Or, to be more apt, Funko Pop Vinyls, as they are officially known by their company, Funko.
AND JUST WHAT ARE THEY?
Funko Pops, affectionately referred to as Funkos, or simply Pops. Yes. That’s right. Those darling little plastic figurines. Precious little parodies of pop culture icons.
With their big, blank, bug-eyes, and those enormous, caricature/bubble heads, and with most standing in at less than 4 inches tall, just who can resist them?
HOW MANY DIFFERENT POPS ARE THERE?
Thousands of Pops exist for anime & video game characters, as well as for movies & pop music.
There are Pops for James Bond and his villains, Pops for Wyatt Earp, several different variants (styles) of Pops for Harley Quinn and Jurassic Park.
Pops for Frank Zappa and Alice Cooper; Steven Tyler, Axl, Slash, and Ozzy, all keeping company along with Tupac, Run DMC, & Biggie Smalls.
KISS and Slayer each BOTH have a complete set, along with Queen, and several different variants of Freddy Mercury. Even Lemmy of Motorhead and ALL of the Papa’s from Ghost!!!
And for Disney Pops – there is just about every character you can think of.
You will find different incarnations of Ripley in her payloader, as well as her pet Xenomorph.
Speaking of aliens, John Nada, our hero (played by Rowdy Roddy Piper) from John Carpenter’s ‘They Live‘ – you know, the guy who came in, ready to chew bubblegum and to kick ass – but was all out of bubblegum, lol.
And what of John Carpenter? Another classic film of his, Big Trouble in Little China, has a complete line of Pops – IF you can find them!! There is Trucker Jack Burton, and his entire entourage of friends and not-friends: Gracie, Lo Pan, and Rain, Thunder, and Lightning.
The list goes on, and if you can think of it, there is probably a Pop figure for it. At least a half dozen designs for Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and the entire cast of Jaws – relatively speaking.
Literally DOZENS of Pops exist for Star Wars, including the Disney series, The Mandolorian… the Child Pop is almost too cute to behold!!
Only recently, our beloved characters from the Christmas Classic actioner, Die Hard, were released. Currently, as of this writing, there are 6 in all – 2 each for John McClane and his holiday buddy, Hans Gruber, and one each for Officer Powell and Brother Tony, complete with his infamous “Ho, Ho, Ho!” sweatshirt!!
Funko also introduced a small set of characters from the original, Ridley Scott 1980 science fiction classic, Blade Runner – Deckard, Rachel, Pris, and two different Roy Batty Pops, one of which is the rare, sought after “Chase” figure.
WHY COLLECT POPS?
Pop collecting is not just a fun and exciting hobby. A Funko Pop is an investment property, and large collections can go up and down in value with greater volatility than the stock market, as many collectors have discovered.
WHY IS THAT?
There are MANY different Pops to choose from, but the most serious collectors go after items referred to as “Grails” – which are just what they sound like – rare, exclusive, and expensive (a typical Grail starts at $75.00), and they are oft-times difficult to obtain or find items.
This is due to a variety of reasons.
FINDING THE HOLY GRAIL
Two of the simpler reasons a Pop can become a Grail – ‘Vaulting’ and ‘Limited Edition’, both of which I will explain:
Vaulting is when the Funko company itself stops production of an item. This in and of itself, does not necessarily make a Funko rare. Thousands of that particular Pop may have been produced, rendering it a ‘common”.
Another factor depends on the demand.
Limited Editions can include, but are not limited to (no pun intended), items made for specific distribution by specific vendors, most notably:
- Toy Tokyo
- Hot Topic
- FYI – European Distribution
- SDCC & NYCC (San Diego & NY Comic-Cons)
Even Legion M has entered the game with their amazing line of Mandy Pops.
Let’s cut to the Chase
Of all the Grails, those most sought out are the “Chase” variants.
Chases are specific variants of a particular Pop with the same number and box design (for the most part), but while this may be true, the Chase variant has a slight change differentiating it from a common.
Perhaps this is a color difference, or a maybe prop, such as a pair of sunglasses, or even a different costume/clothing.
All these separate the Chase from a common.
To use the following variants as examples – both from The Shining.
The Grady Twins are blood-spattered, as they appear to frighten poor little Danny Torrance. However, the standard characters are not spattered, and appear normal, as they do when first seen in the film.
The second variant, Jack, shows that he is blue and has glitter in his hair, representing how he appears at the end of the film.
Notice the yellow sticker that CLEARLY says Chase. All Chase variants will have this sticker.
FINDING AND BUYING A CHASE VARIANT
The chances of finding a Chase for any given character (IF it exists) is one in 6. And I won’t go into how to buy one, for they are quite searchable online. And be prepared to pay BIG money.
What I CAN say about purchasing a Chase variant in a retail store, is that they DOUBLE in value the moment you walk out the store with it!
Nearly ALL Pops increase in value to some degree, given time, typically 30-50% after five years, with complete sets being worth more than the sum of their individual parts!
I have several Pops in my collection that I purchased between 5 and 10 years ago, and they are currently selling for FIVE TIMES what I originally paid!!
THE RAREST OF POPS
Some Pops, have become incredibly valuable – and the Holiest of the Grail Pops, is the #04 Glow in the Dark Alex DeLarge, the main character from A Clockwork Orange.
Only 12 of these were made. At recent auction, one sold for $13,000 and the second sold for $13,600!!
They were a private commission from Brian Mariotti, who was then, the CEO of Funko, and he signed and hand numbered each one personally. They were given out as gifts to VIPs in the company.
*–NOT the famous Alex, but one can wish!!!–*
AND THE POPS OF YOUR FUTURE?
I’m not saying yours will ever be worth as much as Alex. But the fact remains, that collecting Funko Pop Vinyls can be, and IS, a fun, exciting, and often lucrative, hobby. It is a hobby that is shared by thousands of people, everywhere, who are willing to buy, sell, and trade what they have.
- ***You can find information about the current value of many Funko Pops by using the Pop Price Guide, which can be accessed by clicking on this link***
Good luck, and have fun collecting!!