(BPT) - What started in 1970 as a small comic book convention has become the mecca of all pop-culture events. Comic-Con, the four-day convention in San Diego, has grown to attract more than 130,000 people a year. Each year’s attendance seems to surpass the last.
So why do people go? For some it’s a genuine love of all things related to pop culture. Others come because it’s a tradition or because they want to see the amazing costumes worn by fellow attendees. Many others go to see the latest scoops and the major pop-culture announcements that are unveiled at Comic-Con – including new video games, movie and television announcements and previews, too.
But there is another group – the collectors. They attend this convention for all of these things as well as the opportunity to expand their most treasured collections. So what are they collecting? Here are a few of the most popular collectable items.
* Comics. It is Comic-Con after all. Comic and collectible comic dealers from all over the world attend the convention to share comics featuring superheroes, anime, humor, horror or the latest graphic novels. Comic collectors collect all year long, but the event offers the perfect resource for those looking for that one hard-to-find book.
* Action figures. They’re not just for kids anymore. The pop-culture boom has seen a growing number of adults collecting action figures, as well as companies creating figures strictly for the adult market – such as popular musical artists or the characters from AMC’s Breaking Bad. At this year’s convention, Activision's Skylanders franchise unveiled the new premium toy line, Eon’s Elite. Eon’s Elite will bring eight distinct collectible versions of Skylanders characters, beginning with Spyro and Chop Chop, to fans worldwide this fall. A first for the popular kid franchise, the new toy line will feature a never-before-seen metallic finish that sets them apart from other Skylanders toys. Also revealed at Comic-Con was the Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition Starter Pack, which features an Ultimate Kaos Trap. This special, larger-sized Trap is designed to capture Kaos, the No. 1 villain in Skylands – making it a must-have for any collector.
* Autographs. Autograph seekers come to the convention for the opportunity to meet the actors, writers and artists responsible for their favorite pop-culture works. This year’s convention hosted individual and group-signing sessions with celebrities from film, television and printed works. Some fans bring specific memorabilia (props, books, costumes) to an autograph signing. Others collect all of the autographs in a bound volume to display for their family and friends.
* Art. Art collectors are fortunate to enjoy their hobby all year long, but if they want drawings, paintings or sculpture in a pop culture motif, there are few places with a better selection than the artist’s hall at Comic-con.
* Board games. Board games have advanced far beyond the days of Monopoly and Chutes and Ladders. An entire hobby is centered on deep-strategy games for adults. Collectors are always on the lookout for the latest cult of the new titles, as well as old classics in prime condition. Of course the most coveted items for board, card and role-playing gamers are the trophies handed out at Comic-Con’s numerous tournaments.
San Diego Comic-Con comes around only once a year, and for collectors, finding that once-in-a-lifetime item is totally worth the trip. But you don’t have to wait for the next Comic-Con to start your pop-culture collection. The items you’re looking for are out there waiting for you right now.