Funko isn’t a stranger to any current pop culture convention. Almost every local pop culture event has third party sellers with Funko Pops. Most likely if you are a con-goer, you have a Funko Pop in your house or have given one as a gift, even if you don’t collect them yourself. These toys have become part of a lot of lives. Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) is no exception to this Funko phenomenon. ECCC not only has third party sellers but they are also lucky enough to have Funko itself attend the show.
The ability to purchase exclusive Funko products at ECCC is determined by a lottery held in advance. This year I was lucky enough to win a slot, and it felt good after losing a similar lottery at New York Comic Con. The time slot an attendee is assigned through the lottery process determines what exclusives they will be able to get. Winning a morning slot (10 am) in the first three days of the con is ideal for any collector. This means they will have a chance to get some of the more limited items. The afternoon time slot (1 pm) can still have some of the most popular items, but there are fewer of them available. This year, Funko’s ECCC exclusives included limited Pop items were Flocked Bigfoot, Teal Baseball Freddy, Spastik Plastik – Green Pulpo, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – Gideon & Ramona 2-pack, and Emerald Chrome Batman. They also have limited items for some of their other lines.
Getting to go through the Funko booth is always exciting for me. I don’t know if it’s because I know what it’s like to be turned down or if it’s just that I love to collect so much. A Funko employee will give each participant a photo of the items (which are numbered) and a correlating order form. While in line, each buyer marks down what they want to get. I always end up adding a few more items than I had originally planned. While I have never regretted grabbing something, I have regretted not grabbing something. Now I always grab it.
A lot of the items are shared by various retailers, so if you missed out on getting to go through the booth don’t worry, you still have a chance at getting the exclusives. The only difference in where you purchase your exclusives is the sticker on the front of the box.
Funko Headquarters is located in Everett, Seattle. This means that Funko isn’t just celebrating with exclusives at the convention but they are also selling them at the store. If you are willing to make the 30 minute drive from Seattle to Everett, Funko will make sure you are rewarded. At their headquarters fans can not only find a limited amount of exclusives (including some of the things that were being sold at their booth but also a limited number of variations of Baseball Freddy, Bigfoot, and Pulpo.
Funko at ECCC is more than just getting to go through their booth to buy pops, or even visiting the Everett store to do so. Funko closed down sales on Friday and Saturday and had artists doing sketches. A line of artists were there to draw attendees a sketch of their favorite pop. I asked for a sketch of Ash Williams from Evil Dead. If I could go back in time though I would change my request. It turns out if attendees asked the artista what they would like to sketch or design, the sketches were a lot better. The artists would even draw things they hoped to design one day. Just look at the two sketches below. You can tell which one was created from scratch and which one was done from a photo of the Pop!
Funko doesn’t go small at cons; they go big! And I’m not talking about their giant displays on the convention floor or in their store. Funko also has a podcast called Funko Funkast that did a live broadcast during the ECCC with the regular hosts: Cameron, Yoko, Sully and Hilary. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to listen to them record the podcast but it was a lot of fun. Not only did the audience know the podcasters but the podcasters themselves knew a lot of the audience members. They were very interactive with the crowd and there was no question that was too silly for them to answer. I could also tell that there were a lot of inside jokes directed toward their long-term listeners.
The Funkast also had a meet-up at the Funko Headquarters on Wednesday night, before ECCC began. Fans were invited to shop in the store after it was closed to the public. Not only did attendees get a chance at exclusives and chases (chases are variants of a pop that are more limited in number) but there were games, cookies, and the opportunity to meet the hosts of the Funko Funkcast. It was really a fun evening where you turned, there was always a Funko collector and a pop culture fan there to talk to.
Funko not only sells a product; it embraces it fans. Hardcore followers have found a community among other Funko collectors. What is even more amazing is how Funko has fostered this community and continues to let them know that they are appreciated. With Funko moving its headquarters north of Seattle this past year, I think it’s safe to say that ECCC is officially their local con. I’m excited to see what Funko has planned for future ECCCs, and I am hoping I’ll be lucky enough to take part in it.