It’s coming. Comic-Con is racing towards us like a herd of hungry grizzly bears and the reveals are here. Starting with the badges courtesy of the SDCC unofficial blog:GQYunMsWgAAJSDw-768x1365.jpeg

Sometimes a picture tells a story. And the story here is that the beleaguered streamer Paramount+ decided a blue logo was better than, say, a picture of STAR TREK. They were wrong.

It’s not too surprising. If you’ve been following the story of Paramount of late, it’s a grim tale. Or as Axios put it: How is Paramount still alive. 

The short version….well, it’s impossible to give a short version, but the studio, once one of the most fabled in Hollywood, has been foundering after a particularly unwise investment in streaming. Sure, every other studio also went cuckoo for home chilling, but Paramount+ has lagged in viewers, coming in as the #5 streamer. Throw in all the other issues facing studios, and the disastrous effects of last year’s strikes, and Paramount’s struggles were huge. In recent days a way out seemed to be found with a buyer, Skydance Media, but Paramount’s volatile owner, Shari Redstone, nuked the deal at the very last minute, leaving the studio’s future very much in doubt – and stock prices tumbling to $10 a share. 

Into this chaotic tumult, a little comic-con badge wanders. While I would love to know the actual backstory, it’s likely that in all the pandemonium, deciding on a dynamic badge design was not a priority for the team.

At this point a little badge history might be in order. Back in the days of long ago, a SDCC badge – or any other con badge – was a fairly utilitarian piece of cardboard, tucked into a plastic pin back holder or suspended from a plain piece of string.

But then came the crowds. As security became an issue – and cons began selling out – bootlegs became a real concern. Both SDCC and NYCC adapted RIFD technology and badges turned into rigid plastic that included chips to assure the badge holder was who they said they were, and the badges were real. San Diego began their “tapping in” system a while ago, following NYCC, which had been doing it for a few years. I’m a little vague on the timing, but here’s a story I wrote about it in 2015. 

Along came sponsored lanyards and badges, as well. And much more! SDCC got pretty elaborate with the badge mailings for a while, as shown in this 2017 unboxing video I made during my own brief pivot to video:

A sturdy box, a handsome pin and an informative booklet. Those were the days! (And yes I still have all my boxes and pins!)

The 2017 badges included Walking Dead imagery – a frequent sponsor for both SDCC and NYCC badges.

Alas, following the pandemic break, SDCC cut way back on these luxurious mailings – badges are now sent in a plain manilla envelope with no frills.

Since the in-person return in 2022, the badge imagery has been a mixed bag. (Images all via the SDCC Unofficial Blog.)

In 2022, the weirdly designed Rings of Power badges were a basically a source of much mirth among insiders.


Is it a sword, is it Barad-Dûr, is it a ink spill? Perhaps we should have taken this as a sign of how unsatisfying Rings of Power would be, but this blobby, unattractive image didn’t do much to impart the idea of an a colorful, epic high fantasy show.


In 2023, The Boys spinoff Gen V came to the rescue! Given the dark turns of the Boys universe, a headless superhero was both on brand and intriguing. And, it’s just a stronger image.

And now we have the “Please help us, we’re in mortal peril” message sent by this stark Paramount+ logo. A mountain of entertainment? More like a mountain of DESPAIR. Comic-Con may be only (GASP!!!) five weeks away, so there could be many twists and turns in the Paramount story before then. Who knows how these badges will land when we’re having cocktails at the Bayfront.

Before we go, a reminder that before con badges became an ID-card, they were generally colorful and collectible. I found this group shot of someone’s collection in Google images without a source so hopefully I won’t get sued, but check out these beauties!

The 1998 badge was actually designed by CHRIS WARE! You can see the functionality of the badges and the content of Comic-Con itself evolving in this one picture, from a whimsical Sandman to bar codes and Rick Grimes.

And now, Paramount Plus. With this….we begin the story of SDCC ’24. More to come!!!



  1. I also would like to add: R.I.P. The Souvenir Book with an actual spine attached to it. It never officially came back after the pandemic.

    Downloading it off the internet doesn’t count.



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