Started on Twitter, Now We’re Here! The SWAG Collector is now a Blog!

Hello visitor!

This site is dedicated to the joys of SWAG Collecting!

“What is SWAG?”, you may ask?

SWAG” is an acronym for “Stuff We All Get.”

The term was coined to describe an item (usually free) given as incentive, reward or promotion to an attendee of a special event.

When referring to “SWAG” on this site, the term will fall into one (or more) of the following categories…

  • Event exclusives- paid or free
  • Signed non-exclusives
  • Free, non-exclusives (sometimes)
  • …And on VERY special occasions, the event itself IS the SWAG!

At comic book conventions, the “Stuff” in “Stuff We All Get” frequently is bastardized into encompassing ANY item (including non-exclusives & everyday items) obtained at the event. On this site, the term “SWAG” will NOT be used to describe a paid, unsigned, non-exclusive item- easily found outside of a special event, with no discernible characteristic or uniqueness.

I’ve collected SWAG for many years, and for the last six years, I’ve chronicled my hobby on the twitter account, @SWAGCollector.
If you already follow me, you should have a good idea of what SWAG is, and what SWAG Collecting is all about! If not, take a look

My goal is to make this blog a fun place for convention-goers, collectors and others to check-out some of the awesome going-ons surrounding SWAG found (mostly) at conventions, such as WonderCon, New York Comic Con, and the granddaddy of all comic book conventions, San Diego Comic Con!

I hope you find it entertaining.  Any and all feedback is appreciated…

Thanks for reading!

Once Upon A Deadpool- FINE! Take My Money!

Really…

Once Upon A Deadpool”???

What the heck is this all about?!?!

I mean, COME ON! The movie has already gone to home video…
And I’ve got the SWAG to prove it!

20th Century Fox, booth animatronics entertain on the SDCC exhibit floor to promote the home video release of Deadpool 2 (image courtesy @MarvelMorris.

At San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), 20th Century Fox set-up shop to promote the home video release of Deadpool 2, and had one of the more popular booths on the showroom floor. The booth’s Chuck-E.-Cheese-like, life-size, singing, animatronic band was an attention grabber, but the booth’s main draw was its daily t-shirt SWAG giveaway!

DeadPool 2 t-shirt SWAG: #ALittlePeterinAllofUs

On Thursday and Friday, attendees who made it to the booth within the first hour of the convention had no problem snagging a t-shirt, but by Saturday, it seemed more people became aware of the shirt giveaway, causing the SWAG lines for Saturday and Sunday to reach capacity almost immediately upon the opening of the convention doors!

Deadpool 2 t-shirt SWAG: #DeadPoolsFamily

As a result, much to my dismay, I wasn’t able to get a complete set of all four Deadpool 2 SWAG t-shirts*. But getting two-of-four t-shits allowed me to walk away from SDCC feeling good about Deadpool 2, and agreeable to spending a few more bucks on the home video version…

…hence completing the gentleman’s agreement between Deadpool and I.
Or so I thought.

But now… this “Once Upon A Deadpool” nonsense comes along, trying to nab MORE moola from my wallet!

And oooohhhh, how “convenient” that the re-release takes place the week before another blockbuster superhero film will be begging for my attention!

I’m not in the habit of going to the theater to see a movie more than once… But word on the street (Twitter) is that there’s enough new material in “Once Upon A Deadpool” that it’s essentially a different movie than Deadpool 2.
And considering the fact that Deadpool 2 was one of the best movies of the year… DANG IT! How can I resist?!?!?!

FINE Deadpool! Take my money!

*SIDE NOTE: Because the SWAGCollector usually travels in packs, sometimes I happen upon extra SWAG.
I have an extra of both the Thurs & Fri Deadpool 2 SDCC SWAG t-shirts. If anyone has the Sat or Sun shirts & are interested in trading, PLEASE contact me!!!

Good Omens Creates Good Vibes With Great SWAG at NYCC

It was a good New York Comic Con (NYCC) for Neil Gaiman fans.
The highly-visible, STARZ booth put the Gaiman property, American Gods front and center, but the Amazon Prime, Gaiman property, Good Omens also had great buzz at the con.

Amazon seemed eager to share Good Omens with NYCC attendees. And this was reflected thru the SWAG offered during the four-day event.

Poster SWAG from the Good Omens panel

On Saturday during NYCC, attendees of the Good Omens panel could pick up an exclusive poster. Meanwhile, each day of the event, at the Good Omens booth on the convention center mezzanine, attendees could participate in photo-ops mimicking scenes from the upcoming series. And as physical keepsakes, visitors exiting the booth were provided with SWAG pins and notebooks.

Amazon really brought it’s “A Game” with their booth SWAG! Each SWAG item seems to be tailor-made to hit specific marketing goals…

  • Photo-ops – With the two photo opportunities offered in-booth, the Good Omens marketing team created virtual SWAG that’s ideal for sharing across multimedia or via email or text.

    NYCC exclusive SWAG
  • Pins – Being “branded” SWAG (note the “New York Comic Con Exclusive” blurb along the bottom of the pin’s cardboard backing), interest in the pin is increased (especially among existing Good Omens fans) due to its exclusivity.

    Good Omens notebook, front cover
  • Notebooks- SWAG that has practical purpose can be great advertisement and can continue to provide promotional value well after the end of an event. Items such as notebooks have good potential usage “in the wild” (aka, outside the convention). Simply thru normal use, practical SWAG has an ability to keep a property in the mind of the user. And if the SWAG is eye-catching, it can also be good at making others aware of the property.
Good Omens notebook, back cover

Clearly, Amazon Prime spent a lot of money on SWAG to hype Good Omens at NYCC.
If the constant line around their booth is any indication, then it seems Amazon succeeded in creating strong interest in the upcoming series.
And fortunately, all indications is that Good Omens will “live-up-to-the-SWAG”!

Autograph Signing- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at The Lyric Theater

The Harry Potter machine is a juggernaut that can’t be stop!
The box office success of the recently released second installment of Fantastic Beasts is proof of this… But the franchise’s popularity was also evident early last month when the Broadway phenomenon, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child brought a panel and signing to New York Comic Con (NYCC)!

The Cursed Child cast panel at NYCC

With Broadway tickets for The Cursed Child being quite expensive, I wouldn’t be surprised if before attending the panel and signing, many Harry Potter fans at NYCC had resigned themselves to the idea of sitting-out the play. However, it was obvious, from the boisterous audience reaction during the panel, and the gushing admiration during the signing, that fans were elated by such an intimate interaction with The Cursed Child cast. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few attendees changed their minds, and vowed to find the funds to make tickets to the play became a priority after-all!

The appearance was a great promotional push for the play. And I’m sure it had the exact intended effect on many in attendees who were on-the-fence about seeing the play. I know once October 2019 tickets are available, I’ll be queuing-up online to buy The Cursed Child seats to coincide with NYCC next year!

The Cursed Child signed poster

Cast members on hand for the signing included:
Jaime Parker- Harry Potter
Nora Dumezweni- Hermione Granger
Paul Thornley- Ron Weasley
Alex Price- Draco Malfoy

Because of the “no-up-close-pictures” rule that’s typically in place with these types of signings (and because I’m terrible at remembering to take pictures), I unfortunately wasn’t able to get photos of The Cursed Child cast during the signing.
Honestly, I think I was distracted by how “down-to-earth” they all were!

Autograph Signing- Amazon Prime, The Boys

The Boys promos plastered outside NYCC

With in-your-face promo banners plastered both inside and outside the Javits Convention Center last month, The Boys made their presence known at New York Comic Con (NYCC)!
In addition Amazon Prime pulled-out all the stops to promote the upcoming comic book adaptation, with a panel and an autograph signing featuring The Boys cast and creatives.

Amazon Prime, The Boys cast signing.

Talent participating in the signing included:
Karl Urban- Billy Butcher
Jack Quaid- Wee Hughie
Laz Alonso- Mother’s Milk
Karen Fukuhara- The Female
Simon Pegg- Hughie Senior (Dougie)
Erin Moriarty- Starlight
Antony Starr- The Homelander
Chace Crawford- The Deep

The autograph event was one of the larger signing gatherings at NYCC. As a result, Amazon employed an interesting tactic to avoid overcrowding the SWAG poster with too many image-obscuring signatures…
Instead of providing a single image for the signing, Amazon gave attendees a two-for-one SWAG poster featuring different images on both the front and back sides of the poster.

Signed The Boys live-action poster SWAG!

The front image is a live-action recreation of the classic first issue of The Boys comic book. While the back image is a posed picture of the series’ villains, The Seven.

Signed The Boys SWAG poster- B-Side, featuring The Seven

Though front and back sides on a signature poster may seem like a clever idea, unfortunately its less than ideal for fans who like to frame or hang their signed posters for display.
Still, for most people attended the signing, the double-sided poster felt twice as nice!

In addition, getting autographs from Star Trek alumni, Urban and Pegg was a big treat for any Trekker lucky enough to attend the signing. Pegg- who was not listed in the official panel description, was a HUGE, pleasant surprise- especially for fans familiar with the fact that Artist/Co-creator Darick Robertson modeled The Boys character, Wee-Hughie, after the actor.

The Boys comic book

The Boys being made into an Amazon Prime series is actually quite a shocker. When the comic book, by Robertson and Writer Garth Ennis, began publishing monthly in 2006, it immediately ran into controversy and was abruptly dropped by publisher, DC Comics due to concerns over graphic content.

The comic book is FILLED with over-the-top raunchy-ness, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Amazon series will closely follow the source material without creating its own controversy.

Autograph Signing- Dark Horse’s The Umbrella Academy At NYCC

Thanks to promotional pushes from Nexflix and Dark Horse Comics, the indy superhero comic book property, The Umbrella Academy had a big presence at New York Comic Con (NYCC) this year.

Though Netflix had the cast of The Umbrella Academy live-action series on-hand for their excellent, Netflix and Chills panel, unfortunately the online content provider inexplicably didn’t take advantage of all that star-power by hosting an autograph signing.

Umbrella Academy NYCC Exclusive, signed print by Gabriel Ba!

Dark Horse Comics, on the other hand, took full advantage of creator, Gerard Way’s superstar status, and hosted a signing with Way and Artist Gabriel Bá, to promote the release of The Umbrella Academy miniseries, Hotel Oblivion.

Gerard Way’s namecard at the Umbrella Academy signing. Courtesy of @marvelmorris

At the signing, Way and Bá autographed prints featuring the cover art of issue 2 of Hotel Oblivion. The signing was a nice SWAG event… But I can’t get over the fact that, with The Umbrella Academy live-action cast also at NYCC, Dark Horse and Netflix REALLY missed-out on a perfect opportunity to generate a lot of HIGH-LEVEL buzz by including the cast in the creators’ signing, or hosting a separate signing for the cast- which includes entertainment heavy-hitters, Ellen Page and Mary J Blige.

Netflix has been bringing properties to some of the larger comic book conventions (NYCC, San Diego Comic Con, WonderCon) for a while. However, only the Marvel properties have held autograph signings to coincide with cast appearances. This leads me to believe the Marvel show signings are done primarily at the benevolence of Marvel, NOT Netflix.

With The Umbrella AcademyThe Haunting of Hill House, & The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina casts all at NYCC this year, I was extremely disappointed with the missed signing opportunities!

Autograph signings create a lot of positive buzz and are some of the most crowd-pleasing events at conventions. It’d be interesting to know why Netflix‘ marketing and promotions departments are not taking full advantage of having casts on-hand at these events?

Autograph Signing- Riverdale at NYCC

Since its debut on the CW Network, Riverdale has been a fan favorite at comic book conventions.

For the Riverdale signing at New York Comic Con (NYCC) in October, the CW provided attendees with a nice, exclusive poster featuring cast members posed as their signature, dramatic, angst-fill characters.

The Riverdale cast strike an angst-ridden pose for NYCC fans!

Pictured in the poster, and appearing at the signing were:
Luke PerryFred Andrews
KJ ApaArchie Andrews
Lili ReinhartBetty Cooper
Madchen AmickAlice Cooper
Also in attendance at the event was Riverdale Producers/Writer Robert Aguirre Sacasa.

Though Riverdale has a large ensemble cast, the character poster provided is composed only of images of the cast members who were on-hand at NYCC. As a result, each actor pictured was able to sign their own character image- making the poster a “clean” SWAG item- perfect for display.
This was a nice bit of attention to detail, and showed that the Marketing/Public Relations/Promotional team responsible for the Riverdale event were intentional in their attempts to create a cohesive experience for fans and potential fans.

Riverdale Signing Event.

To top it all off, the talent were extremely gracious and personable in their interactions during the signing- making the Riverdale signing one of the highlights of the last day of NYCC.

SWAG Collecting- Limited Autograph Signings

­­Company sponsored, limited autograph signings* are some of the most difficult SWAG to get. Unlike other SWAG– distributed by the thousands- signings are typically limited to 100 or fewer participants.

NYCC attendees try for a blind-bag pull to win the highly-coveted, Outlander Cast Signing! Picture courtesy @MarvelMorris

The low supply/high demand of limited signings has resulted in practices such as online lotteries to prevent unruly lines, and early morning line-ups to reward dedicated fans willing to take a chance with a random drawing.
Success with these signings vary depending on one’s luck, persistence, and determination.

It can be a great “high” when you receive a email confirming you’ve been selected in a lottery, or when you pull a winning ticket from a blind-bag drawing.

For an autograph seeking, SWAG Collector, this email is better than a gift on Christmas morning!

On the other-hand, it can be a gut-wrenching, soul-crushing downer when you realize a “winning” email isn’t coming, or when you pull a losing ticket after hours waiting in line for a drawing.

Company sponsored autograph signings have become much more difficult with the increased usage of online lotteries. For die-hard autograph seekers, the “high” of winning a random drawing is worth the potential of walking away empty-handed. And because the odds are much more in our favor, we’d prefer to stand in line (with hundreds of competitors), rather than enter an online lottery (with tens of thousands of competitors).

During New York Comic Con (NYCC) this year, between lotteries, early morning lineup and drawings, my fellow SWAG Collectors and I got pretty lucky with a few of the company sponsored, limited autograph signings.

Over the next few posts (starting tomorrow), I’ll be sharing some of our experiences, and some of the cool items we were able to get in our grubby little hands!

 

*Company sponsored, limited autograph signings aren’t to be confused with paid autograph signings and meet-&-greets arranged between a host company (ReedPop in the case of NYCC) and event guests.
As a function of marketing and promotion, company sponsored, limited autograph signings are free.
Paid autographs can be fun also, but for attendees with more less disposable income, company sponsored, limited autograph signings are a bit more accessible.
And anyways… Are paid items ACTUALLY SWAG?
…That’s a conversation for another day.

Outlander SWAG at NYCC Proves The Quality Doesn’t Stop With The Show

It never fails… the subscription content provider STARZ continues to be a SWAG powerhouse at New York Comic Con (NYCC)!

This year, STARZ welcomed fans with a promotional booth designed to resemble two of their popular series, American Gods and Outlander.

Visitors to the Outlander section of the booth walked away with some of the most functional and unique SWAG found at NYCC. Fans and potential fans were gifted with branded tote bags, Outlander inspired bottles of cologne/perfume, and leather luggage tags.

These items are the kind of usable, immersive SWAG items that fans go crazy for!

The handy, reusable, cloth tote bag features an image of main characters, Claire and Jaime enacting the season 4 tag-line, “Brave The New World”.

Functional/made-to-last items such as the Outlander tote are the best type of SWAG!

Visitors who walked through the booth where also gifted with a small bottle of Outlander inspired cologne/perfume.

Outlander inspired cologne/perfume bottles handed out by this dapper-dressed booth staff

Though the bottles were limited to one per person, many fans had no problem standing in line and walking through the display multiple times to complete the set of three unique scents.

Three different scents meant three separate visits through the STARZ Outlander booth
Cologne/perfume inspired by Outlander

Lastly, Outlander booth visitors were able to have a uniquely branded luggage tag created to memorialize their experience.

Gold-foil stamp machine. Image provided by @MarvelMorris

Visitors could choose up-to three letters to have gold-foil stamped on the back-side of a leather tag, embossed with the Outlander STARZ logo.

Gold-foil stamped, leather luggage tags

When this much thought is put into promotional material, it gives a really good impression of the quality of the property being promoted. And after three high quality, enjoyable seasons, Outlander continues to be one of the best shows currently produced.

With the fourth season of Outlander recently begun (Nov. 4)… everyone who visited the booth at NYCC should take the opportunity to secure a subscription to STARZ (if not already a subscriber), dab on some cologne/perfume and immerse themselves in the world of Outlander

Good job STARZ!!!

DC Universe SWAG Helps Generate Good Buzz For New Online Service

Going into New York Comic Con (NYCC), I had a strong feeling there would be a big push for the new, online content service, DC Universe (DCU).

Some of the awesome SWAG given as part of the DC Universe promotional push

When the Titans premier was announced just prior to NYCC, it validated this feeling… And sure enough, at the DC Entertainment Booth, the DCU SWAG was flowin’!
Buttons, comic books and posters were passed-out to all visitors. Also, special foil-cover comics and (R)obin pins were given as incentives for those who signed-up for a DCU subscription.

If you’ve seen the Titans series, then you know just how cool this pin is!

But it was the amazing SWAG given to attendees of the DCU panel that really solidified the idea that I made the right decision to pay close attention to DCU events at NYCC.*

DC Entertainment definitely won the prize for “Best SWAG of the day!”

On Thursday afternoon, DC Entertainment held an hour-long panel presentation to discuss the online service. Part-way through the panel, Co-Publisher and fan-favorite artist, Jim Lee, electrified the room when he announced that all-in-attendance would receive a free one year subscription to the DCU online service! The news was met with uproarious cheers- to the point where the buzz in the air made it difficult to hear the rest of the presentation.

DC Universe subscription card provided to panel attendees!

…and with good reason!

A year subscription to DC Universe is an almost $100 gift, and is truly a great reward to DC Entertainment fans!

On a personal note: After being totally impressed and pleasantly surprised by the Titans premiere the night before, I had decided to buy the DCU service, and had in-fact signed-up for it a couple hours prior to the panel. Thanks to this amazing panel SWAG, that 100 bucks was able to find its way back into my pocket!

When the trailer for the Titans series was released at San Diego Comic Con, the response wasn’t good… Hopefully the buzz from the NYCC premier, and the added enthusiasm generated from the premier/booth/panel SWAG trifecta, made it clear DC Entertainment intends to deliver with the DCU online service!

 

*Actually, there’s one more DC Universe SWAG item that made me swoon!
More on that in another post…

Heathers Bring Bitchiness To NYCC (Was It Intentional?)

“Paramount Network”?
What’s a “Paramount Network”?

Before coming across the Heathers school bus on the Javits Center exhibit floor at New York Comic Con (NYCC), I had no idea the Paramount Network existed or the fact that they had a new series based on the Heathers motion picture.

Though I remember enjoying it, I haven’t thought about Heathers, the movie, since I saw it on cable television a few months after its theatrical release in the late ‘80s.

…But I do remember thinking it was a good movie. So, even though there was a bit of a wait to board the school bus display at NYCC, I decided to take the time and check it out.

While waiting I was handed a flyer about the new series but the display staff was actually kind of stand-offish and didn’t really make much effort to generate interest from visitors.

I was left to assume the heavily graffitied bus is a significant prop that plays an interesting/important role in the series.

The back of the bus was hollowed-out, except for a large-screen television and some bucket seats for a photo op. The tv showed scenes from the series but without engagement from the actresses/booth staff, the interactive display didn’t generate as much excitement for the series as could’ve been the case…

Despite the poor (or intentional lack of) engagement from staff, the Heathers display was still able to perk my interest. But had I not had a history of enjoying the source material, I’m not sure this would’ve been the case.

Upon exiting the bus, visitors were give a few branded buttons/pins as SWAG promoting  the series.

The “ice-drink with straw” shaped pin is fun (so is the “Shut-up Heather” button I wasn’t given, but I’ve spotted online), but the Heathers interactive display really could’ve benefited from more interactive staff.

But then again, if I remember the movie correctly, considering the “bitchiness” of a “Heather”, maybe the “stand-offishness” was intentional?

Were you at NYCC? Did you visit the Heathers display? What do you think? Was the booth staff intentionally acting in-character? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!