STORY AND PHOTOS BY: GRESTER CELIS-ACOSTA
Some people are addicted to cigarettes, others to weed or alcohol, mine is collecting Funko Pops.
Funko Pops, for those of you who don’t know, are these little three to four-inch figures that often depict a pop culture character like Batman, Spiderman or Kurt Cobain.
My addiction to these little pieces of plastic all began in late October of 2016, when my girlfriend and I attended Los Angeles Comic Con.
Inferior to San Diego Comic Con, in terms of size and attendees, I enjoyed my weekend. I saw the great comic book legend Stan Lee, attended several panels, which included Mike Coulter, who plays the Marvel’s superhero Luke Cage and saw Batman himself, Kevin Conroy (sorry Christian Bale and Ben Affleck).
Aside from all the celebrities and hour-long panels, the rest of the time was spent walking around the show floor. The show floor was as you would expect, full of people, but among the sea of nerds, there were booths that sold comic books, art and of course collectible figures. Funko Pops being among those expensive pieces of plastic.
My girlfriend and I were amazed by the amount of Funko Pops there were and the different characters they covered. I swear it felt like I could find all of my favorite superheroes in like 20 different variants (I’m looking at you Batman).
My girlfriend eventually bought a couple of them, while I purchased one from the Hot Topic booth.
We were pleased with our purchases and showed off our new figures from the comfort of our bedrooms. But little did we know that these purchases would soon multiply.
About a week or two after L.A. Comic Con, my girlfriend and I sat at the kitchen table after dinner and started to browse the never endless Funko Pop gallery that is on Amazon. Oh, were we fools. While scrolling through each page our eyes gleamed with every passing pop, as we discovered new figure after new figure.
We discovered that there was a Notorious BIG pop, three versions of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and the endless collection that is Game of Thrones.
We wanted them all, so we began to buy pops and it became our little hobby of sorts.
Within about three months my small collection grew and soon I needed space to put them all, so I then decided to place shelves along one of my bedroom walls.
I bought pops that ranged from superheroes, Game of Thrones characters, to video game characters.
Knowing that I couldn’t collect them all, I started to minimize my collection by focusing on exclusive figures, but boy let me tell you was I wrong. The number of exclusive figures was long and most of them were pricey.
But as any collector, you don’t buy the old exclusives. You buy the new upcoming ones because the old tend to go for several hundred dollars.
So, I proceeded to continue on my quest to have an awesome collection.
One of the biggest events every year is San Diego Comic Con and every year Funko unveils a line of over 50 new figures exclusive to the con. In past, Funko has sold metallic variants of popular Disney characters like Mr. Incredible and Sulley. These figures often tend to be on the very expensive side in the second-hand market aka eBay. I did not attend the convention, I did however, attend a Funko Pop-up shop that opens during SDCC; outside of the convention.
At this pop-up shop, Funko sold exclusive figures that a person could only get at the shop. On top of that number of attendees were limited to 400-500 people a day for three days.
While originally not planning to attend, I decided last minute to go mainly because Funko was going to be selling an exclusive Daffy Duck figure that was limited to about 2000 pieces. I had to get my hands on it.
Now this trip was very tedious because I was not able to get in the first day, but had guaranteed access the second day. With very little money I could not afford to get a hotel room in San Diego, so I had to drive back to back days from Los Angeles to SD. That was a real pain in the ass, I gave up several hours of valuable sleep; however, on the positive side it was summer, so I had no classes.
All in all, I was able to get the Daffy, along with three others; Pete Puma from Looney Tunes, a green furry Scooby Doo and a neon green Marvin the Martian (don’t ask me why they were green, I have no idea).
I was very happy with my purchase and ecstatic that I did not have to pay second-hand market price for it because one thing that sucks about being a Funko Pop collector are the “flippers.”
“Flippers” in the Funko Pop community are people that do not care about collecting instead their focus is on buying as many of the rare exclusive figures and reselling them on eBay for outrageous prices.
For example, the Daffy that I was able to purchase at the pop-up shop was $15 retail, but “flipper price” ranged from $150-$200 at the initial release. Now it’s about $90-$120 depending on the seller.
This is the one drawback to collecting anything whether it be shoes, cars or even little pieces of plastic.
Getting around “flippers” has been fairly easy since I've been able to pay retail price for about 90 to 95 percent of my collection.
At this point of my collecting quest, I have about 160 Funko Pops. I’m happy with my collection, I look at it as any other hobby.
Now while for some people it may seem as though I have an insane collection, some people have far bigger collections. I have seen people that have dedicated rooms to just their figures. It’s insane.
My Funko Pop collecting has dwindled since I have only purchased about three figures over the past three months. I don’t expect to ever have a room dedicated to these plastic things, plus selling or trading is always a way to minimize my collection.
Who knows if Funko Pops will grow out of style, but for now the craze is still on and the hunt for these figures does not seem to end anytime soon.