I Love My Pop! Funko Doll

Groot Pop! DollFor the first time in my life, nerd culture has become mainstream. In many ways that is so awesome! It’s never been easier to be a fan girl. With that mainstream popularity comes merchandizing like we’ve never seen before. There are entire stores these days that sell nothing but fandom merch. Even big box stores like Target are filled with it! I’m not much of a chotchky sort of person. I hate clutter. But if I’m going to make an exception, it will be for a Pop! Funko Vinyl.

They are just about everywhere and I love them. That simple squarish face with those big eyes… it’s impossible to pass them up! My absolute favorite? Groot. I’ve got a total  crush on Groot, not gonna lie, and I’ve got two of these awesome goodies.

The Company and How it Got Started

Funko, creator of those adorable, huge-headed figures, was founded by Mike Becker in 1998. He originally wanted the it to be a small project with the goal of bringing back nostalgic, low-tech toys to help combat a world obsessed with high-tech doobobs. The very first Funko bobblehead toy was the Big Boy bobblehead because Becker was in the market for a vintage coin bank depicting the mascot, but couldn’t find one for a reasonable price. He decided to produce his own replica by outsourcing the construction to China. The company, creating bobbleheads, banks, and hand puppets, began from this one little figure. (Side note: Remember Big Boy? It turns out, they’re still around. I had no idea!)

Becker sold the company in 2005 to Brian Mariotti. Mariotti has more or less kept the dream alive, but they’ve increased the scope of the products ten-fold. Funko LLC has around 180 unique licenses from movies, TV, comics, video games, sports, and other cultural icons. They have licensing deals with all the biggest players:

Marvel     DC Comics     Lucas Film     Sony Pictures     Paramount     DreamWorks     Hasbro

 

Warner Bros     Disney     HBO     Peanuts     Ubisoft     2K Games     Bethesda Games     and more

Mariotti says it used to be hard getting companies to agree to sign on with them. But now, brands are banging down their doors to get their characters as a Pop!  The vinyl dolls are still their biggest seller,  the company made about $40 million in 2013. In 2016 that number was $425 million. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself.

The Products

The vinyl bobblehead dolls we’ve all come to love and recognize haven’t changed much over the years. The first few characters included Betty Boop, Cap’n Crunch, and The Cat in the Hat. Over the years, the dolls took on human characters, exaggerating the heads and eyes. They are 3.75 inches tall with a square head and rounded edges.

Now, you can find a Pop! Vinyl Doll of almost any character you can imagine, even minor characters. The dolls aren’t limited to fictional characters either. You can find Pop! Vinyl culture figures like Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols and Tupac Pop-ified, too!

The vinyl dolls have branched out to include Mystery Minis, Hiraki, Legacy Collection, Mopeez, and Home & Accessories. The Home & Accessories collection specializes in ceramic mugs, which are basically just glass copies of the heads of popular figures, hollowed out with a handle on one side. Vinyl Sugar was announced at Toy Fair 2015, with offshoot lines including Dorbz, Vinyl Idolz, Vinyl Vixens, and Super Deluxe Vinyls.

From their first introduction at Comic Con in 2010, Pop! Funko Vinyl Dolls have blown up to include almost 3,000 unique pieces and 40 million units. They all have the recognizable Pop! Funko Vinyl style while boasting individual characteristics that make the character recognizable. They’re intensely collectable. Selling at only $10, you can build a huge collection quickly. There are also extremely rare, limited edition Pop! Vinyl Dolls. Funko created a Pop! Of JJ Abrams just for Kathleen Kennedy.

“You have to have the huge Walking Dead or Game of Thrones items that everyone wants, but you also need to do Firefly or Dodgeball. There are fans looking specifically for that and we might be the only company offering something to have on their desk,” says vice president of creative Ben Butcher. “It’s very important that we’re not just going for the big home runs.” Adds Mariotti: “If it doesn’t sell out, that’s okay. If everything was bottom line-generated, our line would be boring and probably wouldn’t be half as successful.” (I had to bold that out. It’s rare to find a company of this size that is willing to step out and take on a niche in this day and age.)

Next time you walk into a store that has Pop! Funko Vinyl dolls on display, take a closer look. It’s hard to come across a rare one and new reboots, new shows, and new movies mean Funko will never run out of source material. But know that each doll came from the singular idea to create something simple, fun, and cute for the fans.

k.

 

Additional Info:

Ever Hear of Funko?
Funko on Wikipedia
The Incredible Rise of Funko Pop!

Writing Life Comic #11: A Mind of One’s Own

The truth is, some days writing a book is a bit like open warfare. You, the author, often have very particular ideas about what you want your characters to do, how you want them to do it, when and so on. You’d think, since you’re the writer, that you were in control. You’d be wrong.

Once characters emerge fully fleshed in the story they often develop a mind of their own. The story will sometimes teeter out of your control as your muse gives it a goddess-like shove in a direction you never intended. And your characters, well, they might have ideas of their own about how to act in a given situation.

Characters have a mind of their own

Meandering Through Cambodia

wandering through angkor wasGreetings readers! I’m off wandering through Cambodia right now. I’m looking for the Naga, the dragons of the Kmer people, and spending a surprisingly large chunk of time wondering if I can possibly bring myself to eat a tarantula. I might also be feasting on crab and seasoned with the best pepper in the world, napping or reading on a beach. Regardless, I’m not here right now, though you’ll see me feverishly posting pictures over on Facebook and Twitter during the small windows of time I have wifi.

I’ll be back with more blog posts mid-February. Until then, read on book worms. Read on.

k

I Hate Fan Theories

I hate fan theoriesI have a confession to make. I hate fan theories. Whether about film, television, books or any other medium, I can’t stand them.

I get it. I really do. When I fall in love with a book the first thing I want to do (after I mourn leaving the world behind of course) is find other people who loved it as much as I did. I want to talk about the characters, I want to get their thoughts on that store twist I wasn’t expecting or the plot tidbit that was not wrapped up at the end, and malign the big bad, or whatever. The point is, I want to connect with other readers who loved the book too. Read more

No Man’s Sky – A Review

No Man's Sky GameOk ok, I’m late to this game, I know. I’ve been resisting upgrading my gaming console for… well, forever, frankly. I was still using my Xbox 360 for fuck’s sake, so you know the last time I made a console purchase. I work full time and my evenings are spent working on my novels and my business so I don’t have a lot of extra time for gaming right now.

But… I’d been following the news about this game. I’m a tech geek, and the design of this game fired my imagination. For those of you that don’t know, No Man’s Sky is an action adventure survival game. It’s all about exploration, survival, combat and trading. None of this is particularly special, but what is unique is the 18 quintillion planets to discover and survive. I don’t even know how many zeroes that is. For the purposes of us mortals, that is essentially an infinite universe to explore. Read more

Reviews: The Rampart Guards and Wake of Vultures

The Rampart Guards, Wendy Terrien

The Rampart Guards Cover

I don’t know what I would do if my mother went missing and my dad moved me to a boring small town out in the middle of nowhere, but Jason Lex is forced to deal with this very reality in the pages of Wendy Terrien’s book The Rampart Guards.

What I like most about The Rampart Guards is that there really isn’t a bad guy. The real world is a complicated place. There are no purely evil people, and even the vilest of humans often see themselves as the hero of their own story. This is the sort of antagonist you find in The Rampart Guards. A complicated antagonist who believes most fervently they are doing the right thing by everyone they love. Read more

Writing Life Comic #10: Why Would You go Indie?

I had an interaction quite similar to this very recently. It’s easy to be a critic, much less easy to really try to create something, do it well, and put it out in the world. I say Fuck the critics, fuck the naysayers, the people who tell you your dreams are silly or impossible or impractical. Fuck the people who seek to undermine what it is you strive for and believe in most passionately.

The creative path isn’t always an easy one. It’s hard walking the road less traveled, but ultimately it is so much more rewarding. I published my second fiction novel this week, and I have a third non-fiction book and course helping writers with their WordPress websites. The second novel in my current series will be published in June, and I’m halfway writing the third. I made those. I created them out of my sweat, my tears, my time. Nothing can beat that.

Why Indie Commit

 

Happy 2017 Now Get to Work!

get to work
Artwork Courtesy of Pixabay.com

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season, and an amazing new year. I took the week between Xmas and New Years off and it was glorious. I didn’t play much. Instead I got to work. I wrote half of book three of the current Ling series! I also spent a fair amount of time playing on the new Playstation and learning the ropes on No Man’s Sky (more on that later).

I also spent a fair amount of time thinking about what I would like to get done in 2017 for my writing business. I am a very goal oriented person. Honestly, I have to be. If I don’t break giant projects into tiny bite sized pieces I’ll become overwhelmed at the work in front of me and I’ll never even get started. So, I thought I’d share my plans for 2017 with you, and give you maybe a tiny sneak peek at what’s headed your way this year. Read more

I’m Sorry, I’m Busy Reading Right Now

winter-1809100_1920It’s cold here at the foot of the Rockies. There might even be snow on the ground or swirling around in frigid air. Either way, I’m snug as a bug curled up in front of a fire with a steaming mug of tea in front of me and a book open on my lap. You should be too!

Sending all of you the most wonderful of holiday wishes, I’ll see you all in the new year!

Advanced Copies of Across the Darkling Sea!

Across the Darkling Sea coverI told you it would happen, and here it is, your path to advanced copies of Across the Darkling Sea. Between today (12/21) and 12/31/16 at midnight mountain time if you sign up for my mailing list I’ll send you a FREE advanced download of Across the Darkling Sea. I can’t think of a better way to spend your holiday time off. Though, come to think of it, I might be a bit biased. 😉

Sign up at the link below and I’ll send you the digital format of your choice (epub, pdf, or mobi). Please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads when you’ve finished! Read more