place, which invites comic and gaming shop retailers to hear the latest news from publishers and distributors alike, get summit specific deals and freebies, and….well, get to complain a little.
As I shared in my last post, the comics industry is struggling, and some of the factors involved in that mess are quite parallel to the world’s woes: corruption and greed. So of course, as with any opposition to these things, voices rise up, and groups gather together to express their concerns and work to change the system.
Even with that looming tension, there’s still some positive to take away from an experience such as the Summit, especially for someone who is continuing to grow into the industry as it is (not as it’s wished to be) and to learn how to best adapt to the struggles we work against. As with all things in life, as with all difficulties we face in our lives, there is still magic out there, and to me, there is still magic in the world of comics, flickering, but present. The people I work with, both staff at the shop, creators of independent works, publishers and beyond…if they didn’t love what they did, what they made and what they helped to bring other people, they’d move on. They’d find something else to dedicate their passion to.
I started my morning bright and early getting into downtown Chicago and was met with a great breakfast and a line-up of publisher presentations. I won’t go too deep into spoiler territory, but there were some really exciting announcements that I can share that I hope you’ll all be interested in as well! Action Lab Comics, TokyoPOP, and Titan Comics were first up:
Action Lab announced a new imprint of comics called ‘Action Lab Discover’, focusing on comics for all ages, and I MEAN all ages. Their titles will have reading levels as early as ages 4-8! This is HUGE news, because up until now, there’s been little to no options available for parents who are trying to get their kids interested in the medium from a very early age. Next, TokyoPOP announced support for comic shops in relation to Free Comic Book Day (coming up the first Saturday of May). With the free preview comic for Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey releasing on said holiday, they are also offering the series’ first issue for shops to sell to encourage further reading and help small businesses make a little bit back on their community investment! Finally, Titan Comics showed off their new line of video game comics like ‘Dark Souls’ and ‘Life is Strange’, plus a big feature for the greatly anticipated 13th Doctor’s premiere in comic format. Talk to your local shops and pre-order these bad boys, because they’ll go fast!
Next up in the schedule was a great line up of interesting marketer presentations and tip sessions, and that led us into the DC showcase!
As Action Lab offered, DC discussed further details on their new imprints of kids and young adult titles through the new imprints ‘DC Zoom’ and ‘DC Ink’. The titles have a slew of fantastic talent involved, offer diverse representation without being simply pandering…but as has plagued even their regular line of books, delays will keep these comics from releasing in prime selling opportunity, instead pushing to the first quarter of 2019. There was a little talk about the adult line DC Black Label, the new Sandman universe books, Mad Magazine’s relaunch, but the big reveal came when they announced pre-order numbers for their two upcoming big-bang titles: 500,000 units of Action Comics #1000, and a whopping 1,000,000 units of DC Nation #0! We’ve been holding out for market-saving numbers like that, and DC, despite their in-house issues, are driving the charge forward. It’s going to be a fascinating 2018 for DC fans with all sorts of upcoming works that both continue the powerful, building legacy of their ongoing Rebirth titles, but also presenting new content that specifically harkens to the classic age of heroes like Superman and more!
A few more workshops and a nice lunch later, we had Marvel’s panel, which was the uproar of the Summit. No new announcements were forthcoming, but we were shown some artwork never featured before to give us a good idea of progress on their new line of Fresh Start titles, and let me tell you, they look GOOD. Yu’s pencil work in particular is a welcome friend to the Captain America series, and the insane scale offered in Jason Aaron’s upcoming Avengers title is sure to delight current readers and hopefully entice old ones to come back. C.B. Cebulski was also present beside Aaron and shared with us a new effort on his part as editor-in-chief to spend time on the front lines, working several days a year with comic shops all across the States to see just what the demand is, what retailers need the most support with, and so on. It was a great sentiment met with applause, but the elephant in the room also needed addressing: Amazon and Comixology selling Marvel titles, best sellers and new stories no less, for just $0.99. Also, what the heck was going on with stopping those silly percentage/incentive based variants? Unfortunately, Marvel had no answers to offer, and what had been an uplifting feature ended on quite the sour note.
Some other smaller publishers stepped in to offer their saving graces, like Penguin/Random House’s upcoming Dungeons & Dragons ‘Art and Arcana’ tome featuring years of fantasy art collected over the game’s lifetime, and a big reprinting of the kid’s comics ‘Hilda’ series, which is set to get a Netflix original cartoon this year! We were also shown some brand new publishers like ‘Dead Reckoning’, who has a focus in military comics, both reprints of obscure classics and new indie tales, given a huge list of manga recommendations from Kodansha and VIZ Media, and a few new tools that Diamond as a distributor would be implementing to lessen shipment shortages, and make subscriptions much easier to manager for customers as well. I’ll be trying to do some follow up this summer on all of this, so stay tuned!
In the end, as with all things, there was good and there was bad. Regardless of the struggles we still face, there is nothing that will stop me from loving this medium, from seeing the movies and trying new series day in and day out. And frankly, there’s a LOT of other people out there who feel the same as I do. Comics are a labor of love, from idea to execution to sales. I’m excited for the possibilities this summer has to offer, especially following the release of Avengers: Infinity War in theaters, and I’m ready to take a trek on the next adventure with all of you fans, creators, retailers and customers.
Originally Published on Ohhhdis.com
Headed into the second weekend for DC’s smash hit Wonder Woman, everyone’s waiting to see if this movie has legs. Spoiler alert, early projections have Wonder Woman remaining number one in the box office and beating out The Mummy for the top spot (as of this writing). This kind of traction is probably due to the overwhelmingly positive reception. [UPDATE: Wonder Woman has indeed conquered the box office over The Mummy, number 1 for two weeks running now and approaching a half-billion dollars worldwide.)
Regardless of the outcome of the hero’s next great battle – that for box office supremacy – Warner Brothers has already green lit a Wonder Woman sequel. What will they have to do to make sure this franchise carries on, so this glorious first film isn’t just Zeus’ thunder in a bottle?
Here’s my personal wishlist/recommendation for a Wonder Woman sequel:
1. Bring Back Patty Jenkins
It’s probably a shock to you that Patty Jenkins hasn’t been officially brought on for the Wonder Woman sequel (as of this writing). While there are many talented filmmakers who could leave a unique stamp on the character, Jenkins’ vision so perfectly captured the tone, characterizations, and quality that an icon like Wonder Woman demands. This is first on my list because it’s a given that should already be accounted for by now. And I don’t care what it costs, frankly.
2. What Happened Over The Last 100 Years
The movie continuity goes something like this: Wonder Woman is active during the final days of World War I, then basically goes off grid until the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. In the controversial team-up film, she tells Bruce Wayne that she turned her back on fighting during the last 100 years, the “Century of Horrors.” Yet at the end of Wonder Woman, her hope in the world is renewed by the actions of Steve Trevor and the defeat of Ares.
The obvious explanation is, World War II was a demoralizing setback for Wonder Woman, who’d thought she’d conquered all war. But while this should be spelled out, I also want to know, how did she spend the last 100 years? Has she been back to Paradise Island? Why or why not?
This is really important because part of what made Wonder Woman so intriguSome of this could be explored in flashbacks that supplement a primary narrative, which brings me to…
3. Consequences of Wonder Woman’s Actions (or Lack Thereof)
One cool way to bring the story into the present and explain the last 100 years without sluggish exposition slowing down the narrative is to have the central conflict be the result of Wonder Woman’s actions – or lack thereof. Did she fail to save someone she should have? Did her incredible powers inspire someone for good…or for ill?
4. Turn This Into A Political Thriller ala Captain America
Wonder Woman by necessity bore a lot of similarities to Captain America: The First Avenger, because both characters are out-of-time and represent pure, noble values in times of great violence. For that reason I think DC should follow Marvel’s cue with the almost universally loved Captain America: Winter Soldier. This movie helped highlight Cap’s values by putting him at odds with the modern political, military-industrial complex and timely addressed issues of mass surveillance.
Wonder Woman too is a political figure in the comics, and one who isn’t tethered to one country the way Cap is. Now that she’s rejoined the world, how will she handle genocides? Stateless terrorism? National sovereignty? I for one want to see a meaningful political thriller. But to work, it will also need…
5. A Diverse And Well-Rounded Supporting Cast
Wonder Woman’s supporting cast is, and I think this is only lightly a spoiler. a minimum of 120 years old by the time the sequel would start, given when the first movie is set. Safe to say, all pretty dead. And I really liked the cast of this movie – from Robin Wright as Antiope is a standout, along with Etta Candy, Apache Chief (seriously, too freaking cool), and Steve Trevor. But who is Wonder Woman’s supporting cast in her modern-day comics? And are any of them household names like Jimmy Olson or Alfred?
The best super-hero movies have always had an excellent supporting cast. The aforementioned Winter Soldier teamed Cap up with Black Widow, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and the Falcon. Diverse, bad-ass, and compelling in their own right. The Christopher Nolan Batman films had a stellar supporting cast, with such classic characters like Commissioner Gordon and Lucius Fox portrayed by grade-A actors like Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman, respectively. In fact, most modern super-hero have gotten the hint here.
Wonder Woman is no exception, but because of the lack of instantly identifiable secondary characters, there’s a chance here to create a supporting cast. One as diverse and well-rounded as her fans. The comics can and should certainly be mined for inspiration, but this film shouldn’t be afraid of teaming her with mostly original (or very changed) characters. Even if it ends up being other superheroes ala Winter Soldier – wouldn’t it be great to see her fight alongside Vixen, or perhaps in a strained partnership with Amanda Waller. Which brings me to the final suggestion:
6. Bring on some classic villains
I’m pretty biased, and generally think most of DC’s silver-age super-villains are pretty corny. Most of Batman’s beloved rogues, for instance, are only loved in their current state reimagined by the 90’s Bruce Timm animated series with simplified, character-driven origins and motives. And that’s what Wonder Woman needs: a streamlined, grounded reimagining of some of her classic rogues.
My Personal Wishlist For A Wonder Woman Sequel
Personally, if I could take a crack at a draft for a Wonder Woman sequel, I want to see the Cheetah, and a slightly more modern antagonist, Maxwell Lord. If Lord is the sort of master mind, they’ll be able to incorporate the political drama I mentioned above – perhaps he’s trying to harness magical artifacts for evil? Maybe he’s being investigated by Amanda Waller, who conscripts Wonder Woman into helping? Cheetah is like Maxwell’s prototype, and his muscle? And in the end, when Waller inevitably double-crosses Wonder Woman to take Maxwell’s MacGuffin/weapon for her own use, Wonder Woman puts her foot down and destroys it, maintaining her autonomy from the American military machine?
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