Welcome Funko frequenters! This month we're excited to feature Sarah Gopaul as December's featured Funatic. Please welcome Sarah, and let's jump into it!
When and how did you first learn about Funko? Did you start collecting Funko items right away or did it develop over time?
"At a local convention in 2015, I came across these cute horror and Minion figures. They featured characters I really liked, so I bought them. My first Pops! were from the four most iconic horror franchises — Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Leatherface — as well as several minions from Despicable Me 2. Suddenly, I was seeing Funko Pops everywhere, highlighting movies and television shows I loved. Shortly after, my first complete set was Big Trouble in Little China and I'd amassed a few hundred Funko items in less than a year. My horror collection remains one of my core lines and continues to expand to this day."
Would you consider yourself a "collector" before you encountered Funko?
"As a kid, I collected a number of different things: stickers, POGs, collectible trading cards, Beanie Babies. I was attracted to them because they were linked to other things I liked, such as movies, TV shows and cute animals. I've always enjoyed the challenge of hunting for missing pieces and the thrill of finding something I need."
When would you say you switched from being a collector to becoming a Funatic? What does Funko Family mean to you?
"In 2016, my partner and I were purchasing Fundays Freddy figures from someone local who attended the event. He told us about the Funko Funatic Board and it was like immediately connecting to kindred spirits. After several months of interacting online and enjoying this sense of community I'd never experienced before, we attended our first Funko event — Fright Night. We flew to San Diego just for the event and we were hooked. Since then, I've made so many friends that I've had the opportunity to meet in-person at various cons and Funko events, and many others I've still only remained connected with online. Regardless, we met because of our mutual enthusiasm for Funko, but our friendships have evolved beyond collecting and I feel lucky to have them in my life."
What Funko lines and fandom(s) do you collect?
"Horror is definitely my main line as I'm an avid horror movie fan, watching just about every genre picture I can. However, I'm a big movie and television fan as well, so Pops! from those lines make up the rest of my collection. While I like seeing figures from new releases, I'm never more excited then when I see older pictures I love transformed to Pop! form. I was beyond giddy when Snake Plissken was made into a Pop! then Funko Soda. Indiana Jones, Evil Dead, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are still some of my favourite pieces in my collection. And while I don't collect a lot of superheroes, I do have large sections devoted to Thor, Groot, and Wonder Woman."
With your favorite genre being horror, do you have a particular favorite "icon" among them?
"Freddy Krueger. He's my favourite horror icon and seeing that cool figure in a neat display box was like love at first sight."
Do you have additional fandoms that hold special meaning to you?
"As an extension of my love for horror, my favourite character is probably the hostess with the most… ahem, Elvira Mistress of the Dark. It may sound weird to say she was one my childhood idols, but she showed strange little girls like me that it was okay to be dark and weird (before Wednesday Addams or Lydia Deets provided more age appropriate examples). After all, she was one of the most popular ‘80s personalities. Meeting her at a convention many years ago was one of the most memorable moments in my life as I had the opportunity to express my gratitude to her. Seeing her again at the Making Fun premiere was wonderful as she remains kind and humble. Not surprisingly, my Elvira Funko collection holds a prominent place on my shelves."
Is there anyone you share your fandom(s) with?
"I started collecting first, but my partner, Joe, began his own collection a few months later as he similarly discovered Pops! of some of his favourite fandoms. Together, we discovered more Funko history and added older figures to our collection, including FunkoVision, wobblers, original characters and other pieces to which we now have a special connection. I've also indoctrinated my mom, who has a fair-sized collection of her own."
Is there a particular Funko art or figure style that you enjoy?
"Funko Soda are unquestionably my current favourite Funko form factor. I was immediately attracted to the style of the figures and the cool packaging was a bonus. When I noticed local stores were receiving stock, I headed to the mall and was the only one to make a B-line for these awesome cans. I bought the first wave of releases and lucked out with three out of four chases. Since then, our Soda collection has grown exponentially to several hundred in less than two years. Still, regardless of the line, my favourite styles have always been flocked and glow-in-the-dark."
How do you display your collection? In box, out of box, shelves, cases?
"I'm an in-box collector, though I do take them out of the box to better appreciate the 360 design details. And for ones I want to display out-of-box, I'll buy one to rock and one to stock. Of course, Sodas are displayed out-of-can because it's the only way to enjoy the line's full offerings. It's all about shelves in our house since they can be multipurpose."
Is there anything not made by Funko that you collect?
"Funko is definitely my primary collection, but I also collect some other display figures, including Bearly Available, 2PetalRose, and Minion-related collectibles. I also have a large pin/button collection."
What movie/show/game/album/podcast are you currently watching/playing/listening to?
"Since the end of the year is approaching, I am watching films for awards consideration as I am a voting member of a film critic's association. Though I watch a lot of movies throughout the year, there's always a push at the end to see all the releases vying for critical acclaim. Most recently, a few of my favourite films are Belfast, Last Night in Soho, and Wolf. On television, there are so many things to watch. Shows I'm currently watching or can't wait to return include Yellowstone, Chucky, The Beatles: Get Back, The Boys, American Gods, The Witcher and everything Marvel- and Star Wars-related on Disney+."
Do you have any "traditions" that you've incorporated Funko collectibles in to?
"I often try to carry a Funko item with me when I'm going somewhere for the first time for photo ops. In addition, for several months I marked national and international day celebrations — such as “World Milk Day” and “National Smile Day” — with related photos on Instagram featuring a Funko figure. Of course, all of my Christmas-themed Funko Pops! and other figures are displayed as part of my holiday decorations each year."
What do you love about Funko?
"I love that there really is something for everyone. In spite of certain licenses not being available, I can always count on Funko to announce Pops! or other lines linked to a fandom I love, whether it be a movie or TV character, or a real-life icon or creator. It's for this reason my collection is so eclectic, ranging from favourite cartoon characters to movie icons to admired filmmakers."
What's your favorite Funko memory? (Or perhaps your top 2 if there's a tie.)
"Since Fright Night was our first Funko event, I think it remains one of my favourite memories. It was the first time we were able to meet other Funatics in person and the whole event was amazingly impressive, from the incredibly entertaining show and awesome production value to the shocking number of fantastic costumes by fellow attendees. It exceeded all expectations and made the trip totally worth it.
However, this year's FunKon is now running a close second as it gave all of us an excuse to travel to Hollywood and visit together, in-person, for the first time in what felt like ages due to the pandemic. Attending FunKon as a group and watching the Fundays stream together was a very special experience after being away for so long."
What motivated you to start photographing your collection and sharing the photos on social media?
"I used to share the occasional photo of new additions to my collection, but it was definitely the Photo a Day challenges that really pushed me to post more pictures on social media. I'm by no means a professional photographer, but as I continued to take part, I found the quality of my photos was improving and I was finding more creative ways to meet the daily challenges. This then inspired me to challenge myself to post a Funko photo every day for as long as I could — I made it to a little over four months before life finally ended the streak. But it's an exercise I'm glad to have done as it forced me to be creative and have fun."
Can you share a little bit about your thought process going into staging and taking photos of your collectibles?
"Once the monthly challenge is announced, I usually try to come up with a general plan of what my corresponding photos will be even if I don't have time to take them in advance. This involves scouring my Funko collection inventory for characters that fit the theme, then trying to think of the most fun/creative/appropriate way to stage the picture. Sometimes it's finding different clothes with specific patterns or colours that will serve as good backgrounds; or taking a walk around the neighbourhood to find a fitting backdrop; or getting a little crafty and fashioning props/accessories that complement the theme."
What advice do you have for other Funatics taking photos of their collection?
"These challenges are meant to be fun, so don't fret if you don't think your photography skills are up to snuff. Just snap your shots and over time you'll find your abilities will naturally improve with practice. Also, use other people's photos for inspiration for future challenges by noticing the framing, lighting, arrangement, etc."
If licensing wasn't a limiting factor, what would be a Pop! collection you'd like to see made?
"So many! Most of my horror favourites have been made, but there are still so many movies I'd still love to see: Kathleen Turner's V.I. Warshawski, Sylvester Stallone's Cobra, John Waters' Cry Baby are just a few favourites that come to mind."
Sarah, thank you for taking the time to share details about your Funko experience with the larger Funko Family.
For those who are interested in adding to their Funko Horror collection and/or Funko Movies & TV collection as well, click through to check out Funko's current 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.