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Nov. 28th, 2013

tardis

Action Figure Delays

I've owed this blog a bit of an update and commentary for some time, and hope you'll allow me the luxury of some extended commentary here as part of an explanation of some recent issues and delays...as well as an update on incoming product.

As many of you are already aware, a deluge of new product hit the US market for Doctor Who toys and action figures, in time for many to miss the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and, especially, to miss sales and events like the one we held at our sister operation, Annie's Book Stop of Worcester (anniesbooksworcester.com) on November 16th.

Sadly, even for the best of situations, schedules now are slipping on nearly all releases, or, otherwise, there's no warning on solicitations until items are in stock. We try to coordinate orders in advance, but even the solicitations are wrong or incomplete in many ways.

In addition to this, we apparently have so many name imitators, the warehouse handling this tells us they were processing orders incorrectly, adding items for "Mike's Comics And [fill-in-the-blank]" to our orders, and adding our orders perhaps elsewhere. And, of course, corresponding billing issues with the shipment of product are involved.

While that's an explanation for delay...at least a good chunk of it...if I didn't have something positive to add here, that's just not enough reason to blog about it.

FINALLY, we're told, a great deal of backlog is about to be straightened out, and product we ordered is FINALLY shipping to us...later than the normal delay because of all the interesting handling our account has received, and, so, later than normal compared to some competitors we have, but, we're finally expecting arrivals in about a week of some number of items in demand, and already sold through elsewhere.

I'll get to a partial list in a moment.

However, first, I want to thank those who have been placing Advance Orders all along. They trust us to get them what they want, at the best price. We expect to do that again here. Nothing regarding this delay changes any of that. For those of you who went elsewhere first, saw our competitors didn't stock enough to help you, then came here after-the-fact...why did you go elsewhere first?

Second, we expect on all these products to fill ALL Advance Orders placed by November 24, 2013, immediately upon product arrival. This actually is after what should have been the actual release date, but, owing to current odd circumstances, is still before arrival here this time. The one item currently suspect for Advance Orders placed later is the 8th Doctor and Dalek Alpha two-pack, which is seeing about twenty times the order volume of any other in the series of 11 Doctor and Dalek two-packs. We ordered plenty to cover all Advance Orders placed by a certain date, plus a quantity above that...then saw our boutique competitors sell through on several of the Doctor and Dalek pairs (despite price gouging on those compared to the rest of the set!), and orders started flooding in here. This is one among several situations that can happen, and it's why we have an Advance Order system. When others don't get enough for you, our track record of filling well above 99% of all Doctor Who Advance Orders, even including allocated and limited edition items, stands alone. And, we're not playing games with pricing some parts of an assortment higher than others because we feel we have you "at our mercy." Why do I want to charge my BEST customers my WORST prices? We saw it done elsewhere. And, again, if you were going elsewhere first, I'm left with the question...why?

We also make you the commitment to try to give the best prices anywhere on Doctor Who items we sell, from the first day we have them in stock until we sell through. Not as clearance prices. As our REGULAR pricing. We aren't running all the bells and whistles of some through our web site. So, you don't have to pay more because of them, as you might elsewhere. An Advance Order with us is NOT a gamble on price...let others who use our Advance Order system tell you. If anything, for the earliest Advance Orders, we sometimes even add further price breaks when we can negotiate a special price. Is there anyone else out there doing that for you? Or even trying?

So, why do I belabor points like this? In large part because we help our customers most when they come early and place Advance Orders...and not wait for the mad rush after everyone else has sold through, after eBay scalpers push prices through the roof, and when it becomes too late to help. It's because we want to be able to help everyone, and with Advance Orders, we have our best shot. If you want the items we're carrying, lock in price and availability as much as is possible from ANY VENDOR IN THE WORLD for these items that get a licensed US distribution. If price is low somewhere else, chances are we'll still be beating it here. We won't waste our days tending a forum site, because we are busy actually answering our phones and welcoming our customers to call and deal with a human. While we run the business to make a profit, we know we're nothing without our customers, and we know enough to run our business for YOU, not for some corporate interests. And, if you think this is simply wrong or too good to be true, ask others who deal with us. Past, present, or future. We want relationships with our customers to last decades, not just seconds.

But, for this latest group of items...we're shamefacedly saying we couldn't overcome the issues at the distributor's warehouse for them, so couldn't get things here sooner. We're hoping to have items arrive on or before December 4, 2013, at this point. Among those items should be:

The remaining Doctor & Dalek two-packs
Silver TARDIS Teapots
Sound FX Daleks
Captain Jack with Doctor's Hand
Doomsday Set
Companions Set
4th Doctor
10th Doctor with Sonic Screwdriver
10th Doctor with Blue Suit & Glasses

Don't forget you can stop in at our storefront location at Annie's Book Stop of Worcester, MA, at 65 James Street for these and some unadvertised items and prices.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael Salvo
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

[UPDATE December 8, 2013: Most of the items listed did ultimately arrive in the quantities expected, but we did not receive any of the quantities ordered (and paid for!) of the new 3.75" variant assortment yet, and we were shorted some number of Doctor & Dalek two-packs from both Waves 2 & 3. While MOST orders are completely filled, and while we are expecting the remainder of items to be shipped to us presently, anyone with a partially fillable order...about a dozen of our customers...will be getting an e-mail update today, explaining the situation, and individual comment about whether we may ship in separate boxes for those whom more than one parcel should be sent anyway. We're trying to be frugal on shipping costs, while also being sensitive to Holiday gift-giving as possible. Assuming we receive the shorted items as we expect, we will have a modest number of 8th & 9th Doctor two-packs when our remaining supplies arrive...unless new Advance Orders to the limit of those supplies are placed in advance of that arrival.]

Sep. 26th, 2013

tardis

NEW ARRIVALS, Week Ending 28 September 2013.

We’ve had a wonderful assortment of DOCTOR WHO product arrive this week.

* This month’s issue of DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE [#465] has a cover featuring all five living “classic” Doctors: Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann.

* Released for the first time on DVD and Blu-Ray is DOCTOR WHO; THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SERIES, starring Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams, and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswin Oswald, and featuring guest stars Alex Kingston, Mark Williams, Ben Browder, Richard E. Grant, David Warner, Ian McKellan, and John Hurt.

* New audio adventures from Big Finish include: DOCTOR WHO - DALEKS AMONG US [#177]; DOCTOR WHO – 1963: FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MEN [#178]; THE COMPANION CHRONICLES – UPSTAIRS [#8.03]; and THE LOST STORIES – THE DARK PLANET [#4.01].

* To appeal to the sense of sight for DOCTOR WHO fans, we have the DVDs of the show and the monthly magazine; to appeal to the sense of sound for those fans, we have the audio adventures. But every DOCTOR WHO fan who wants something to appeal to his or her sense of touch will be very pleased at the TARDIS Floating Pen.

The Doctor’s iconic space/time vessel is suspended in fluid within the pen’s casing and appears to hover when turned upside-down and upright again.

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We expect many more interesting and imaginative items from the world’s longest-running science fiction serial to arrive between now and the show’s fiftieth anniversary special on November 23rd. And don't forget you can stop in at our storefront location at Annie's Book Stop of Worcester at 65 James Street.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Sep. 16th, 2013

alldoctors

NEW ARRIVALS, Week ending 21 September 2013.

Our latest shipment from Underground Toys included the following:

* The Desktop Patrol Dalek, in blue.... lots of fun for home and office, and a great gift idea for the holidays!

desktoppatroldalek_blue2


* The Pyramid of Mars "Set B" [also known as The Priory Set, with Professor Scarman and Sutekh's sarcophagus]

pyramidset2


* A restock of the Dalek Paradigm Set

dalekparadigmset


These and other toys are available via mail order at http://mikescomics.com/TOYS2.html, or at our physical storefront at Annie's Book Stop of Worcester.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Aug. 27th, 2013

tardis

MORE NEW ARRIVALS - Week ending 31 August 2013.

This week we received new titles and restocked audio adventures from Big Finish Productions.

We also received new action figures and mini-figures from Underground Toys.

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First up is the long-awaited action figure release of “classic series” companion Ace; this is the 2013 SDCC [Comic-Con International] DOCTOR WHO exclusive.

ace-580Ace travelled with Sylvester McCoy’s incarnation, The Seventh Doctor, during the show’s final year before its cancellation in 1989.

She consistently polls as a favourite companion in fan polls, and has enjoyed an extended run in the ”New Adventures” books by Virgin Publishing and the ongoing audio adventures from Big Finish.

We also received the newest assortment of mini-figure “blind packs” from Character Builders.

This assortment of DOCTOR WHO mini-figures is in honor of the 50th anniversary of the world’s longest-running science fiction serial!

eef4_doctor_who_mini_figure_set_of_11_doctors_grid_embed

Each pack is sold separately; because these are “blind packs”, the distribution of Doctors within the assortment is random. Buy a pack and cross your fingers for your favourite Doctor!

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The newest entry in the DOCTOR WHO monthly range of audio adventures is # 176, "Starlight Robbery", written by Matt Fitton. This features Sylvester McCoy as The Seventh Doctor, along with Stuart Milligan as Garundel, Dan Starkey as Sergeant Gredd/Asallis, and Christian Edwards as Will Arrowsmith.

dw176_starlightrobbery

Synopsis: Garundel Galactic, a secret arms auction run by Garundel himself, is selling illicit killing machines. Blasters, missiles, bombs and tanks – if you have got the credits, then Garundel has the kill-sticks.

The Doctor is an old acquaintance of Garundel, and he – along with Klein and Will – have set their sights on his black market arms fair. How will they mange to pull off this particular heist right beneath the noses of Garundel and his Sontaran clients?

===================================

The Companion Chronicles #8.02, The Alchemists, was written by Ian Potter. It features Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman, granddaughter of The First Doctor, and Wayne Forester as Pollitt.

cc802

Synopsis: In 1930′s Berlin Hitler and his National Socialist party are in the ascendant – and the TARDIS is landing. Susan joins the Doctor, and together they join some of the greatest minds in science: Einstein, Planck, Wigner, Schrodinger, and Heisenberg. These are the scientists who will build the future of Earth, but the Doctor has brought something with him that could threaten the course of history itself. . .

===================================

Blake’s 7: The Liberator Chronicles continues with Volume 5, featuring three new stories.

“Logic”, written by Simon Guerrier, where Astat Constable’s ordinary life is thrown into chaos when an intruder changes everything forever.

“Risk Management” by Una McCormack has Blake and Jenna aiding the planet of Sutskar, where the sale of rare Galveston crystals is vital to the planet’s future and only brokered by Roj Blake.

"Three" by James Goss tells the tale of journalist Cullen who is about to land the scoop of his lifetime – an interview Supreme Commander Servalan herself.

====================================================

Returning to our shelves after far too long an absence is the audiobook version of perennial favourite Robert Shearman’s story collection LOVE SONGS FOR THE SHY AND CYNICAL.

Synopsis: The first love song in the world, as composed by a pig in the Garden of Eden…
The Devil, alarmed when his hobby of writing romantic fiction begins to upstage his day job…
A man finding love with someone who has an allergy to his happiness, another losing love altogether when his wife gives him back his heart in a Tupperware box…


By turns macabre and moving, horrific and laugh-out-loud funny, Robert Shearman’s short stories come from a place just to the left of the corner of your eye.

=================================================

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael & Patty
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com
daleksurprise

NEW ARRIVALS, Monday, 26 August 2013.

We’re happy to present DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #464, brand-new on our shelves this week, and featuring Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor, on the cover!

DWM464


This month’s issue is packed with goodies…

* Interviews with television presenter Zoe Ball and episode writer Neil Cross…

* A first look at The Twelfth Doctor, in pieces written by DWM editor Tom Spilsbury and showrunner Steven Moffat…

* Nostalgic looks back at Richard E. Grant in “The Scream of the Shalka”, the “love triangle” and ecological warning of “The Green Death”, the main characters and guest stars in “Remembrance of the Daleks”, and the whole of Series 6 / Season Thirty-Two, broadcast in 2011…

And lots, lots more!

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael & Patty
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Aug. 2nd, 2013

tardis

DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #463 and SPECIAL EDITION #35

Newly arrived on our shelves are the latest releases of the monthly DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE and the accompanying intermittent DWM SPECIAL EDITION.

The current issue of the former is DWM#463, featuring a cover story about the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler and how the series 2005 relaunch might not ever have made it off the storyboards.

DWM463

Other stories in issue 463 include:

* an interview with Bob Baker, one of the co-creators of the character of K-9, as well as his non-WHO works WALLACE & GROMIT and CHICKEN RUN…

* a feature on the Fourth Doctor television story “The Ark In Space”, penned by Robert Holmes…

* an opinion piece on whether The Twelfth Doctor should be a woman…

* the newest installment of the monthly DWM comic strip, titled “A Wing and a Prayer, Part Two”…

* and much more!

dwm-special35

The Second Doctor and the catalogue of missing episodes and stories from his run on DOCTOR WHO are the focuses of DWM Special Edition #35.

This issue opens with an article of how many of those Second Doctor tales thought to have been lost forever have been recovered or restored through the process of “telesnaps” and reconstruction via audio soundtracks and animation.

Also included are panel-by-panel synopses of the stories “The Power of the Daleks”, “The Highlanders”, “The Underwater Menace”, “The Moonbase”, “The Macra Terror”, and “The Faceless Ones”, covering time spent with Second Doctor companions Ben Jackson, Polly Wright, and Jamie McCrimmon.

These magazines and other back issues can be found at http://mikescomics.com/MAGS2.html.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

----Michael & Patty
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Jun. 26th, 2013

tardis

3.75" Assortment

As many of you know, we've continued receiving the new Doctor Who toy and action figure lines from Character Options and some related offerings, and have continued to live up to our commitment that when it comes time to actually set final prices, we have the lowest price in the USA, if not the world. We also reward our Advance Order customers with even lower pricing, when it's possible...so a discount even below the best pricing otherwise available is often passed along!

Late yesterday, we received the first new assortment of the 3.75" scale Doctor Who figures. Our regular pricing will be $9.50, and, unlike many competitors, we're not going to price gouge on certain pieces in the assortment just because some others think they should try to see if they can get away with it...it's YOUR money they're playing with! That's not our style, and our customers know this. Not to mention that every piece in the assortment is charged at the same wholesale price to all retailers, so why SHOULD we try to charge more for some than others?

But, as a Thank You for those who placed Advance Orders with us, we've processed all Advance Orders with a price of $8.99 on these figures. On the whole assortment, with no exceptions. If you're shopping around elsewhere, did you find the same pricing and the same treatment from our competitors? We looked for ourselves, and we don't find anyone to match it, and that's the way we like it. We think you do, too.

The 3.75"-scale Spin & Fly TARDIS also arrived yesterday, priced at $17.99. Again, look around and compare.

We're also expecting many new and re-issued figures and toys in the Doctor Who lines coming up on the 50th Anniversary of the show in November, 2013. Keep an eye on our web site for the upcoming offerings that have already been solicited to us, and for further updates!

What we seem to be hearing in recent months for some reason is our pricing isn't competitive. Well, we're actually hearing our competitors say this to some customers, then those same customers come and tell us, and we have a good laugh! In about a week, we'll be celebrating our 37th Anniversary in business, heading into our 38th year. The same commitment we felt was important on Day One is still important now. Our customers get the best treatment we can give them, and we understand we are nothing without you. The privilege of your custom should deserve the best treatment we can offer; that's how we always try to handle every order and every question.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael & Patty
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Feb. 4th, 2013

tardis

Legacy

One thing we've found out because we've been around longer than most of our competitors is it's possible to outlive technology. Oh, a computer may still function from thirty years ago, but you can't get anything new for it, can't upgrade it, and limitations eventually make it necessary to force change.

A few of you today will have noticed the impact of that, with a web site outage of a few hours here. We outlived the company who was our original web host, and, now, the servers they had all our data on for some 15+ years finally failed for the last time.

The good news is all this data was backed up by the company who now owns the old web hosts. The site is already back up and running. It should all be there and in place, just as it has been, and the new servers are likely to be faster, if anything.

The days of punch-card computers, index-card inventories, mail order without an internet presence of any kind, all seem to be a thing of the past. Today's brief situation is just one more piece of that, one more thing we hope will be counted as progress. Because so many noticed the issue in such a short time, it seemed best to comment here, and let you all know what happened...and let you know it's nothing serious in any way.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael & Patty
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com
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Jan. 24th, 2013

tardis

Doctor Who Action Figures

Many of our customers have long been buying the Doctor Who action figures made on a 5" scale.

It's fair to say, after selling through hundreds of thousands of dollars just in this one small line of ours, the very loyal collectors who buy from us are deeply invested in what they have purchased. Some individuals are invested far in excess of US$10,000 each, and that's quite a show of dedication to something. You know we listen to our customers, and we try very hard to make certain their feedback never falls on deaf ears here.

When rumors, then manufacturer comments, started swirling around the internet some months ago about a shift from 5" to 3.5" or 3.75" scale on Doctor Who action figures, we started hearing some very vocal comments from our whole clientele about how this was only being done with real disrespect to their loyalties, rather than any practical need for improved quality. The roar of disapproval here was rather substantial. Figures from the new seasons of the series would be first, then it would extend to earlier seasons of the show. The basic idea of having a 5" Amy Pond looming over a Cyberman or a K-9 potentially with almost the same size and mass as a new Dalek means these scales are forever incompatible from the start, for those to whom these things will matter. But, it was all before there were reliable facts or pictures.

And, that's where we really tried hard to stop folks, in the spirit of fairness, and just tell them to wait. They had very valid reasons, and usually said they'd already decided a change in scale would forever end them spending on Doctor Who action figures, but, maybe, there might be reasons these would need to be done because the figures would somehow turn out better. And, despite having some of the sculptors among our clientele, themselves making comments about general concerns in shrinking to a smaller scale here, the real fact is a final product had to be seen to pass judgment one way or the other, at least about aesthetics.

Now, we are as aware as anyone that a prototype being shown somewhere may not even be an indication of what reaches store shelves. But, the fact of something made and displayed at Toy Fair 2013 is something factual to go on. We found one link to a photo at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thedoctorwhosite/8404895383/in/set-72157632587240926/ and you can see for yourselves what you think of this Cyberman. And, this is LiveJournal...feel free to comment here! That's why we have this account, to get some of your feedback, not just to pass along comment or news.

Finally, a few days ago, we got the first customer interest in the 3.75" scale figures...again, sight unseen. But, while that one customer doesn't counter-balance a customer list of thousands, many of whom have already declared antipathy to a scale change, even if all that changes is scale, it does at least show there is some market out there for a new scale, even if most feel, at worst, the 5" scale should continue alongside. Still, we're here to provide what our customers want. So, we ask you to decide and to comment here, or comment on the Underground Toys Facebook page. Does this figure meet your needs? Is it as good as a 5"-scale Cyberman? Is this something you'll spend your money on?

Usually, after all the shouting dies down from the rumor mill, and something real is in front of people, attitudes adjust. If 3.75" scale floats your boat, make it known. If you see 5" as the be-all and end-all for these figures, be heard and be counted! A business is nothing without its customers, and we are hoping you will each weigh in and tell us what we need to know about these proposed changes to the Doctor Who action figures in future.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael & Patty
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Jan. 10th, 2013

tardis

Three Doctors Sets

Just a quick update to inform our many customers for Doctor Who action figures, the Three Doctors sets have arrived.

All Advance Orders are covered, all orders we can process have been picked up by US Mail and are in transit, and all other supplies we've received so far are sold. We've ordered more, so it's a matter of what supplies are at the distributors for this unusually popular figure set.

For those who are not currently buying the new figures from us, we also invite you to take a look elsewhere at price on these. Placing Advance Orders with us for the items you want locks in supplies, and most often the best prices on the planet.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

---Michael & Patty
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

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