Every year at San Diego Comic-Con, Sideshow Collectibles‘ booth becomes one of the visual highlights of the event. Encompassing a massive footprint on the convention floor, the company’s collection of full-sized, 1:3, and 1:6 scale high-end replicas and figures always catch the eye. Even convention-goers who will never afford anything on display like to take pictures with them. And Sideshow partner Hot Toys frequently shows off absurdly fancy items that they’ll probably never sell, like a 12-inch scale TIE Fighter. Ironically, they’ve long since stopped actually selling anything there — it’s a showcase for items to come, and some still in stock online. Or rather, it was.
Blame (or Thank) Lockdowns
This year, Sideshow’s not coming, which will free up quite a bit of space that others might move into. A press release states that, “While bidding farewell to the familiar might surprise some, forging new trails to connect with fans has always been an integral part of Sideshow’s mission. This evolution forms part of Sideshow’s ongoing strategy to engage with the growing global collector community by transitioning its unforgettable showcases to the digital realm.”
The statement later adds, “As convention attendance prices and travel costs grow, accommodations become increasingly expensive and con passes become even harder to acquire, large-scale conventions have become experiences only accessible to a small percentage of the fanbase, unintentionally leaving a large proportion of global pop culture enthusiasts underserved.”
But that’s always been the case, to a point. Sideshow CMO Robin Selvaggi adds a better reason, stating, “During the pandemic, we took the opportunity to experiment with virtual programming and our collectors’ response was phenomenal. We were able to control lighting, technology, sound quality, and setup, which created a richer presentation of a wider grouping of collectible art.” Like many brands adjusting to lockdown, they adapted to a year without a Comic-Con … and having experienced a return in 2022, seem to have found they ultimately preferred doing their own online version.
Hello, Sideshow Con
Sideshow fans may not get the same photo ops, but they can see all the goods for free online at Sideshow Con. Overlapping Comic-Con, it runs July 18-21. Sideshow promises, “high-quality content, first looks, product spotlights, special promos, unique contests, giveaways, and much more. ” You do have to register, but that part’s free.
Comic-Con should be fine, as it tends to sell out in minutes no matter who’s there. But it does make one wonder for the future of other major exhibitors who also came up with online alternatives to showing up in person. (cough DC FanDome cough!)
Will you miss seeing Sideshow’s wares in person, or does this sound better? Let us know in comments!