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Well, this is a weird year.
With Covid continuing to kick our ass, the wise folks at Comic-Con decided it was in everyone's best interest to cancel this summer's in person SDCC. Somehow they managed to pull off a pretty big feat however, bringing the panels and displays to an online version! I'm going to try to 'cover' it, although I'm not quite sure what that means. This will likely evolve as I go along, but I'll be attending panels and mentioning highlights, checking out various booths and sharing tidbits. And I'll do what I can to add my own color to the various aspects of the show.
Each day, the general format will probably follow the same format, although as I said, anything goes. Thanks for reading!
Wednesday, July 22
Booths: Some of the smaller exhibitors are using the virtual floor to their advantage, others not so much. Things that struck me -
Brett Bean. Never heard of him before, but my new grandson is going to need cool comics to read in the coming years, and his Zoo Patrol Squad caught my eye. I may pick it up to see if it has potential...
Tweeterhead. I was disappointed they didn't have any product up, but I'll be checking back.
ABC. Head over to their booth and you'll find some Golden Girl Tiki mugs! Tiki is big right now, and who doesn't love the Girls? They have a ton of other goodies under that license, as well as some other interesting items.
Walt Disney Television (aka Fox) missed their chance. Why don't they have posters, t-shirts, or other stuff available, particularly for the new licenses like Solar Opposites or Duncanville?
Qmx: They have a Q-Fig set of TMNT, coming in a pizza box. Looks good, and I'm a big fan of the Q-Figs, but it's one I'll pass on. The TMNT fans should like it though.
If you're looking for anime, check out Funimation's booth. Some blu-rays, some pins, etc.
Shout Factory. I don't see anything new for this con, but they do have some of their blu-ray steelbooks with the NECA clothed figures on sale. Might be time to snag that Silent Night, Deadly Night!
Every year I buy something at the con simply because it's too damn cute not to. This year I suspect it would have been Sumocat, available through Loter.
Sideshow is showing off some very cool stuff of course, but you really should just hit their website and check it out there. Register too, you'll get some points for it. I'm all over that Baze Malbus, and I'm hoping we see the BTTF2 Marty and Doc eventually. I'm not holding my breath though, since they also have the Power Loader up on their SDCC page. It'd be nice if they had separated out the stuff from old cons that still hasn't seen the light of day vs stuff that's actually new. I did notice on first glance that there's a comic based Harley, a Clone Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Clone Wars Anakin, but not much else...it struck me how many figures we've seen announced over the last four years that still haven't been produced.
I'll wander through some more later this week, but unfortunately the exhibitors don't seem to be making much use of the online hall. I'll be watching the 90 minute booth tour for Sideshow tomorrow as well.
Panels: Yea, I thought about hitting a couple today, but none of them really spoke to me. I've never done Preview Night Panels in person, so I'm not surprised I didn't jump at any that the virtual con was offering. Best thing about Preview Night the last few years has been the WB screenings of current and upcoming shows, something they don't seem to have available this year.
Tidbits: Some interesting other news bits today:
Chris Ryall is leaving IDW. I've known Chris for many years, and his work at IDW changed the face of the organization. He will certainly be missed there, but he's starting his own publishing venture, and I expect some great things.
McFarlane announced their new line of toys combined with an online comic called Raw10. Think big animals and dinosaurs. It's going to be exclusive with Walmart, which might make distribution spotty, but you can start ordering them online right now.
My only exclusive so far is the Mezco Gomez, which came with a buttload of other swag. The price is high, coming in at $170, but you are getting both a One:12 Gomez and a five points Gomez, plus a plethora of other goodies.
I hear getting the Hallmark exclusives was a nightmare. Thankfully, I wasn't looking for any of them, but I know some upset collectors that were. You'd think a virtual version would avoid the issues.
If you've collected the SDCC Souvenir books very year, they have a PDF version you can download to keep your set complete.
Part of the problem with this whole set up is every company is pretty much doing their own thing, and it's hard to find all the info. NECA is using their instagram to announce stuff, and their best so far is the Back To The Future figures. This will be a set I pick up completely.
NECA is also supposedly having their exclusives available tomorrow at Walmart stores. I went by a Walmart and Target today just to see what might be out, and there was jack here. I'll hit up the local Walmart in the morning and report back.
That's it for our first day! It's not a normal con by any stretch, but at least we're seeing a few interesting announcements. Tomorrow
I have several panels to watch, and I'm wondering how the experience will compare.
Thursday - July 23rd
Tidbits: Let's start with the tidbits today, shall we? We've seen a number of announcements, come of them more exciting than others.
Hot Toys showed off a number of new figures, including another Iron Man (pass), anther Tony Stark (pass), another Wonder Woman (who I'd usually be all up for, but the sculpted hair makes it impossible to do anything but a straight head pose, and we've already gotten a couple great WW figures, so pass), an Arkham Asyum Harley (don't play the game so pass, but looks great for the fans), and the only one I'll be pre-ordering for sure - Cable, from Deadpool 2. He's going to go great with their earlier Deadpool, and I love it when we get some key secondary characters like this.
They also showed off a Snowspeeder Luke earlier in the week, and I'm liking that one as well. I'll wait a bit though, and probably won't pre-order straight out of the gate.
Mezco's day 1 reveals haven't been too exciting yet, although the One:12 Bishop looks good.
Sideshow has partnered to do a bunch of Stan Lee collectibles - designer figures, fine art prints, that sort of thing. Check out this link for more details.
The coolest announcement of the day, easy, was from Mondo. They did a digital tour of what the booth would have looked like - you can see it here, and it's well worth it - and while I have to admit the Spongebob tiki mugs are great (remember when I said tiki mugs were hot right now), it's the action figure announcement that has me palpitating. First, they announced a second set of figures in their Rick and Morty line. I just reviewed the first release of Rick and Morty, and the second set will be another Morty with Mr. Meeseeks! But wait, they are also showing off the third set, including another Rick, and Scary Terry!
So yea, that's great. And I'll be buying them the minute they go on sale. But what came next was the absolute winner - a sixth scale Creature from the Black Lagoon! We haven't gotten any since the Sideshow version years ago, and while it was good, it's not up to the level of modern sixth scale. I can't wait to get this bad boy! And yea, there's some cool Spider-Man and Masters of the Universe and Godzilla stuff in there too if you're into that, but I said Creature from the Black Lagoon! Watch the video for yourself right here...
Booths: Sorry, I wandered not.
Panels: I hit up several panels today.
Started out with the Star Trek Panel. Nothing too exciting around Discovery or Picard, but it's nice to see and hear all the actors. They announced a name for their new animated Trek for kids on Nickelodeon - Star Trek: Prodigy. And they had a short clip from an episode of Lower Levels, debuting on CBS: All Access in a couple weeks. It has me interested, but I wish I could get a free month of CBS: All Access.
Then I hit the Solar Opposites panel. Again, nothing too exciting announcement wise, but they did have a storyboard style clip for the second season. This was a show I had reservations about, but it really took off after the third or fourth episode, and I can't wait for season 2. While Covid might be messing up live action tv and movies, animation is going strong.
I also tried to see the Cartoon Network First Look panel, but when I tried playing it I got the message it was blocked by Turner Broadcasting for copyright infringement. WTF? It started working awhile later. If you're a fan of Apple and Onion, We Bare Bears, Craig of the Creek, or one of the other recent Cartoon Network kid's shows, it was cute. They had a few clips, including one from the We Bare Bears movie which is currently available to download.On to tomorrow! I'm sure it will be interesting, but I doubt any announcements are going to top Mondo for me. That's a challenge to everyone else!
Friday - July 24th
Booths: Yea, I don't think the whole virtual floor plan thing worked quite as well as they'd hoped.
Panels: I checked out several fun panels today. I have to say, this is probably the experience they have done the best with, although it's not quite the same as sitting in the same room with these amazing, talented individuals. And if you were wondering, the fan question part is still just as annoying as ever.
My favorite for the day was Bob's Burgers, of course. They had all the major voice actors along with the creator and a couple producers. The discussion was interesting, and they showed a clip of an early episode in the upcoming season. They will be premiering on September 27th. It's hard to believe this is ten seasons!
I checked out the HBO Max/Cartoon Network panel on Adventure Time. Another show I enjoy and miss, so I was interested in seeing what plans HBO Max had. They sound interesting, although the jury is still out for me...
Hulu has a new horror show called Helstrom, based on the Marvel comic. The panel showed off the trailer, and discussed similarities and differences with the comic. I'm not completely sold, but I will check out the first two or three episodes of this first season when they drop.
Tidbits: I did order a couple things today! Mezco had another exclusive, this time a Golden Skulls Gold Skull Ninja. I missed the first batch that would ship now, but they did a second order for another batch in the winter, and I'm fine with that. They also announced another One:12 figure - Death Dealer! He looks terrific. They also revealed some Five Points Popeye figures that look like a ton of fun!
I also ordered the new Hot Toys Stan Winston. Hey, it's not my favorite of the three, but I already have the other two, and you know I have an illness.
While it's not a con exclusive or anything, Threezero also dropped their new Walking Dead figure, and I pre-ordered King Ezekiel zippy fast. They
didn't have a site exclusive though, so I just went with the old reliable BBTS.
Saturday - July 25th
Booths: This was the one feature they really needed to push a little harder with their exhibitors. Several of the companies did good videos of their new announcements and exclusives, including Diamond Select and Qmx, but there's little of that reflected in the floor plan. Rather than trying to find the info by following every company, this map could have been the one stop shop to get links to their videos and other information. The ability is there, but most exhibitors didn't take advantage of it.
Panels: You know I had to hit the Simpsons panel today. And it was fun, even for a show this long in the tooth. There were no big announcements, but I wasn't expecting any.
Lovecraft Country is very high on my list right now, and the panel did nothing to decrease my anticipation. We only have a couple more weeks to wait, but the extended trailer really looks great. And they finished up with another sneak peak that really go my interest up even further! "Beware All Ye That Tread The Path - Ever The Tide Shall Rise" There were also no stupid fan questions, making it one of my favorite panels so far.
Diamond Select Toys and Gentle Giant did a panel with some announcements. The products I found interesting were Avatar of course, and those damn Legends in 3D BTAS busts are getting harder and harder to resist. I'm also getting more interested in their Lord of the Rings figures, but I'll wait to see what they look like before I buy.
What We Do In The Shadows had their first SDCC panel, hosted by Haley Joel Osment. I really wish all the panels would have had zoom set to expand the screen of whomever was talking at any time rather than keeping all the screens the same size, but that's a general complaint, not just about WWDITS.
Remember, anyone can check out all these panels on Youtube. There's some great stuff, and while it's not quite the same experience, the panels are the closest.
Tidbits: Mezco had a final day of reveals, and the One:12 John Constantine was pretty sweet, but the Five Points Monsters grabbed
most of my attention. They are also doing One:12 Fantastic Four, but no pre-production photos yet.
Sunday - July 26th
Booths: I gave up. While the whole floor plan thing was a good idea, it was poorly executed and very few companies took advantage.
Panels:I checked out two panels today - HBO Max Looney Tunes, and Invader Zim.
The Looney Tunes panel showed one of the new cartoons I hadn't seen, and the discussion was lively. It does worry me that they are so super focused on trying to be exactly like the old cartoon, because to last more than 10 episodes (the current run on HBO Max), they'll need to find their own voice. But I'll give them time, and these first episodes are a mixed bag.
I jumped into the Invader Zim Panel hoping for some exciting news - maybe another movie? - but alas, it was not to be. They do have an "Art of Zim" book hitting right now, however, and it sounded worth checking out.
Tidbits: It was a quiet Sunday for SDCC, but they always are.
Wrap it up!
I've seen some folks calling this virtual SDCC a bust. I'm not going to do that. The folks at Comic-Con really did bust their ass to get something out, and while it was far short of the full blown experience, it was worth attending the panels and seeing the various company announcements. It's pretty clear that creating a virtual convention that creates the same sort of excitement will require spending a lot more time coming up with different concepts for presenting the experience, but I'm hopeful that this is the only year for the foreseeable future that we have to deal with this pandemic.
Please share with your friends!