Phew. It was a whirlwind weekend of activity for me out at SDCC, but I'm back and awake enough
to type a little up about this year's biggest and most exciting comic convention.
I'm not here to cover all the lines with photos of everything. I will go over a few,
particularly those I think might not get as much coverage from the other sites. And I'll have links here to
a few photos I took of several lines that really interest me right now. But what I'd really like
to do is give you some idea of what the con is like to visit, what you can see, and what goes on
over the whole three days.
Sadly, I couldn't make Wednesday's preview night this year - work (yes, I have a real job) is much
too hectic right now to get that extra day off. But I swung out on Thursday on a perfect flight - you
know the kind, where absolutely nothing eventful occurs, and I actually made it through security
without a delay.
My nephew, Guy Klender, is a huge Star Wars collector (he was featured in the film 'Star Woids') and
lives in LA, so he drove down to spend the weekend with me at the con. Thursday was spent on catching
up, getting into the hotel, and just bumming around a bit.
After a good night's sleep, we were ready to tackle the con on Friday. The con has expanded again
this year, and it's getting simply massive. It takes up the majority of the very large and very
beautiful San Diego Convention Center, and it was bustling with activity and
I spent most of the day Friday talking with various companies. Early on my list was Sideshow, where
I got to see several new 12" monsters, including Creature Walks Among Us, Werewolf of London,
and the Mummy. The newest Outer Limits characters were on hand,
Andro and the alien from O.B.I.T.
The Monty Python line must be doing well, since they added the young Prince and his Father to the line
up, and I drooled over the Muppets polystone
bust. They also announced the new license to do Simpsons busts, but didn't have any sketches or prototypes available yet.
I'd also like to note that they get the award for nicest booth at the show. They, along with
Weta, had a great setup. There was a large display of LOTR items, including a huge display of swords,
and various polystone busts. A large cave
troll, a mounted Ringwraith, and various characters in costume were all present. The Sideshow 12" area was extremely nice, well laid out and lit.
Sideshow is also considering doing a line of their own interpretations of classic monsters, which
could prove to be extremely interesting.
Another company I was very interested in
speaking to, and who had an absolutely stunning booth, was Toynami. The Thundarr stuff was on
display, as well as the Herculoid line. They are
looking very impressive, and I think fans of the shows will be thrilled when these hit the streets.
Palisades was there of course, and I had a great time talking with Mike, Ken, Travis and the rest
of the gang. The third series was prominently on display, including Rowlf,
Zoot, Scooter and
Lew Zealand. The real eye catcher though was the 2 up of the
Swedish Chef's Kitchen. Wow!
This play set will set a new standard in detail and accessories.
I was also again impressed by their commitment to the collectors and fans. There were plenty
of show exclusive Fozzie's available, and they wisely limited everyone to two each. Unlike the
awful He-man fiasco (you'll be hearing plenty of stories on how badly that exclusive was handled
by Mattel), everything was smooth as silk with the process.
On top of that, they were auctioning off some very cool items all weekend. There were sets of
test shots for series 2, packaged tests of series
2, Micronauts test shots, and an early boxed
Electric Mayhem set, just to name a few, all up for bids. They all ended up going for very
reasonable prices as well, and a few lucky collectors got a unique chance to add some nice items
to their collections.
As you might expect, I spent quite a bit of time
talking with Playmates. They had all the figures and playsets for the next series on display,
along with the B-Sharps Homer and Moe's (with Duffman!).
The Krusty Bobble head was also there, and they had sketches of the next
two waves (11 and 12), along with the sketches for the Courtroom and Bart's Treehouse. Unfortunately,
they can't be show...yet. Soon though, and trust me when I tell you that Bart's Treehouse
could easily become one of your favorite WOS sets of the entire series. The
concept looked that good! If you're looking for the best coverage of the Simpsons line, check
Simpsons Collector Sector.
Playmates was also excited to talk about the release of the new TMNT line, and it looks like
they'll be putting a lot of punch behind it. In other Simpsons news, the School Bus should be
hitting stores any day, and the Bongo's started to hit in San Diego while I was there. I managed
to snag a set at a KayBee just minutes from the convention center, and the
review is right here.
Another line I'm really excited about is the Peanuts series from Playing Mantis. I ended up
spending quite a bit of time staring in wide eyed wonder at all the very cool items in the
series - Charlie Brown, Pig Pen, the
classroom with Sally, Lucy,
from the Great Pumpkin, Linus, and
several others. Add in the great new Rudolph items we saw first at Toy Fair this year, and the two great
diecast Batmobiles they have planned, and I ended up making quite a saliva trail around the cases.
After seeing the promo photo for the King of the Hill figures, I was worried. Fear not - it
was a bad picture. Here's a shot of Dale,
and the prototypes look much better in person. Three additional figures of Bobbie and Lady Bird, Luanne and
Boomhauer are already prototyped. I can't show photos yet though, as they aren't
approved by Fox.
Toycom has some interesting ideas for this line though. The fence will come to you in sections,
one with each of the first figures. They'll continue this with other figures, giving you pieces
of a larger playset/ backdrop item with each series. It's a cool concept, giving you
play sets or display items as you buy entire lines.
DC Direct is going to be a problem for me next year, now that they've gotten the Batman line.
Two items I was particularly excited about is the Super Friends Batman maquette, and the
Joker/Batgirl figures. Very nice!
There was plenty of other cool stuff - KISS SMITI, Marvel
Legends, DC Direct, etc, etc, etc, - but I'll let the big boys cover all those in detail.
For in depth pictures of all the stuff at the show, check out Action-figure.com
or the Raving Toy Maniac, where
they'll have hundreds of terrific pictures.
I met plenty of great people too for the first time
face-to-face - Adrian from Action-figure.com, Randy, Julius and ToyGodd from AFT, Phil Wise
from Rebelscum, Scott Tipton and Chris Ryall from Movie Poop Shoot, Jesse Falcon from
Toybiz, Steve Sansweet from Lucas, and many more I'm forgetting right now.
There were plenty of folks I'd met before too, like Bobbi and Rob from RTM, Chris
Holoka from Rebelscum, Mike and Ken from Palisades, Jason Geyer from Toy Otter, and tons of
folks that were kind enough to stop and say hello, let me know how much they enjoy the reviews, and
chat for a bit.
One of the other very cool facets of SDCC is the panels, and this year was no exception. There
were a ton, and it made things difficult trying to see everything you wanted to! That's the good
kind of complaint though, since it meant you were always busy seeing something interesting.
Julius Marx from AFT put together several excellent panels, but my favorite was the one
I was on of course - the Action Figure Websites Roundtable. The panel included members from
AFT, Rebelscum, Simpsons Collector Sector, MROTW, Movie Poop Shoot, action-figure.com, and Toy
Otter. The attendence was good, and we got some great questions - hopefully the answers were half
I attended a handful of other panels were I could, and some had very surprising surprise guests.
Arnold Schwarznegger popped in for the T3 panel, James Cameron showed up hyping the film Solaris
at the X-men 2/Daredevil panel, and as regular guests, Ang Lee attended the Hulk panel and Ben
Affleck was there for the Daredevil panel. They showed clips from the films, talked about
where things were, and answered lots of fan questions. These panels are always a good reason
on their own to attend the show, and there was a tremendous variety covering shows like
Futurama, the Haunted, Birds of Prey, Adult Swim, the Two Towers, and of course Star Wars. There
were literally dozens of panels over the course of the four days, and you can always find a few
to grab you no matter what your peculiar interests might be.
Mark Hamill is doing an indie film, sort of a mockumentary, on the whole comic book icon world.
He was shooting at the con, covering the comic con side of the business and the general fanboy
sort of characters. Wearing my Movie Poop Shoot hat, I got the chance to interview him with
Chris Ryall. It was an interesting opportunity, and at the end I got the chance to slip in a question
on the chances of doing a Luke/WOS figure. He said no one had approached him, but that he'd
absolutely love to do something like that. Of course, don't get your hopes up - anything like that
would also require the agreement of Lucas Films, and would probably be cost prohibitive. But it's
good to have dreams.
On Saturday night, they hold the Masquerade. This huge party is an opportunity for all those
who are into CosPlay to come out on stage and strut their stuff. There were some truly unique
concepts and costumes this year, and walking around the con I shot a few photos of some of my
favorites - Chewie, Penguin with
Catwoman and Harley, the Death Star and Han in
Carbonite, and dozens of others. With the sheer numbers of Klingons and Stormtroopers, I expected a sci-fi
civil war to erupt at any moment.
I didn't spend nearly as much time this year wandering the dealer aisles as usual, but I did pick
up a couple sets of Simpsons PVC's, and almost fell for the call of a C.C. Lemon lunchbox. The
majority of my money was spent on show exclusives - the Invisible Fozzie from Palisades, the
pewter Bloodaxe from McFarlane, and the short haired Cordy from MAC. Yes, I
skipped the He-man. I know, it's some form of sacrilege, but getting one was a complete zoo.
Mattel needs to spend some quality time thinking about how they could have made that situation
So let's see - great panels, lots of cool new toy news, exciting exclusives, and the chance to
brush elbows with some of the greats in the comic and toy industry. Have you made your reservations
for next year yet?
(Special thanks to Chris
Holoka for some of the additional floor pictures)