Finding Monsters Amidst the Mayhem
Obviously, San Diego Comic-Con has a much broader pop culture and entertainment focus than Monster Bash or Monsterpalooza, so seeking out new and interesting classic monster, retro Sci-Fi and vintage fantasy film memorabilia takes a bit of effort. Well, your roving reporter with an eye for magnificent –and not-so-magnificent — Imagi-movie memorabilia was on the job!
San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) is unlike almost every other Comic-Con in that it is, first and foremost, a Hollywood marketing event. It’s focus is on the blockbuster film franchises and licensed product associated with the big brands in entertainment. There remains a small resilient group of vendors selling vintage product, including **gasp** comic books, but most of the real estate is dominated by big pop culture brand names such as Hasbro, DC, Marvel and such.
In spite of that, I found quite a bit to interest us Monster Kids and collectors of classic genre film memorabilia. Read on and see if you agree with assessment from the world’s largest gathering of geek culture….
I’m a big fan of the folks at EE, and have partnered with them to promote their exclusive monster kid merchandise in the past. The were kind enough to take me on a tour of their current product offering and we’re working on some fun exclusives down the line. Here are the highlights from my visit:
The Twilight Zone 3 3/4 inch Action Figures by BiffBangPow are black and white works of art. I love the Kenner-esque simplicity of their design. And yet, unlike those wonderful early Kenner figures, the characters are instantly recognizable with quality face sculpts. My favorite are the Dummie Jerry and Willie if for no other reason than it’s one of my all-time favorite episodes.
Prices on these figures range from $9.99 to $11.99 and are in-stock at Entertainment Earth should you want to add these to your collection.
Another 3 3/4 action figure line by BiffBangPow is the KISS collection. While some might argue that a rock band falls outside the purview of this website, any 1970s Monster Kid would beg to differ. KISS was the soundtrack to many of our childhoods and their kabuki mask/super hero/monster make-up personas fit right into our Monster Kid lifestyle Each set features the iconic rock band in costumes from specific tours. The 1979 Dynasty tour is pictured above. EE also offered convention-exclusives:
Ghoulsville by Retro-a-Go-Go
One of the most refreshing modern/vintage combinations is the revival of the classic Ben Cooper Halloween brand. Through licensing deals, like the giant handcrafted vacuum mold masks that debuted for Halloween 2016 by the cool retro-design RetroaGoGo.com.
I was thrilled to see Retro-a-Go-Go with a booth at SDCC this year, entirely focused on their monster products! They debuted Series 2 of their Ben Cooper Vintage Halloween Mask Line, including this super cool glow-in-the-dark Graveyard Ghost:
I was also blown away by the great prints featuring our favorite monsters like this one, titled “Monster-Rama” by artist P’gosh who also designed the blow-mold masks above. Prints available soon at Pgosh.com
I did quite a bit of social posting while on the floor at Comic-con and the item that had the most responses was this awesome T-Shirt, also available online at Retroagogo.com:
One of my favorite collections from the entire Con, is this new set of enamel pins based off the Ben Cooper mask collection. They come in their own tiny little display boxes and I added the whole set to my personal collection! They were selling like hotcakes at Comic-Con so I’d be surprised if they didn’t see out. But keep an eye out for them to appear soon on their website retroagogo.com
Famous Monsters of Filmland
In stark contrast to the wonderful, nostalgic fun of Retro-a-Go-Go, the Famous Monsters booth was depressing. You might know that one of my most cherished collections is my first-run FMoF magazine collection. Like so many of you, Uncle Forry had a lifelong impact on me. While part of me is glad the brand still exists, it makes me sad to see how lacking in imagination its product offering is. Everything they do feels like a minimal-effort money-grab, and it’s a shame. Their Comic-Con exclusive vinyl figures were flat out awful, and were really just color variants of figures available at the manufacturers booth right down the show floor:
Fortunately, they still know where their bread is buttered, and classic Famous Monsters cover art and Captain Company designs are still to be found in their product offering. Nothing new here, but reliable and always worth my money:
On the upper-end of collectibles, Sideshow never fails to impress with their stunning sculpts and I was glad to see some true Monster Kid fare among this year’s premiers.
This Vampirella statue is 10 inches tall and really captures the spirit of this iconic Warren character. She is available now for pre-order on Sideshow’s website and is expected to ship Summer 2018.
Always great to see the Swamp Thing in any form and this massive maquette is awesome! No info on when this guy will be available for pre-order, but I was really impressed with the sculpt on this 16? inch statue! More details on Sideshow’s website.
X-Plus Gigantic Series
Vinyl kanji collecting is a very specialized sort of classic monster collecting, and one where I am certainly no expert. I do know that X-Plus has designed some amazing figures over the years, but I don’t think they have ever released a line-up as fantastic as their Gigantic Series. These figures are impeccably designed and reflect the different manifestations of Godzilla and his pals through the years. These also fall into the ‘really expensive stuff’ category with prices in the $400-500 range per figure. My favorite is the Godzilla figure from King King vs Godzilla that is available for pre-order and ships in Spring 2018.
The breakout hit for Netflix in 2016, Stranger Things is a new favorite of mine and taps the 1980s kids vs the world ethos that I grew up loving. As usual Todd McFarlane gives us highly detailed sculpts on his 7 inch articulated action figure line debuting fall 2017.
While pop culture subscription boxes are everywhere these days and usually excite me less than a re-run of the Brady Bunch, this Alien Covenant mystery box from A Box really grabbed me… or at least the life-size replica face hugger did!
Not a bad showing for us Monster Kids at San Diego Comic-Con 2017. Stay tuned as your intrepid roving reporter continues to report on classic monster, retro Sci-Fi and vintage fantasy film memorabilia for all you Monster Kids and collectors!