Funko would not be the same without all of the wonderful Funatics that come together to help make up the Funko Family. To show our appreciation we're taking some time to introduce you to other Funatics in the community, and with that, please say hello to Harold Puma.
When and how did you first learn about Funko? Did you start collecting right away or did it develop over time?
"The first time I came across a Funko product was in the spring of 2015, and it was in Pop! form. I was visiting a friend who has a deep affinity for Batman; and every time I visited, he would share a different part of his Batman collection. One of those times, he brought out a Domo Batman Funko Pop, and I was quickly captivated by the look and style of the figure. I had many questions! But more importantly, this marked my first interaction with a Funko product.
My collection had a slow start; but thereafter, it quickly grew. For the next year since my first encounter as I became more aware of the Funko brand, I began noticing it in places where I was already a regular. Then one day in the summer of 2016, I was driving through town and came across a new comic book store. I decided to stop by; and when I stepped inside, the first thing that caught my eye was a Funko Pop. This day became the day I made my first purchase! By early 2017 as I began to discover retailer exclusives, my Funko knowledge rapidly increased and my collection grew with it. By the summer of 2017, I learned about convention exclusives and my collection expanded exponentially. Today, I own over 500 figures across different Funko lines but mainly from the Funko Pop! line."
Were you a collector before you encountered Funko?
"You bet! I've been a collector since very little. Back then, the fandoms I gravitated towards were animation inclined with Pokémon having the biggest impact. With Funko however, I was able to easily reach more fandoms whose collectibles didn't appeal to me before."
When would you say you switched from being a collector to becoming a Funatic? What does Funko Family mean to you?
"Oh Yes! I remember that moment very clearly. Not many times do you notice when you undergo a metamorphosis, but this was one of the rare occasions when I did and it made it more special. I evolved into a Funatic in the summer of 2018 during SDCC. My friend (yes that same Batman crazy friend!) and I attended SDCC for the first time that summer. The opportunity came up last minute, and we decided to blindly embark on the journey. It wasn't until we arrived at the convention scene that we understood the magnificence of SDCC. And among the beautiful madness, one thing stood out. In all its blue glory, the legendary Funko booth captivated our nerdy, little hearts. It was the first time I learned of it; and as I explored it, I noticed several groups of people crowding around. I was able to exchange some stories with a few of them and that's when I discovered something very special. They were all interconnected, and Funko was their common ground. I shared, with one of them, that I too would one day like to form part of the Funko community. He replied, “You are already part of it!” At this moment, I understood that I had turned a new leaf. I realized that Funko wasn't only about the figures you collect, but also about the relationships we build along the way. With a little help, I was able to see what was always there and became a Funatic.
To me, Funko Family is the unspoken connection all of us Funatics share. It's the link that binds us all together. It doesn't matter what race, sexual orientation, or political beliefs we may have. Funko Family transcends all our differences and strips us down to our core. It helps us realize we are all the same, equal. And with this common base, we can build and move forward. There are no barriers, no boundaries, no borders. Funko Family is one. <3"
What Funko lines and fandom(s) do you collect?
"Oh my goodness! I collect so many different lines and fandoms! I almost panicked, but then I remembered I downloaded the Funko App. Ha! It helps me keep track of my collection; and thanks to the filter feature, I can easily see I own 5 Star, Funko 'I'm a fan of' Buttons, Dorbz, Funko S-S-S-SODA, Mystery Minis, Funko Pins, Funko x Loungefly Pop! Pins, Paka Paka, Pocket Pop!, Pop! Keychain, Pop!, Pop! Cereal, Pop! Moments, Pop! PEZ, Pop! Rides, Pop! Town, Pop Tees!, and Vinyl.
The fandoms I collect stem from nostalgia and current pop culture, and there are a lot of them! A big part of my collection comes from animation, movies, heroes, video games, and Freddy Funko; and the rest is evenly split between music and television."
Do you have favorite fandom(s) that hold special meaning to you?
"Nostalgia plays a big part in my collection, so anything that brings me back to a simpler time really resonates with me. Most notably Pokémon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, DC Comics, Kingdom Hearts, Naruto, Myths, and Freddy Funko of course."
Is there anyone you share your fandom(s) with?
"Yep yep! My fiancé and I share DC Comics. Remember my Batman crazy friend? lol We couldn't exactly merge our collections because he only collects DC, with the majority being Batman figures. Regardless, we support each other's collecting endeavors, which is a great perk to have. This way we don't have to "finesse" each other to add to our collections. lol"
What was the first Funko piece in your collection?
"My first Funko figure was Robin #2, but not the old school DC Universe one. It was the version with the black DC Super Heroes label."
Is there a particular Funko art or figure style that you enjoy?
"My favorite Funko art style is the Metallic paint finishes some figures have; most notably some convention exclusives from back in the day as well as some chase variants. The sheen these figures have make them look very appealing, almost like candy!
I'm also a big fan of Glow In The Dark figures, so the new Black Light Pops! also appeal to me!"
How do you display your collection? In box, out of box, shelves, cases?
"I prefer to display my collection in-box and on the main shelves in the living room. From time to time, I rotate between fandoms so they all get some time in the spotlight, with the exception of my Freddy Funko collection. That fandom is displayed at the top all year round! Although, I don't have any rules against taking my collection out-of-box because I enjoy photographing it; and to achieve the best results, I always take the figures out of their box. After I'm done though, they go right back into their packaging, which I try to keep as pristine as possible."
Is there anything not made by Funko that you collect: for example, things like vinyl records or sports memorabilia?
"Indeed, I do! I have a small Tiny Ghost by Reis O'Brien collection, and a small Chomp by Abominable Toys collection. Also, I like to collect rainbow themed figures!"
What movie/show/game/album/podcast are you currently watching/playing/listening to?
"I'm currently watching WandaVision. I'm amazed by the work placed in the making of this show. From the production design to the writing, literally every piece in it is not wasted at all. Everything in the show has a purpose, and it makes it more fun to watch. It's almost like a scavenger hunt. Also the conversations that stem from each episode keep it current until the next episode airs. All in all, WandaVision is an amazing experience. The next piece of entertainment I can not wait to digest is Zack Snyder's Justice League!
I'm also currently revisiting Pure Heroine and Melodrama by Lorde. When it comes to music, lyrics appeal heavily to me. Lorde is a great storyteller, and her lyrics are loaded with so much meaning. I enjoy both of these albums so much that I even workout to them!
In my down time, I'm split between Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, Pokémon GO, and Pop! Blitz!"
What do you love about Funko?
"The community is the best. I love how supportive we all are to each other. Whether in person or through social media, every single Funatic I've been fortunate to befriend is inspiring; and to me, inspiration is priceless. As long as we have Funko, it doesn't matter where we come from. We are all just one big Family."
What's your favorite Funko memory?
"Ah! Yes! My favorite Funko memory happened at Funko HQ during ECCC 2019 when my partner, David, and I got engaged! That trip to Seattle was amazing all throughout. I'll never forget it. ^_^"
What motivated you to start photographing your collection and sharing the photos on social media?
"My fellow Funatics motivated me. Seeing all the different photos posted on the boards and on social media really inspired me to give shooting my collection a try. When I started shooting my collection, I discovered a gratifying feeling that I never felt before. It added another layer of enjoyment to collecting because now I found a special way to share my collection with the world. My favorite time of each month is the Funko Photo-A-Day Challenge. The process that goes into each tiny shoot is very rewarding at the end of each day. Also, I thoroughly enjoy seeing everyone's posts and detecting each Funatic's style. But more than anything, I like discovering new Funatics and their photography. It fills me with inspiration and makes the creating process less challenging and more enjoyable."
Can you share a little bit about your thought process going into staging and taking photos of your collectibles? The way you use foreground and background in your Instagram images creates incredible results.
"Yes, of course!
If I'm tackling a theme for the day, then I like to make a list of possible photo subjects that may go with the theme. Then once I narrow it down to one, I begin staging the shoot with props I find fitting for the theme. I like to always save props from past shoots in a small bin, so I don't spend too much time finding or making new ones.
When I'm not following a theme but I would still like to share a new addition to my collection, I mainly focus on the fandom of the figure and draw inspiration from that. To me, this kind of shoot is not as challenging as when you have to follow a theme because you don't have any restrictions. For this kind of shoot, I like to play more with the foreground and background."
What advice do you have for other Funatics taking photos of their collection?
"Planning ahead is always a best practice. In my experience, a shoot becomes less enjoyable when I'm racing against the clock. Perhaps it's getting late or maybe you are approaching the post-by time. To me, shooting your collection under these circumstances is not ideal. So to solve this, I like to plan and take the pictures one day ahead. This way, if something goes wrong or my vision is not coming through, then I have time to regroup without feeling pressured.
Also, step out of your home every once in a while. There are some great photo opportunities out there. You don't always have to stage a photoshoot. Mix it up a little.
Lastly, have FUN!"
If licensing wasn't a limiting factor, what would be a Pop! collection you'd like to see made?
"I would love to see a Nintendo collection. Some of my favorite video games are under the Nintendo license.
I'd also like to see a Final Fantasy collection. It's one of my favorite fandoms!
I'd also like to see Gorillaz, Daft Punk, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Lorde, and David Bowie among others."
Anything additional you'd like to share with the Funko Family?
"Also Hot Take, Pineapple does not belong on pizza; but if you like to add texture to your food, cashews totally do!"
Thank you again Harold, for taking the time to share details about your Funko experience and collection with the Funko Family.
For those who are interested in adding to their Funko Batman and Pop! Pokémon collections as well click through to check out Funko's online selection. If you are interested in possibly being a featured Funatic, you can tag @OriginalFunko on Instagram or Twitter along with a picture of you with your collection with #FunaticOfTheMonth.