Funko Pop History

Funko was originally a bobble head company founded in 1998 by Mike Becker to create a low tech nostalgia-themed toy in a high tech filled world. Pop Vinyl! was a toy line created by Funko in 2010, heavily inspired by the Japanese style of ‘Chibi’ (short and cute). The characteristics of a Pop Vinyl! is that they tend to have a small nose, no mouth, large black eyes and usually quite wide faces.

Each Pop Vinyl! is categorised into their genre or even their franchise, some of the groups are Pop! Movies, Pop! Television, Pop! Disney, Pop! Star Wars, Pop! Animation, etc.

One of the first Pop Vinyl!’s released to the public was at San Diego Comic Con in 2010, where Funko sold a metallic blue and grey Batman from the DC Universe, as well as a glow in the dark Green Lantern. One thing that makes these figures differ from the ones we see today is the packaging, instead of the more common/ iconic box, Pop Vinyl!’s were bought in a plastic oval shape where the figure was able to move about, rather than being secure. Today these figures can be sold for over $300 due to the rarity.

Moving on to 2011, Funko began to make Pop Vinyl!’s that weren’t just company figures and DC characters, in this year they had moved on to popular characters from Disney and well known animation. These figures were not the most detailed as Funko were still experimenting with textures and shapes, this was the year they mainly introduced the famous black eyed look.

The year following that, Funko had decided to create their own branch of Pop Vinyl!’s called Ugly Doll, which were a bunch of bizarre creatures that are bright colours with some features including wings, fangs and strange ear shapes. Rare ones include (white) ICE-BAT, (red) NINJA BATTY SHOTGUN, (purple) OX and (black) WAGE.

With the introduction of new television series, films and games entering the high-tech world, Funko began to create more figures from each category, for example this was the first year of the release of a ‘The Walking Dead’ Pop Vinyl!. Additionally they brought out interactive Pop Vinyl!’s where the figure would intentionally have parts of it falling off, for example ‘Game of Thrones’ Ned Stark, whose head would pop off to recreate a scene in the TV series.

2014 onwards Funko had released several thousand types of Pop Vinyl!’s, one including a blank Pop Vinyl!. With this release collectors began developing pre made figures into unofficial Pop Vinyls!‘s, including anime characters, YouTube figures, universe crossovers, etc. This will be what I will do with my figure, however I will base it off myself with a chosen outfit.


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