Being a part of a fandom means being into its merch. I don’t know a single fan who doesn’t love collecting merchandise from their favorite television show, movie, comic book character(s), music group, you name it. There’s just something about merchandise that enhances the fan experience and makes you feel closer to something that you wholeheartedly enjoy. New York Comic-Con was the place to be if you are a merch-head. You can find just about everything under the sun and a few things that you wouldn’t have expected.
It’s a lot to take in, but luckily I gave the show floor (where they sell all the merch and hold brand exhibits) a thorough look-see during my 4 days at NYCC. Just as a quick disclaimer, I might not like the same things as you, so remember that these are things that I didn’t find very eye-catching or special to NYCC when I attended this year.
Third-party Funko Pop! retailers
As I’ve mentioned in previous NYCC articles, getting a reservation to the Funko x Loungefly Frightmare on Fun Street exhibit/event this year was not easy. All the reservations had been accounted for once I was let into the reservation portal (they were all scooped up within the first 30 minutes).
There were a lot of Funko Pop! retailers on the floor, and unless you’re looking for something very specific — and I’m talking about a rare one you’ve traveled to the edge of the world for — don’t even bother. Funko is popular now, and you can browse Funko Pop! offerings online or somewhere else. This time is exclusively for merchandise that you can’t find anywhere else.
I might get some flack for this, but the book booths were weird to me. It was like seeing a mini Barnes and Noble (funnily enough, they actually had a booth at Artist Alley) in the middle of the show floor. I quickly walked through these and couldn’t find any reason why I would want to lug around a book for hours on end. A book would make sense to me if you could get it signed (some people did if the author was speaking at a panel — fair enough), but I think I can wait for the general release of the book, which usually ends up being a month or so after NYCC.
I can gush all day about prints and artwork. This is a must at NYCC. You have some of the most interesting artists coming from all over the world and they’re all in one place. How could you not want to take something home with you? I suggest taking notes on your phone and marking who you want to check out and what pieces you are interested in and picking them up at the end of the day.
There are poster tubes available for purchase, but I wouldn’t recommend walking around with a gigantic poster tube for hours at a time in a large crowd.
This one is a tough one. Yes, you can always just go to your local comic shop and browse new issues and back issues. The great thing about comic book shopping at NYCC is the variety. You have so many different retailers with their own curated selection in one place. We are talking bins on top of bins of comic books to look through.
Not only do they have single issues, but some retailers have multi-issue series packs (if you’re interested in reading an entire storyline), mint comics, and hard to find character compendiums. One of my favorite things to do was go digging in the dollar bins and finding treasures. You can find some real throwbacks across every comic book company in those bins.
If you are a frequent visitor in your local comic book shop, chances are you have some grasp of what toys are on the market right now. Most of the figurines I saw (in regards to comic book characters) were not hard to find elsewhere. I did spot a few horror film character figurines that I hadn’t seen before, but I found myself running into the same toys at different booths (I swear I saw the Hobgoblin at least 5 times in one day).
Star Wars fans, if you have been interested in a custom lightsaber but don’t want to pay admission to Disneyland or Walt Disney World (and the extra $200+ to participate in the on-site lightsaber build), then go check out the booths that offer custom lightsabers. They give you the opportunity to hold them and get a feel for the products that they make.
I’ve done the Disneyland lightsaber build and while the experience was fun, I can say without a doubt that the custom lightsabers look better, feel better, and sound better — and here’s the kicker — for just about the same price as the one I built at Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland. Trust me, you won’t regret taking a few minutes to check them out.
NYCC exclusive merch
Worth it 100%. Not everything is going to be great, but I am in the camp where we buy little things that are branded with the event we attended to remember what a great time we had. That’s all the explanation you need for this one.
Recap NYCC with me: From first impressions, to how hard panel reservations were (I can’t stress this enough), and why it was a can’t-miss weekend.
Photo via NYCC