If you’re a business, you don’t go to San Diego Comic-Con without an exclusive. For us fans, well, it might be unusual if we come home without an exclusive. At the biggest pop-culture event in the United States, exclusive can mean a lot of things: toys, comics, clothing, even beer. Some of these items will be available after the convention, maybe months later. Others come in fairly large runs, so you might have decent odds of scoring one. Others come in editions of 250 or less. If you really want one of those, you’re going to have to make standing in line a priority. Your best course of action might be to pick out some alternate souvenirs.
With a week to go before the convention, many companies have already announced what they’re bringing to San Diego. Still, there could be a few more surprises over the coming days (look for a new one to be revealed on this very site at 10 a.m. today). Below are a few of the standouts – technically, more than 18 – arranged by franchise. Whether your jam is Alien or Hello Kitty, there’s likely something for you at San Diego Comic-Con.
1. Hello Kitty Mash-Ups and Books
Hello Kitty turns 40 this year, so get ready for an onslaught of cute. There will be swag, like posters that fans can have signed by Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi and temporary tattoos. There will be exclusive merchandise for purchase as well.
I’m most excited about the book Hello Kitty, Hello 40, a collaboration with Viz Media that will feature works from comics creators, writers, toy and street artists. There are only 250 of these. I have a couple books from previous Sanrio and Hello Kitty anniversaries and they are really nicely done coffee table items, so this one is high up on the recommendation list. Beyond that, there will be a Comic-Con exclusive Hello Kitty/Chun-Li vinyl coin bank at the Toynami booth, part of the promotion surrounding the Sanrio/Street Fighter mash-up merchandise. That’s limited to 1000 pieces. Upper Deck will have Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary trading cards and mini-figures that are all part of a limited edition of 250. Bluefin-Tamashii Nations will have a die-cast Hello Kitty robot figure available. It’s a 40th anniversary item as well.
2. Adventure Time, Regular Show and More Cartoon Comics with Variant Covers.
Boom! Studios has been on a spree releasing comics based on Cartoon Network and Frederator properties. Fans of Adventure Time, Regular Show, Bravest Warrior and more will want to be on the look out for the variant covers available at the publisher’s booth. Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy #1, The Amazing World of Gumball #1, Regular Show #13 and Steven Universe #1 will all feature variant covers by Coleman Engle that connect to form a single image. They are $10 a piece and limited to 500 copies. Additionally, Bee and Puppycat #1 and Bravest Warriors 2014 Impossibear Special feature variant covers by Jeremy Sorese that can be pieced together to form one image. Those are also $10 and limited to 500 copies.
For Adventure Time fans, there are also two exclusive hardcover releases– Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens Mathematical and Adventure Time: Eye Candy Vol. 1 Enchiridion. For fans of The Amazing World of Gumball, do check out the exclusive mini-comic that comes encased in a video game cartridge.
3. Marge Simpson Make-Up
Marge Simpson is the latest muse for MAC Cosmetics and, on July 26, The Simpsons fans can get a first look at what will be hitting department store counters this fall. This isn’t so much an exclusive as it is a pre-sale taking place at the MAC Cosmetics shop a couple blocks away from the convention center. Sure, you could wait to get your blue eye shadow and fake eyelashes in sassy Simpsons packaging, but you wouldn’t be getting the “Marge makeover” with your purchase. If you’re like me and you’re too much of a procrastinator to make a costume, this could help fix you up for the Saturday night parties. Hopefully, someone sells blue wings in the exhibit hall.
4. Creepy Cool Alien Toys.
When Luke posted about the Super 7 x Funko: Alien Egg Chamber ReAction Playset, I gasped. This is one hell of a toy for those of us who were simultaneously intrigued and totally freaked out by Alien as children. Later on, my husband saw it and exclaimed, “Liz, you have to get this at Comic-Con!” The dread of standing in line for one of 250 playsets has me on the fence. Just thinking about that long queue in that crowded, sweatbox of an exhibit hall makes me light-headed. We shall see.
The Egg Chamber isn’t the only Alien exclusive at the convention. Gentle Giant is releasing a 2-feet-tall, glow-in-the-dark xenomorph based on the 18″ Kenner figure. Of course, there are only 250 of those as well.
5. Locke & BrewsKey Ale
As fun as San Diego Comic-Con is, it’s also stressful. At the end of a really long day maneuvering through really big crowds, you might need a beer or six. Fortunately, IDW and Karl Strauss Brewing Company teamed up to create the Comic-Con exclusive ale, Locke & BrewsKey. Bleeding Cool reports that the ale will be available throughout the convention at Karl Strauss Brewing Company in San Diego. Please note that this is not walking distance from the San Diego Convention Center.
6. Funko’s Game of Thrones Exclusives
If there were ever a perfect opportunity for that “Take my money” meme, it’s now. Funko has so much Game of Thrones goodness this year and I want it all! Mostly, I’m coveting the “In Memoriam” blind box vinyl toys. I’d tell you which characters are in it, but the one person who doesn’t know who died at the Purple Wedding will probably be like, “OMG, spoilers! You suck!” Check out the image. This could be a necessary purchase for yours truly, just in case I decide to wear my George R.R. Martin costume again. However, there’s also a totally adorable flocked Pop figure of Ghost. He might be better than a real direwolf. On top of that, there’s a Legacy White Walker action figure that glows in the dark.
7. Jabba the Hutt with Salacious B. Crumb
The last thing I would ever recommend anyone to do is attempt to brave the Hasbro booth at San Diego Comic-Con. However, you Star Wars toy collectors might want to get your hands on the Black Series SDCC exclusive. It’s Jabba the Hutt with Salacious Crumb and a nifty hookah. The Jabba figure is actually set for release later this year, but he won’t be coming with his little buddy or smoking accessories. That’s just for the Comic-Con crowd.
On a related note, Toys R Us is bringing the Cantina Showdown Play Set to Entertainment Earth’s booth. Now, you can ensure that Han always shoots first.
8. Naruto Figure
Naruto fans should make a beeline to Viz Media’s booth for this gorgeous figure based on the hero of the long-running manga and anime series. Sculpted by Shin Tanabe of GECCO (you might recognize the company for their Silent Hill figures) and painted by Tanabe and Katsushige Akeyama, this PVC/ABS figure is 1/6 scale and wears the 4th Hokage’s coat. This is available for pre-order, but you have to pick it up at the convention.
9. Ambiguously Gay Duo
|Entertainment Earth/Biff Bang Pow|
Saturday Night Live‘s Ambiguously Gay duo are the stars of the Bif Bang Pow! exclusives available at Entertainment Earth’s Comic-Con booth. The bobble heads are fun and, at $11.99, a reasonably priced exclusive. If you have a little more money to burn, check out the lunchbox toy set. It’s a tin lunchbox with figures of Ace, Gary and Bighead inside. A couple years ago, Bif Bang Pow! had a similar exclusive for The Venture Bros., which I bought, and it’s my favorite Comic-Con purchase.
10. Bloody Marv from Sin City
|Diamond Select Toys|
This isn’t the first Bloody Marv figure, or even the first one to appear as a Comic-Con exclusive. However this Diamond Select Toys release is a gory beauty. It’s sculpted by Jean St. Jean and painted in shades of black, white and gray with an all-too-appropriate splash of red. The details are superb. Everything from the creases on the face to the wrinkles of his clothes appears to have stepped out of the comic. He could do wonders on a living room shelf, a constant reminder to friends, “Mess up my place and I’ll sic this dude on you.”
11. Walking Dead Toys in Black and White
|Diamond Select Toys|
Diamond Select Toys is commemorating the 125th issue of The Walking Dead at Comic-Con with a Minimates four-pack inspired by “Days Gone Bye.” Rick, Shane and Glenn are part of it and, of course, there’s a zombie in the set as well. What’s cool about these figures is that they’re done up in black and white to reflect the comic book art.
There are a lot more Walking Dead exclusives over at Skybound’s booth. Ezekiel fans can pick up an action figure or, if you feel like getting into character, a replica of his star-covered, button-down shirt. They also have blind box figures and PVC miniatures sold in two-packs, plus a vinyl mini replica of Lucille, the bat that Negan uses in the series.
12. Funko Vinyl My Little Pony
Truthfully, I wasn’t super impressed with Hasbro’s My Little Pony exclusives this year. However, Funko’s Black Colorway vinyl MLP figures are pretty damn fierce. They’re releasing two characters as exclusives this year: Spitfire and DJ Pon-3. These are certainly for the hardcore. Spitfire heads up The Wonderbolts, a group of acrobatic performers. DJ Pon-3 turns up at parties to play records. They’re minor characters, but ones who have good followings in the fan community. They have a sleek, mature look to them. Pon-3 appears as though she’s ready to headline Electric Pony Carnival or whatever the big rave is in Equestria.
For Bronies in need of new reading material, IDW is releasing an exclusive version of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #21 with an 8-page story that won’t appear elsewhere. It’s limited to 500 copies and there’s a limit of 5 copies per person.
13. DC Cover Variants and a New Harley Quinn Adventure
Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International: San Diego #1 is part of DC’s batch of exclusives for this year’s event. Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, the fan-favorite villain heads into geek terrain in this issue. There are two SDCC exclusive variant covers. One is a wraparound image by Conner. The other is blank.
Other DC variants this year include Batman #32 with a wraparound cover by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia, Superman #32 with a black-and-white sketch from John Romita, Jr. (inked by Klaus Janson) and Grayson #1 with a covert by Giuseppe Camuncoli.
14. Rocket Raccoon Mini Bust
With Guardians of the Galaxy about to hit theaters, it’s fair to guess that there will be a lot of Rocket Raccoon inside the exhibit hall. Gentle Giant’s mini bust is one of the nicer pieces. It’s hand-painted with a lot of attention to detail. The limited edition items are numbered and do come with a certificate of authenticity.
If you’re looking for something less fancy, head over to Funko for their Rocket Raccoon exclusive. It’s a flocked vinyl bobblehead from the company’s Pop! line.
15. Hellboy, from Books to Plushies
Hellboy has been in the midst of a 20th anniversary celebration and a lot of that is spilling over to San Diego Comic-Con. IDW has a variant hardcover of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy: Artist’s Edition, which compiles lots of his early work on the series. It’s limited to 100 copies and priced at $125 with a two book limit. Fans who are going to SDCC can pre-order this. Note that you will have to pick this up in person and bring confirmation of your order with you.
Meanwhile, Dark Horse has a cuddly Itty Bitty Hellboy plush decked out in his own Comic-Con t-shirt. There’s also an exclusive, hardcover version of Hellboy in Hell, Volume 1: The Descent. It’s made to look like the 20 Years of Hellboy anniversary tome. Itty Bitty Hellboy will receive an exclusive SDCC hardcover release as well.
16. Smaug Fashion
Weta has a new, exclusive t-shirt for Tolkien fans. It’s based on the scales that marked Smaug. It’s a sweet shirt, perfect for the days when you want to show off your fandom in a subtle way. Only 500 of these are available, and Weta is allotting 100 to go on sale per day during the convention.
Fans can also buy pre-release copies of The Art of Film Magic: 20 Years of Weta to have signed by Luke Hawker and Clare Burgess. There will be a limited amount of these books on hand at the booth.
17. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Villains and More
Kidrobot produced the 7″ Bebop and Rocksteady figures that will be available exclusively at Nickelodeon’s booth during San Diego Comic-Con. The toys give the two villains a cool new look, with Bebop done up in bright orange with a shock of a red mohawk and Rocksteady painted powder blue.
For action figures, head over to Entertainment Earth, who will have the Toys R Us’s new-old Ninja Turtles. These pieces are based on the 1990s movie version of the characters and feature 34 points of articulation. Also, Playmates is releasing a black-and-white Raphael figure for the convention.
If your fandom leans towards the comics, check out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ultimate Collection with the SDCC hardcover variant by co-creator Kevin Eastman. IDW is also reissuing the first issue of the cult classic. Two hundred of those are signed by Eastman. There’s an SDCC variant cover version of the 30th Anniversary Special, an anthology release.
18. Original Art from Camilla d’Errico
Camilla d’Errico is as much of a gallery artist as she is a regular on the fan convention circuit. This year, the Comic-Con regular is bringing the painterly side of her work to the exhibit hall for something really exclusive. She created a series of 5×7″ oil paintings, called “Sweets & Treats,” for the convention. They’re paintings, so each piece is one-of-a-kind and there are only nine in the series. Prices start at a steep $550, so regular fans may have to stick with her wide range of prints.
Previously by Liz Ohanesian