A Brief History of Funko
Funko history began in 1998 when Mike Becker founded the little company with a nostalgia-themed bobblehead line called Wacky Wobblers. The first item the company ever created was the Big Boy bobblehead. Over time, this once small company became a huge obsession with collectors and pop culture enthusiasts worldwide. The company’s most successful line, the Pop! Vinyl figure, officially debuted in 2010 (originally called Funko Force 2.0) and started a new addiction fans never knew they were craving. It seems there are new waves of Pop! Vinyl figures coming out every day, but while it’s the firm’s biggest, it’s not Funko’s only collectible line.
Funko’s Funkovision allowed fans to relieve the cartoons of their past. The line featured figures from Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Betty Boop, and Peanuts. While they’re no longer being made, they’re still a huge hit for collectors to hunt at conventions and on the Internet.
Funko’s history changed in 2005 when Brian Mariotti became the company’s new CEO. The first new line to come from his leadership was Fantastik Plastik. These vinyl figures included characters like Duck Dodgers, Wacky Racers, and Mad Monster Party. These differed from the bobblehead characters Funko was famous for because they were more like statues and static in nature, but still included the incredible detail Funko was known for creating. Following the success of the Fantastik Plastik line, the company released its own original characters in the Spastik Plastik line. This was a limited line that featured Funko’s very own characters that looked like pigs, clowns, and frogs, plus some weird and funny creations.
With the Mini Hikari line of figures, Funko added yet another assembly of adorable collectibles to adorn your desk. These baby-sized vinyl figures added flairs of color to favorite characters such as Darth Vader, Greedo, Freddy Funko, and Mickey Mouse. These figures were very limited in quantity at the time, but the Mickey Mouse figures are now available from Entertainment Earth in a 2-pack of red and black figures.
Recently, Funko came out with their Vynl. figures. This line reimagines some of pop culture’s most iconic characters in a soft and cuddly way that most people have never seen before. For example, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees as childish cartoon characters with blood still dripping from Jason’s machete. The line started with just three box sets, but it’s grown into yet another runaway addiction for collectors.
The success of Funko is easy to see whenever you walk into a comic book store or a mall. Pop! Vinyl figures are everywhere, and you can’t escape their draw and the addiction that follows your first purchase. This love has created a community of fans whose adoration of these little toys spawns friendships spanning the globe. It’s a friendly world of collectors who share their massive collections and fondness for being kids again. A documentary, “Make Fun – The Story of Funko,” currently on Netflix, gives a more in-depth history of Funko and the story of the company and the fans that helped make it a global phenomenon.
Are you a Pop! collector? How many are in your stash? What’s your most prized Pop! figure? Let’s talk about how Funko has affected your collections and your life in the comments below!