Get ready for your annual exclusives combat

8 MAY 2015

In another Comic-Con mile marker, Mattel has announced their first toys for SDCC. You can see them here: Ghostbusters Egon Spengler, Masters of the Universe Rotar vs. Twistoid and Hover Robots 3-Pack. And they've announced the voucher sale launches 28 May, which means we should see an incredible rollout of toys over the next 3 weeks. May just got exciting!

                                                        courtesy of

If you're new to SDCC, you should be aware of 2 things:

1) Some of the SDCC items you'll see announced are exclusives and some are just collectibles. The term "exclusive" has become somewhat elastic, to the point where people use it to mean "launching at SDCC," "sold only at conventions," "sold for now only at SDCC but we could change our minds" and other conceptual possibilities. Sometimes companies will imply a product is exclusive to drum up interest when really it's just new. So if you're planning on buying something to sell it for a huge profit on Ebay, be warned that your item may not be as rare as you think.

2) Getting exclusives is so competitive that you pretty much have to train for months in the Himalayas in an elite school for assassins just to get your hands on one. There was a time when a Preview Night badge (and being fleet of foot) pretty much guaranteed you'd get what you wanted; you'd hotfoot it to the right booth, which you'd already memorized on CCI's Exhibit Hall map, and get in line. Or you'd play dirty and find a way to already be in the Exhibit Hall through some vendor-ish trick and beat out the attendees waiting outside.

That's all changed. Lots of manufacturers use a voucher system now in the interests of crowd control. My best advice for you is to pay attention to what's coming out and follow whatever instructions are given. There are so many exclusives rolling out that it can be hard to stay on top of them; CCI will publish a fairly exhaustive list as we get closer. Whether you're trying for something from Hasbro, Funko, Dark Horse, Mattel or some other company, be aware they'll use slightly different processes. Some companies sell pre-sale vouchers online, some hand out vouchers physically at the Con, some still sell product right from the booth. Be aware that you're competing with people who want to get the exclusives just so they can resell them, and that these people tend to find sketchy ways of trumping the competition.

I'm not trying to sour you on getting the collectible of your dreams - just warning you that you really have to be on point for this. You can't just roll up to the booth, point and say, "I'll take that."

Anyhow, let's look at Mattel's game plan. You're going to buy a purchase voucher at on 28 May 8 am PST if you're a member of Club Eternia. That's not some weird comet-worshiping euthanasia cult, but a special club for collectors.

If you're not in Club Eternia, you can buy a voucher from 1 June at 9 am PST to 8 June at 11:59 PT.
You may or may not get one, depending on how popular your item is. If you do get one, you'll pick up your toy at SDCC Thursday-Saturday. Sometimes vendors have you come to their booth for this but Mattel and many other places usually have you report to a room in the labyrinth halls of the Marriott. Some of those items will also go up for sale on Mattel's site during their SDCC After-Party Sale on 27 July.

San Diego Comic-Con is two months from today, people. Two months.


  1. The sheer difficulty in obtaining exclusives has turned me off and I'm just not so interested any longer. That being said, this kind of environment makes me cherish even more the handful of exclusives I've been able to buy over the years by just walking up to the booth. My favorite was scoring a Walking Dead Lucille bat at the Skybound booth last year on Preview Night, as I walked by about 8 pm and saw no line and just asked if any were left.

    You *can* get exclusives without all of the hooplah... just not the 'high-ticket' items. Even Mattel and Hasbro and Funko will have many items available online after the con is over. The only reason to kill yourself lining up overnight for tickets to buy exclusives is if you will absolutely *die* without it. If you're willing to gamble, you can spend your time in other lines. ;-)

    1. I agree. My last horrid exclusives experience was in the Mattel line in 2013 - it was a complete disaster of multiple lines, different types of security guards who gave conflicting stories on where to go and what to do, and very frustrated attendees.
      Last year my friends back home were having a meltdown over me getting the GOT dragons for them - and while I did get them, it turned out that those little dragons are everywhere now. There's so much hype around SDCC items but most are going to eventually surface somewhere for the taking.

  2. Agreed on all points. On Preview night last year, I stood in line at Entertainment Earth for a figure for a friend last year for about 1.5 hrs and later it was available after Con anyway. This year a few vendors have pre-sale/pick-up. Which I think more vendors should do but then you have to know this is happening (I wasn't aware of Mattel until too late)- I have pre-ordered for pick up an item on Action Figure express (Alien-which probably isn't as popular as most other items). One year there was the Fox booth with the little GID Stewie and Bryan figures-that was a nightmare-not available, then you had to have a ticket to pick up later. Wasn't able to get it but as time goes on, was it really that important? It is sad though that basically the people buying the most sought after are the other vendors that will re-sell the item at their own booth or on E-bay later. Thank goodness I could care less about Monster High dolls :)

    1. Yep. If there's one thing that annoys attendees, it's realizing that about the other vendors. Also, most attendees who are new to the Con (or just busy) have no idea about the complex pre-sale arrangements and tickets that are in play, and they're disappointed when they show up on Preview Night and realize it's already game over.