The tendency to collect is an inherently human trait. From the beginning of time, we've collected things that didn't have outright useful value. From adornments on our clothing/person, to trophy mounts on our walls, to Funko Pop Figures on our mantle. Wait... what?
Funko Pop Figures have become a literal pop phenomenon in the past seven years since the very first “Pop!”s appeared at Comic-Con in 2010. Since then, Funko has expanded their vinyl figure lines to include video games, animation, television shows, movies, rock stars, sports players, and many more specific franchises.
Just like Beanie Babies in the 90s, everyone is scrambling to collect the rarer figures in hopes that they'll be worth money someday. On the flip side is the casual collector, like myself, that begrudgingly buys them every so often because Funko found a niche that I buy into. (Those Five Nights at Freddy's figures will be mine someday!) There are also fanatical collectors, like one of my bosses who has a literal wall (I kid you not) of bookshelves filled with Funko Pop figures. He's got a fever, and the only prescription is more Pops.
There's probably a complex psychological explanation for why we collect. Surrounding ourselves with things makes us feel more adequate and in control in an out of control world. It’s also been proven that buying things releases feel good endorphins into our system, which everyone loves. So Funko is able to capitalize on both of those things. Release multiple different kinds of figures to spark our collecting gene, and make tons of them which makes us want to keep buying for that next “high.”
When do we finally put our foot down and say, “No!” When do we finally shake our fist at the corporate overlords and say, “We see what you’re doing, and we won’t stand for it anymore!” There’s two answers.
The first is, of course, that we do this as of yesterday and reject the norm. We stop buying Funko Pop figures. We slap them out of the hands of our friends when they even pick them up to look at them at the local GameStop. (Which by the way, used to be about games, what happened there? A story for another time, perhaps.) The first step to recovering from a Pop problem is admitting we have one. Stage interventions for your friends that clearly need help. Sometimes we can’t help ourselves and need to rely on those we love. If you love your brother you’ll sit him down and tell him he needs to get help.
The other answer to the Funko dictators is to give in. What’s wrong with a little fix? We’re not hurting anyone. Unless you count the dollars and lint in our wallets that we empty out to purchase the figures we “just can’t live without.” So I like FNAF, and I want to have Foxy staring through those bottomless, plastic eyes at me while I write from my desk. Maybe I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Garrus and want to blow him a kiss every night. So I buy a Pop figure and put it on my nightstand. Sure, it might make my boyfriend jealous but he’ll get over it right? Right??
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, and I know plenty of people that hate them, Funko Pop figures are here to stay for the foreseeable future. They’re like a bullet train speeding directly to the hearts of those who can’t resist them. How do you feel about Funko Pop figures? Are you like me and simply can’t resist their cuteness? Or do you err on the side of sanity and overlook them whenever you encounter them? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!