I am a grown man with admittedly nerdy leanings, but I know I’m too old to be buying toys. And yet, how many toys (“collectables” if you prefer) do people – probably mostly men – in my age range buy? I think it’s quite a lucrative market for the right products. Nerdy stuff, retro stuff…nostalgia.
And so this brings me to Funko. They’re basic-shaped non-articulated figures that provide a caricature of pop culture characters. This is my collection:
I’ve recently added two more: Guillermo Del Toro and Purple-Rain-Era Prince (other eras are available).
They’re like membership cards to a specific club, or identifying marks so tribes can see whether you belong. Purchasing as identity; collecting as character.
And I was thinking that this is, yet again, a way to identify my infantilized generation versus the one that went before. But then I realized this isn’t entirely true. Sure, most adults in the generation above me grew out of their toy obsessions while my people continue to be advertised to as if we are kids with a ridiculous amount of pocket money. But that wasn’t universally true.
When my dad died, one of the things we struggled with (on a practical level) was what to do with his wall of Disney VHS tapes. Sure, he started – probably – by getting them for “the kids”, but once all the kids had grown out of them, he kept watching. And he wasn’t averse to the toys either. When I was looking for a small memento to bring back home with me to remember him by, this is what I chose:
I think, of anyone from his generation, my dad would understand my toy-collecting urge. In fact, he started it.