In 1998, a little company named Funko was founded by Mike Becker with a nostalgia-themed bobblehead line called Wacky Wobblers. The first item that the company ever created was the Big Boy bobblehead. Over time this once small company would become a huge obsession for collectors and pop culture enthusiasts worldwide. The company’s most successful line, the Pop! Vinyl, officially debut in 2010 (originally called Funko Force 2.0) began a new addiction fans never knew they were craving. It seems like there are new waves of Pop! vinyl figures coming out every day but, while it is their biggest product, it’s not Funko’s only collectible line.
Funko’s Funkovision line allowed fans to relieve the cartoons of their past. The line featured figures from Looney Tunes, The Flinstones, Yogi Bear, Betty Boop, and Peanuts. While they’re no longer being made, they’re still a huge hit for collectors to hunt for at conventions and on the internet.
In 2005, Brian Mariotti became the new CEO of Funko and the first new line to come from his leadership was Fantastik Plastik. These vinyl figures included characters like Duck Dodgers, Wacky Racers, and Mad Monster Party. These differed from the bobblehead characters that Funko was known for because they were more statue and static in nature but still included the incredible detail that Funko had become known for creating. Following the success of the Fantastik Plastik line, Funko would release their own original characters for the Spastik Plastik line. This was a limited line that featured Funko’s very own characters that looked like pigs, clowns, frogs, and some weird and funny creations of their own.
With the Mini Hikari line of figures, Funko added yet another assembly of adorable collectibles to adorn your desk. These baby-sized vinyl figures added a flair of color to your favorite characters like Darth Vader, Greedo, Freddy Funko, and Mickey Mouse. These figures were very limited at the time, but the Mickey Mouse figures are available from Entertainment Earth in a two pack of red and black figures.
Most recently, Funko came out with their new Vynl. figures. This line of figures reimagines some of pop culture’s most iconic characters in a soft and cuddly way that most have never seen them in before. Like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees as childish cartoon characters with blood still dripping from Jason’s machete. The line started with just three box sets but has grown into another runaway addiction for collectors.
The success of Funko is easy to see whenever you walk into a comic book store or a mall. Pop! vinyl figures are everywhere and you cannot escape their draw and the addiction that follows your first purchase. This addiction has created a community of fans whose love of these little toys has spawned friendships spanning the globe. It’s a friendly world of collectors who share their massive collections and love for being kids again. A documentary, “Make Fun – The Story of Funko” is releasing very soon and it tells the story of Funko and the fans that helped make it a global phenomenon.
Are you a Pop! collector? How many are in your stash? What’s your most prized Pop! figure? Let’s talk about how Funko has affected your collections and your life in the comments below!