Whether you're a collector or not, you're likely familiar with Funko Pops. These are the bobble-heads and vinyl figures with big block heads and huge black dots for eyes that you can find at practically any store in town. Stores like Toys R Us, Game Stop and Target have entire sections devoted to Pops. You can even find them lining the check-out aisle while you're in supermarkets and drug stores. Store owners tell me they'd be crazy not to stock these things because of their popularity and devoted fan base. They appeal to so many different kinds of people because Funko has covered every aspect of pop culture you can think of when making their toys. If it is, or was, popular at any point it either has a Pop or one is on the way.
Funko HQ is in the near-by city of Everett, Washington so recently when I had some business in the area I decided to make a day of it and check out the company store. I was blown away!
Their headquarters are in the middle of downtown Everett and I love that you pass some bland government buildings right before you arrive at the base of giant versions of Spider-man and Batman inviting you to Funko.
I walked into the store and was greeted by two employees. They handed me a flyer with a price guide. I thought it was interesting that nothing in the store had a tag or sticker on it. I guess people are so into the box being perfect they don't even want to risk messing up a corner by peeling off the price. People take Pop collecting seriously!
I read on the company's site that they offer tours and a little class called Funko University where you meet some sculptors and learn about some jobs in their industry. Unfortunately, there were no tours or classes on the day I arrived. I would have loved to interview a sculptor for the blog. Hopefully some other time I can make it work.
When you get past the main entrance you stand right in the center of the store and, if you are a collector, you'll stand in awe of how much there is to see. This place looks better than most of the gift shops at Disneyland! It's big enough to have themed areas so I went to the back of the shop and decided to take pictures until I had made my way back up to the front. I started in Marvel's New York.
Spider-Man, Deadpool and The Avengers are amazingly represented, not only in the merch throughout the store but also in all the different displays that are so perfect for photo ops.
I love the detail on the Hulk here. I would have liked Iron Man in that Hulkbuster suit to match the swinging fist pose as if he were charging and they were about to collide but I guess you can see it as Tony Stark bracing for impact. Or maybe he's strutting as if to say, "Come at me, Hulk"!
In addition to the characters I already mentioned the store also featured toys based on The Guardians of the Galaxy, Daredevil and Punisher. I'll always find it funny when a murderous character like The Punisher gets turned into any kind of toy that makes him look cute.
My second favorite display is the news stand. Among all the toys it's fun to see Marvel Comics with Funko variant covers being sold by Stan Lee. Those coffee table books are great too. I'd always thought the more points of articulation the better a toy would look in a photo- but these pictures tear that theory to shreds. One of my points of pride with this blog is that the pictures are 100% my own. I didn't want to post some of the examples from these books without permission so I'll just encourage you to find one and look through if yourself. I hope to get better with photography and submit an entry in the future!
On the other side of that wall with the chimichanga truck and the Spider-Man billboard you'll find Hoth and all of the Star Wars merch Funko has to offer.
Funko has done a great job of making enough collectables based on the original trilogy while still cranking out everything to go with the current films. You seem to be out of luck if you like the prequels, though. Don't deny it, there have to be some of you out there.
Before moving into the next room you'll see this mural on the wall. I heard that Funko's original founder was mainly interested in making bobble heads out of fast food and cereal mascots. Clearly they've taken on so much more than that but I love this image paying homage to their roots with Bob's Big Boy, Captain Crunch and the General Mills Monsters.
Once I was done looking around Star Wars Land I crossed the bridge through Maleficent's castle and found myself in Disney territory. They have a Nightmare Before Christmas kiosk right in front of all of the other Disney and Pixar figures. In addition to Pops, Funko also makes a line called Dorbz that kind of look like something Fisher-Price would make. I think the Princesses on the other side of the castle are from this line but it's hard to tell because Dorbz usually have their eyes closed.
Funko has also begun to release action figures that look a little more traditional. A series based on The Disney Afternoon was recently released. The line-up includes one of my favorite cartoon characters of all time, Darkwing Duck, but unfortunately he was sold out. I didn't have a whole lot of time to be disappointed as I turned around and was dwarfed by Hagrid welcoming me to Diagon Alley.
Though there were still plenty of toys I feel like the Harry Potter section had the most variety of its merchandise, specifically t-shirts. Diagon Alley is the smallest of the themed sections but there's still a lot on display. There's even a little reference to Fantastic Beasts right by the Dobby statue.
Once I was done with the wizarding world it was time to get back to some super heroes. This is where I found the best photo-op in the store.
Of course, opposite Marvel's New York you'll find Arkahm Asylum and the Batcave. The Batman universe is most heavily represented but there were some Wonder Woman and Superman toys too. It's kind of surprising there wasn't more featuring the rest of the Justice League, considering the movie just came out.
As you walk away from the Batcave you start to get into an area with all of the toys based on sci-fi/fantasy movies and TV. In the picture below you can see Ghostbusters, 007, Hellboy, Tron, and Lord of the Rings figures all next to each other. I like that the figures start to get mashed together here. The themes and huge displays are a ton of fun but seeing all kinds of characters mixed with others from outside their universe brings back a lot of memories of playing with my toys when I was a kid. One of the most fun things to do while playing was making adventures with toys and playsets that didn't match. I wasn't going to get an episode of TMNT where the turtles went to Jurassic Park so I had to make up that story myself. I love the idea of a kid seeing this display and thinking the same thing, going home and making James Bond, Slimer and Gandalf fight the Balrog.
I then came across a Stranger Things/Doctor Who/Walking Dead wall. That universe mashing I just mentioned...let's leave Walking Dead out of it. The kids from Stranger Things traveling in the TARDIS with the Doctor sounds glorious but let's not put them in the middle of a walker hoard, or possibly worse, in front of Negan.
I'd almost made it to the end of the store. The last section doesn't have a dedicated theme. It's filled with every movie, TV and video game character who didn't fit in with the others so far but that still covers a lot of toys.
I mentioned earlier with the wampa from Star Wars that the Pop style doesn't exactly make everything look cute. Sometimes the transformation can make a character look possessed. Take South Park, for example. I am this target demographic. South Park has been one of my favorite shows for decades and I collect most anything I can based on Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny. I passed on these little demon children though.
Continuing down the hall I spotted my favorite of all the giant figures throughout the store, Godzilla!
Godzilla is right behind this table filled with monsters and slashers. I think it's the coolest of the statues and the little details like planes, the bridge wires and the train being ripped in half are perfect.
The walls filled with video game characters and cartoons kind of blend together. I love Street Fighter and those were my favorites from the games wall but I'm not big on video games these days so I didn't freak out over any of the other characters next to them. If you're a gamer, particularly a Five Nights At Freddy's fan, you'll be impressed!
Of course there are minions from Despicable Me all over one wall but I took the picture for the Looney Tunes and Space Jam figures. I'm happy to see WB characters still getting love, especially that fat little Taz with the basketball.
I'm a little too young to have been into Masters of the Universe but after watching The Toys That Made Us on Netflix I have a new appreciation for this line. I think it's cool that the fans want Pop versions of He-Man and Skeletor and I think Funko has some great toys lined-up for collectors who want more of that original style.
The 90's Nickelodeon line looks good! It's too bad Disney still has the rights to Doug. I'd love to see figures based on the original look and not that crappy reboot.
As I reached the end of the store I came to what is probably the most popular section, the Rick and Morty wall. Like the Marvel Legends Build-a-figure line, each of those figures comes with a separate piece of another figure so you can build Snowball's robotic suit if you get them all.
There you have it. The store at Funko HQ! I'd finally reached the end. Now the hard part, with so many things to choose from it wasn't easy to pick what I was going to take home. It took me forever to decide whether or not I wanted to start a new collection or whether I was going to get the Pop versions of some franchises I already collect. Here's what I decided to buy.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Pop!
I've wanted Mystery Science Theater 3000 figures ever since I discovered the show in the 90's. As far as I know the closest we got were the mini busts that came in the boxed sets somewhere around Vol. 20. I'm glad to say I finally have versions of Tom Servo and Crow on my entertainment center, sitting by the TV whenever I watch a movie, right where they belong.
Tom Servo translates into the Pop style nicely. With the exception of his oversized head he practically looks like the same as he does on the show. I understand it'd be incredibly fragile but I kind of wish they could have made his arms actual little slinkies. Crow looks pretty funny with his T-Rex arms but one little problem is that it's hard for him to stand up on his own. The big head and the little feet make it so he usually falls down face first if he's not leaning up against something. Luckily I have that marquee and while "Mystery Science Theater" was too much to fit Crow looks great leaning up against the phrase from the theme song.
Yes, they were sold out of Darkwing Duck but they still had the rest of The Disney Afternoon line I mentioned earlier. The others are Chip and Dale from Rescue Rangers and Baloo from Tale Spin but I had to go with Uncle Scrooge. Ducktales is another childhood favorite. On top of it being like Indiana Jones for four-year-olds I share a name with one of the nephews and I was proud of that! The figure looks like it jumped right out of the cartoon. I wouldn't change anything, I'd add a playset though. Let's hope Funko makes a money bin diorama for this guy!
I had a blast walking through the store and highly recommend you check it out when in town. Even if you're not a collector you have to see these displays for yourself. I'd definitely go back, especially on a day they offer the tour or the University class.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for my first unboxing blog!