Mini-Con is Coming!

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Comic Cons have become quite fashionable the past few years. Large, mega-events are occurring all over the place and are quite the spectacle. While I do still enjoy attending events like Wizard World New Orleans, Baltimore Comic Con, and San Diego Comic Con, I can’t help but feel that they’ve lost some of what I loved about comic conventions when I was growing up. They definitely still have their place, but they’ve also evolved beyond showcasing comic books and their creators, moving more and more to pop culture and Cosplay. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a decent number of comic dealers at these conventions but typically they’re larger national dealers and they’re all selling the same high grade, high priced comics. Space at these Cons is expensive, often well over $1,000 for a 10×10 booth which makes them impractical for most.

So…about that…
When I was a kid I could go to a comic convention (we just called them “shows”) once or twice a month at a local hotel where there would be a few dozen folks selling just about any comic I was looking for. Some had expensive key issues, some had gold and silver age books, some had dozens of bargain boxes. I could go looking for any random issue of a comic and usually find it. It didn’t have to be the first issue or a character’s first appearance. I was able to bring comics in that I wanted to sell or trade and leave with new comics that I wanted (usually without any money left in my pocket). Those conventions were a lot of fun and something I really looked forward to. They were also cheap to attend and cheap to buy space to sell your comics.

Why do I bring all this up?
Well, I miss those shows and after having some conversations with other retailers and collectors, I found out that I’m not alone. So I figured, I’ve got the space, why not do it? So we’re going to kick it old school. Saturday August 15th, Big Easy Comics will be holding our first “Big Easy Comics Mini-Con” at our Covington location from 10am-6pm. Because the event will be held in our 2,000 sqft game room, attendance is FREE. We’ll be selling 6′ tables to anyone that wants to set up for $25 each (limit 2). You don’t need to be a big dealer or comic shop owner, though if you are, you’re welcome as well. Anyone can buy a table to sell their comics or art. All we’re asking for is the money for your tables, you keep everything else.

Why should I attend?
1. It’s FREE!
2. To have a good time and make some new friends
3. To search through hundreds of boxes of comics for one or two gems you can’t live without
4. Sell or trade in your comics
5. It’s indoors (you don’t want to be outside in the middle of August)

Why should I get a table?
1. You’re a collector or dealer and have comics you want to sell
2. You’re a creator/artist and you want to promote your work
3. We’re going to market the event and provide you with potential customers
4. Get exposure for your business
5. It’s only 25 measly bucksters!

How can I find out more?
You can email me at stephen@bigeasycomics.com

We’ll be putting more details out soon. Space is limited and tables will sell out fast, so reserve yours early! Look forward to seeing everyone August 15th!

Thanks,
Steve

MTG COMBINED PPTQ MILWAUKEE & STAR CITY GAMES IQ! SATURDAY APR 25TH 10AM REGISTRATION

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A Guide To DC Comics’ “Convergence”

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Beginning this week DC Comics will start rolling out their ambitious project: CONVERGENCE.

convergence Harley The core title, a 9 issue weekly titled: Convergence, will be accompanied by 40 two-issue titles!

Yes, you read that correctly, 40 titles.

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For the months of April and May, many of DC’s core titles will be suspended (some of them to never return) and replaced with the convergence titles.

The 2 issue minis will tell stories from throughout DC’s timeline(s), touching on many fan-favorite eras like Pre-Crisis Supergirl; The Tangent Universe; Gotham Sirens era Harley/Ivy/Catwoman; The Nightwing/Oracle LOVE-FEST; Hook-Hand Aquaman; Ted Kord Blue Beetle; Ryan Choi Atom; Flashpoint Batman; ZERO HOUR Green Lantern/Parallax and the ever-popular Stephanie Brown Batgirl & Cassandra Caine Black-Bat!

The list goes on and on and, I’m telling you guys, it’s a lot of (AWESOME) comics!

Below is a link to DC’s official CONVERGENCE GUIDE. I highly recommend checking it out. After giving it a look, pop into your Friendly Neighborhood Big Easy Comics and let us know which titles you’d like us to pull for you!

**THE DC COMICS’ GUIDE TO CONVERGENCE**

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Slidell Store Updates

 

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It took a bit longer than we would have liked but we signed the lease for our new store in Slidell last week. If you’re curious, it will be located in The Crossing shopping center at 106 Gause Blvd West, Suite A-2. Familiar landmarks include the Rouses, Sicily’s Pizza, and Piccadilly Cafeteria.  We’ve set a firm date of January 10th for our opening and we’re beginning renovations this week.  The Slidell store will have a similar look and feel to our Covington location.  It will have a shopping area in front with the great selection of comics, toys, and games that our customers have come to expect from us and separate dedicated game room in back.

Currently we’re working on determining exactly what our hours will be and we will post them as soon as we know.  We also received many more applications than we have time to interview so we’re reviewing and prioritizing them as best we can based on experience and whether the availability listed meets our needs.

We would have preferred to open in December but delays in negotiating the lease and 3 major holidays have made it impossible.  In the meantime, I would like to share a little bit about how our store works with our new customers.

Customer Loyalty Program

Big Easy Comics has a voluntary universal discount program called Hero Points that all of our customers are eligible for. Customers earn 1 point for every dollar they spend on items at MSRP. Points earned don’t expire for a year and can be redeemed as noted below.  In order to redeem points at a given level customers much be purchasing at least that much at the time of redemption.  Points are not earned on discounted items like booster boxes, cases, or sale items.

100 points     $5         200 points     $15

300 points     $30       400 points     $50

500 points     $75       750 points    $125

1000 points   $200

Our customers can earn as much as 20% back on their purchases!

 

Subscriptions

Comic readers can open subscription folders now by stopping by our Covington or Hammond locations.  We’ll start pulling for you immediately and work with you to get any comics you might have missed as a result of Magic Comics closing.  There is no minimum number of comics required and free bags and boards are available for subscriptions.  We highly recommend you don’t wait until we open to start your folder to best guarantee you don’t miss any issues.

Special Orders

We place special orders for customers all the time for comics, toys, and games.  We have a pretty simple policy for special orders; we don’t want your money until we have your item(s).  When a customer places a special order, they’re agreeing to buy what we’re ordering for them and we expect they will honor that agreement.  We do not require down payments on special orders unless they are over $100.  For  special orders over $100, we require a 25% non-refundable down payment. Should a customer choose not to purchase an item that was special ordered for them they must pay in full in advance for all future special orders.

Gaming

Our dedicated game room will be available for free open play any time the store is open.   We also regularly hold organized play and tournaments for a number of games including Magic, YuGiOh, Cardfight, Dragon Ball Z, Warhammer, War Machine, Dungeons & Dragons, Heroclix, X-Wing, Attack Wing and so on.  Organized play events do have priority over casual play, but it’s a rare occasion that we can’t accommodate everyone.  All players are expected to respect the rules of the game room and be polite and courteous to other players.  Trading is always allowed in the game room, however cash sales between customers are prohibited.  We sell plenty of snacks and drinks, however you are allowed to bring in outside food as long as you clean up after yourself.

GAME ROOM RULES

1.  Treat others as you would want them to treat you.  Harassment and bullying will not be tolerated.

2.  The only weapons allowed are your sharp wit and biting sarcasm.  All other weapons of any kind are prohibited.  These include, but are not limited to, guns and knives.

3.  Alcohol and drugs are prohibited.  Don’t ingest any before you come to the shop or while you’re with us.  you will be asked to leave and quite possibly not to return.

4.  Big Easy Comics is an all-ages store, so watch your language.  Trust us, you don’t sound cool; you sound like someone lacking a proper vocabulary.

5.  The buying and selling of merchandise between customers on the premises is prohibited.  Don’t set up a fruit stand in our grocery store.

6.  Leave things as you found them.  Your mother doesn’t work here so be responsible and throw out your trash and clean up any mess you’ve made.  Return any tables, chairs, or game room equipment to where it belongs.

7.  Unpaid merchandise is not allowed in the game room.  Don’t make us tackle you, the floor has non-skid in it and we’d hate to scrape our elbows.

8.  Scheduled events have priority for game room use.  Open casual play may not always be available.

 

I was by no means trying to answer every question that could be thought up.  If you have additional questions, message us on Facebook!

 

Thanks,

Steve

Clearing the Air

It was pointed out to me this morning that Wyatt Higginbotham of Wyatt’s Comics and Cards posted an attack on Big Easy Comics on his Facebook page.  We’ve endured countless jabs from him already and we’ve always taken the high road.  I can’t bring myself to do it this time.  We’re not small enough, we’re not local enough, we’re a big evil corporation, we’re picking on him, we’re greedy and so on.  We can’t go back and be a one store operation, so no, we’re not as small.  And why would we?  We’ve done that and it was a great personal and financial struggle to get where we are today.  I certainly wouldn’t want to live through it again.  We are proud to be a family owned business with 5 employees, if that’s not a small business then pretty much nothing is.  Tracey and I have both put in many thousands of hours of work to make Big Easy Comics what it is and it’s a slap in the face every time we hear that “the owner has another job” or “the owner is never onsite” or “this is just a hobby for them”.  Tracey puts in 50-60 hours a week and yes, I have another career but I still put in 20-30 hours each week.  We’re successful because we put every ounce of energy we have and every dollar we make back into Big Easy Comics to make it better for our customers.  How does that make us greedy?  We don’t overcharge our customers for anything, no new product in our store is ever priced above MSRP or cover price.  In fact, we have a rewards program for our customers that allows them to earn as much as 20% back on their purchases in store credit.  We also have booster box and case discounts for our card game products.  If it’s important that we don’t live in Hammond any more, we’re sorry.  We live in Mandeville now where we opened our first store.  I’m not sure what Mr. Higginbotham’s obsession with being an SLU graduate is, but I’m one as well.  After I got out of the Marine Corps, I joined the Louisiana Air National Guard and moved to Hammond where I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at Southeastern.  I also have an MBA from UNO if anyone really cares to know.

We opened our first storefront in Mandeville in November of 2010 and it was a great struggle for a long time.  School of Comics in Mandeville had already planned to close and we were fortunate enough to pick up most of their customer base but we were learning what it really meant to own a comic shop and just how different owning one is from owning most other types of businesses.  The core for us though from the start was to provide the highest possible customer experience to everyone that comes through our doors in a clean, friendly environment.  There were a couple of points in the first 2 years where we had to decide whether to close or keep pushing forward.  About 8 months after we opened, Wyatt Higginbotham opened “Wyatt’s Sportscards” a mile down the street from us, a chain store co-owned by Chuck’s Field of Dreams, based out of Albany.  We weren’t pleased to say the least, but we have no issue with friendly competition and we certainly wouldn’t describe Chuck’s as a “big evil corporation”, however I can’t help but feel that Mr. Higginbotham is being more than a little hypocritical now that we’re in opposite positions.  At that time we felt it would best serve us to expand the size of our store and put in dedicated game play space for our customers.  It was extremely risky but ultimately successful and led to the game room model we use today.  It wasn’t until later that we had any issue with them, when we were getting reports from customers that Mr. Higginbotham was lying to them about having made some fictional arrangement with us about our Magic the Gathering tournament schedules, essentially saying that he had discussed with us and that we had agreed to schedule events around each other.  Ultimately we were able to outlast their store, we feel because of our customer first mentality.  To this day, we have never met nor spoken to Mr. Higginbotham, except on those occasions when he calls our store pretending to be a potential customer asking what our prices are.  My advice to him is to provide his customers more value than Big Easy Comics does if he wants to be successful.  That’s what the foundation of our business is built on; taking care of our customers and adding more value to their experience than they’ll get anywhere else.  We don’t bad mouth our competition on Facebook, or tell people they’re terrible and that they shouldn’t shop there.  If people want to shop at Wyatt’s Comics, we certainly don’t have any issue with that.  That’s their choice and if they feel that they’re best taken care of there, that’s fantastic.  This isn’t about us, it’s about taking care of the customer.

Why did we choose to open a 2nd store in Hammond?  We have dozens of customers that drive from Hammond to Covington every week because quite frankly, they don’t want to shop at Wyatt’s.  We didn’t do that, he did.  If you want to know why, you should ask them.  I’ve never been in his store, nor would I ever in a public forum disparage a business I’ve never set foot in, but the stories I’ve heard definitely impacted the decision to open a store in Hammond.  So after about a year of hearing complaints from comic readers and gamers, we decided to take a hard look at whether opening another store was something that we could afford to do and whether or not Hammond could sustain one.  I think the results are obvious, we’ve been open for almost 2 weeks now in Hammond and we can’t put into words the overwhelming positive response we’ve gotten so far.

Mr. Higginbotham has also taken it upon himself to bring up our 3rd store in Slidell that we’re opening soon.  It’s honestly heartbreaking that we’re doing it.  Dave Strecker, owner of Magic Comics & Hobbies has been our friend for 8 years.  We share product when the other needs it, we’ve helped each other at conventions, and have a great cooperative relationship in general.  He called me this week to tell me he’s shutting down at the end of November and that he was referring his customers to us because he wanted to make sure they’re taken care of.  He’s one of the greatest people you’ll ever meet and his customers will tell you the same.  Slidell’s game store, Level Up, had just closed at the end of August as well.  We felt like this was such a blow to the community that we should step in if we could.  We decided that day that regardless of the risk, the community in Slidell would support us if we came and supported them.

If this sounds a bit angry, well, it’s because I am.  We run our small business honestly and with integrity.  Speaking as a former Marine, those aren’t just words, they’re a way of life.  We take care of our customers and have excellent relationships with other members of the comic and game store community.  Mr. Higginbotham’s reputation is of his own making, if he wants to be successful he should own that and start putting his customers first.

 

Thanks to all our friends and customers for their support!

-Steve