top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

There’s gonna be a whole lotta POPS

Why should this San Diego Comic-Con be any different?

When it comes to comic book conventions, there is one truism that covers them all – There will always be plenty of stuff to buy and take home to proudly display on your Great Nerd Wall of Cool Stuff. And when it comes to San Diego Comic-Con, this truth is magnified exponentially.

With attendance nearing 150,000 for the 5-day event in July and with the first live and in person version of the wildly popular event since 2019 (the Con was virtual in 2020 and 2021), there will be an awful lot of very hungry nerds and geeks with plenty of cash to spend on collectibles. But, what will they be buying, you might ask?

One thing many of them will be buying is the same thing they’ve been buying for the last twenty years, small, vinyl figurines with exaggerated features in a distinctive carboard and plastic box wearing the brand Funko Pop!

And now, you ask, what is Funko and what exactly is a Funko Pop!? Shame on you. It’s obvious you’re neither a nerd or a geek and its equally obvious you don’t attend comic book conventions.

Nevertheless, Funko is a company that was started in 1998 by a toy collector named Mike Becker. Becker wanted to create a toy-sized version of a mascot for a restaurant called Big Boy Restaurants, a franchise based in Michigan. After working with the restaurant, Becker created a line of bobblehead figures called “Wacky Wobblers” which targeted nostalgic intellectual properties like Looney Tunes and Peanuts.

In 2005, the company was sold to Brian Mariotti under whose leadership the new strategy was to expand to other properties and

to bring Funko to the mainstream. Unsurprisingly, the strategy worked and in 2010, Funko’s Pop! vinyl figures, the company’s signature product, started hitting shelves and selling quickly.

Since then, the most expensive Funko Pops have gone for thousands of dollars and Netflix even made a documentary about the commercial insanity called Making Fun: The Story of Funko. Now, the company continues to sell millions of units across countless fandoms and it has even made an appearance as balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

What really works for Funko is its ability to secure licensing deals with properties it doesn’t own. Disney, Sony, the NFL, HBO, Amazon and over 200 other content providers have worked with Funko since 2019. In fact, Funko Pops have done an exceptional job capitalizing on everything from hit shows like WandaVision to gaming franchises like Super Mario Bros. to trending anime like Demon Slayer. Of course, there are also Funko Pops of nerdom’s favorite icons, like Conan O’Brian, the White Stripes, and characters from The Office. There’s even a Kool Aid Man Pop.

Don’t believe me? Then why not take a look at some of the company’s offerings for San Diego Comic-Con 2022?

And for even more on what to expect from Funko at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, check out Ben Silvero’s article on Slash Film here

Why It Matters. The net effect is that everyone can find a Funko Pop! That expresses some aspect of their preferred fandom. And best of all, they do it on the cheap. Funko Pops are cheap to make and usually sell for under $15. With a typical royalty fee of only 16% paid to the properties they license from, Funko has made consistent profits off its products. And because Funko Pop! often makes limited runs of each character, their products sell quickly and there’s always demand for more. In many ways, the Funko Pop! Exemplifies the perfect licensing, branding, and manufacturing arrangement.

7 views0 comments


bottom of page