Celebrities? Movie clips? New comics? Sure, we all love to see those at San Diego Comic-Con International, but the real reason many fans come is the exclusives – stuff you can’t and won’t get anywhere else unless somebody wants a premium for it on eBay. We love to shop at least as much as we love to sit in panels – and here’s some of the stuff I’m looking out for this year, in no particular order:
Band on the (Limited) Run - Everyone loves Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, mainly because nobody else in the Star Wars universe was ever their musical equal. Not Sy Snootles, not the Ewoks and definitely not the Gungans. Flesh out your 1/6 scale version of the big-headed Bith band with Tech M’or and Doikk Na’ts from Sideshow Collectibles. Only their moms and their instruments can tell them apart – but given the names their moms gave ‘em, parental judgment here is highly suspect.
Snagging the Blues - One of the rarest original Star Wars figures was blue Snaggletooth, based on insufficient early reference materials and thus taller/differently colored than the actual character in the movie. Snags got shortened and corrected for wide release, but the blue version wound up in the hands of some who had ordered a Sears exclusive set. As part of Gentle Giant’s new upsized reproductions of the old Kenner figures, blue Snaggletooth is this year’s exclusive. Now he’s really too tall!
She’s Not Dead, Jem - Hasbro has been teasing a possible revival of Jem and the Holograms for a while, and now they’re totally testing the waters with this new Hollywood Jem doll complete with chromed microphone stand and truly, truly, truly outrageous ’80s-style fashion (though not, apparently, the light-up earring effect). Our guess is that sales of this doll will determine the fate of a future line, so how about it, fashion doll fans? Ready to drop $125 on her? Money where your mouth is, and all that.
Fab Five Freddy - From the comic-book dream sequence in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, NECA’s convention figure of Freddy Krueger comes in black and white on a bladed skateboard, complete with a cardboard cut-out victim he can slash to shreds. Bonus: Freddy can now play well with your Sin City toys, possibly flipping the switch on Death Row Marv.
Magnificent 7 - Super 7 has many exclusive vinyl toys, but one that strikes us the most is a vampire with a rose for a head, driving a little coffin car. Because there are so many things that should be wrong with that, but just aren’t. Runner up: Milton the walking rainbow-sherbet cone.
How Sweet It Is - When toy designer Roger Sweet originally pitched the idea of He-Man to Mattel, he created three prototypes to indicate different directions the line could go: a Conan-like barbarian, a Boba Fett-style space warrior, and a military hybrid of human and tank. This year’s Masters of the Universe exclusive combines all three in one: Vykron features interchangeable outfits and parts to make him into updated versions of all three protos. He’s also been given a new storyline to tie him into existing He-Man mythology, which ends with him being ripped in half by a giant mutant gorilla. We’re so not kidding about that last part.
Koto Types - Storm, X-23 and Tekken‘s Alisa Bosconovich get the bishoujo treatment from Kotobukiya – it’s a style that turns the hearty heroines into toon temptresses. These sweet statuettes are sure to be in high demand, so if you can weather the storm of humanity and sink your adamantium claws into a set, do it quickly.
I’m Big, Man - With The Dark Knight Rises about to break big in theaters, Bat-mania is pretty huge, but if you want to prove you’re the biggest Bat-fan, there’s only one item at the show that will indisputably do that for you: Mezco’s Mez-Itz Mega-Scale Batman. At $200 and 20 inches tall, this well-rounded rendition of the Dark Knight in his movie costume will turn more heads than his own. Remember, it’s what you do that defines you, and buying this big guy says you’re not the fan to mess with.
Like a Virgin - Remember how, in The 40 Year-Old Virgin, it was considered a sign of supreme dorkiness that Steve Carell’s character owned a toy of the Six Million Dollar Man’s boss? Thanks to Bif Bang Pow, you can do one better this summer, with a figure of Steve Austin’s physician Dr. Rudy Wells, who comes with three interchangeable heads for the three different actors who played him during the series run. If you buy this guy, do it because you like him – there’s zero guarantee that Catherine Keener is going to fall for you too.
Hobbit Forming - There has been much curiosity about the toys from the upcoming The Hobbit, from untested action-figure manufacturer The Bridge Direct. Now the speculation can end – they’ll be in 6″ scale, i.e. compatible with Toy Biz Lord of the Rings figures, and the first one will be a Comic-Con exclusive Invisible Bilbo, available at the Toys R Us booth. Get one fast, because for many fans the rush to said booth will be an absolutely expected journey.