Beginning this week DC Comics will start rolling out their ambitious project: CONVERGENCE.
Yes, you read that correctly, 40 titles.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
In many ways your local comic book store isn’t at all like other businesses you visit. You know them and they know you. You shop there several times a month and develop a relationship with your store and a sense of loyalty. Often, even a sense of pride. In doing so, customers often overlook poor service, selections of merchandise, questionable business practices, dirty or cluttered stores, and so on that they would never accept in the other businesses they frequent.
You should absolutely look at your LCS with the same level of scrutiny that you do other businesses. Small or large, new or established, your LCS should do their utmost to provide you with a positive shopping experience.
- Their store should be neat and clean. Not maintaining a clean store shows a clear lack of respect for the people that shop there. If a shop owner can’t even be bothered to do something as simple as cleaning, how are they going to handle more complex tasks?
- They should be polite and helpful. You should feel genuinely welcome in your LCS. Employees should be helpful and attentive to your needs. You should not be dismissed or put off or made to feel unimportant. In some stores it isn’t uncommon for small ‘cliques’ of customers to receive preferential treatment, oftentimes marginalizing other customers. Every customer should receive and expect to receive the same outstanding LCS experience whether they spend $5 or $500.
- You should always know what you’re paying for something. Products should have prices marked so customers can make educated decisions. Any store that isn’t willing to put a price tag on an item is trying to take advantage of you.
- Everyone should feel welcome. Men, women, children, parents, grandparents, straight, gay, democrat, republican, white, african american, Falcons fans, and so on (you get the idea) should all feel welcome and comfortable in your LCS. If any single group of people isn’t comfortable in your LCS then you shouldn’t be either.
- In general, they should have what you’re looking for. A comic book store should have comics. Tons of them. We’re at a point where large selections of back issues aren’t an absolute must, but your LCS should have a generous selection of new comics for you to peruse. 200-300 new monthly titles on the shelf at absolute MINIMUM. You should be able to walk in on a Wednesday and flip through all the new comics that came out so you can pick some up off the shelf. After all, what’s a comic shop without comics?
- You should never have the feeling you’ve been taken advantage of. Good businesses take proper care of their customers and always leave them feeling positive about their experiences. Is your LCS asking you to pay more than cover price for new comics? Did you buy a back issue only to find out that you paid way too much? If you ever get the feeling that your LCS has been less than honest with you, you’re probably right.
- They shouldn’t constantly be making excuses. Does the comic distributor make mistakes? Absolutely. Do they make enough mistakes for your LCS to be complaining about them several times a week? Not very often. If your LCS is regularly not getting you the comics you ordered, it’s generally because they don’t do a good job managing their orders.
- They should be open when they say they will. Your LCS should be open the hours they have posted. Always. They shouldn’t be opening late or closing early unless there’s an emergency. They’re breaching your trust when they’re not open when they said they would be.
- They should know their product. Your LCS should know comics and how to properly grade them. How can they make recommendations if they don’t read comics? How are they setting prices for their back issues if they can’t even tell you what condition they’re in? How are they putting a value on the collection you brought in to sell them?
If your LCS isn’t taking proper care of you, let them know. They can’t make changes or improvements unless they know they’re doing something wrong. If they’re doing an exceptionally bad job, ask yourself why you continue to go. It may be time to check out another store nearby. Lastly, if they’re doing a great job, let them know!
A trend is re-emerging that is somewhat troubling: A significant increase in the number of speculators in the comics market. Many of these that I’ve run into are too young to recall what happened the last time speculation was rampant in comics. HINT – The entire industry imploded and was almost wiped from existence. Comic shops, distributors, and a lot of publishers went out of business. Comics from that period are essentially worthless, regardless of their importance. And while I’d like to think that publishers wouldn’t be complicit in repeating history, they’ll still print as many comics as shops order. We’re the front line, the customer interface, and I think we owe it to our customers to give them good, honest advice.
Don’t get me wrong, a little speculation is a healthy thing. Comics are collectibles after all. That said, we’re past the days of new books like Chew, Peter Panzerfaust, Rachel Rising, and the like selling for multiple hundreds of dollars. Publishers are printing many more copies of their new comics than when those books were published. The industry is healthier than when those books came out so readership is up and readers have caught on that many of the smaller publishers are producing many of the best comics. Hence there’s more supply. Don’t buy into the hype when bloggers or sellers are touting this or that as the next big thing if it is for any other reason than that it is good.
Don’t fan the flames of hype by desperately looking for the next Walking Dead. Realize that you missed the boat. There are reasons why that comic is valuable. It’s really good, readership at the time was really low (approximately 10,000 copies were printed), and it transcended the medium and become a commercial success of gargantuan proportions. People that had literally never been to a comic shop in their lives were coming in droves and buying all the Walking Dead comics they could get their hands on, then looking for more titles to consume. Lapsed readers started coming back to comic shops after not having read comics for years. It literally paved the way for all the others that are getting bought up by studios and optioned for film and TV. No other comic since has had anywhere near that effect on the industry. No movie from Marvel or DC has had that kind of effect either. I’m not sure what the state the industry would be in today if not for The Walking Dead.
You’re not going to get rich buying up extra copies of comics that you hope in your heart of hearts will be the next big thing. So please, buy comics because they’re good. Buy them because you enjoy the stories and the art, not because some huckster on a website or message board or God forbid, at your LCS, is touting something as the “next great investment opportunity”. I promise you he has some he wants to sell.
I’m not saying not to buy an extra copy of a book here or there, not at all. There’s nothing wrong with taking a chance once in a while that a book might go through the roof. Maybe you like to have one to read
and one to keep pristine, keep doing that. Do those things because you enjoy the books and you think that they’ll go up in value one day because of their merits. Buy 10 copies of a book because you’re obsessed with it, not because you think you’ll flip it for a couple extra bucks. Do all those things because you love comics. Want to know a secret? Most comics don’t go up in value. The real value you get out of your comics should be the enjoyment of reading them and sharing them with someone new. So many books go way up in value based on hype and then come crashing down to earth. At the end of the day the only people profiting from the speculation market are the ones selling, not the ones buying.
Please don’t confuse the speculator market with the collector market either. They’re two separate entities all together. The speculators directly affect the future of the comics industry by buying up extra copies of new comics to make a quick buck and thus artificially inflate print numbers. Comics today are printed based on demand. If that demand is ever skewed significantly by speculators buying up dozens of copies of new comics then eventually there will be a tipping point where we’re partying like it’s 1999. That is to say, we’ll all be wearing our sad faces because history has repeated itself and most of the comics printed since 2010 become worthless.
We’re super excited to announce that Big Easy Comics is opening our second location this October in Hammond, LA!
We’d like to thank all our wonderful customers for making this possible, we really are living the dream.
While this store won’t be as large as our Covington Superstore, it will have the same amazing selection of comics. We will also be featuring a fantastic selection of games and feature in-store gaming events such as Magic the Gathering, Heroclix, & Cardfight Vanguard.
Want to jump on board with our subscription service? You can sign up now at our Covington store, start picking up there and then we’ll move your account to Hammond as soon as we open!