Loot Crate and Comic Con Box–A look at the modern grab bag for fanboys and fangirls

Loot Crate Comic Con Box display

Ever thought about checking out what is in those monthly surprise boxes that have become more and more popular in the past few years?  Some of our friends have been buying Loot Crate and Nerd Block for several months, and when our friends at Wizard World dropped us a note about their new Comic Con Box we decided it was time to check these out.  We got in on the first three Wizard World Comic Con Boxes and three boxes from Loot Crate (we haven’t checked out any other companies’ boxes yet).  So what did we learn?

Loot Crates run about $20 including shipping per month per box, and Comic Con Boxes roughly $37 including shipping.  Each contain coupon opportunities, some with downloads, app opportunities, and similar items in addition to the main draw of the boxes–the shirts, comics, and collectibles.  You can sign up for one or multiple months and can terminate membership so long as you do so before the next box ships.  Customer service for these is very easy-going and helpful to explain if you think you messed up your ordering.  Themes are pre-announced, so you can skip months with themes that don’t interest you.

Cyber Loot Crate skull

The companies each insert random bonus items in boxes and have a deluxe box opportunity worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars that some lucky subscriber will get.  And if you film your “unboxing” and upload it to YouTube you can be eligible for other prizes, and other contests are also available throughout the year.  We didn’t get the big prize pack in our three months of boxes but did get a good bonus item in one box and in another we got a 1 of 2 variant that ended up being a rare insert.  The bonus item came with a Comic Con Box, and it was an authenticated, personally autographed photo of actress Karen Gillan in her Nebula garb from Guardians of the Galaxy.  Her autograph can sell for $70-$85 so this was the big win of all the boxes.  A close second was a Greg Horn rare variant cover for the recent issue of Wolverine #1 also in a Comic Con Box.  It also was selling online for around $70-$85.

Of the regular boxes we were most impressed with Loot Crate’s “Cyber” theme box.  The exclusive Terminator Genisys half-scale skull was just dead-on for our love of sci-fi and borg tech.  And that’s the thing about these boxes:  The broader your interest in pop culture, the more value you’ll get for your dollar because each company varies the licenses/franchises in each box.  You can easily add up the price of each item and tally more than the price of the box but ultimately it is your own taste that will be the judge of value.  If you have a spouse or friends or kids to share with or friends to trade items with, or if you’re accustomed to selling on eBay, then it can be easy to make these boxes a “win”.  Expect to see plenty of “trinkets” and the kind of swag you might find at San Diego Comic-Con plus a few higher valued items in each box.

So what exactly can you expect to find in the boxes?

Comic Con Box display

The inaugural May Comic Con Box was themed “It Begins” and included an exclusive “Running Dead”/Walking Dead parody T-shirt, a Zombie Hello Kitty Funko Pop figure, a K’Nex Plants v. Zombies mini-figure, a DVD of Dragon Age, a six part web series starring Felicia Day, a Walking Dead Funko Mystery Mini figure, Danger Zombies Run Gum, The Zumbies Walking Thread zombie doll, an I CAN HAS WHITEWALKERS? kitty mash-up print (which is actually pretty well done), and one of two Greg Horn variant issues of Marvel’s Wolverine #1.  As we noted above, we received the rare variant.  This box is a big win for zombie fans and you can’t deny the cool shirt, rare comic book variant, and appeal of that crazy Hello Kitty mash-up figure.

The June Comic Con Box was themed “Assemble” and featured an exclusive Pinocchio/Tony Stark mash-up T-shirt, a large, sturdy porcelain Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. mug, a HALO Metal Earth helmet model kit, a white plush moustache (cute but we couldn’t connect it to the theme), an oversized Lego luggage tag, a set of Avengers gaming cards, a mystery Marvel Mashem, a Marvel Secret Wars #1 variant cover comic book, and a Batman/Iron Man mash-up print.  This box seemed a tad light, and we saw a lot of the box’s value in the mug and HALO helmet kit.

Loot Crate display

The May Loot Crate themed “Cyber” featured an exclusive Tron/Transformers mash-up T-shirt, an exclusive Terminator T-800 half-scale skull from Terminator Genisys, a Nerd Machine sticker sheet, a Borderlands Zero game mat, an exclusive Terminator Genisys brain chip key chain, future replicant corporate logo embroidered patch from Blade Runner, a reboot Battlestar Galactica target practice poster set, a glow in the dark circuitry pencil bag.  For fans of all things borg, it goes without saying that this was the best box you could hope for.

The June Comic Con Box themed “Adventure” included 2014 Comic-Con exclusive Spider-man and Iron Man NECA scaler toys, a free CGC grading submission at a Wizard World show, Zelda mascot danglers, a DVD of a European dubbed film called Antboy, an exclusive Doctor Who cartoon T-shirt, a chomping plastic dinosaur toy, an Adventure Time pet chew toy, a Marvel Ant-Man #1 variant cover comic book (roughly a $10 book), and an Indiana Jones/Star Wars mash-up art print.  We lucked out with this box, getting the rare special insert: the personally signed photograph of Karen Gillan as Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy.  The special bonus autograph prize knocked this box out of the park from a value standpoint.

Firefly cash

The July Loot Crate themed “Heroes” included a hardcover copy of The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris, a survey of obscure comic books over the decades.  It also included a Vulcan hand sign air freshener for the car, a Q Pop classic Batman figurine, a Zelda wristband, a metal Batman multi-tool keychain, a mini-poster of Ant Lucia’s DC Bombshell Wonder Woman, and a cardboard “playset” made from the delivery box.

We picked up an additional Loot Crate–an advertised special including contents of prior Loot Crates, for $15.  It included a mystery Transformer, some extremely cool Firefly replica paper money shown above (that alone justified the value of the box for any Firefly fan and was similar to the extras in the Firefly anniversary hardcover book reviewed previously at borg.com here), a Street Fighter headband, an exclusive Doctor Who fake game cartridge desktop art piece, a Hex Bug Nano Transformers Bumble Bee, two pieces of hard candy, a sheet of MLG stickers, an 8-Bit Zombie sticker, and a folded poster of all the Simpsons characters.

So which, if any, should you subscribe to?  It all depends on how much you can or want to spend, whether you like surprises, and whether you have a broad interest in genre swag.  If you do, then the Loot Crate and/or Comic Con Box may be for you.

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