Con Flashback: That Sweet Panel Swag

Welcome to another Under The Te… no wait, it’s not another UTT, it’s Con Flashback! San Diego Comic-Con news has been dropping like crazy this week but we managed to take a few minutes to look back on one of our favorite things, swag from panels! If you have a suggestion for a Con Flashback article, send us a tweet and use the tag #ConFlashback!


Shawn Marshall

Although panel freebies has been greatly reduced in the last few years, there was a time that a day spent in a big panel room meant a pile of swag. Shirts, bags, posters and more were common place. With all these years of freebies it’s difficult to pick a favorite, but the one that stands out the most is a simple t-shirt from 2008.

2008 was a different time at Comic-Con. Big media was becoming more and more common, but it definitely wasn’t an expectation the way it is today. Additionally, the media landscape wasn’t covered with comic book characters. Comic fans live in a privileged time today with so much genre-based content to choose from. So, when it was announced that the new Watchmen film would have a presence at Comic-Con, it was an automatic must. We barely made it into Hall H, but we were there and the panel was awesome. Although I liked the movie that came out nearly a year later, it didn’t quite live up to that moment in time…but does anything? Isn’t that why we love SDCC? Everything is hope and excitement and a charismatic group of actors means the property will have to be good.

Regardless of the feelings about the end product, the panel ended with music to a Comic-Con attendees ears: “free shirts!” We made our way out of the room to pick up the shirts on the exhibit floor (an almost unheard of practice now). Epic logo. Correct size. Iconic intellectual property. Comic-Con success!

Carmelle (my wife) and I got two shirts, so we opted to frame one, so that it wouldn’t be lost to time. It has watched over us ever since.


Kerry Dixon

My first year at Comic-Con, I was really there for Psych, and I walked away with a nifty yellow foam pineapple — but the best swag I got that year (or any other) was for the first Community panel.

They handed out Greendale Community College student IDs for all of the characters, which was such a clever, cool thing to do as a way to celebrate the show. I got Jeff Winger — though I’ve always regretted not tracking down the others on eBay, which are now nearly impossible to find (and if you’re reading this and have one that you don’t want, message me! Please!). I’ve kept it in my wallet for the past 7 years, which is probably why the photo below looks just a little beat up.

But not only is this panel swag awesome, I also once covered up the photo with my finger and used it to get a student discount on a movie.

So hey, thanks for the discount Community!

About Robert Warners

  • epic_skyline

    2010, the last (and maybe first?) Leverage panel in the Indigo Ballroom. They had different colored shirts with each team member’s title on them, so a shirt that said Hacker, one that said Thief, Grifter, Mastermind, Hitter. They were desperate to give away these shirts. I ended up getting one of each kind. All in all, I got 5 shirts from ONE panel — and for a show that I loved!

  • keeleon

    I remember they used to actually hand you a bag as you walked into Hall H, before tickets were even a thing. My favorite piece of SDCC swag is my Slusho shirt form the Cloverfield panel.