Just as badges and hotels before them became lotteries, so now exclusives and elite autographs have now become online lotteries at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Exclusives – including precious items from Funko, Hasbro, LEGO, and UCC Distributing – and autographs for celebrities and top comics folk (Snyder, King) will now be distributed online. Anyone with a valid member ID and badge can sign up for as many slots as they want before July 12th, but then the winners will be picked at random and tickets alloted.
This means…the only sleeping bags will be for Hall H, a tradition now so firmly ensconced in Comic-Con lore that to do away with it would be downright cruel.
As those who are not part of the “exclusive hunters club” might not be aware, those much-desired Funko Pops were also part of a long line waiting process, with people sleeping out at night to get up in the morning to get in another line at 9 am to get a ticket eventually get to the booth to buy something – I think. To be honest, I have never paid much attention to this process, as I didn’t have time to stand in line or even think about it.
Hot autographs – such as for the Suicide Cast signing a few years ago – were also handed out at 9 am, usually only 100 tickets or so. I never saw people sleeping out for those, but, again, not my area of expertise.
In recent years the FUnko booth, in particular has become the real scrum at SDCC, with reports of squabbles and disorganization in some years. That seems to have lessened, but tempers can flare when so much is at stake.
I missed the fact that CCI instituted an online Exclusives Portal for WonderCon or I would have known this was coming. According to the Toucan blog, it went great!
I received a LOT of positive feedback from WonderCon Anaheim 2018 concerning the online Exclusives Portal. Thus, in the ongoing interest of constantly improving the fan experience at our shows, I’m happy as a bird with a french fry to give it a whirl (as you may already know) at Comic-Con this year.
Turns out, submitting interest in exclusive signings via the online Exclusives Portal greatly decreases the time that you, our fantastic fans, spend waiting in line. That means everyone gets to spend more time exploring events in the Convention Center, attending panels, checking out the Exhibit Hall – whatever your heart desires!
For those lucky fans out there who are randomly selected to participate in one of our exclusive signings, we’ll have a convenient pick-up spot for you to retrieve your fancy wristband. We will even inform you when and where to do so before you get onsite to relieve some of the (exciting) pressure of how to spend your limited amount of time at the show!
The Unofficial SDCC Blog has much more on how this all works, and info on how many exclusives you can sign up for.
You can submit for as many time slots as you like, but for Hasbro and Funko, it appears that you can only win one time slot for the entire convention. For UCC and LEGO, it appears that you can win one “per exclusive” — for instance, for LEGO, you can only win once for their Star Wars figure set, but you could also potentially win for a Marvel Minifigure.
From a normal human standpoint this is all GREAT! It means no more sleeping out and endless waiting in line and you will know ahead of time when and where to go to get the stuff you want. If you win.
But this also means that the last vestige of predetermination has been removed from the con. I must admit, in some ways I miss the old hotel lottery where getting online in time and making fast choices meant YOU were the lucky winner of a hotel room at the Hyatt! I did well in this system for the majority of years, but with more and more people coming – many for those damned exclusives – I’m sure I actually did just as well with the lottery. (Also, those reflexes ain’t getting any younger.) Still, I missed the test of skill and reflexes! And the thrill of WINNING that test!
So it is with your Hasbro Han Solo with Mynock. Once upon a time, you knew if you were bold enough, strong enough and wily enough you would PERSEVERE, showing your stamina, mettle and devotion by doing whatever it took, even sleeping in front of the convention center, to get your action figure!
But no more. We are all now keyboard warriors, filling out dropdown menus and hitting send.
Predictably, many are saying THIS IS THE END OF COMIC-CON! The UOSDCC Blog comments are a showcase for the anguish:
I feel like this may ruin comic con. Only time will tell but we all go there for the hope of doing something or getting something. We are willing to do what it takes to do that. Now we will already be disappointed before we go. I think this will ruine the con for a lot of people. At wondercon I new no one who got a signing. It was disappointing. Maybe I will get use to it. For now i’m not happy with this. It’s a loss of hope.
This system will surely Kill the Con as we know it. Who would pay for Badges, Hotels, Airfare, and Food, if they got not a single Exclusive they came to the Con for???
You KNOW the answer, they won’t come! And now this Con will be like it was back before 2008 and the Intro of Iron Man 1. When you had half the Attendee’s you have now, and could still buy a Badge immediately before the Con, and very few if any International or East Coast Attendee’s were present. Bryon is that what you want?? Guess so?
Wow that sounds HORRIBLE.
Honest, I’ve noted over the past few years that it’s not the Hall H expeditioners who are “killing comic-con” but the “Funko Fanatics” – more and more people have been coming just for the exclusives, and honestly, these folks really don’t care about the comics. At least Hollywood people think comics are IP and visit booths once in a while. The Toy People just come for the toys and couldn’t care less about Stan Sakai.
Or at least that’s been my observation. To the comics side of the show, this new procedure may seem irrelevant, but I suspect it is going to change the way people attend the show in subtle – or perhaps not so subtle – ways in the years to come.
The UOSDCC Blog commenters do point out one other side effect though – without lines to keep people occupied, they may just be milling about the exhibit hall, looking at things. Either it will get even MORE crowded, or people will sell more stuff.
It’s going to be interesting, either way. A new era begins.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.