If you told me a year ago that I would have a collection of more than a dozen Funko Pop figures, including one made in my likeness, I probably would have say something like, “Those little toys that comic book fans collect? Yeah, right.” And yet here I am. While others were busy learning the latest TikTok dances or how to make banana bread, I was busy acquiring Funko Pops. Quarantine has a way of changing a man.
For those who don’t know, Funko Pops are cute, big-headed vinyl figures made in the image of characters from virtually every TV show, movie, and comic book you can think of. With so many options—and considering they only cost $11 to $30 bucks a Pop—it’s easy to get carried away (hence why I currently have 14 and counting). My collection is not as crazy as many, however. Some collectors have upwards of 1,000, and there’s even an app that helps the serious collectors keep track of their collections (and their value).
During quarantine, I got big into anime, and as a reward to myself for finishing a series, I would buy a Funko Pop of my favorite character. At first, I thought I would only get two or three, but with all the free time on my hands, I was able to finish a lot of anime. In addition to the anime-themed Pops, I also have a few Marvel characters, including Black Panther, which a friend purchased for me after Chadwick Boseman’s death in August.
Just when I thought my obsession had reached its peak, I found out that the Funko store in Hollywood was launching Pop! People, an on-the-spot service that lets Funko fans create Pops in their own likenesses, personalizing everything from skin tone to hair to clothes to accessories all for only $25.
Funko fans have begged for something like this for years, so naturally it’s going to take a little patience to get your hands on one. Tip: arrive early to get in line at the Funko Hollywood store. Trust me, I didn’t believe the line would be that long but before I knew it, there were eager fans lined up halfway down the block when I visited in December. Rest assured the staff at Funko takes all the necessary COVID-19 precautions to make sure everyone is safe, including a digital waitlist. It’s kind of like waiting for a table at the Cheesecake Factory (ah, memories).
When you get to the front of the line you’ll be met by three curbside kiosks, each with three sides of different options to choose from. With your order form in hand, you’ll make your way around the kiosks, filling out your selections using corresponding codes. Starting with the head, you’ll choose whichever one best represents you, picking everything from skin tone to eyelashes to facial hair. Then you’ll move onto hairstyles (there are 144 variations to pick from). Next comes your outfit, which is arguably the hardest part. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be casual with a T-shirt and jeans or more formal in a full tux. And then there’s the superhero costume. (If it wasn’t clear already, I don’t do well with options.) Ultimately, I decided that Funko Pop Jeb will be cool and suave, and went with the tux. One day I will be like Funko Pop Jeb.
Lastly, you can choose up to two accessories, ranging from video game controllers (a popular choice), a microphone, a coffee cup, or a miniature Freddy Funko, the company’s mascot, which is what I ended up choosing.
Once you’ve made all your decisions, you’ll hand your order form over to a Funko team member, who will then work their magic building your special Pop piece by piece. In around ten minutes I was face to face with, well, me, in my own customized box with my name printed on the label.
For now, you can only create a Pop if you come to the store, but eventually Funko hopes to make this something people can do from home. I gotta say it’s cool to have my Pop join the likes of Miles Morales from Into the Spiderverse and Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto Shippuden on my dresser.
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