The 50th annual San Diego Comic-Con is finally here, beginning with a preview night Wednesday before it kicks into high gear Thursday. The bigger it becomes (it’s already massive, with a reported average of 130,000 fans from all over the world), the more stars it seems to attract, particularly from the superhero, sci-fi and horror movie realms.
And while throngs of fans descend upon the San Diego Convention Center’s famed Hall H to see panels of stars from upcoming films and perhaps some teaser footage not available anywhere else, there’s a large contingent of fans also attending the annual gathering to get some exclusives: toys and collectibles not available to the general public.
This year’s offerings features a gaggle of new and cool movie playthings, including action figures of actors being produced for the first time, including NECA’s retro eight-inch action figure of the villainous “Karate Kid” coach Kreese (Martin Kove), which comes on the heels of releases of eight-inch figures of Daniel (Ralph Macchio), his coach, Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita) and Daniel’s chief rival, Johnny (William Zabka), as seen in the 1984 film.
Fans who purchase the Kreese figure will also get another special opportunity: to meet Kove, who will be on-hand at NECA’s booth to sign packages of the miniature version of himself. In addition to the Kove figure, NECA’s SDCC exclusive offerings include a special “etched” seven-inch version of Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard), just in time for the release of “IT: Chapter 2” in September; and a seven-inch scale figure of the young version of John Connor (Edward Furlong) and his motorcycle from the 1991 blockbuster “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”
As NECA’s offerings prove, there’s a big enough market for action figures from classic films to justify the release of action figures of them, even if only in limited quantities.
Continuing its “Jurassic Park” legacy line of three and three-quarter-inch figures in the past year, figures of paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), as well as mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) have already been released, Mattel is about to debut a figure as a SDCC exclusive: Jurassic Park founder John Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough). Hammond’s figure not only features packaging that looks like the gateway to Jurassic Park, it includes a stand that holds a cracked open egg with a baby dinosaur.
While some toy and collectibles companies are concentrating on releasing exclusive products of vintage movies, others are concentrating on more modern fare. Among them are Hasbro, which is selling an exclusive “Star Wars” Black Series six-inch figure of a Sith Trooper (think of Stormtrooper’s armor, but molded in red), the first new character being revealed for the December film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
Also being offered by Hasbro are pair of six-inch figures from the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) from “Guardians of the Galaxy” and Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) from “Thor: Ragnarok.” While the exclusive figures are packaged separately (with their respective movie title treatment), they are being sold as a set. Per Marvel lore, the Collector and Grandmaster are brothers, after all.
The San Diego Comic-Con runs through Sunday.