Let the Games Begin!....Soon!

We've been talking about getting gaming up and running for some time now, and it looks like the first wave of games we'll be carrying is Walking Dead TacDex, DC Justice League Dice Masters, and Marvel Dice Masters, with Magic: The Gathering to follow shorty after!

Walking Dead TacDex is a fun and easy to learn twist on the basic card game War. Special Action cards change the gameplay up on the fly, a High/Low Battle Marker flips the rules in an instant, it features original illustrations by Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, offers fast rounds with infinite replayability, and has a low cost entry point.

DC and Marvel Dice Masters both feature a robust cast of characters from their respective universes, interchangeable sets, highly collectible booster packs, endless replayablitily, and fast paced head to head action! This is a more complex game than The Walking Dead TacDex, so you can expect longer and more in depth battles of a more competitive nature. Build your own dream team of heroes and villains to conquer your adversaries one battle at a time!

We're really excited to get the gaming started, and we hope you'll join us for all the action packed fun! 

An Exciting Week to Read Comics!

This is an exciting week for new series' and for current story lines!

First up.. We Stand on Guard, from Saga scribe Brian K Vaughn and Matrix storyboard artist Steve Skroce. 100 years in the future, a band of Canadian citizens defend their home against an invasion by the giant militarized robots of the United States Army! Brian K Vaughn is known for telling epic tales, sweeping in scope, rich in character development, with a deep and twisting plot. This 40-Page Monster drops on Wednesday, July 1st, for just $2.99! Pick up a copy and get in on the ground floor of what is sure to be a wild ride through the Canadian wilderness, eh?

Next.. in the new series 18 Days, Grant Morrison explores the ancient Eastern legend of Mahabbharata. And "what, exactly, is that?", you ask? It's a tale of three generations of warriors meeting for the final battle of their age, in a war to end the Age of Gods, and begin the Age of Man.There is little moral clarity to be found here; the good guys must make hard choices that will take them down a path atypical of most heroes. This is what happens when idealism hits cold, hard reality. Issue #1 is just $1, and hits Universal Comics this Wednesday, July 1st! Grab your copy before they're gone!

Then.. Marvel hits us with next chapter of it's universe-altering mega-event, Secret Wars #4! Johnathan Hickman tell us exactly how Battleworld was created, and how Doom came to be it's God Emperor! There are many strange domains across this patchwork planet, held together solely by the iron will of Doom. Now, we're finally going to learn how he managed to prop himself up as Lord and Savior of this, the final reality! Also, get caught up with what's going on in the domains known as Years of Future Past, X-Tinction Agenda, Future Imperfect, and more in these exciting Issue #2s!

Secret Wars Midnight Release and Free Comic Book Day Afterthoughts

May 2nd was a BIG day! I want to say a very sincere THANK YOU to everyone who came out Saturday to make this the biggest Free Comic Book Day EVER for Universal! And thank you to the Arbutus Times for coming out and taking some pictures for a story on the event!

But, we're not done yet! We're open as I type this until 4pm Sunday, May 3rd. And, of course, all of our FCBD sales are still in full effect, including the remainder of the Free Comics still out on the table for your reading pleasure.

We're also proud to be a participating retailer for the Midnight Release of the HOTTEST Pop Culture event of the year, Marvel's Secret Wars! Starting Tuesday, May 5th at 9pm we'll be opening up to give you first crack at getting your mitts on Secret Wars #1! All of our Free Comic Book Day sales will conclude at the close of business Wednesday around 1am, so be sure to take advantage of these deals while they last!

This also seems like a good time to mention that we still have some tickets left for the raffle to win the ultra-rare, ultra-desirable Black & White Pencil Sketch Cover Variant for Secret Wars #1! This very special variant has a strict allocation of only 1 per participating retailer, making it one of the rarest, hottest, most in-demand titles of the year! Want to secure this sweet copy for yourself? Here's how to enter:

  • Stop into Universal Comics
  • Earn one Free Ticket with any purchase of $20 or more, or purchase as many tickets as you like for only $1 each
  • We have a strict limit of 150 tickets total. When they're gone, we will draw one winner at random, who will then be announced in our Weekly Newsletter (which we still don't have a good name for..) and notified by telephone

It's that simple! You could win THE most in-demand title of the year for as little as $1! This book is sure to have an instant market value of $200 or more! Keep it as a gem in your collection, sell it off for a hefty profit, or hang it on your living room wall. The choice is yours, and the opportunity to own this sweet piece of Marvel History can be yours for as little as $1 and a bit of luck!

Again, THANK YOU ALL so much for helping make the reboot of Universal Comics a great success! And we promise not to go all "Heroes Reborn" on you. See you TUESDAY NIGHT, True Believers!

My Pseudo-Obsession with TV Shows

It's only a pseudo-obsession because I don't have the time to indulge the way I'd like.

My most recent love affair is with Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix. Man, is that show good! I finally finished the first season last night, and I feel like I could start it from the beginning again right now. IMO, the overall quality is on par with Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. I'll refrain from any details because it's still relatively new and I'm sure there are many who haven't finished it yet. But trust me. You WILL NOT be disappointed!

And then there's the aforementioned Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. We all know they're great, and I don't really want to talk about things everyone already knows. Why would anyone want to read that?!

No, instead I'd rather talk about shows you probably haven't seen, maybe haven't heard of, or are on the fence about whether they're worth your precious TV time.

12 Monkeys. Let me start by saying my default position is time travel stuff sucks. Every sci-fi show has a time travel episode, and it's always my least favorite episode of the series. So you'd think a show that's entire premise is time travel would be terrible, right?

Wrong. 12 Monkeys is very clever, has surprisingly good characters, and the most number of tense near death scenes of any show I've ever seen. I don't know how many times they made me seriously think Cole was gonna die in those 13 episodes, but it was a LOT and every time I was surprised he pulled it out. And I was absolutely heartbroken at some of the characters who didn't, or had a radical change in development. Check out 12 Monkeys. It's surprisingly good.

Falling Skies. Produced by Steven Spielberg. Basically: aliens invade, slaughter the vast majority of humanity, small pockets of people scramble to survive, while others fight an insurgent war against their would-be conquerors. Sounds fantastic, right? Well....not exactly. Don't get me wrong, Falling Skies IS NOT bad, I definitely think it's worth watching. But it does have a problem that I don't think it's gonna be able to overcome in it's upcoming 5th and final season.

Falling Skies spun out of that time right when all the networks realized Walking Dead had revolutionized what an original series on a cable network could do. So TNT threw tons of money and ambition into getting this show off the ground before taking the time to really develop a clear direction and endgame. As much as I love the concept, sets, and characters, it's always failed to click for me like, say, Game of Thrones does, because every new season feels like it kinda forgot what it was doing last season. I don't think they ever figured out what they wanted to have happen at the end, so they just kinda wing it every year, but they've never failed to deliver a fun ride that I'm sure to relive before the next season begins. And this next one is the last one. I'm looking forward to the ride, but I really hope they finished laying the track before we reach our final destination.

Dominion. Based on the movie Legion. Which was WAY more forgettable than the TV show it spawned. 25 years after all but a few of the angels (as in: God's angels) slaughtered humanity out of jealousy, the surviving humans are forced to live within what amount to walled city-states. These different city-states come complete with their own ruling class, soldier class, and worker class. Holding up what's left of civilization against the hordes of '28 Days Later-level-aggression' lesser angels roaming the wastelands. There's one "good" higher angel guiding the humans living in Vega (pretty sure it's what's left of Las Vegas), political intrigue, betrayal, a Chosen One, sex, death, a crazy cult, and heartache. There are only 9 episodes in the first season, but they manage to pack a LOT of great stuff into them. Definitely worth your time to watch before season 2 premiers later this year.

Defiance. The show that also has a free-to-play MMO on PS3, 360, and PC. To greater or lesser degrees, the actions in the game have an effect on what happens on TV, and vice versa. Another show that has problems similar to Falling Skies', but very enjoyable nonetheless. Another alien invasion, but this time the story takes place like 20 or 30 years after the attack. There are now 7 alien races living side by side with the remaining humans, on a decimated Earth, in an environment not terribly different from a steam punk wild west sci-fantasy land. Edgy. Characters die. Betrayal, love triangles, action, very memorable characters.

In talking about the show with a friend of mine, I kinda came to the conclusion that Defiance doesn't really have, or need, a clear direction or endgame. It feels more like a character drama in a really fantastic setting. Maybe that's part of it's charm? I don't know. But I do know I'll be watching it's 3rd season as it goes back to back with Dominion's 2nd season this summer.

The 100. Like....100 years after humanity renders the Earth uninhabitable after a massive nuclear war, the survivors on the Ark (a space station housing all that remains of humanity) realize their supplies are dwindling, and they need to purge some of the undesirables in their prisons (which, turns out, are super easy to get thrown into). Not knowing whether the radiation has dissipated from the surface, the prisoners (also known as their children) are sent to the Earth like exiled guinea pigs. Turns out the atmosphere is safe! And also that Earth isn't as uninhabitable as they thought..

It took me a while to get into The 100. I found I really didn't care about any of the characters until about halfway through the 1st season, but it kinda grew on me by then. Cool concept, great setting, creepy irradiated beasts, and an interesting 3-way conflict develops. And they're really not afraid to kill seemingly plot-centric characters. Season 2 ran it's finale a couple months ago, but season 3 has already been confirmed. Now is a good time to catch up on Netflix. If you can make it past the first 6 episodes or so, you'll be hooked. Not a bad show.

Hell on Wheels. Comes on AMC, so you know it's done right. Wild west action at it's finest. The story of a former Confederate soldier working on the railroad's drive to the West. Seeking revenge against his wife's murderers, drinking whiskey, killing hostile Indians, and sometimes his friends. Cullen Bohanan  is a bad dude. And the people around him are awesome, too. This one is also entering it's 5th and final season. Not a bad run, really. I think this one is on Netflix, too, and DEFINITELY worth your time.

Well, l'm gonna call it a list here. I've droned on for way too long already. There's a few shows I didn't mention, like Vikings or Helix, but I think I touched on a half dozen or so that I really like and always have to trade sleep for time to watch them.

Do you agree? Think my list is missing something? Care whether I do this again with a list of older shows worth watching?

Growing Pains

So. Much. Work.

Let me start by saying I am absolutely terrible at web design. Like, REALLY terrible. You know how bad you look when you're trying to do The Robot or The Running Man when you think no one is looking? Multiply that by a really big number and that's how bad I am at this stuff. But, through persistence and with the aid of a few gallons of diet soda, here we are. Looking at what currently passes for our blog. On our new website!

**cue thunderous applause**

Some of the other projects we've been working on include a serious redesign in the layout of our storefront. Have you seen it lately? It's looking pretty sharp. Make sure you get down here and check it out. We're proud of the changes we've made, and we think you'll approve.

We're also introducing a cool new subscription service that we hope to have up and running by Free Comic Book Day. We think it's a great deal for our customers, and actually earns you some store credit in the process. I won't go into it here, since it can be found elsewhere on the site. 

And we're FINALLY joining the rest of the world in having a real online presence. We've integrated an email service that you can sign up for from our website and facebook page. Speaking of, if you haven't yet clicked "Like" on our facebook page, go do it now! we've got some handy links on the site here to guide you to it!

I could drone on a while longer about all the work we've done getting Universal Comics ready for Prime Time, but that'll just cut into the time we have to get all our ducks in a row for Free Comic Book Day. Stick with us, we're poised to become a heavy hitter in the Comics World, and we want you along for the ride!

See ya Wednesday, True Believers!