This year, Funko Pop! released a bunch of their San Diego Comic-Con “exclusives” in retail chains throughout the country. Some of us thought this was a great idea. Others were decidedly unenthusiastic. Jen and Alex seemed to have the most extreme reactions to the issue. Read on to find out why.
Alex and the East Coast Search for West Coast Funko Pop Treasure
This is my first “serious” year looking for exclusives from SDCC and, even though I wasn’t going to the con, Funko Pop! had a special release of select exclusives through stores like Barnes & Nobles and Hot Topic. This was good news, especially since I live all the way in Tallahassee, on the other side of the country from the convention. The extra releases made the pain of not being at SDCC a little more tolerable. If you’re a collector just looking to nab a neat figure without the huge burden of going to SDCC, however, this is the best route to getting exclusives.
So my game plan this year was to shop locally for the exclusives I could get and then hit the online stores for the true exclusives from the con. There were leaks online as to which stores would have which Funko Pop!s, so coordinating with friends was a cinch. I went to Hot Topic and my friends hit Barnes & Noble when the stores opened at 10 am, and within about an hour everybody had the exclusives they wanted. If we hadn’t rushed the stores in the morning, things wouldn’t have been so great. A friend that wasn’t able to come out with us had to wait until noon to come to the stores and he couldn’t find a thing he wanted. By 5 pm the Hot Topic was bone dry; nothing but French Mistake Castiel and the new Pop Tees were still available. The basic takeaway is that even though there has to be some effort involved this is a far easier process to getting exclusives than trekking to SDCC and praying to survive a line before it gets cut off.
You could also use eBay. Using eBay is a bit of a toss up and you have to think in terms of what you really want versus what looks neat. My goal this year was a Princess Leia Unmasked in her bounty hunter uniform from Return of the Jedi; one of a few SDCC exclusives available only at the show. It was nerve wracking waiting for a Buy Now option, but eventually one appeared. It did come at a cost, but compared to the cost of traveling to SDCC and the time waiting in line, it’s barely worth noting. Though compared to finding exclusives through local stores, I prefer going through stores and coordinating with my friends. Never mind the difference in pricing, it’s a bit more fun to go from store to store finding desirable treasure. Especially if this experience can be easier to obtain than taking your entire social circle and yourself to SDCC. You might say that exclusives coming to town is an excellent way to bring SDCC to you than the other way around.
Jen And the Case For A Coastal Dichotomy
I really like Funko Pops. I do not, however, go out of my way to collect them or pay more than $10 per pop (All standard size Pops are $9.99 when they premiere). I like to live vicariously through press releases and Pop collector galleries. I do, however, have a huge collection of books–the centerpiece of which is two complete and three partial Harry Potter collections. I have the initial hardcovers that my family bought as they were released, the paperbacks I took with me to college, several British copies I bought when studying abroad, an Italian copy my best friend bought when she traveled abroad, and one “adult” cover copy of Prisoner of Azkaban. I love my Harry Potter collection–and I would be pissed if all of a sudden the more rare items in that collection were made less impressive by, for instance, an American release of the British covers.
When Funko announced that the San Diego exclusives would be released at Barnes and Noble, I balked. I thought it was a joke at first. Once the items are available elsewhere, doesn’t that disqualify them from being called “exclusives”? Should they then be demoted to “limited run” Pops? I suppose that sounds less awesome, so I can see from a marketing perspective why the name wouldn’t change. However, it grinds my gears that they didn’t get a name change along with their distribution changes. Once Hot Topic was releasing even more of the Exclusives, I threw my hands in the air. They’re not exclusives anymore, guys. It’s official.
While Alex makes a good point that not everyone can make it out to San Diego, and for collectors that might be an issue, I don’t understand how national distribution is somehow the same thing. To me, it’s worse–it makes the actual exclusives less special, and owning one less impressive. While he does describe a treasure hunt, to me it would be somehow less satisfying to come home with those British cover Harry Potters if I just bought them at my local bookstore. They wouldn’t be British anymore, and as any good Anglophile knows, if it’s not British it’s not worth the trouble.
Releasing the SDCC “Exclusives across America annoyed me when it was announced, and it annoyed me throughout the day watched my facebook feed blow up with folks hunting and finding exactly what they were looking for. It takes away all the intrigue, all the levels of difficulty…all the exclusivity.
What do you guys think? Did you snag some San Diego “exclusives” at your local bookstore last weekend? Should their title be changed? Or, like Jen, are you itchy just thinking of the golden Bender figures now all over the country on people’s shelves?