Day 2 - The Sultans of Swag
Friday of Comic-Con brings the first true gauge of how crowded
the show will actually be, but luckily this Friday was a decent
balance of vendor floor attendees and panel goers. Being that
it was Star Wars day, a lot of the panels featured
today were Star Wars-centric. I chose to focus on
another cool aspect of Comic-Con – SWAG.
had to start with this.
For the laymen, swag is now the popular term for all the
freebies that companies give out to promote their latest
project. Since Comic-Con is the biggest stage for comic
and movie properties, you can bet that they’re going
to have the coolest, most talked about goodies, and this
year was no exception.
Probably the most successful swag item of the convention
was the WB’s giant, Smallville / Superman Doomsday
Swag Bag. A humongous red and yellow tote bag, you were
hard pressed to walk a few feet on the convention floor
and not see one of these.
Mainly for advertising purposes, the bag was then revealed
to be very practical when most conventioneers realized how
much it could actually carry around. I’m guessing
when this show is over, you’re going to see many a
geek using these as laundry or grocery bags in your neighborhood.
Bravo, Warner, Bravo.
The next most popular swag item had to be the cardboard
shield replica from the movie 300. A cardboard
shield made to look like one from the movie, this piece
also had sturdy handles underneath so a person could actually
strap their weapon to their arm and fight off a herd of
Persians -- or jealous fans looking to steal it. Aside from
the Smallville bag, it was the swag to have.
we dine in ...SAN DIEGO!
Other than those two gems, the rest of the day was a quest
for crap all over the floor. You search around this labyrinth
of pop culture art and tapestry searching for a free piece
of anything you can carry home with you. In a way it was
like Easter at Michael Jackson’s house, without the
need for witnesses.
Dressed up like character Isaac’s artsy loft, the
Heroes booth sported free comics and “Vote
for Petrelli” buttons. The Pokemon booth was giving
out beach balls that looked like Poke-Balls. The booth promoting
the Grindhouse DVD release had drawings for Planet Terror
pens or Dragon Dynasty baseball caps.
Just about every booth was handing out posters, hand bills,
buttons, pens, caps, shirts, and just about everything else
you could think of. It was swag aplenty and if you got the
Smallville bag, you now had something to put in
The only problem with the swag this year is that it seemed
that the fans were more rabid for it than ever. Whereas
swag was casually just handed out in the past, the more
popular method of distribution today was to first hand out
tickets to people and THEN they could come back later to
claim their prize.
could win a lunchbox.
It makes sense I suppose, but try telling that to a poor
kid who fights his way through heaps of smelly con crowds
just to get up to the counter and be ultimately rejected.
Well, there’s always eBay.
Personally, my favorite swag was the deck of G.I. Joe playing
cards that the Hasbro booth was giving away. Celebrating
the 25th Anniversary of the Real American Hero line, the
deck featured the original oil paintings from the original
blister cards from the toys when they first appeared in
They even flew in a real G.I. Joe for the occasion. That’s
right, Sgt. Slaughter made an appearance and signed cards
with his likeness on them.
I was a big fan of the toy line when I was a kid and seeing
those cards in such a nice presentation made me nostalgic
for the old toys. That’s when I found out that Hasbro
was revamping the Real American Hero line by releasing new
versions of the classic characters this summer.
Needless to say, I ended up dropping a few bucks on the
commemorative five packs of figures for G.I. Joe and Cobra
and I was happy as can be. It just goes to show, that no
matter how cool the swag is, if it doesn’t make you
open your wallet later, then it’s just ineffective.