Subscription box services are the new trend, for everything from beauty products to snack foods to, naturally, the pop culture market. Wizard World has moved into this space with Comic Con Box, its subscription service that promises to bring the experience of the company’s conventions – or at least the merchandise you might find at one of them – directly to fans’ doorsteps.
This is a great idea; tickets to conventions continue rising in price, leaving less money for fans to bring something home with them, if they can afford to go in the first place. Comic Con Box (which refers to Wizard World Comic Cons, and not San Diego Comic-Con) gives fans at least the material portion of the experience, each with a monthly theme. But is it worth the $30 monthly price tag?
LA Fan Cultures Examiner ordered the August Comic Con Box, which cost us $29.99 for the box itself, plus an additional $9.99 in shipping fees for a grand total of $39.98. Here’s what was inside, with the retail value of each item as found online:
- Funko Pop Star Trek: The Next Generation Worf figurine ($13.99 on Amazon.com)
- How To Make Your Alien T-shirt ($5.00-$20.00 on eBay)
- Portal 2 Portal Gun Keychain ($8.32 on Amazon.com)
- Two Universal Fighting System (UFS) collectible card game packs ($4.49 on Amazon.com)
- Classic Star Trek ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Stick-Onz sticker set ($3.00 on eBay)
- Spider-Man: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man graphic novel ($16.99 on Amazon.com)
- Key for free Steam download of ‘SpeedRunners’ game ($15 according to included card)
- ‘Gods & Titans’ art print by Rob Prior ($6.00 on eBay)
- ‘Rocket & Stitch’ art print by Billy Martin ($15.00 on eBay)
- Marvel Civil War variant comic ($9.99 on eBay)
If you take the high estimate on the T-shirt, it adds up to $117.27 of merchandise for $39.99, which is mathematically a great deal – almost three times what you’re spending.
But, that’s only if you actually plan on keeping all of the items included in the box. Of everything included, the only things that we would have purchased at a Wizard World Comic Con were the Funko Pop and possibly the comics, bringing the actual value of the box down to $40.97 for us, or just about an even break. Things like stickers, art prints and third-party game downloads might fit into the container, but they’re not items that the general fan will get a lot of use out of.
There’s a caveat in that the service does add that select fans may receive autographed memorabilia in their boxes, but that’s not guaranteed and all we can say is that there wasn’t any such thing in the box we obtained. It’d be up to hardcore fans if you want to keep receiving Comic Con Boxes in hopes of possibly chasing down a celebrity autograph, or something from a favorite fandom.
That’s because you can’t just go and order a box at will. Comic Con Box requires customers to sign up for an automatically renewing subscription, be it one box ($29.99 plus shipping charged monthly), three boxes ($79.98 plus shipping paid up front), or six boxes ($179.94 plus shipping paid up front). But there’s no point in signing up for a higher tier; it doesn’t save you any money, just entitles you to a free variant comic book.
If you go to conventions for more than just major properties, have a wide variety of pop culture interests, or can’t get to a convention for whatever reason, Comic Con Box will be a fun way to get some new goodies to try out every month.
But if your interest is only in specific fandoms or parts of the fan culture world, you’d be better off saving up those $40 payments and putting them toward attending a Comic Con in person. The full weekend ticket price for Wizard World’s conventions is about $80 if you buy in advance, so two of these boxes is equivalent to three days of con-going, and the experience will always be worth more than a keychain or sticker.
For more on Comic Con Box, visit the company’s website.