Comic-Con 2009 wrap up: LEGO themes that never were & exclusive set revealed

Though San Diego’s annual Comic-Con is about the popular arts in general, the presence of the LEGO fan community there has expanded in the last several years. This year, The LEGO Group rented an exhibitor space that was about twice the size of last year’s space and was in the center of all the action. In addition to kid’s play tables, there were two daily raffles oriented toward adult collectors (I don’t know many 8 year olds who would pay $50 for 3 minifigs). My personal highlight at the LEGO booth was that I actually built the Star Wars Dropship/AT-OT and helped with the giant Ultimate Collector Series Millenium Falcon, then got to see them on display in the fancy cases.

Prohibition Theme

Enhanced version of my photo by bluemoose

BrickJournal, the quarterly LEGO fan magazine, had a table that included several adult fan creations and its own fan panel on Friday morning of the convention. One of the highlights of the panel for me was LEGO set designer Mark Stafford sharing some of LEGO’s theme concepts from back in the ’80s and ’90s that were not pursued beyond the development phase, and simply aren’t going to happen as official themes, which is why he was allowed to display them (Above: 1920s-1930s Prohibition theme). As a history person, I envy him the ability to pour through the LEGO archives for hidden gold.

At the SandLUG meeting on Saturday night, Mark said there are additional photos in slides, but nobody can find a projector that works on those slides, so he hasn’t been able to get a good look at them. Which brings me to the other great highlight, which was meeting lots of great people both at the convention and those who made it to the SandLUG meeting, including Megan Rothrock (LEGO set designer), Joe Meno (editor of BrickJournal), Steve Witt (LEGO community relations), and Joel Baker (new model designer at LEGOLAND California).

Josh’s post from late last week already showed some of the great new themes and sets that were displayed at the LEGO booth, but some of you wanted to know what was actually inside the Comic-Con Exclusive, so here’s the pic of the contents still in the packaging:

SDCC09 Exclusive

I would have built it for you and taken pics, but this is the only one I managed to pick up in the raffle and it’s destined for another Brother Brick.

16 comments on “Comic-Con 2009 wrap up: LEGO themes that never were & exclusive set revealed

  1. Tananavalley

    I don’t think so. I could see a theme around the twenties and thirties, but prohibition? I think Mark was having some fun because if not now I understand why TLG was going into the crapper.

  2. Cassidy Arch

    I was at Comic-Con, and saw the Brickjournal presentation. The slides of never released themes were REALLY cool. Do you have a shot of that early undersea theme? It was all done in Blacktron I colors. And they had those big quarter dome space station windows in opaque black. Crazy stuff!

    I’d love some scanned instruction for that exclusive set. Anyone know where I can get some?

  3. the enigma that is badger

    Thanks for the great Comic-Con wrap up! A future Brothers-Brick article on those System themes that weren’t to be would be amazing, if it’s at all possible.

    As for the classic Prohibition/gangland theme, it’s interesting to note that LEGO eventually produced all of the elements that we’d associate with that genre via the Indy (fedora, suits) and Batman (firearm that resembles a Tommy Gun) lines. If anything, with all those parts available, something more loosely based on crime of the 20s that’s more age-appropriate, perhaps something based on the Dick Tracy model with a larger than life police detective and colorful, exotic villains, could be fun and similar to how LEGO approached action-adventuring spying with the Agents line. I LOVE what TLG did in terms of character design for Agents, and a slightly-less-then-hard-boiled detective facing off against some wild criminals could be fun.

  4. Thanel Post author

    @ kunert: hmm, that reminds me of something on my hit-list for blogging.

    @ the . . . badger: One element that Mark pointed out that hasn’t completed come out in a later themes was the coupe type car cab. They had a curved cab piece developed just for the gangland theme, but was nixed when the theme was nixed. A similar cloth-top shows up in Shanghai Chase.

  5. Jai

    Is that a bonnet? Some of those headgear pieces (From the Prohibition slide) look really neat. Sigh. :)

  6. dover

    that barber shop reminds me of the cafe corner.

    I’d like to see that scene recreated using sets that have actually existed since then.

    shanghai chase, adventurers vehicles, western buildings, all look very similar

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