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With official comic-cons dropping like flies all year long due to COVID-19 cancellations, the organizers and retailers who were supposed to exhibit at several of the bigger cons have slowly figured out ways to salvage their bottom lines. In particular, the con exclusive collectible market has been reinvented for our new reality. Funko made their Emerald City Comic-Con exclusives available online in the winter, and their ravenous fandom showed up to clear out their inventory, per usual. They proved to fellow retailers that being crushed together on a convention center floor isn't the only way to sell their special wares.
As such, the biggest con exclusives event of the year, San Diego Comic-Con, is shaping up to be quite the epicenter of competitive buying. Usually, attendees of SDCC have an official badge that allows them to enter the main exhibit floor which is where 90% of the con exclusives are made available only to them. But because SDCC 2020 has transformed into the entirely virtual Comic-Con@Home 2020 event, badges are now unnecessary. And for those who have never trekked to San Diego for the con, this is the first time everyone will get a chance to snag that sweet, sweet exclusive merch.
If you want to avoid disappointment, planning is going to be key. Each retailer has their own system of making their exclusives available, featuring early pre-order memberships, virtual queues, sign-up placements, and more. Make sure you read the fine print for each company's system because, just like the in-person cons, access to the goodies is not one-size-fits-all.
Also, be aware that many popular SDCC retailers like Mezco, Super 7, and Sideshow are throwing their own shadow cons on their own websites with lots of native events (including swag!) to bring the fans some extra fun all week of the virtual con.
SYFY WIRE has assembled a list of some of the exclusives we're most excited about, which we'll continue updating heading into Comic-Con@Home 2020 which runs July 22-26.
**Updated July 24, 2020**
Mondo Con is going on every day through Sunday. Exclusive pins, vinyl and posters are coming out every single day and sell out quickly so check daily and often.
Bespoke limited edition pins have increasingly been the coveted "gets" from the SDCC show floor. Yesterdays is offering a few extremely limited, polished gold-plated hard enamel pins including this "Hall H" piece that's giving us some teary eyes. Check their website daily for sold out pieces and new additions.
UDON Entertainment is hitting all the anime and videogame feels with exclusives for properties like Robotech, Mega Man, Street Fighter and more.
Super7 Spectacular Stay-At-Home-Ic-Con Special is in full swing on their website with new themed exclusives available every day through Saturday. Disney, Universal Monsters, classic Snoopy and TMNT are represented.
Acme Archives Direct
Acme Archives Direct has always presented limited run lithographs by some of the world's best pop culture artists. Star Wars is always core to their offerings and they've got several beautiful pieces available already on their website. New additions will come daily.
2020 was supposed to usher in the final original episodes of Supernatural, but COVID-19 halted production so the finale to the story remains unfinished. But CineQuest is still celebrating the 15-year legacy of the show with a special box of goodies that you can only get at their official website. They've also got a classic Spike statue from Buffy and a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina doll.
Like other retailers, Sideshow is holding it's own virtual con at their corporate website that requires registration to see their whole exclusives line-up and distribution items from Hot Toys. Marvel Studios is showing up with Stan Lee, Whiplash and Iron Man 2.
Usually one of the biggest booths on the SDCC show floor, Mattel has had to change it up this year for their exclusives. Teasing this Hot Wheels Star Wars X-Wing Dagobah, they're letting collectors know that this, and their other upcoming con exclusives, will be available on their new Mattel Creations on 7/23 at 9am PST. Limited quantities available.
NECA is known for their amazing licensed action figures, especially for movie era Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Predator, Gremlins, and Alien/Aliens. For SDCC 2020, they've got an exclusive for each, which will be available at 1 p.m. ET at their online store and via Target on July 23, 2020.
Always the cool kids at the con party, Kidrobot collectibles are thus in high demand, which is why they opened their website's virtual con pre-sale on Wednesday, June 10 at 10 a.m. MT.
Usually taking up a large space on the SDCC exhibit floor, Weta Workshop is scaling back their exclusives to two this year from their Mini Epics line: Gollum and Slimer. Both are available now at their website.
Even the best geeks have space problems, so while a full-sized Nano gauntlet from Avengers: Endgame could be challenging to take home, this desk-sized exclusive saves you on many levels. Available now at their webstore.
Diamond Select Toys & Gentle Giant
DST and Gentle Giant are collaborating on quite a few exclusives already available for pre-order at the Gentle Giant website. Along with The Mandalorian, you'll find classic Tron, The Muppets, The Iron Giant, Deadpool, and The Nightmare Before Christmas exclusives.
Hallmark's has confirmed that their PopMinded exclusive con ornaments will be available when the virtual Comic-Con@Home 2020 event "floor" opens and will include Star Wars, Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Deadpool this year. Visit the Hallmark event page on the Comic-Con@home website starting at 9am PST Wednesday July 22 for links to the buyable, limited stock.
Entertainment Earth has partnered with several retailers as the online resource for many SDCC 20 exclusives from several licenses. They're releasing new items every day on their exclusives page for pre-order, so bookmark it and remain vigilant because the items sell out quick.
Factory Entertainment continues to announce their Consolation-Con exclusives daily on their website, and they've got a lot of items to choose from. Available to pre-order as soon as they're announced, you can grab a Star Fleet bottle opener, a mini Wonder Woman (2017) shield, Aquaman's prop replica trident, and even a plush Bruce the shark from Jaws.
Funko has already released the full line of SDCC 2020 exclusives for their Funko Virtual Con 3.0, which will take place July 19-25 on their website and with their retail partners. Our best advice: scope out the POPs you want and see which retailers are also selling them, so you can set a reminder to buy when the con opens!