Friday, December 30, 2016

Funko POP Goes My 2016

Believe it or not, this collection is small as compared to those of
Funko POP super fans. (12/30/16)
For better or worse, 2016 was the year I further expanded my collecting interests. While I have periodically purchased action figures (dolls!?) in the past, mostly unique or unusual characters, such as Batman's Native American counterpart Man-of-Bats, Lord of the Rings Ent Treebeard and the 2003 Hulk movie's David Banner/Absorbing Man amalgam, I have until 2016 avoided falling into the seductive trap laid by figure lines. My resolve was weakened this past year, as I responded to the siren song of Funko POPs.

If the allure of Funko POPs lies in the diversity of the line, it's strength is in the power of the memories they are capable of evoking. As I am in the collectables sweet spot (40+ years old, male, some expendable income, a fanboy), there are in incredible number of relatable characters. Whether reflecting childhood movie favorites (Flash Gordon), recent superhero comicbook interests (Ms. Marvel, Batgirl), cultural icons (Ghostbusters' Patty Tolan, Mel Gibson as Braveheart), or even literary mainstays (Cthulhu from the stories of H. P. Lovecraft), Funko POPs addresses itches that can be stretched. Like comicbooks and baseball cards, the acquisition of many come with an anecdote.

My first Funko POP Holy Grail: I travelled to multiple Walgreens over the course of
weeks to find this exclusive Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan is one of the more interesting
comicbook heroes to be introduced in years. Was very excited to come across it in
an urban store I stopped at on a lark. 

A favorite character from a favorite movie, Vultan, played by Brian Blessed,
from Flash Gordon (1980). I was 11 when my brother and I went to see this in
theaters. Purchased this on annual excursions to Nee York City to visit my stepson
at college. It kind of became thing to find a unique Funko POP on each visit. 

The first real collectible based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos that I wanted was
also the first that I asked my local comic shop to find for me. Though unplanned, it
was also the first "Exclusive". Wish there were more POPs based on "Books" though.

A few months ago, I posted a picture of my POPs on Instagram. A former student wondered
in the comments, "Where are the female POPs?" She was right, at that point I had bought
only characters that were male. Ghostbusters (2016) was a movie I never expected to
like, but I was won over by the performances of the four leads, especially Leslie Jones'
portrayal as Patty Tolan. Jones' own cultural relevance has only continued to grow since.

A gift from my son this past Christmas following last Christmas' Howard the Duck.
Jack and I attended a local Sanders rally in June 2016 when the campaign
ball really began rolling, and I was excited to see his interest in politics develop.

Hawkgirl was an unusual impulse purchase from Barnes & Noble, which by the
way is an excellent source of POPs! I've never seen an episode of DC's Legends
of Tomorrow television show, I do, however, love recent depictions of the
Kendra Saunders Hawkgirl character in DC Comic books over the past ten years.
Also a New York Comic Con Exclusive, an event I have yet to attend but hope to... someday.
Funko POPs tell stories. These 6" figures (and bobbleheads) that prompt me to reflect on semi-important moments in my life as a fanboy and person. To my wife and others who have not embraced the collector's life, it is difficult to explain that these $10 "dolls" are worthy parts of my fandom. As someone who's been doing "this" for 30 years, long before "geek culture" became hip, I dig what Funko is doing with this line and look forward to continue supporting it.

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