The 40,000-square-foot Funko Hollywood, located a block from the Pantages Theatre, is not Funko’s first but second brick-and-mortar location. What is Funko Pop! or simply Pop! ? Six months ago I asked an associate this question at a licensed Funko retail store. Now I own 12.
Funko Pop! is a vast assortment of vinyl toys featuring pop culture characters, often with an enlarged head, and packaged in a 3.5 x 4.5 x 6.25inch box on which the Pop’s name, number, and category are specified. Also listed are the series or the line’s other figures – a clever marketing scheme to achieve higher sales. “COLLECT THEM ALL!” is the exact wording printed in all capital letters and in more than one language. Most Funko Pop! weigh about the same; an exception is Disney Princess Rapunzel whose long hair adds a few ounces.
If Funko Pop! designers could think unconditionally outside the box, they would create limited editions featuring notable tea masters like Lu Yu (陸羽)(733–804), that worldwide tea enthusiasts would swarm to purchase and collect. The only tea personality capturing the designers’ attention is the fictional Uncle Iroh (#539 in the Nickelodeon Animation Series) from the animated series Avatar, the Last Airbender.
There are of course more than one Alice in Wonderland Pops posing in teacups: Alice at the Mad Tea Party (purple tea cup, #54), Cheshire at the Mad Tea Party (yellow tea cup, #80), Mad Hatter at the Mad Tea Party (Target exclusive, teal tea cup, #87), so on. The company also manufactures the Mad Tea Party Topsy-Turvy Teacups Game, playable by up to 10 people.
Nowadays, to keep myself informed of what is trendy and desirable, I frequently end my shopping center visits at a licensed Funko retail store but seldom make purchases. This past holiday season, while looking for a present for my brother (a loyal Jimi Hendrix fan), I noticed how Hendrix Pops were surprisingly well-designed, especially Rocks Series #53 depicting guitar burning. Unopened, brand new 2011 Purple Haze Pop, numbered “01” in the same series, costs more than $1,000. $12 Live in Maui Pop, released in November, 2021, is just as ideal as far as gifting is concerned.
I had a much better time at Funko Hollywood than at the overly-hyped Immersive Van Gogh when touring that neighborhood on a weekday last year. Visitors were so sparse that the associates encouraged customers to build a Funko Pop! of oneself. The therapeutic process led to the creation of me in retirement.
Images provided and copyright held by author