In the song “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” by the unfortunately named Canadian rocker Bruce Cockburn there’s a line that says “nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.” Cockburn wasn’t referring to San Diego Comic Con exclusives when he wrote the tune, but the sentiment is applicable to them nonetheless. You know the drill by now. Every year SDCC brings with it hundreds of exclusive products that make fanboys and girls simultaneously nerdgasm.
As you are probably already painfully aware, these items are notoriously hard to get. Attendees at the con itself are forced to brave long lines for their limited edition figures, comics, busts and other desirables. Meanwhile, the poor bastards who couldn’t make it out to San Diego are forced to try their luck with Mattycollector.com and HasbroToyShop.com for their must-haves before resorting to the secondary market predators seeking fresh victims over on eBay. Yes friends, it’s a jungle, even moreso if you aren’t properly prepped for what goodies are being made available this year. So once again TR will be providing you with a list of what items you’ll need to beg, borrow or steal to get your grubby hands on. Here then are the 20 greatest exclusives at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con.
20) Jar Jar Binks in Carbonite
What it is: Looking for some fish in a barrel to shoot while you’re at SDCC? Then
the Jar Jar Binks in Carbonite figure is for you. Here’s the bad news,
this toy is only available in a megaset that features six other variant
figures ranging from Princess Leia in her Bespin gown to a Star Wars
sandtrooper with a sentry droid. The figures on this set come packaged on cards featuring a design scheme
that was originally vetoed by Kenner back in the early days of the
Star Wars line. So I suppose having the centerpiece of this set being a
tortured version of Lucasfilm’s most rejected character is somewhat poetic. How much it will set you back: $79.99. A small price to pay for the joys of Gungan torture.
19) Gentle Giant Blue Snaggletooth What it is: A little Star Wars history refresher course — back in 1978, Kenner released the
Star Wars Cantina Adventure Set exclusive that included a Snaggletooth
figure who was taller and way more blue than his crimson cinematic
counterpart. (The screw up was due to Kenner working from a substandard
reference photograph provided to them by Lucasfilm). After the mistake was fixed, the Blue Snaggletooth
took on legendary status amongst collectors that was only eclipsed by the rocket-firing
Boba Fett toy. Over the years, its price continued to rise on the
secondary market. That fact coupled with the figure’s enduring cult status has
resulted in Gentle Giant releasing it as the latest entry in their jumbo
Kenner figure line. Here’s your chance to finally score one of your
own. Even if it is considerably bigger than you remember. (That’s what
How much it will set you back: $80 for 12″ of Snaggletooth love. Aww yeah. 18) Adventure Time Finn & Fiona Toys ‘R Us Collector’s Pack
What it is: As the audience for Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time continues to grow exponentially, so does the desire for merchandise from the show. Thusly we have this sweet Toys “R” Us exclusive two-pack that features Finn and Fiona decked out in SDCC badges. They totally need to enter the costume contest as themselves, they’d have that thing locked up.
How much it will set you back: For a mere $15 you can have Adventure Time anytime.
What it is: Despite her name, Jinx will bring good fortune to G.I. Joe collectors
who will have the opportunity to pick up two versions of the character
— one in her classic red duds and a white variant figure inspired by
the now-delayed Retaliation. At least you still enjoy the movie’s merch.
How much it will set you back: Each of these will cost you $14.99, although you may have a better
chance hearing Snake Eyes sing the G.I. Joe theme than tracking down the Retaliation variant..
16) Derpy Hooves
What it is: At this point you either get My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom
or you don’t. Those of you who fall in the second category can move on.
For the rest of you, all you need to know is that your dreams have come
true as fan favorite background character/meme extraordinaire Derpy
Hooves is getting her own exclusive figure. And all was right with the
world. For the record, Toys “R” Us is offering a Zecora toy as well, but
let’s face it, she just doesn’t quite have that Derpy magic, now does
How much it will set you back: $19.99. Tell your bronies.
15) Fall of Cybertron Bruticus What it is: Et tu, Bruticus? A beautiful box set featuring figures of Brawl,
Vortex, Blastoff, Swindle and Onslaught that, through dark magic, can be
assembled into the Constructicon leader Bruticus. If only you could transform your
miserable life so easily.
How much it will set you back: $99.99.
14) Joss Whedon: The (Sort Of) Action Figure
What it is: In this year’s most meta exclusive, Morgan Spurlock is releasing a
collector’s edition of his Comic Con: Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
documentary that comes packaged with mini figure of himself and Joss
Whedon (other sets featuring figs of Harry Knowles and Stan Lee, who were interviewed for the doc along with Whedon, are also
available). Thanks to a little film called The Avengers, Whedon has cemented his reputation as a true nerd Renaissance man. What better way to celebrate his continuing success than with a teensy non-poseable action figure of him? How much it will set you back: $29.99. (The DVD is available by itself for $19.99).
13) Bloody Michonne
What it is: Blood-covered action figures are to this year what planking was to 2011. Okay, probably
not, but the first of two plasma-drenched playthings on this list comes
to us from McFarlane Toys/Skybound’s Walking Dead comic line. Admit it,
your Luke Skywalker figure never looked as cool in his poncho. How much it will set you back: $25.
What it is: Death works at Hot Topic with this Sandman collectible that is part action figure, part statue. What it lacks in articulation it more than makes up for with stylish packaging and a skull base that not only brings to mind Neil Gaiman’s comic masterpiece but The Goonies as well. Good enough for me. How much it will set you back: $25.
11) Polly Pocket DC Comics Villains Set
What it is: The only SDCC collectible that encourages young girls to become supervillains, this set comes with terrific Polly Pocket versions of Poison Ivy, Catwoman and Harley Quinn. Crime may not pay, but it sure is adorable. How much it will set you back: $19.99.
10) Masters of the Universe Vykron
What it is: Vykron here is based on the original three pitch figures that were used to help get the He-Man line off the ground in the 1980s. To be clear, this exclusive comes with the Conan-esque barbarian that you see at the above left, as well as with interchangable accessories that will change the figure into a tank man and a character who is reminiscent of Hawkman from Flash Gordon. (I can already hear this one saying “Man at Arms: DIIIIIVVVEEEE”). As a piece of action figure history and a welcome addition to any Masters of the Universe Collection, Vykron is nothing short of essential. How much it will set you back: By the power of awesomeness, this one is $30.
9) Marvel Universe Masters of Evil 3-Pack
What it is: Hasbro has two Marvel Universe exclusive sets hitting SDCC this year, one based on X-Force and the above Masters of Evil assortment that includes Baron Zemo, the awesome/goofy Tiger Shark and Radioactive Man (the one that doesn’t say “up and at them”). The good news is that as long as you have a decent Internet connection, you actually have a decent chance of scoring one from HasbroToyShop when online sales begin following the convention. How much it will set you back: Evil costs $29.99.
8) Dana Barrett as Zuul What it is: There is no Dana, only Zuul.Well, Dana as Zuul actually. I think you get the picture. How much it will set you back: $25. But keep in mind that Mattel’s Ghostbusters figures are consistently amongst the toughest toys to score at the con, so you will likely be paying much more for it after the fact. Unless you’re the Keymaster that is.
7) Thundercats Minimates
What it is: Taking a bit of the sting away from the likely cancellation of Cartoon Network’s Thundercats revamp is this Minimates set from Diamond Select Toys. Real talk folks: if the Snarf figure you see above doesn’t melt your heart then you have no soul. How much it will set you back:$20. Hoooooooooooooooooooooo!
6) Shockwave H.I.S.S. Tank with Figures
What it is: On the heels of last year’s Starscream Sky Striker comes another bit
of Hasbro cross-promotion that also mixes G.I. Joe’s chocolate with
Transformers peanut butter to create a Cobra H.I.S.S. tank that looks like it went through Seth Brundle’s teleporter with Shockwave. But the synergistic commerce doesn’t end there! This set also comes with a terrific Destro figure that sports a Decepticon logo (that dude will pledge his allegiance to anyone, won’t he?) and a Cobra B.A.T. that has the color scheme of The Transformers’ Devastator. If these two franchises are your favorite, there is no other exclusive you’ll be caring about this year. How much it will set you back: $64.99. Now you know…
What it is: (With apologies to Bruce McCulloch) You know that new Madonna album? It
sucks. You know that new Lady Gaga album? It sucks. You know that new
Adele album? I don’t know if there is one, but if there is, it sucks. I
know, cause I’m a Jem fan. After disappearing from the toy shelves and imaginary music charts in the mid 1980s, she is poised for a comeback
with Hasbro’s new Hollywood Jem doll. This is a smart business move for
the company as Jem nostalgia continues to rage thanks to frequent
repeats of the cartoon series on The Hub as well as some decidedly un-PC YouTube parodies. The only way that this could be any cooler is if it came with The Misfits, a band whose songs actually are better. Cartoon theme tunes never lie. How much it will set you back:$125. Insert “truly outrageous” joke here.
4) Movie Masters Bruce Wayne to Batman Set What it is: A Captain Action-esque Bruce Wayne figure who you can slip into and out of a Batman costume to your heart’s content. The excellent video review above from Pixel Dan gives you more information than you thought possible about this one, but to bottom line it, it’s a great toy. Just one that is a little weird looking once you actually get Bruce into his crimefighting duds.Still, rather this than his costume from Batman & Robin. How much it will set you back: $30.
3) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
What it is: Toys “R” Us presents these exclusive figures based on Nick’s upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.Personally I’m digging their cartoony look here. (Yes, even Donatello and his bitch face). As seems to be the case with anything TMNT-related, your mileage may vary. How much it will set you back: The cost of obtaining Turtle Power? $30 each or $100 for all four.
2) Bloody Brock Samson
What it is: The only thing better than a Brock Samson 3 3/4 figure is one in which he is covered in the blood of those who have wronged him. Oh Venture Bros. toys, is there any wrong you cannot right? How much it will set you back: $14.99.
1) S.H.I.E.L.D. Super Helicarrier
What it is: Hasbro’s biggest toy since the legendary U.S.S. Flagg from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Super Helicarrier is over four feet of toy love. This comes with exclusive Captain America and Maria Hill figures, plus some complimentary fatigue that will result from lugging this behemoth around the con floor. That’s a small price to pay for ensuring the world’s freedom. How much it will set you back: A surprisingly reasonable $129.99.
Chris Cummins is a pop culture writer and Archie comics historian who has contributed to The Robot's Voice, Den of Geek US, Philebrity, Geekadelphia, Uproxx, and Unicorn Booty. He is the co-producer and co-host of Nerd Nite Philadelphia, and is regularly involved in producing and hosting New York Super Week events. In 2014, Chris began Sci-Fi Explosion, a mix of live performance, trivia and funny clips celebrating the weirdest in science fiction that regularly travels around the United States. He wrote the introductions to the compilations Archie's Favorite Comics From The Vault and (with Paul Castiglia) Archie's Favorite High School Stories. You can find Chris on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot and @scifiexplosion.