Comic-Con, the toy collector's dream
These Comic-Con exclusive Lego minifigures are highly-sought collectibles.
July 12th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Comic-Con, the toy collector's dream

Ah, the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive toy.

Some are so specifically targeted to the hardcore toy collector's taste that they are available only once – at Comic-Con.

Bernard Ang is a collector who lives for Comic-Con exclusives.

"I've been a He-Man fan for 30 years," he told CNN Geek Out – exactly as long as the character has been around. The toys aimed at adult collectors are often wish fulfillments, the kind of toys they couldn't, or weren't allowed to, get as a kid.

So Wednesday night, during Comic-Con's Preview Night, Ang has his eye on the new Vikor figurine (He-Man of the North), but "I couldn't even get into the queue," he said. So he will try again when the Con officially starts on Thursday.

This is Ang's third Comic-Con. Each year he makes the long flight from Singapore. The huge bags he carried with him suggest he's not going home empty handed. In fact, the one toy he really wants is the "Avengers" helicarrier, which is larger than most children.

Companies like Mattel, Hasbro and Lego specially create toys for the Con, often based on nostalgic characters like He-Man or superheroes that adult toy collectors drool over (like the much sought-after DC and Marvel minifigures being given away by Lego).

Smaller companies, like Entertainment Earth, have long lines all through Preview Night. We found Andrea Westaway queuing up there for the top toy on her list.

"I want the 'Doctor Who' TARDIS Tin Tote Set, that comes with a TARDIS and a mug," said Westaway, a Whovian (or Dr. Who superfan) who has traveled to San Diego from Vancouver many times for treasured items like these.

The good Doctor rivaled perennial favorite "Dexter" in the toy department this year, with a remote control sonic screwdriver hyped by on Preview Night. (Yes, one can now watch "Doctor Who" while adjusting the television volume with a sonic screwdriver.)

These longtime fan franchises can often fly off Con floor shelves, with "Star Wars" the granddaddy of them all. As the sonic screwdriver shows, fans do seem to appreciate a bit of cleverness with toys. A figure of the much-maligned Jar Jar Binks frozen in carbonite fits that bill nicely.

Cuteness doesn't hurt either, as Disney has noticed with its stylized Vinylmation toys. Disney Store director of toys John Balen can identify with people like Ang and Westaway. He is a Comic-Con veteran and toy collector going back to childhood.

"When I was a kid looking at these booths, I definitely wanted to be here, and now I am running one of these booths, so dreams come true."

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Filed under: Comic-Con 2012 • Fandom
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Kaybolan

    Simply desire to say your aritlce is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply cool and i could assume you're an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  2. matt

    my son wants a "Revan" toy. does anyone know who that is?

    July 14, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Mike

      Hey Matt – The only Revan I know is a character from "Star Wars: The Old Republic" video game. The character has been made into a figure by Hasbro a couple of times, or at least released in different packaging. I'm not sure how recent the last release was. They may be doing a new version for Hasbro's "vintage" line of action figures. Hope that helps!

      July 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
      • Bachir

        I may have to check that book out now.As for happiness, that does seem to be a good indaoitcr of value. I think the idea behind the koan is to stop trying to put a value on things and focus on the present. I'm sure there are other interpretations, though.

        September 15, 2012 at 1:52 am |
  3. Skeletor

    I love He-Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Masters of The Universe Classics toys are amazing!!!!!!!!!!! And I can't wait for the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys!!!!!! And the Shockwave/Hiss tank toy looks amaing that it ACTUALLY TRANSFORMS! And there's some awesome Power Ranger stuff!!!!!

    Yoooooo Joe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  4. Skeletor


    July 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  5. Bill

    They still make comics??

    July 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • chaozz

      Comic con is all about the Networks and Movie studios promoting shows.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  6. Just sayin'


    July 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Just sayin'

      Comic-Con needs more s ex toys.

      July 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  7. CJ

    Comic-Con needs to straighten out their ticketing system. I've been unable to get tickets the last three years because their custom online registration crashes every time I try to buy them.

    July 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  8. Lady Valkris

    Dragon*Con. 'nuff said.

    July 13, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  9. Jebus Christ

    I am no longer Jebus I am Jebus Christ!

    July 13, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Tonie

      I think an example of value is YOUR comic. Not only ennitraeting, but incredibly thought provoking. Value, to me, is something that keeps giving in a good sense, improving on the situation or feeling, or rather, outcome, for the best (now.. the best, is what's in the air what is best? you may ask.) That's the final question then, isn't it?I give thanks for your comic, which is the only one in which all stories make you think, and eventually, enhance ones views and thoughts.Happy Thanks Giving holiday!

      September 14, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  10. erinH

    July 13, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Lisete

      ill admit, I was really hponig to catch a glimpse of a young Han Solo running around, if even for a split second. I was extremely disappointed.And, I have to say, I didnt like part 1. Not cause of Jar Jar, but because everything had a sleek clean modern look, even though its supposed to be the oldest?!As the episodes increase, everything gets junkier. Thats when Lucas established the best look.

      September 13, 2012 at 6:53 am |
  11. Sumowobbles

    Id really like to go just once to say Ive been; that and Bliz-Con too just to say I went.

    July 13, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  12. Jebus

    Chocolate covered pizza with chocolate roses taste like chocolate

    July 13, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  13. jake

    The exclusives are just ways for dealers to make more money. It's not like many fans actually buy this stuff. Dealers get it and list it on eBay, Many dealers at SDCC have staff there just to stand in line for all the exclusives that they will then list on eBay. It's all a way to take advantage of the fans who can't possibly get tickets for Comic-Con.

    July 13, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • RZ70

      Or it's a way for fans who can't get tickets to comic-con to get some of the stuff that you can only get there. Sorry, but some folks have jobs, families, and responsibilites, and might be willing to pay (well... way too much) for a toy, but might not be able to swing airfare, hotel accomodations, etc.
      Happy for you if you got to go, but I can't say that I'm sad if someone who didn't get to go ends up with some of the cool stuff (uh... beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all).

      July 13, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • jake

      Gimme a break. It stinks that dealers jacking up the price on eBay rather than Hasbro or Matty just putting exclusives on their website.

      There are 2000+ listings for 2012 SDCC exclusives on eBay now, many 2-3 times what they cost to buy. SDCC could discourage this practice by limiting the number of badges dealers get. Dealers scalping SDCC exclusives only benefits the dealers. Fans shouldn't have to pay scalper prices for this stuff.

      July 13, 2012 at 9:50 am |
      • chaozz

        Dealers have to buy a standard badge, as they will not let dealers by for the first hour at most booths.

        Why people think other should spend there money $175 buy a item and sell at cost is crazy..

        let me see people who have gi joes from when they where a kid sell them for what they cost.People collect one they love it and 2 they hope some day its worth money.

        July 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Magdalena

      I love how you put the webcomic first in your list of daily tasks, like that's your parmiry commitment or something.I feel like I've been slacking off too, since I haven't been doing comics (much) for a while, but I have good reasons for that (just started a new job, learning iOS programming, been doing a lot of photography and music in my free time, and not having any ideas for comic stories okay, that last one isn't a good reason, but it's true).

      September 15, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  14. sean

    yeah, james lighten up!!!!! go away!!!!

    July 13, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  15. Jose Galapagos

    I want one of the Derpy toys...but apparently they sold out of those fast. 🙁

    July 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Berty

      Me too 🙁 They have Zecora, too! Almost enough to make me hop a plane from DC to SD right now...

      July 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
      • Eh?

        You can find them both on E-bay right now for about $60. Much cheaper than a plane ticket to San Diego.

        July 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  16. James

    It's just a comic folks. Get a life.

    July 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • ModMedic

      And you are just a troll.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
      • Sumowobbles

        Epic Sir/Ma'am

        July 13, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  17. Andy Clinton

    Is there a way for me to express my extreme jealousy without sounding like a jerk?

    July 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • RZ70

      Cose enough. Nicely done.

      July 13, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  18. Felix

    Captain Marvel should be smiling.

    July 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm |