Headin' down to San Diego
There are many, many gaming and comic conventions throughout the year: but there's only ONE San Diego Comic-Con. The five day affair takes over the California town every July, and at its the core of the convention are the thousands of vendors selling basically anything your nerdy mind can dream up. In fact, SDCC has gotten so big that multiple companies create items that only are sold at the con, creating an entire market for San Diego exclusives.
One down side to there being so many SDCC-only items that it's hard to keep track of them all, let alone the ones worth standing in line for over an hour, which is why you need this guide. Whether you're heading down to San Diego yourself or planning to search them out on eBay post-show, these are the coolest exclusives to be found at Comic-Con.
Square-Enix's Batman: Arkham Origins Play Arts Kai figure
Price: $99.99, Location: Booth #3829
Gamers and comic fans alike can appreciate this high class figure from Batman: Arkham Origins. This manga-esque redesign of the early iteration of the Dark Knight comes in a special repaint for SDCC, a color scheme that reflects the traditional blue and grey look to go with the heavily poseable character. Even his cape is hyper-articulated, which matches the Arkham series' history of impressive cape physics.
Titan Entertainment's Limited Edition Watch Dogs Art Book
Price: $60, Location: Booth #5537
Book publisher Titan has a ton of items that will draw in Doctor Who fans, and gamers looking to once more dive into Watch Dogs will also have a reason to visit the booth. Titan is selling an exclusive slipcase edition of its Watch Dogs Art Book, a tome that's filled with lovely design work and behind-the-scenes details on the games development. Packed in with the book comes a special signed print from Watch Dogs concept artist Jon Bigorgne, which is a pretty good deal for something that costs as much as the game itself.
Udon's Art of Capcom Complete Edition
Price: $100, Location: Booth #4529
Udon got its start as a publisher of video game comics, and it recently expanded its business to become one of the premier publishers of game art books in the USA. At SDCC, Udon is bringing back this out-of-print collection of Capcom art, covering series like Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, and Mega Man (among many others) all packed into over 600 pages of custom drawings of the gaming stars. A standard edition will go on sale in November, but you can get this limited edition months earlier, only at SDCC.
Hasbro's Infinity Gauntlet and The Knights of Unicron
Price: $74.99 and $184.99 respectively, Location: Booth #3329
You gotta get up pretty early in the morning if you want to even have a chance at Hasbro's San Diego exclusives, and that's because the toy maker puts out some of the most popular and unique items each year. Among this year's impressive group is a Marvel set that not only comes with unique characters based on the classic Infinity Gauntlet crossover, but there's an accompanying wearable gauntlet. And then there's the too-awesome-for-words (ignore that I'm using words to discuss it here) Transformers set that reimagines classic Autobots and Decepticons as a 1980s hair metal band. There's even a transforming keytar, which I say is worth the $185 by itself.
Capcom's Mega Man helmets
Price: ???, Location: Booth #215
Capcom has been making big splashes at San Diego for the last few years, using the event to announce new games, host public demos, and premiere exclusive merch at its booth. This year the publisher is bringing some cool smaller items, like plushies based on Street Fighter and Monster Hunter, but the clear winners of Capcom's exclusives are the chrome resin replicas of Mega Man's helmet. There's the standard blue and the very limited edition red, and both have a USB powered light-up base. It's a great way to celebrate the character's history, and even though the price hasn't been confirmed yet, I can confirm that I'll be staring at it hungrily at Capcom's booth.
Alex Ross' Marvel 75th anniversary art prints
Price: $20 a piece, Location: Booth #2419
Marvel Comics turns 75 this year and the company is in the mood to celebrate. As is legendary comic artist Alex Ross, of Kingdom Come fame. He painted a series of impressive new art that showcases the company's biggest heroes, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, and The Hulk. All of the Marvel heroes look brilliant in these new works of art, and you can find extra-classy, hand-signed prints of the pieces at the Alex Ross Art booth. Be sure to frame them instead of just putting them on the wall with thumbtacks.
Bandai America's Green Power Ranger Dragon Dagger
Price: $150, Location: Booth #121
At the heart of many Comic-Con purchases is idea that you're buying the toys you wished you had when you were a child. How many Power Rangers fans watched the original series 20 years ago and dreamed of having the Green Ranger's badass dagger? That can finally become a reality. $150 will net you a very impressive recreation of the weapon with gold plating, a fancy case, and it can even play the trademark theme from the show. However, I can't promise that it'll actually summon a Dragonzord.
Basically everything at Blizzard Entertainment
Price: $15-$35, Location: Booth #115
Blizzard has gotten nearly as good at merchandising games as it is at making them. The home of all things 'Craft is bringing four exclusive items to SDCC that cover some of the publisher's biggest series. Starcraft fans will no doubt want the Funko Pop version of Kerrigan or the cloaking Zeratul variant, while WoW players might want to grab the Nether Faerie Dragon plush. But my favorite of Blizzard's exclusives is the ironic cuteness of the Whimsyshire Treasure Goblin, representing perhaps the most adorable threat in Diablo history.
Stan Lee Funko Pop Vinyl
Price: $25, Location: Booth #429
Stan Lee is the co-creator and writer behind dozens of world-famous comic book characters, but the living legend has become a bit of a character in his own right over the last few decades. So it makes sense that the endlessly excitable pitchman and star of Marvel film cameos would transition into being a toy of his own, as Crazy Cat Collectibles is selling an SDCC exclusive figure of Lee. And if that mustachioed vinyl isn't enough for you, that same booth has a $300 skateboard deck with Stan's face on it. Who doesn't immediately think of skateboarding when they hear the name Stan Lee?
Gentle Giant's massive figures and fancy busts
Price: $70-$499.99, Location: Booth #3513
You'll find action figures aplenty at Comic-Con, but why settle for average-sized toys? You'd be much better off dropping up to $500 on two foot tall recreations of classic Kenner brand figures, like jumbo versions of Star Wars' AT-AT Driver and a Glow-in-the-Dark Xenomorph from Alien. If that's a little too rich for your blood, there are some impressively obscure busts at this booth as well. Marvel's Rocket Raccoon is recreated well in his small statuette, and the most hardcore of Star Wars fans will want Jek Porkins, the ill-fated, overweight member of the Rebels' X-Wing squad.
Better start saving up
Tempted to stop by these booths while in San Diego? Already searching out the eBay auctions? Or are you upset that I missed some other great exclusive in this rundown? Tell me all about it in the comments, true believers!
For more things to make you say SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY, check out the GamesRadar guide to action figures and our gift guide to the best comic books based on games.