Toy collectors can't get enough of Funko Pops. These signature vinyl figurines from toy maker Funko has more than 8,300 (and counting) collectibles depicting nearly every famous character known in America, whether real or fictional.
The company boasts of being able to "Popify" anything or anyone that you're a fan of. That means there's something for everyone, with characters from Disney classics, movie blockbusters, and book titles to Japanese animation titles like Dragon Ball Z and video games. They also have figures from older series such as Golden Girls and Friends while also offering ones from newer titles like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things. Even icons like Abraham Lincoln, Prince Harry, singers and varying sports stars have their own Funko Pop figures.
Funko Pops holds 1,100 licenses and rights to create these characters. The newest releases include figurines of Slayer vocalist Toma Araya, and band mates Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, Wonder Woman 1984, and cast members of Disney's Artemis Fowl.
How the 'Science of Cute' Began
These cute collectable dolls are known for their squarish, oversized heads that make up more than a third of their 3.75 inch height, almost always mouthless faces, large, black eyes, small noses, and small bodies.
However, none of Funko's figurines looked this way when the company started. Its founder, Washington state-based T-shirt designer Mike Becker, produced bobbleheads with proportionally sized bodies. As an avid collector of vintage figurines, his first project involved producing figures of Bob's Big Boy burger chain mascot. After it flopped, he sought out New Line Cinema and got a good deal to make Austin Power bobblehead dolls. He added favourite characters from his childhood like Popeye, Betty Boop, Mr. T and General Mills cereal mascots. At the time, he shied away from sports celebrities and Disney merchandise, although there were opportunities for partnership.
In 2005, Becker sold Funko to friend and fellow collector Brian Mariotti, who kept the senior members of Funko's art team, Sean Wilkinson and Rob Schwartz. The Funko Pop line was birthed after DC Comics, which at that time needed a fresh design for their merchandise, approached the company. Five years later, the vinyl version of the product was launched, taking inspiration from Hello Kitty and Etsy toys. The "Funko Force 2.0" sets comprising Batman and Green Lantern were unveiled and sold at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con.
Slow but Steady Rise of Fan Base
Long-time and mainly male patrons of Funko toys were at first dismayed with the look of the Funko Pops. However, it attracted what the designers referred to as a "special crowd", including women and veteran Comic-Con participants who weren't familiar with Funko. They found the baby-faced versions of their favourite superheroes adorable and took to collecting them.
Its fan base slowly built up after the company decided to market the figurines in mainstream online retailers and big-box stores. It also helped that cast members of shows like the Game of Thrones posted images of themselves posing with the Funko Pop dolls made after them.
In August 2019, Microsoft released a mobile app version of its Xbox video game "Gears of War" featuring over 30 characters in Funko Pop-toy style.
Funko Movie in the Works?
Funko and Warner Bros. Pictures reportedly tapped directors Teddy Newton of Pixar's Day & Night (2010) and Mark Dindal of Disney's Chicken Little (2005) and Emperor's New Groove (2000) to write the story for the planned movie featuring Funko Pop toys. Mariotti said they don't want the film to appear like a "brand extension" of the toy; it will have a compelling plot that will engage both young and old audiences. The release date is still under wraps.
Author - Gergana Mileva on behalf of Mr & Mrs Pins