'Tis the [summer] season for shopping!
Child-like excitement was in the air in San Diego this weekend, as the largest toy manufacturers and collectibles companies made their return to the famed Comic-Con for the first in-person immersive experience in SoCal since before the coronavirus pandemic.
And with powerhouses like LEGO's, Mattel's, Funko's, and Hasbro's collective presence come, well, presents!
From action figures to building sets that'll blow your mind, check out the below list of offerings and latest news from the world's leading toy manufacturers:
The return of Comic-Con to San Diego this year wasn't the only milestone celebrated inside the convention hall walls. LEGO, the largest toy company in the world, marked its 90th anniversary this year — and, with it, announced new toy lines everyone can enjoy.
Ahead of the release of the upcoming Avatar sequel, The LEGO Group unveiled at SDCC '22 a new line of Avatar products consisting of four new sets based on the blockbuster film franchise. These new sets, slated to release on October 1st of this year, allow fans to recreate their favorite scenes from the movie.
But LEGO's new releases aren't stopping at world-renowned films.
Come October, fans of LEGO can also build their favorite scenes from the 42-time Emmy nominated series, ‘The Office.’
The new 1,164-piece set allowing fans of the beloved sitcom to recreate the iconic Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company deserves a Dundee award!
Brought to you by LEGO Ideas, the set features 15 figurines from the unforgettable cast and is available for pre-order now.
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The LEGO Group unveiled another product at this year's Comic-Con, and it's nothing short of astonishing.
As if forays into film and television weren't enough, LEGO is capitalizing on everyone's favorite Italian plumber-helmed video game series: Super Mario Bros., unveiling 'The Mighty Bowser' that stood 14 feet tall in the San Diego Convention Center.
"The other thing which is causing the big stir is The Mighty Bowser that just took off," a spokesperson for the LEGO Group, Cassidy Najarian, told Fox News Digital at the convention Thursday, adding that the nearly 700,000-brick structure weighs approximately four tons.
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"One of the builders said it was over 3,000 hours of manpower [to put together]," said Najarian. "It's our first 18+ product from the Lego Superior Line — knowing that Nintendo people are fans of Nintendo for life, we wanted to be able to kind of honor our adult fans as well and bring them into the Super Mario line and really celebrate it."
On celebrating LEGO's 90th-anniversary milestone at San Diego Comic-Con of all places, Najarian told Fox News Digital it was an honor.
"We really wanted to celebrate history and years of play and kind of bring honor to that, so to have Comic-Con come back and be able to celebrate that but also such a big brand milestone is very exciting."
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Attendees of this year's convention couldn't miss Funkoville, a multi-booth display that occupied a full corner of the exhibitors' hall. The company's massive presence was reflective of their massive recent acquisitions, including companies like Loungefly and Mondo.
Fox News Digital was graciously given a tour of Funkoville and the opportunity to speak with Funko CEO Andrew Perlmutter as well as representatives from each subsidiary at Comic-Con's Preview Night, Wednesday, where attendees lined up to gain entry into the 'funniest little city' and were even greeted by the neighborhood's "mayor."
"Everybody knows Funko POP, which is how you start," said Perlmutter. "But what they don't understand is the culture that's out here in the brand."
"The brand equity that had been here has been built over the years, where we interact with our fans. They come back [to Comic-Con] every year. We listen to what they have to say, and we build on them," he added. "But we also have a much wider array of licenses to offer."
Those licenses include Loungefly, a pop culture apparel and accessories line which Funko acquired in 2017, and the newly acquired Mondo, known for its limited edition screen printed posters for films, vinyl movie soundtracks, and more.
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"So we started as collectibles. That's our core. That's core to our DNA. But as you can see, we're really turning into that lifestyle brand," Permutter told Fox News Digital.
"If you want to walk the parks and wear a backpack, we've got something for you. If you want to listen to a record, collect record vinyl, we've got something for you. It's about the lifestyle. It's not necessarily just about the one thing, and I think that's something that going to take a little bit of time for people to understand."
On returning to Comic-Con for the first time post-pandemic hiatus, Perlmutter said it means everything to him and his company.
"This is our favorite event of the year and always has been our favorite event — I mean, this is why we exist as a company for our fans," the CEO said. "And so to be able to interact with them in person here at San Diego Comic-Con, it brings that energy that's been missing through the pandemic."
While the company has partnered with Upper Deck to release an exclusive Michael Jordan Funko POP - the one-of-a-kind collectible featuring Jordan in his red Chicago Bulls jersey sporting the rare number 12 - collectors can visit mondoshop.com and loungefly.com to learn more about the company's other product offerings this Christmas in July.
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Funko isn't the only toy company whose recent expansions may not be common knowledge to most consumers.
In 2018, Mattel announced the launch of a film division that would produce movies based on the company’s toy brands. And few toy brands have the history and legacy of Mattel's "Masters of the Universe" – which celebrated its 40th anniversary at San Diego Comic-Con with a special Hall H panel.
The panel, moderated by Kevin Smith – who is set to serve as show-runner for the upcoming "Masters of the Universe: Revolution" series on Netflix – also featured the original He-Man, Dolph Lundgren, and welcomed famed actor William Shatner into the MOTU fold.
It also announced a new toy line to commemorate the successful Netflix-Mattel partnership, which the VP of Global Marketing at Mattel, PJ Lewis, spoke to Fox News Digital about following the panel Thursday.
"The He-Man ‘Masters’ Universe... that is all on sale now leading up to our Castle Grayskull drop this Fall as well," Lewis said. "It's always great to bring a new generation of fans into Castle Grayskull a little as iconic centerpieces to the action figures. We, of course, talked about the Revolution series [at the panel], so when that drops, we'll have some product to support that as well."
But Masters of the Universe won't be the only Mattel-driven content set to hit theaters and screens soon.
"We're relaunching through a variety of different strategies based around Mattel Films Division that has announced a number of projects – first of which, of course, is Barbie."
"Barbie" is an upcoming romantic comedy film starring Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie and based on the eponymous fashion doll line by Mattel, which serves as co-producer through their film division. It will be the first live-action film adaptation in the toy line's multimedia franchise.
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"It is really interesting just to see the amount of collaboration that we're having with our brands, from writers and storytellers and artists. There's really no limit. So we're talking about… leading with our IP through so many different ways and really bringing surprise and delight to our fans," Lewis told Fox News Digital.
"We have no shortage of drops coming into the fall of '22 and of course into the 2023 season."
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Last but certainly not least: Hasbro is another company that is more than meets the eye.
With "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" slated to hit theaters this coming Spring, Hasbro has announced an exclusive toy line that all Dungeon masters and players alike are sure to love.
"There was an edition in the 80s, and the line was amazing. But this is the first toy line that is really kind of using our modern technologies for toys," associate brand ambassador for D&D Emily Bader told Fox News Digital Thursday.
"Toy technology has changed a lot from the 1980s to the 2020s. 40 years — I mean, it's really, really cool to be able to kind of see how much more detail we can get into these figures and how lifelike we can actually make these now."
The Golden Archive collection, Bader said, is inspired by upcoming film and will launch with its first product: The Gelatinous Cube.
The six-inch scale cube features fourteen removable accessories — and the ability to trap yourself inside of it!
You read that correctly.
Separate from its new D&D line, Hasbro Pulse has launched its Selfie Series - where fans of the game, or even newcomers to the brand, can create their own customizable action figures in their image and likeness.
"From a toy perspective, it [the cube] really gave us the ability to do two things at once: it lets us launch with an iconic D&D monster. But we also know that fans of our six-inch lines at Hasbro do these amazing photoshoots, dioramas, shelf displays… And so this really gives you a unique opportunity to be able to pose out your figures."
Bader's own action figure was on display inside side the Golden Archive Gelatinous Cube at this year's convention.
While D&D geeks will have to wait 9 months for the film's release, the cube, as well as your personal action figure, is already ready for pre-order.
"It is a mainline product offering, which means basically you can preorder this at anywhere that you usually buy Hasbro toys," Bader explained.
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Happy shopping, and Merry Christmas in July!