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Toy Maniac: Post Comic-Con Toy Report
Toy Maniac and Ghostbusters Nut vs. the World
By Robert T. Trate
July 31, 2009
The Sold Out Slimed Ego Mattel SDCC Exclusive
© Mania/ Robert Trate/Mattel
Who had the pleasure of navigating some 100,000 people in San Diego last week? I for one took no pleasure in trying to walk through hordes of people that by day two all had the same mind set. Get the F__K out of my way. Comic Con really has gotten so big that the San Diego convention center can’t handle it. There were lines all over the exhibitor floor to pick up our exclusives. Many companies regulated their lines with tickets that gave you a time to return either for that day or the next day. Yes, even the next day where you had the risk of not being able to pick up what you really wanted. Preview night is where it all starts and thus my story begins.
I knew I wanted the Egon Spengler Ghostbusters figure from Mattel. The figure is a variant on the Egon figure that will be released later this year on Mattycollector.com. All the Ghostbusters, in both 6 and 12 inch incarnations, will only be sold through their Adult Collector area of the site. Racing through the exhibitor hall with my good friend Gordon, Ghostbusters Nut and expert, we found the Mattel store line and felt exactly like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. Amazingly enough, the line which kept growing never moved. Mattel had a policy that once you made it to the front of the line you could buy up to six of anything (see many of their exclusives here). Throughout the rest of the week I saw Mattel bags that were bigger than suitcases being carried around. All of them were packed to the hilt. Their biggest seller was their Masters of the Universe concept art book. It sold out daily which was another interesting thing about Mattel. Their exclusives might have sold out on a given day but they had trucks upon trucks waiting to hit the floor. Mattel clearly understands the modern collector and the frenzy that is Comic Con.
Back at line the Ghostbusters Nut, Gordon, remembers that Diamond Select also has several Con exclusives for his beloved films including Mini Mates and a mean looking Mr. Stay Puft. It is moments like this that the buddy system is the key to Comic Con. I tore out of line and headed for the Diamond Select booth. The line was not nearly as long but still just as confused and muddled. After spending thirty minutes in line and now being only nine people from the front they announce that the mean Mr. Stay Puft has sold out. They are quick to state that they sold several to dealers before they opened the floor. Now you would think this would be a needle in a haystack type problem but it was not. Diamond Select knew who they sold them to and it was just a matter of getting to them before the rest of the world. Thankfully, the Ghostbusters Nut got his mean Mr. Stay Puft. Oddly enough the price was the same that Diamond Select was offering him at. That is until the next day when he jumped in price ten more dollars. By the end of the Con he was sold out everywhere. A little side note for collectors and other Ghostbusters nuts is that Diamond Select will be offering a happy Mr. Stay Puft in the fall.
Triumphant, I returned to my friend waiting in line totally expecting him to be closer to the booth. Sadly he had barely moved at all. Later, after waiting nearly three hours Mattel closed the line and the store offered passes to get in line tomorrow. With a heavy heart he left the exhibitor hall with only half of what he wanted. In those three hours I had spent time running around and getting the lay of the land. I did want a few Hasbro exclusives for the collection (see some of my favorites here) but the only one I really wanted was the black and white Captain America. The Hasbro line was not nearly as long, reasoning being they had closed the store until the next day. Much to my relief nothing had sold out, yet.
The rest of the Con was not nearly has hectic for this Toy Maniac and the Ghostbusters Nut. The next day Gordon picked up four Egon’s, one especially for me. Later, crazed with joy, he took one out of the package. The sculpt and likeness are incredible. The details are stunning and without a doubt this is an A+ figure. Mattel has really outdone themselves and the rest of the line cannot come soon enough. There was even the debut of the 12 inch Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and a 6 inch Walter Peck (William Atherton) at the Con too.
Later on Thursday, during some down time, I did sweet talk my way into the Hasbro line. Hasbro had a limitation on four of any of their exclusives except the black and white Captain America where you could only buy three. I left with two, one for me and one for a friend but thought I would check up on my investment later. It would turn out that Hasbro would only sell out of their Transformers: 25th Anniversary Soundwave Special Edition ($54.00), black and white Captain America ($11.00) and the metallic décor Mighty Mugg Optimus Prime ($16.00). Again Hasbro had two Star Wars SDCC exclusives yet neither one sold out. If you are a big Star Wars collector look for them on Starwars.com or next year at the SDCC to be on sale like so many of their past exclusives.
I was present for the entire convention so I had the opportunity to check out all the big toy sellers. DC Direct had five different Hal Jordans to coincide with DC Comics’ Blackest Night series. Each figure, except the traditional Green Hal Jordan was sold on a different day. I thought that maybe the Red one would be the most sought after being that it was sold only on the last day of the Con, a day in which not nearly as many people attend. Yellow Hal Jordan sold out on Thursday (like all of them, except Green, were limited to 1500 pieces at $20.00 a piece). Both Blue and Green (limited to 3000) sold out on Friday. On Sunday when I turned up to get a final tally every single one of them was gone. I hadn’t realized the popularity of the multiple lantern colors. Not only did all the figures sell out but I have never seen so many lantern t-shirts in my life. This prompted me to pick up issue number one of Geoff Johns’ Blackest Night series. My two cents on that is that it starts off good but hopefully it will not be too cross-over heavy to fully appreciate.
The biggest surprise of the Con was learning that Mattel is clearly a force in the toy world. Many of us think of them for Matchbox cars and Barbies only. The line for their Con exclusives was always long; making it apparent that they had what the people wanted it. Despite the fact that they sold out of many of their exclusives daily they had a fresh supply the next day making many of their fans happy. On Sunday Mattel did sell out of their “slimed” Egon, Beast Man, He-Man, Skeletor, He-Ro, Batman Beyond (unmasked) and the Wonder Twins with the Gleek exclusive.
Do you have Comic Con toy exclusive stories to tell or advice on how you got through the line? Fill us in and put it in the comment section. Next week the Toy Maniac will be showcasing some of the rare artist renditions of popular characters and toy lines at Comic Con.