Collectors are an important part of the con community. Without collectors we would not have the convention exhibit floors we have today. For those who have never been on the exhibit floor of a comic convention I must say you are missing out. The exhibit floor can offer each collector many things: something for everyone, regardless of where your interests lie. Some go for the exclusives that are only being sold at the con, others go to artists’ alley in order to find an original drawings art or a new piece of their favorite character to hang on the wall, some gravitate towards the games to find out what’s going on and others (like myself) love to do the experiences. These can be anything from walking through a small version of The Walking Dead set or going through the Warner Brothers line to grab some swag. No matter what you are into, the exhibit hall has something to offer you. The bigger the con, the more there is to explore.
If you have never seen a Funko POP then you may be living in a cave. On average they are 3.75 inch figures and they pretty much have them for every pop culture movie and TV show out there.
I first started noticing Funko POPs on the exhibit floor. I saw them and admired how cute they were. I didn’t immediately start buying them due to the amount of space I knew they would take up in my home. The more cons I went to though, the more I started seeing their products. Exhibit floors at local cons are packed with Funko POPs because of vendors who purchase them (especially exclusives) and re-sell them at a higher cost. My first POP came in Nerd Block which is a subscription box that sends you a mystery box every month with different nerd-related items. I found these boxes fun and soon added Lootcrate to the mix. Nerd Block doesn’t get exclusive POPs but that never makes them any less cute. I have found that I’m not concerned with the value of my POPs as some collectors are. For me, if I look at it on shelf and it makes me smile then it is the right one for me.
After getting a few POPs from the mystery boxes I noticed they were adding up quickly. In fact, I found I liked the mystery box more if it had a POP in it. Soon though I had to cancel my subscriptions to the mystery boxes, because I found they contained more junk then I needed in my home. A lot of it was going into the trash. This put a halt to my POP collecting before it began, seeing as at this time I didn’t consider myself a collector.
Around that time, my friend Libertyroxx got into them and he is what I would call a hard core collector. I have never seen someone work so hard to get into the Funko exclusive line at SDCC. I would wait in line all day with him for preview night and then when we got in he would head straight to Funko and I would head to The Walking Dead experience. After seeing him fail two years in a row after all of that hard work I didn’t really have a desire to try myself.
Then one fateful year Conan O’Brien came SDCC and I lucked out and got tickets to his Wednesday show. I skipped waiting in line all day and went to the filming of Conan instead. At the end they gave me a Conan POP. I fell in love with it. Not only was it exclusive but it held the memory of my first time in a television studio audience a TV Show. This POP had personal value.
That same year Libertyroxx asked me to go to Fundays with him. I’m always up for trying something new and purchased a ticket. After taking shifts in line for two days to see Star Wars in Hall H I was exhausted. I headed into the Fundays event late, only to be told at the door that they didn’t have our swag at the door, and after walking in they started throwing out TV Shirts which put me in the middle of mob where I proceeded to be hit in the head and a drink was spilled on me as people tried to grab a shirt out of my hand. I instantly had a headache and I was out! To me, this violence was uncalled for. I complained to the staff on the way out and headed back to the con where I knew I would be safe. After reading a lot of reviews online it sounded like it was a common problem at Fundays last year, but Funko promised to fix it before this year’s Fundays.
Still, without even trying, somehow my house was still filling up with POPs. If someone needed one I would head to a store for them and somehow I would leave with two instead of one. Funko and Marvel teamed up and started the Marvel Collector’s Corp box which attracted my attention based on my fandom. And in the meantime, Libertyroxx would send me pictures of new POPS for things he knew I was a fan of. Slowly the POPs were crawling into my heart.
At WonderCon Transmute Jun invited me along to the Fugitive Toys party. We had no clue what to expect, so we went with open minds just planning to have fun. It turned out to be great! We met new people and I was really beginning to see that these collectors were more than people just buying items in a store, they were friends who talked about their passion and helped each other with their collections, a genuine community. We played silly games all night and won Funko items, it was a lot of fun. This gave me hope and I decided with the promises of a better Funday I would give it another go.
I really enjoyed Fundays at SDCC this year; everyone had a place to sit and everyone got the promised swag, and as far as I know it was injury free. It was a 180 from the previous year. Funko Funatics (these are members from the Funko Forums) were extremely kind and let us know what to expect and warned us of potential theft at the party. Unfortunately, with the high demand for limited items from Fundays, flippers (people who go solely to obtain the items and sell them at a majorly marked up value on EBay) are also willing to steal your items so they can sell them.
I have now been to two Fundays, two Fugitive Toys parties, and the First Funko Fright Night, which had its inaugural event last weekend in San Diego. These parties are what makes collecting Funko products fun. If you choose to go to these types of parties make sure you understand them first. They aren’t always going to be fair in the amount of items you receive and usually something goes wrong and someone misses out because of it. For example, at the New York Fugitive party they forgot to give us a keychain that was for a later event when we arrived so we missed out on that opportunity. At Fright Night they put killer costumes stickers people very early on that got you an extra exclusive, By the time I arrived and joined my friends I never saw the people with the stickers. I was pretty bummed since I was excited about my costume.
Missing out on the keychain and sticker didn’t ruin my night though. I got more than just additional items to collect; I made friends and memories. When I look at my Freddys from Fundays, my dragons from the Fugitive Toys Party or my Conan POPs from the filmings, I smile. They remind me of the time I spent getting to know my friends and the good times we had. At 93 POPs I can now officially say I am a small collector and proud to be part of the Funatics family.