The Strangest, Best SDCC 2018 Exclusives

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Ah, the show exclusives, the finest badges of geeky nonsense for the spendy collector connoisseur.

For the great annual San Diego Comic Con, these are among my favorite things on the Exhibit Floor. These special items, for which attendees can buy direct at various booths, sometimes from an artist or creator involved. Since the early 2000s, these sought attention-getters remain a central goal of consumer gratification at the show, and online usually at greater prices to the private re-seller market. The traditional hunt grows a little more each year, with more weird and unusual aspects thrown in. If you can afford and have room for such things, than resistance is futile.

I took a good look at many though the various press releases and some new sites, then handpicked some favorites. Take a look:

Hot Wheels Thanos Copter

The die-cast helicopter, featuring the evil Thanos at the controls, comes packaged in its own Cosmic Cube. Modeled after the hilarious 1979 opening pages of Super Spidey Stories #39 comics story.

Booth: Mattel, Price: $15
Thoughts: I love everything about this, especially the packaging. It’s also a reminder that many within the toy industry has a sense of humor, and big fans of comics obscurity,

No Toys 4 Us by Mr Blank Toys

We’ve all be grieving the loss of Toys R Us, but no one as much as poor, sad, out of work Geoffrey the Giraffe. Mr Blank Toys in his SDCC debut brings No Toys 4 Us. Hand cast and painted 3.75” scale carded figure. Numbered edition of 40 pieces.

Booth: DKE Toys
Price: $65
Thoughts: Yes, that’s a sculpt of the head of Watto from Star Wars: Episode 1. The paint job is awesome. DKE Toys has many other wonderfully weird artist-created pieces as good as this one (with another on this list down further). Definitely worth a look!

Laughing Prince Adam figure

 

An exclusive figure based on the Youtube viral video.

Booth: Super7
Price: #35
Thoughts: Wow!! That’s amazing

Star Trek Cats LE Patches

 

 

One of two limited edition patches base don artwork from the officially licensed Star Trek The Next Generation Cats book.

Booth: Chronicle Books
Price: $5 each
Thoughts: Adorable, and cheap!!

Ian Malcolm giclée print

11″x17″ giclée print on by artist Justin Harder. He has other prints exclusive prints for the show

Booth: CLAUS Studio (Table #O-08 in Small Press)
Price: $30
Thoughts: Seems like the perfect work of art to frame and center in the living room.

Adventure Time 7″ Vinyl

Adventure Time 7″ Vinyl, which will feature tracks “Friends Don’t Fight” (both with vocals and instrumental) and “Manlorette Party.” The vinyl cover art work is custom created by artist JJ Harrison. Supply is limited, so make sure to get them before they’re gone!

Booth: Mondo
Price: $12 plus tax
Thoughts: I love the art, but have never watched a full episode of the show. With that in mind, how many Adventure Time vinyl fans are out there? It’s cool, though.

Poop & Throne and Zombies Plush Set

The King of the Throne has come! Removable Magnetic poop king plush with a toilet that makes a flushing sound with a press of a button. Includes the 2 variant of the poopie zombies

Booth: Furry Feline Creatives
Price: $50
Thoughts: All right!!!

Funko Pop: Masters of the Universe: Stinkor

Shared exclusive from Funko. The only true to the show part aside is that it debuts here with a special SDCC sticker. But still, really something because it stinks..literally. It emits an oder, just like the original action figure of the 80s MOTU line..

Booth: DKE Funko
Price: $10-12 (not sure, that’s a guess based on the last time I went to a Funko booth to buy Pops).
Thoughts: Wow, big ups to Funko to what I think is the only smell-bad figure of its kind.

Marvel Exclusive 2018 Pin Backs

Metal backed pins of Marvel Comics characters with artwork by Skottie Young, 4 packs (different themes, but I like the above Fantastic Four one the best). To see the rest, click here.

Booth: Marvel
Price: $15 plus tax for blind packs of 2, $25 for themed sets of 4.
Thoughts: I love Skottie Young’s art, and The Fantastic Four set is a must have for me.

Two-Bad: Crust-Man Bart-Off

Very limited custom figure that’s definitely not licenses, and part of the other weird and wonderful artworks at the DKE booth. Only 20 produced!

Booth: DKE Toys
Price: $85
Thoughts: Wow and wtf!! It’s awesome, but a wondrous piece for collectors of two universes.

Patrick Ballesteros “Wakanda King Are You” Black Panther Prints

WonderCon/San Diego Comic-Con exclusive “25-Cent Wonders” Black Panther collection called, “WAKANDA KING ARE YOU”
The collection features 6″x8″ four prints, which combine to create a continuous image featuring his rendition of the movie cast.

Booth: Patrick Ballesteros
Price: $10 each of $30 for the set of 4
Thoughts: That’s the best, most adorable work ever for my favorite big of this year. The Killmonger one is my favorite.

BAIT x Wu-Tang Clan x Transformers

Transformers aint nothing to fuck with, for these 4.5 Inch special edition figures,  Megatron, Soundwave, Bumblee, and Optimus Prime.

Booth: Bait
Price: $30 Each, or $100 for the set
Thoughts: Why?!!! But love the paint jobs on these, but would have made more sense to have all Autobots or all Decepticons.

FARMHAND #1 by Rob Guillory

Variant cover comic book by Rob Guillory to the awesome new series by the artist of Chew.

Booth: Image Comics
Price: $10 +tax
Thoughts: Just finished the finished the first issue, and got a feeling the fist issue is going to be much more highly appreciated with the series progression. I love this spooky cover, and will be picking this up.

Kidrobot x Jeremyville Let Love Grow Dunny

“This one-of-a-kind SDCC exclusive Dunny collectible let’s you and grow some foliage into your urban jungle. Renowned artist Jeremyville’s take on the Chia Dunny features flower eyes straight from the 60s, a colorful, warm glaze and a message of positivity: Grow Love Daily. Like any Chia pet, it’s up to you to care for this collectible and help him grow his ‘do. Cha-cha-cha- CHIA!”

Booth: Kidrobot
Price: $40
Thoughts: Finally, a vinyl figurine made for my kitchen window!

Sailor Moon SuperS T-Shirt

Exclusive teal t-shirt featuring Helios from Sailor Moon SuperS. Shirts are available in Ladies’ and Unisex styles.

Booth: Viz
Price: $15
Thoughts: This shirt sends a powerful message for these difficult times.

25th Anniversary Hellboy Print

25th Anniversary Hellboy Print, signed by both Dave Stewart and Mike Mignola. Limited edition of 200

Booth: Mike Mignola SDCC 4901
Price: Unknown right now, but probably reasonable
Thoughts: That’s some of the best work I have seen from the legendary artist. Everything about it…colors, shading, composition, details is perfect. I want it!

Well, that’s all for now. There are many more SDCC exclusives out there, which I probably overlooked. If hunting these down at the show, by safe and plan ahead!

A Stranger Look at today’s big market toy aisle

Throughout the years, toy production has produced many varieties and options for young consumers. Aisles upon aisles greet the welcoming children, providing choices that have not always been there. Through this wide variety, children can find what suits their imagination best. From 0.99 cent Hot Wheels, princess dress up gowns, to a myriad of Star Wars toys, there is something for every child (and adult).

A Young Adult’s Analysis of a Child’s Domain:

While the toy market is always changing, some things will never disappear. Among the shelves, one can find familiar faces, some more welcoming than others. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remains unscathed, the toys only changing to match the animation style. Likewise, Transformers have changed through color differences between the old and new. Following each franchise, extra parts are included with some new toys out there, where such additions play into more imaginative play and scene recreation.

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Following the revamping trend from a nostalgic past, some toys have released with fresh, modern aspects to them. Furbys are now more digitalized, complete with pixellated eyes and antenna on their head to accent the fuzzy exteriors. Introduced in mid-2016, Furby Connect provides more modern aspects to the original Furby of 1998. With features including a Bluetooth connection, an accessible Furby app uses a soundboard enabling speech and playable games using the antenna as a joystick. Another notable feature is the off-switch; a welcoming adaptation. Due to the technological upgrade, the price has subsequently risen to a staggering $100 before tax. In the end, I believe that it is worthwhile to have a more friendly, welcoming face, plush exterior, and that much-needed off switch. 

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For more of a surprising twist, Popples have reentered the market, attempting to resell the idea of a stuffed animal turning into a ball for a new generation. While they do still form a plush ball by dragging the butt over the head and turning the toy inside out, the modern-day Popples are noticeably smaller compared to the older versions. Alongside the size change, the appearance has strayed from that of a Care Bear knock-off, and more towards a stylized rodent. Following typical Popples style, a new show has premiered on the movie streaming site Netflix; creating an ultimate homage to the 1980’s original.

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Also notable and of interest, are the new line of ‘Fashionistas’ Barbie dolls. Released throughout 2016, these fashion dolls come in different shapes and sizes; straying from the typical one model of years past. Sporting characteristics such as tall, petite, short, and curvy, these stylized additions work to promote body inclusion toward a more cookie cutter market. No other lines, doll and action figure included, seem to go out of their way to create different sized and proportioned models; one body shape and type being enough for production purposes.

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Noticeable Differences:

Now, it seems like every marketable movie now has its own toy line. Characters and aspects of the plot that can be remotely marketed, are. From the tiny snowmen that appear in a Disney’s Frozen short, to an homage to the two-minute appearance of Mr. Ray in Finding Dory; nothing seems sacred when in toy production. With each new movie out, a notable section of the toy wall is overrun, often before the film even premieres. Through this, fewer original toys are seen.

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Similarly to the film industry taking over  production, certain toys seem to be taking to the big or small screen. While strolling through the aisle, certain packages are adorn with white and red stickers, reading ‘A Netflix Original Series’ or ‘Watch on YouTube’. Even brands as old as Bratz have bought into the idea of expansion through other forms of media. While this makes sense in a rapidly expanding market, it almost feels like a stab in the back to the old toy industry.

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Despite the vast variety of types of toys, some are becoming more regressive than others. Instead of the individualism and creative aspects promoted by Legos and Play-Doh, more modern packages are sold as sets. These kits aim at the idea of building and creating a specific model, and not allowing children to let their imaginations run wild. Creation is a very large aspect of imaginative play, and structure takes away part of that fun and overall satisfaction with the finalized product.  

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With the holiday season coming up, the shelves will no doubt become overflowing with restocked items. New toys will arrive into the market and saturate advertisements, pressuring parents into finding a gift for their child. With the wide variety, parents have plenty of options, but will have a harder time finding the perfect toy that their kid will enjoy. Oftentimes, adults will have an inkling of what interests their little one, but not a specific notion of what they would prefer. I find that in the end, this leads to frustrated parents and displeased children.

Personal Thoughts:

I do not see any inherent harm additions and changes have to the industry as a whole. Like all other aspects of life, there is room to grow as a collective and individual; providing framework, but not set rules. While the disappearance of original toys without a separate source of media to piggyback off of is noticeable, I have hope for a future with new ideas.  Toys have been successfully marketed in the past, and will be again. These new additions, however, do not necessarily need to be from an entirely new source. Throughout the companies, new additions are being made every day, adding new ideas to existing franchises; ultimately providing something never seen before. While it would be nice to see an entirely original and independent idea enter the market, I would prefer new, creative spin any day.

Katherine A

Growing up in the early 2000’s, I am no stranger to toys and the marketing campaigns used to sell them. As a child, I had plenty littering my floor at all times. With my upbringing, I was given nothing but stereotypical girl toys: Barbies, Bratz, Betty Spaghetti, if it was marketed towards girls, I most likely had it at one point. Despite what I was given, I was always envious of my friends whose parents were less gender specific with their toys, having Hot Wheels, Nerf guns, and Legos. My dream toy was the Lego Hogwarts Castle; a gift my cousin has received. Growing up and gaining my own independence, I have been allowed to find my own interests, doing now what my parents had never allowed me to do. Through this, I was able to explore forms of media such as cartoons, comics, and the genre of sci-fi as a whole. In a way, I am trying to take back my childhood and remake it in a way that was never allowed.