If you have walked into any big box chain store recently you may have noticed a collectibles department with the heading, Funko. This is the name of a company based in Everett, Washington that holds licenses to dozens of pop culture entities. This has enabled them to design and manufacture over 13,000 figures representing a seemingly infinite variety of esteemed favorites in our beloved popular culture.
I resisted them for years until now. This is because I discovered the line of ROCKS icons that was produced in recent months. My Barnes & Noble’s stores in Manhattan have POP! sections in them. It’s a guilty pleasure to search through the stock to see what they have in store. I research them online before venturing into the field. There is fun to be had from looking at them. You don’t have to buy a lot. The different lines of characters bring up different feelings for each person who encounters them.
There are dozens of categories of figures including: Television, Movies, Animation, Rocks, Books, Sports, AD Icons, Games, Holidays, Looney Tunes, Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and on and on and on.
Think of a favorite program from yesteryear. A moment in a movie. Perhaps a cartoon character from childhood? There is a more than likely chance there is a Pop! figure of it. And the price range is broad: $3.99 up through $20 a pop (literally). A few figures that are much larger in size than the average figure can sell for as much as $30 to $50 a piece.
A recent example of this pricing was late last year, Disney celebrated the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse with a group of Pop! figures. The largest size Mickey was $50! In New York’s Chelsea there was a Pop-Up store just for Funko Mickey Mouse Pop! vinyl figures. This is an incredibly big business.
I worried for a short while if this became a fad what would become of the joy this brings. Then I pushed those thoughts away to just enjoy them while they are here.
When I considered these fun little accents to my end table which has 4 picture windows for such use I thought of cost. After researching on YouTube and Amazon I made decisions about price. I discovered on sale in stores you can find them for $9. In some cases there are clearance items in stores like B&N and Gamestop. These are $3 to $6 items. I also had a focus on total number of Pop vinyl figures to have and which ones to acquire.
Pairs were a good idea. Two at a time. Perfect for small spaces. From yesteryear I discovered my first Pop! From the Movies line, Wayne & Garth from Wayne’s World; From the Animation line, Boris & Natasha from The Rocky and Bullwinkle show; From the Rocks line, Alice Cooper; From the Rocks line, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. The last two are only mutual as being icons in music. These figures allow you to express the full range of diverse tastes you have across the broad spectrum of pop culture.
Certain Pop! figures have 3 or 4 or 5 different takes on the same subject. Especially in the ROCKS line: there are 3 Jimi Hendrix; 3 Freddie Mercury, 4 Prince, and 5 Michael Jackson figures! Just 2 Elton John and 2 Alice Cooper.
Surprises happen all the time with Pops. Recently, Funko put out George and Louise Jefferson from the long running sitcom, The Jeffersons. Like I said at the top, just think of a favorite from the culture! I am not buying these figures, but I think it’s fun to see them on a store display. Someone will react to it.
Next blog: Exclusives.