With the New York Toy Fair canceled this February, it’s every toy company for themselves as they plot their 2021 reveals for the masses. Funko led the pack at the end of January with Funko Fair (January 19-29), a nearly two-week-long preview of new 2021 licenses.
Funko’s ever-popular POP! 3 3/4-inch vinyl figure format dominated this year, with their new Soda canned vinyl figure concept taking a massive backseat (not a good sign for the line). Mystery Minis and Pocket POP! keychains are still (barely) hanging in there, as is plush, now called POP! Plush (all about rebranding and seeing what sticks).
Despite a lot of fan filler across all of Funko’s already established licenses (Harry Potter, WWE, DBZ, The Office, etc), the company did manage to surprise with some unexpected new reveals (and the return of a few classics). Here’s what stood out for us at this year’s Funko Fair 2021!
This late Funko Fair announcement, timed with the release of the Godzilla vs. Kong trailer, unveiled 11 vinyl figures in both the standard 3 3/4-inch POP! format, as well as several super-sized 10-inchers (with four retailer exclusives thrown in for good measure). Fans will be treated to the King of Monsters and King Kong in numerous angry kaiju poses, including the great ape wielding a weapon in the form of an axe (that’s gonna hurt)! I’m sure the Godzilla vs. Kong POP! assortment will only grow larger when the movie is released on March 31, as we’ve yet to see a POP! of (the almost 100% confirmed) Mechagodzilla. Funko’s Godzilla vs. Kong POP! release this April.
POP! Comic Covers takes the idea of not opening your toys to a new level. Seemingly inspired by their POP! Albums collection that debuted last year, this new series replicates classic DC Comic covers as a backdrop inside the packaging (as opposed to an album cover) and places the starring superhero front and center as an actual POP! vinyl figure. Where POP! Albums exploded out the gate with tons of releases, Funko appears to be treading carefully with POP! Comic Covers with only one set announced: Action Comics #1 starring Superman. A great debut launch, for sure, but here’s hoping Funko really embraces the series – it’s a brilliant concept for mint-in-box collectors (which many Funko fans are). I’m not sure if Marvel is part of the deal, but it’d be great to see their superheroes represented as well.
While you would have thought Funko had already tackled every major television sitcom known to man, Funko Fair 2021 held a few surprises. Among those were Frasier (which I hear is coming back?) and Happy Days (in addition to tons more POP! from The Office). While all great shows, my money is on a beloved classic from the ’60s, Bewitched. Retro TV fans will be treated to Samantha Stevens and her mother Endora, but what I really like is how they are treating Samantha as she appeared flying on her broom in the show’s animated credits! These Bewitched POP! are sure to look right at home with your Hocus Pocus POP! collection.
I had déjà vu when Funko announced their new GI Joe: A Real American Hero POP! Surely Funko had done GI Joe before? Sure enough, after a quick Google refresher, I realized the line originally debuted back in 2015 (whew, I wasn’t losing my mind). Regardless, Funko POP! styling has changed, and there’s no better time for new GI Joe POP! than now with Hasbro’s popular toy brand receiving a long-awaited rebirth. The initial Joe POP! assortment kicks off strong with classic Joe vs. Cobra characters including Scarlett and Baroness, along with masked ninjas Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. Of course, the coolest of the bunch had to be a Funko Store Exclusive, a throwback Snake Eyes with Timber! Still, good to see GI Joe is back – in POP! form and as action figures.
Like all the hot television sitcoms, you’d think Funko had tackled every major movie too. But noooo! Funko Fair again surprised with an unexpected modern classic, Bram Stoker’s Dracula! Directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now), this 1992 take on the blood-sucking Universal Monster was, in my humble opinion, one of the best vampire films ever made. It was certainly well-acted, as depicted in the POP! assortment releasing this April: Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing and Gary Oldman as Count Dracula / Vlad the Impaler. The latter receives royal treatment, including versions of Vlad dressed in crimson red battle armor from the beginning of the movie (alas, the awesome helmeted head is a Funko Exclusive), a young version dressed for success, along with an older Count. Be on the lookout for the cool chase of Dracula licking the bloody razor blade!
Here’s another unexpected cinematic gem! Light years better than the bland 2017 Tom Cruise remake, 1999’s The Mummy was a very fun film thanks to its energetic lead, Brendan Fraser as Rick O’Connell. Arriving this June, fans will receive a POP! vinyl figure of the daring adventurer, along with his feisty main squeeze Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz), and a radical POP! of the angry reanimated mummy Imhotep in his flowing sand-like state. Let us hope Funko stops here with this Mummy classic and doesn’t tread into the inferior (yet still fun) The Mummy Returns or The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
While Funko unveiled a few new Star Wars POP!, they mostly felt like leftovers from the final lackluster Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker. What did get me excited was seeing Funko continue their small vinyl figure Mystery Minis series, especially with characters from the far superior Disney+ series, The Mandalorian! This fun blind-boxed assortment mainly stars Season 1 characters, including numerous figures of Baby Yoda and his guardian Din Djarin, along with allies Cara Dune, Greef Karga, Kuiil, and IG-11 (sheds a tear). Big bads consist of Moff Gideon and a cool Flametrooper. Shame there’s no Ahsoka Tano, Boba Fett, Bo-Katan, or Dark Trooper, but hey, there’s always room for a Series 2!
With massive Japanese heavy hitters like Pokemon and Digimon already under their belt, it was a surprise to see Funko finally embrace Bakugan. Filed under Funko’s POP! Animation, this new series is based on the 2007 anime Bakugan Battle Brawlers, but don’t be fooled! Like Pokemon and Digimon, Bakugan is also a very popular tabletop battle game (currently owned by Spin Master in the U.S.), as well as a series of video games. Bakugan (anime) fans will receive six new individually sold POP! figures, including main heroes Dan and his Bakugan Drago, Runo and Tigrerra, along with Shun and Storm Skyress. An exclusive Target 2-pack of Ajit and Pharol (from the most recent animated series Bakugan: Armored Alliance) will also see release, saving you the trouble of hunting them both down. Look for them all this April.
Funko Marvel reveals were rather underwhelming this year, no doubt because of the pandemic delay in Marvel movies. As such, aside from some ho-hum WandaVision POP! and bizarre Infinity Warps POP!, Marvel fans are left with… more Deadpool POP! Let’s face it, you can never have enough fun with the Merc with the Mouth, especially the new POP! gems Funko introduced at Funko Fair, such as Flamenco Deadpool, Backyard Griller Deadpool, and my fave, Dinopool Deadpool! The new Deadpool POP! madness starts this March.
Goonies never say die! Indeed, the POP! series based on the popular 1985 movie, originally released way back in 2014, is back with new and improved POP! sculpts. Yes, even simple, stylized vinyl figures can improve – and what a great movie to give the updated treatment to (not to mention it’s a second chance for Goonies fans to collect their favorite characters!). Arriving this May, POP! collectors can get their hands on Sloth in his pirate get-up, “Truffle Shuffle” Chunk, Mikey with Treasure Map, and Data with his “Glove Punch” tech. A Walmart exclusive Sloth and Target exclusive Brady round-out this nostalgic collection.
While a one-off exclusive, the announcement of an EntertainmentEarth.com super-sized Krang POP! is nothing but good news for die-hard Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans! The brainy trans-dimensional alien ally of supervillain Shredder is all decked out in his menacing and well-armored robot body, ready to take on the Turtles and anything they might throw at him. Measuring roughly 6-inches tall – bigger than the typical POP! figure – this one-of-a-kind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Krang 6-Inch Pop! Vinyl Figure is a must-have for any TMNT POP! collection! Look for him this March.
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