Friday, November 27, 2009

New Heroclix are HOT!

There are TONS of great gifts available at your local Amazing Fantasy for all the cool kids on your list! One of the most surprising items of the season is the new Heroclix set: Hammer of Thor. Heroclix has been on hiatus for a year or more, which made many gamers quite sad. I'm happy to report that Heroclix is back and in a BIG BIG way! The figures look great, better than previous sets IMO. Neca is now producing the Heroclix game. I was worried since they had not produced a miniature game before, BUT they did a good job with this expansion. This is the set that was already planned on being produced before Wizkids discontinued Heroclix last year.
Never played Heroclix and you are wondering what the heck I'm going on about? Stop by your local A/F for a FREE "quick start rules" sheet. It's a super simple miniatures game featuring your favorite super heroes. There are both Marvel and DC figures available, so every fanboy's/fangirl's wet dream can come true. "What would happen if the Thing fought Superman" or whatever burning dual you can dream up can be played out right on your tabletop! Damn cool. The figs are prepainted, so none of that time-consuming bullshit associated with traditional tabletop wargamming, like Warhammer, this game is ready to go right out of the box.
If you are looking to pick up any of these Hammer of Thor Heroclix boosters, act quickly because every set is limited. Each booster of 5 random Marvel Heroclix figures retails at $11.99, and this brand new set, Hammer of Thor, is FLYING off the shelves! Buy a brick of 10 boosters and get a FREE exclusive figure: an oversize Ragnarok Surtur.
Heroclix boosters make GREAT stocking stuffers!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two BIG Holiday Events Coming SOON!!!

Two HUGE events coming very soon to your local Amazing Fantasy location!

Our 15th annual Midnight Madness Sale!
This year it will be Friday December 11th from 8pm-12 Midnight at the Frankfort and Tinley Park locations and Saturday December 12th from 7pm-11pm at the Lockport and Calumet City locations. If you have never had a chance to make it to one of these sales before I can not emphasize how amazing it is. Really, I shit you not. Just ask anyone who has been to Midnight Madness before, it is absolutely MAD!

Every year, we do something a little different every year, so don't bother asking me WHAT is going to be on sale, suffice it to say that there are deals to be had throughout the store. People usually start showing up a hour or so beforehand to start scoping the place out. No announcements will be made about what the special specials will be until the sale begins! Expect to be wowed, expect to save tons of cash. Bring your wish list, your friend's wish list, your husband/wife's wish list, your mom's wish list, your children's wish lists, well you get the idea.

Also, each store will have a little something extra going on. Santa may attend the sale, elves, Mrs. Claus, Supergirl, who knows? Everyone who is everyone is going to be there, so you need to mark these dates on your calendar, or on your IPhone, wherever you keep track of all the cool stuff you do from day to day so you aren't left out! Some locations will have snacks available, some stores will be playing special holiday themed music, some stores might be raffling off goodies, and MORE! The fun will be NON-STOP. This is a DO NOT miss event!

New Year's Eve Eve Day/Night of FUN
Wednesday, December 30th ALL DAY long at all four Amazing Fantasy locations! That's right, from 11am-8pm! Come on in for crazy fun! What all is going on? Well, it's a skip week for new comics, but don't let that stop you from coming by your favorite LCS, no sir. There will be PLENTY to keep you occupied and entertained. There will be sales and specials all day long, since it will be the PERFECT time to try something NEW. Buy that graphic novel you've been eyeing for months or jump on a new series that you've been thinking about. We'll be hosting a number of incentives to encourage a little funtime reading. Every store will be hosting some extra special fun! One thing I can tell you for sure: Frankfort will be hosting Karaoke from 4pm-8pm with special host/MC Bill R! It was suppose to be Jerkules, but he's being a "Jerk", go figure, lol. :P And Frankfort will also have some champagne, wine and cheese and crackers available to get into the pre-party spirit of New Year's Eve. Remember this special event is on the EVE of New Year's Eve so you will be able to booze up before the big booze up the next evening. We might even have confetti and balloons, who knows? You will just have to come and see for yourself!

My Love Affair with Jack Knight Knows No End...

More great gifts for the holidays: The wonderful Starman Omnibus Volume 1-3. These babies retail at $49.99 each. Volume Four will be shipping in February. Here is the page count for each volume: 1 has 448 pages, 2 has 416 pages, 3 has 432 pages as does the forthcoming volume 4. Quite impressive tombs. These Omnibus collections are the perfect way to start your very own Starman library or to recollect your Starman issues.

I just finished all three Ominbus volumes. I hadn't read my Starman floppies for many years, so this was a real treat. I love, love, love Jack Knight. If he was a real person, I would SO have a crush on him. His tats, his jacket, his toys, and his goatee all look mighty fine. I've been SO in lust/love with the character of Jack Knight for SO long that I've been planning on getting some ink in honor of him, and that time is coming very soon. I've been hoping to get the Starman symbol on my lower back forever now, but I'm glad I didn't. I've decided to get the Starman symbol on the back of my neck now, which is a much better idea. I'm coming up on 40 fast, so I don't really need a tramp stamp on my lower back, do I?

Ok, back to why James Robinson and Tony Harris's creation of Jack Knight/Starman is so great. James did a bang up job of taking ALL the Starman characters from the Golden Age through the present and somehow managed to make it all make sense. I never gave a crap about any of the Starman characters before this series, but because of the ongoing Starman series I now have a special place in my heart for all of them. Ted Knight, the original Golden Age Starman is Jack's father and plays an important supporting role in the series. In face if you are any kind of Golden Age fan, you should really read this series because Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman, also plays a role. There are also numerous references to the Golden Age JSA. Trivia that only came to light in the Starman series: Ted Knight (G.A. Starman) had a short-lived affair with the G.A. Black Canary. Oh yeah, you get all the dirty details of the Golden Age in this series. The original artist Tony Harris also played a big part in making me love this series. The character of Jack Knight, his likes and dislikes, is pretty much based on James Robinson, but the LOOk of Jack Knight is based on Tony Harris himself. I think the tattoos that Jack has on his body throughout most of the series were the same or close to the same ones that Tony had on his. So Jack Knight is the combination of these two great creators in more ways than one. Tony also designed Opal City for the book, from scratch if I'm not mistaken. I believe he and James talked at length about how they wanted the city to look and feel and then Tony made it come to life. Opal City is Starman's homebase, has always been his home base, from Ted Knight to David Knight (Jack's deceased older brother) and of course Jack Knight also calls Opal home. Opal City looks fabulous, art deco/noveau inspired beauty as far as the eye can see, in every panel on every page. Even the colors on this book were pitch pefect. From issue to issue, from cover to cover, Starman is one of my ALL TIME favorite super hero books, EVER.

The only real complaint I have about the collections is the lack of letter column reprints. DC chose a smattering of letters pages to reprint, but man back in the day how I loved to read the letters column in Starman. So damn entertaining! It was great. You have to remember that this was back before the internet, so things were different for collectors then. If you collected anything, vintage records, old Fisher Price Litte People, Hawaiian shirts, comics, whatever collectible you could think of, you couldn't just go to Ebay because Ebay didn't exist! James, at least back in the day, was a huge collector of all kinds of fun stuff, so he would write all about different type of collectibles in his letters column. It was awesome. He would even ask his readers if they had a certain collectible he was looking for and people would write in to ask questions about collectibles or to offer James something he was looking for. Yes, I know I'm dating myself here talking about the days before Ebay, but just THINK about how crazy that time was.

I can't wait for volume 4 of the Omnibus! There will be a total of 7 volumes all together and they would look GREAT on any bookcase. The Starman Omnibus volumes, make great gifts for your friends or hell, treat yourself to some fabulous reading this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Should Be On Everyone's List!

I said I was going to blog about a different Great Gift Idea everyday, so here is today's! Marvel's Wonderful Wizard of Oz hardcover! It's the perfect gift for ANYONE! Collecting all eight issues of the mega-popular comic series in hardcover for the affordable price of $29.99. Adapted by Mr. Oz himself, writer Eric Shanower with delightful art by the amazing Skottie Young. I can not recommend this book enough. It's the type of gift that even non-comic fans will enjoy. This is the first of many volumes that Marvel will be producing, adapting the Oz novels. They have already started the next volume: The Marvelous Land of Oz. There are an awful lot of Oz books that L. Frank Baum wrote back in the day, I think Baum wrote 13 Oz novels all together. Wouldn't that be wonderful if Marvel managed to adapt ALL 13?

From the inside flap of the HC: "With Marvel's Wonderful Wizard of Oz, an American fantasy comes to life in a classic comics retelling! Shortly after its initial publication in 1900, author L. Frank Baum put his children's literature in context: It was written 'solely to please children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment of joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares left out.' Baum died 19 years later, but only after leaving behind a legacy of Oz-inspired fantasy 13 sequels long - a legacy augmented by the 1939 MGM picture starring Judy Garland that took an already beloved story and turned it into a cultural institution."

Every child on your list, and every child at heart, should receive this book for the Holidays this year. It would make the world a happier place, wouldn't it? It also makes the perfect gift for moms and dads that remember the books or the movie growing up. I'm just excited that Marvel has already begun the process of adapting further volumes of the series. There are many folks out there that had NO idea that there were more books in the series.

Marvel did something right. You better write this down.

Monday, November 23, 2009

IDW and Desperado Join Forces

GO IDW GO! Announced today, Desperado is now an imprint of IDW. Cool stuff, that I am happy to see find a home with the great folks over at IDW. IDW has been slowly growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years and over the last year alone, they have acquired quite an assortment of worthy imprints, including: Robert Bloch, The Library of American Comics (strip collections), Worthwhile Books (great all ages picture books) and now Desperado!

Desperado has jumped around from being self-published to an imprint over at Image and back to self-publishing. Now that they have joined with IDW, they can focus on getting their high quality books out on a more regular basis.

This is great news! Congrats to Joe Pruett and the whole crew over at Desperado for what is sure to be a great decision, and congrats to IDW for being smart enough to bring Desperado under the IDW banner.

Some of the great books that I've enjoyed over the years from Desperado: The Art of P. Craig Russell, the gorgeous Art of Brian Bolland, the Obergeist collection, and the forth-coming Art of Tony Harris hardcover. Damn that will be another one for the bookcase for sure.

The Holidays Are Right Around the Corner!

Wow, where the hell does the time go? I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving! Since the Gift Giving Season is now right around the corner, I thought I would take some time to highlight one GREAT GIFT every day on my blog.

First up? UGLYDOLLS! (Pictured above). Aren't they just the cutest or the ugliest as the case may be? All four Amazing Fantasy locations carry an assortment of these colorful critters. The Frankfort location has the biggest selection. If you want to know if I have a particular character in stock, feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.

Uglydolls are awesome because they are SUPER soft, they can easily work as throw pillows on a couch, they are they soft and squishy! I carry three sizes: 12" plush retail at $20.00, the 6" plush retail at $10, and the plush key chains retails at $6.00. These fellows look GREAT popping out of a stocking on Christmas morning! Uglydolls are popular with children of All Ages and pets too because all of their eyes and mouth are flat and sewn on, NO lose little parts that can fall off to choke a child or pet. Dogs get a kick out of them, and spray a little catnip on them and watch your feline go to town!

Be sure to check them out you are in the shop. You can't miss them, I have an assortment of Uglydolls hanging from the ceiling above the section!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Art Baltazar Signing Report

This last Saturday was KID'S DAY at the Frankfort Amazing Fantasy. Want to check out the pictures? Go to this link:

All in all, it was a fabulous day, as the pictures can attest. This is the first time I've had Art Baltazar at the shop and he was "awesome!" The kids loved him and all the free sketches he did! We also offered Tiny Titans coloring sheets, face painting, kids comics and graphic novels specials, oh and free balloons! Fun was had by all that attended. I was quite pleased with the number of kids that showed up, lots and lots! Many of them new faces, and many of them little girls. So cute! Made me so proud to see this new batch of fanboys and girls lining up to get their comics signed and to get custom sketches.

Tiny Titans is a great entry level comic for young children, and of course adults love it too because of all of the DCU "in" jokes. Gotta love "Jason Toddler" yes indeed. I applaud Art and Franko on a job well done. Art's art and coloring are top rate and the stories they collaborate on are just a riot. What a wonderful book. It's the comic I go to again and again when parents come in looking for a good comics for kids. Tiny Titans is always my number one recommendation.
Our thanks again to Art for making time in his very very busy schedule to come out for a fun afternoon! Everyone should really check out the above link to see all the cool pics. Many kids came out wearing their favorite superhero costume, it was AWESOME!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Saturday is KID'S DAY at the Frankfort A/F!

This Saturday, November 7th from 12 noon to 3 pm Art Baltazar will be on hand for Amazing Fantasy Frankfort's KID'S DAY! Should be a blast!

I've already mentioned this event on a previous post, but now that the event is right around the corner, I wanted to remind everyone.

Why are we calling this "kid's day" and not just a "signing?" We can't call it just a "signing" because it going to be SO much more than that! Art of course will be on hand signing away, and he will be doing FREE quick sketches all day for any fan that shows up (time allowing of course). We also will be giving away FREE balloons to any child that wants one (while supplies last). FREE face-painting by one of our good customers/friends, Brandon. Brandon will happily paint any superhero symbol on your cheek, for FREE. Choose from the classics like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman, or be daring and challenge Brandon with the likes of the Aquaman symbol (it's a very dated looking capital "A,") or ask him for the Martian Manhunter symbol, I'm sure he would LOVE to paint that one. Or any of the other popular Lantern symbols, I think every child should have a Red Lantern (Rage) symbol painted on their cheek or the Orange (Avarice) symbol, because that would amuse me, and damn it I like to be amused when I come in on a weekend for a special event. There will also be a coloring contest, featuring one of Art's famous Tiny Titans covers. Crayons and table space will be available so the kiddies can color while they are waiting to get their faces painted or waiting for a sketch from Art. Special BONUS: dress you or your child up in a superhero costume and be brave enough to be photographed in it, and you will receive an EXTRA discount on kids comics and graphic novels. Even if you don't wear your favorite superhero costume, there will be special pricing on all kids comics and graphic novels for the duration of the event.

Just look at all the great reasons I have given you to come out to the Frankfort Amazing Fantasy this Saturday from 12 noon-3pm. I hope to see all of you there as well as your kids! This is the perfect event to get your kids excited about reading and comics. Don't have kids? So what, we are all kids at heart, aren't we, otherwise we wouldn't be reading and/or collecting funny books, so why not come on out anyway? Meet Art and get a cool FREE sketch. Art is one of the nicest guys working in comics, and he's absolutely fabulous with the kiddies, and heck even adults like him! If you've never seen Art at a con, next con you go to, be sure to check out his table in artist's alley, he always has a HUGE line because everybody LOVE Art and his art!

Oh Yeah, Awesome!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This Industry Continues to Baffle Me

If you've read this blog before, you know that I've been in this godforsaken industry for over 18 years now. Hopefully you've also picked up on the fact that I am female. Good gosh, I'm a girl, it's true! I've been fighting stereotypes in this industry the entire time I've been working in it, and before that as a fan. At times, it has been very frustrating. Obviously, being a woman, I know nothing about back issues. Obviously, being a woman I must be married to or at least dating whatever male I am working with at the shop. Obviously, being a woman behind the Moonstone booth at various cons, I must be married to one of the men that work behind the scenes at Moonstone. Obviously, being female, I must only read "girly" comics. Obviously, being female working at a comic shop, I must want men to refer to me as "honey" "sweety" or "doll" on a regular basis. You've all heard me bitch, you've heard all the stories about the fun I've had with this sore spot over the years, you may have even witnessed some of these fun vignettes first hand at the shop! Many people that come into the shop to sell back issues, automatically start addressing whichever male employee I happen to be working with that day, and then when that employee points out "no, you need to talk to HER" said walk-in customer will stand in front of me but still LOOK at the male employee while addressing me. Anyway, most of this just makes me laugh, I mean really after this many years, there shouldn't be anything left to surprise me. Lookie here, I've been surprised yet again.

Two interesting discussion topics came up IN THE SAME EVENING. I was hanging out with some like-minded comic-book friends, discussing the Fables series of comics and graphic novels. I need to mention the fact that this was a Halloween themed get together with many attendees wearing various costumes of the Fables-related variety or other fun costumes. I was dressed as Red Riding Hood, see above picture. As should be OBVIOUS to anyone, I am indeed a female. I was standing next to one of my male comic book friends to get a picture taken of both of us in our costumes and his brother says to him "stand closer to her like you like girls" and he replies "but Lori doesn't count!" That's right, I don't "count" as a female. Ok, makes sense, I'm one of the guys in many ways. I can discuss Batman, Green Lantern, obscure Golden Age characters, indy comics, manga, pulps, you name it, with any guy on any day and odds are good that I am better informed than said individual. All I'm saying is, I do know a thing or two about the industry I work in, hard to believe, but I swear to god it's true. Many men and women that shop at our stores are well aware of this fact. So I'm not really a "girl" in their eyes because many of the women they know don't have the knowledge or interest in the sheer number of stereotypically "male" hobbies that I do: sci-fi, fantasy, role playing games, board games, card games, comics, graphic novels, toys, etc. I've always felt like "one of the guys" for most of my life. The vast majority of my friends have been male, back when I was younger, as well as today. I have never considered myself overly "girly". (Ok, I do like Hello Kitty, but that doesn't count!) So this friend's comment that "Lori doesn't count as a girl" makes sense. I'm not offended in any way, but coupled with the other comment I was on the receiving end of that night, I am perplexed!

That same evening another comic-book minded friend of mine was "surprised" when he read Fables upon my recommendation and found that he liked it, because he figured if I liked it, it must be "girly." I've know this person for many years, he's been shopping at MY store for many years, and yet still he somehow thinks I must only like "girly" comics. Whatever the hell that is. I'm not talking about Shojo manga, the type that is created FOR women. I've told this individual all about some of my all time favorite comics: geez that list is long, but I want to share with you some of the titles so everyone can bare witness on how "un" girly my tastes run. JSA, JLA, anything by Grant Morrison, anything by Alan Moore, anything by Garth Ennis including "THE BOYS" monthly, most Peter Milligan comics (and yes Hellblazer is VERY girly), Ed Brubaker (again when I think "girly" I think of books like Criminal and Captain America for god's sake!), Greg Rucka (mind you he is currently writing Batwoman in Detective Comics, but the vast majority of the Rucka fan-base is male), all the Green Lantern books, Daredevil (again he is SO feminine, I know!), Batman (better be careful if you call Batman a sissy and he hears you, you will be in for a mighty ass-kicking) and many many more. Oh and here's a partial list of some of my favorite pulp characters, yeah you know that predominately MALE fanbase includes me, I've even worked on some of these characters for Moonstone: The Spider, The Avenger, The Shadow, and Doc Savage, oh and Black Bat, and most of the others! I love Green Hornet, and Zorro too. I also have a collection of swords at home, another example of just how girly I am indeed.
I can NOT believe the strangeness of it all. It just goes to show you that no matter how hard I try I can NOT understand the world of comic books. I'm damned because I'm a woman that reads comics, edits comics, and sells comics. To summarize: I'm considered both "not a girl" and yet also "too girly" therefore my tastes do not count. I just don't' get it, and want to scream very loudly on the top of my lungs because of the absurdity of it all.

These days, many women shop at comic shops on a regular basis, including Amazing Fantasy of course, and many women work in the industry, yet we still have problems. We've come a very long way, but not far enough apparently. The road will continue to be both long and arduous. If I ever make sense of it all, I'll be sure to share. :) Sorry for the bitch fest, but sometimes....

One Prose Place

Our sister company, Moonstone is offering FREE stories! The above link is for the new Moonstone prose thread on the Moonstone forums, called One Prose Place. I wanted to share this with everyone because it's pretty cool and it's FREE! Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we will be posting about 500 words of one of our short stories for FREE! We've started with a story from the short story anthology: Phantom Chronicles. White Knight was penned by Phantom scribe and Phantom group editor, Mike Bullock. So when you are sitting around bored at work, go to the Moonstone forums to read some FREE tidbits! It will take a few weeks but we will reprint an entire story from one of our great anthologies! We have a lot to chose from, so over the course of the coming months you will be able to thrill to not only stories of the Ghost Who Walks (I'm talking about the Phantom of course), everyone's favorite paranormal investigator Carl Kolchak, the man that serves his own kind of justice The Spider, another pulp favorite The Avenger, the blond bombshell Domino Lady, and many more! If you like what you read, all of the Moonstone short story prose anthologies are available from your local Amazing Fantasy branch, your local bookstore, your LCS, or you can order them direct from Moonstone at Next time you feel the need to waste time at work, instead of playing the farm or mafia game on Facebook, check out some cool stories instead!
Happy reading!