It feels like the closer we get to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the more we’re mostly hearing about how big studios are pulling away from the premiere event in the pop culture calendar. But now we know at least one stalwart is using the exodus to stake an even bigger claim at the con.
According to a company press release, Funko is bringing back last year’s SDCC “Funkoville” roughly twice the size for 2023, designed to better accommodate the swath of acquisitions the collectibles company had made around the time of the con last year, with expanded areas covering Funko Games, Loungefly, and of course, poster company Mondo. The major addition to the Funko presence this year is “Blockbuster Rewind,” a faux video store designed to promote the company’s new line of VHS-packaging themed collectibles.
“For 25 years, Funko has been a fan-first company,” said Brian Mariotti, CEO of Funko, said in the release. “This is why San Diego Comic-Con is a pinnacle moment for us every year, as it provides the opportunity to create memorable moments for our fans through larger-than-life activations. With the Funkoville booth being twice as big this year, we look forward to offering an even better way for fans to immerse themselves in their favorite fandoms.”
The news will no doubt come as something of a sore spot. Funko’s infamous SDCC exclusive vinyl toys have always created a sense of chaos around its presence at the con, and a bigger space is likely going to only exacerbate that on the show floor. But it also comes in the wake of a few months of even more heightened backlash against Funko than the usual critiques of its sameified pop culture merch fare—environmentalists lashed out at the company after it revealed unsold surplus stock was being sent to landfill to the tune of over $30 million a few months ago, and more recently the company came under fire from collectors and artists alike for the controversial firing of multiple Mondo leadership in order to re-align the limited-time poster company’s goals to make more products as a Funko affiliate.
Just how people are going to react to Funko’s even greater presence, in a Comic-Con that is becoming increasingly interesting to watch unfold—if not from the perspective of the usual major news we would see at the convention—remains to be seen. But it’s clear that so far at least SDCC 2023 is shaping up to be an intriguing event, if not for the usual reasons.
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