Saturday, February 27, 2016

Nature Boy Ric Flair & Rowdy Roddy Piper POP! figures

Rowdy Roddy Piper
[click to embiggen]
American toy maker Funko really struck gold with its Pop! brand of licensed vinyl figures. Originally founded in 1998 by a guy named Mike Becker out of his home in Washington state, Becker’s original intention was to recreate nostalgic bobblehead toys, banks, and such. His first product was an iconic Big Boy bobblehead, and he went on to create the popular “Wacky Wobblers” line of bobbles. According to an article on Funko in Rolling Stone, Becker tired of the grind and sold the company in 2005 to a passionate collector by the name of Brian Mariotti, who is the current Funko CEO.

Mariotti and Funko introduced the first Pop! figures in 2010 and, after initial pushback from fans, the line took off like a rocket. Last year, Funko did some $40 million in sales, almost 70% of it attributed to the company’s familiar Pop! figures. Yeah, they all look alike – small body, big square head with rounded corners, round black eyes – but it’s the little details that capture the fanboy’s imagination. A baby Groot Pop! from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie has small green shoots growing from his head; Agent Coulson from the first Avengers movie and TV’s Agents of Shield series, is clad in his familiar sunglasses and a blue suit; a Deadpool figure has weapons in hand. Pop! figures are available for nearly every popular TV series, comic character, or movie. Toss in a comfortable $8.99 suggested price tag and it’s easy to fill one’s shelves with Pop! figures.

Nature Boy Ric Flair
[click to embiggen]
In the past year or so, Funko has been doing exclusive figures for Target like the two wrestling icons shown above. Older fans of WWF/WWE wrestling will remember the legendary “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, widely considered one of the best pro wrestlers in history, and the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, one of the most notorious “heels” in the business.

The Target exclusives for these two are pure delight, the Flair figure featuring his golden mane and outrageous pink ring robe, Piper’s figure featuring his familiar checkered red kilt and lightning bolt “Hot Rod” t-shirt. Both of these guys were consummate performers inside, and endlessly entertaining outside of the ring, finding a welcome home in the Reverend’s office next to my Marvel and DC superhero figures. Find ‘em both at Target, but hurry up, ‘cause once they’re gone…

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