Funko fans rejoice! Comic Con is soon and we’ve got a few tips. Ellie Zoe takes a look at what Pop Vinyl collectors can expect with the Funko exclusive at conventions this Fall.
San Diego Comic Con used to be a special time of the year for Funko (especially Pop) fans. We’d see very limited, special releases of some of our favourite characters – often in metallic or glow in the dark variants limited to under 500 pieces. Nowadays, it’s not so much the case. Convention season for Pop fans is no longer limited to the summer, with both Emerald City Comic Con in the spring and New York Comic Con in the fall/autumn. Both of these events bring their own exclusives, and very few of them are the prized variants die-hard collectors look to own. You also don’t even need to visit the event to get the majority of the Pops you want either – with around 50 different items being made available to retailers for this year’s event alone.
Whilst yes, going to the booth is the only way to get some of the extremely limited items without paying a huge mark-up on the aftermarket, the majority of the other items for sale will all be reasonably easily accessible. There’s no guarantee that being at the event will even allow you access to the booth, as it often runs on a lottery system – meaning that you won’t be able to purchase anything at all if you’re unlucky. With that said, as a Funko collector of several years, and as someone who has been through the convention cycle a few times now – I’ve put together a few little tips to help make your purchasing experience a little easier.
If I could only give one piece of advice for convention exclusive shopping, it would be not to get swept up in the hype. It’s easy enough to look at a list of exclusives and mark 20 off that you want to buy, but that’s going to be more than a little expensive. Unlike the majority of Pop figures, which retail for £10 as an RRP, convention exclusives go for £15 minimum (again, at RRP). Whilst the older convention exclusives tended to have something innately special about them (such as a metallic paint job), many of the pops released now are just normal figures with a fancy sticker on. You need to ask yourself, would you still buy these pops if they were only commons? Or are you purchasing them because they are a convention exclusive? 20 exclusives at £15 each is £300, and are you actually going to end up with anything of real value out of it?
That’s not to say that all convention exclusives are a waste of money, and some can be very smart investment pieces or simply nice additions to your collection. Whilst it’s important not to go overboard with your spending, it is still important to make sure that you buy the Pops you really want whilst you have the chance to do so. There’s been plenty of times I’ve passed on a Pop only to regret it later, seeing it go for well over ten times the original value. I’d advise you put a little bit of money aside that you can buy a few of your favourites with, and use all of your time and energy tracking those down and securing them. You’ll feel far better a year on with five Pops worth £100 each than fifteen only worth a few quid.
This one is really important too – don’t be afraid to pay a little bit over RRP for a Pop that you really want. If a Pop is already selling for a higher price, it’s likely that it’s going to keep rising in value. It’s alright to pay £30 or £40 for something you’re going to love owning, especially if it’s going to be worth four times that amount down the line. Be careful you don’t pay too much for something still commonly available though. Golden Vegeta was selling for up to £130 earlier this year, when some shops were still receiving stock at £15. It’s not all about value of course, and the most important reason as to whether you buy a Pop or not is whether you like it.
How do we actually go about getting these figures then? As mentioned, the majority of convention exclusives are shared, meaning that a good amount of stock will go to regular retailers. If you’re in the States, you’re looking at Hot Topic, Gamestop, FYE and the like, but in England we’ve got places like Forbidden Planet, Smyths and HMV. Whilst it is possible to order these online, it certainly doesn’t hurt to actually go in store to make your purchases. Funko will announce which retailers will be receiving which Pops ahead of time, so you’ve chance to lay out an action plan beforehand.
Keep a cool head, don’t stress too much if you miss out on something you wanted, and move on. It’s easy to get obsessed, but there will always be another Pop you want and will have the chance to buy in the future. Toy collecting is supposed to be a hobby, and more importantly, fun. If you’re pulling your hair out over little bits of plastic, you’re not doing it right.
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