Attending Comic-Con in San Diego is on my bucket list. I’m a huge comic book fan. And I love superheroes. As a kid, I used to collect all sorts of action figures — Star Wars, Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman, Batman, G.I. Joe. I loved them all.
I had more Star Wars “stuff” than anything else. The X-wing fighter was my favorite. I really liked my X-34 landspeeder too. A friend who lived across the street from me had some really cool Star Wars toys — the Death Star (with a working trash compactor!), a TIE fighter, ewoks and so much more! I used to go to his house and stare in wonder at all of his toys.
I never really collected comic books — not the way I collected trading cards. But I did love reading them. Batman was my favorite. I loved the difference between the campy 1960s TV show and the more intense comic books.
My action figure collection was small. We couldn’t afford much at the time. I played with most of my collection too. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood collectibles needed to be left in their original packaging (and not played with!) to become more valuable. I stopped collecting when I turned 13. But I never lost my love for comic books, superheroes and superhero memorabilia. (I have no idea what happened to my collection. But that’s a story for another column.) One day, I hope to resume my childhood collecting ways. And there is no better place to indulge a superhero collectible habit than San Diego’s Comic-Con.
When San Diego’s Comic-Con began in 1970, it attracted 300 attendees. Now, the San Diego Convention Center isn’t big enough to handle the show. More than 135,000 people attended Comic-Con annually before the pandemic.
The show features — among other things — panel discussions, exclusive movie trailers, attendees wearing costumes and a vast array of collectibles.
Studios use San Diego’s Comic-Con as a way to generate excitement for upcoming movies and TV shows. Actors and creators use it to connect with an energetic fanbase. And vendors use it as a way to sell more collectibles and merchandise.
At this past weekend’s Comic-Con, Knight Rider launched an exclusive Hot Wheels car. (Little- known fact: I’ve seen every episode of Knight Rider at least once and probably several times.)
Final Fantasy VII debuted its 25th anniversary collectibles at Comic-Con. And about a week before the show, Star Wars announced its lineup of exclusive Comic-Con merchandise.
These collectibles are just a small fraction of what you could have seen at Comic-Con this year. Gizmodo has a good rundown on the show’s best toys.
Comic-Con is an amazing show for toy collectors. It’s part of why I want to go at least once. But attending Comic-Con requires some serious planning. Tickets for next year’s San Diego show go on sale this fall. And they sell out quickly. So if you’re into collectible toys and you want to experience Comic-Con, start planning soon.