Uh huh. That’s right. Deadpool baby. We made all the noise, had all the fun, and took all the water!
Team Stitch – an entire section made up of kiddie tables. Pretty sure most of them sat in the hall.
Batman? Go gently into that Dark Knight.
Vader, who’s YOUR daddy now?
DEADPOOL 4 LIFE, BITCHES!
Okay. I’m done now.
Finally had some time to gather my thoughts since SDCC. I had intended to write a defense of Fundays last year but didn’t. I got lazy. As I was piecing together this post and comparing it to last year, I realized that Fundays was out of control last year. Not the rugby scrum that some people made it out to be, but it allowed (and encouraged, to a degree) a certain amount of rowdiness that went over the top. Our section was fine, most of us knew one another so we had a blast, but other parts of the room…it wasn’t so fine. When they weren’t fighting for giveaways, people up and stole them. Allowing people to stand on the chairs, in retrospect, should have been stopped. And throwing toys into a crowd of screaming Funatics…great on paper, bad in practice. Some protos can be pretty heavy and drunks can’t catch worth shit.
Still, it was the most fun I had during that entire con and hands down the best Fundays I’ve been to.
Flash forward to 2016.
Gone was the prize toss. Standing on chairs was out. Airhorns were out. (Technically, we have a bullhorn – totally different). And there was something that looked like event security hanging around here and there. Was there going to be any fun this year?
For the most part, yes, but it was a little touch and go there at the beginning.
While I hate several parts of my day job, the one I dislike the most is corporate networking. A bunch of tightwads in suits, standing around a lobby making small talk, bullshitting about business and baseball. Then, when you can’t take it anymore, they herd you into the dining room to have your balls bored off. Yay! Networking!
Guess what it felt like when I walked into Fundays? That’s right, a networking event. Fun-by-Committee time. My skin crawled. My soul withered. I got my ticket scanned, my Box of Fun, instructions for a good time and I immediately wanted to leave. I don’t do well with ‘suits’ and there was definitely a ‘suit’ influence to this event. We had security at the door (a first), most of the people checking tickets were dressed up somewhat, not t-shirts and shorts as in previous years, and there were a bunch of guys standing around in corporate-casual wear, watching the shit out of everyone who came through the door. I imagined that they were silently crunching the numbers, trying to figure out if this was the best use of the marketing budget. I’m probably being incredibly unfair and sounding like a giant cry-baby, but, you stand there being told to come together like a ‘Funko Family’ by an Izod wearing pair of Dockers without wanting to punch something. I figured he was new to having a good time and tried to let it pass.
Nope. Still bitter.
In all fairness to Funko, I was pretty tired from lack of sleep and standing in lines for three days, but still…fun is spontaneous, not forced. My biggest issue with the first hour or so was how hard it was trying to be fun. Before dinner, they had a big wheel in the lobby that you could spin for prizes ranging from protos to buttons. Like throwing prizes into the crowd, this idea was better as an idea. It should have been fun, except that the time it took to move 1500 people through the line was grossly underestimated. By the time the prize wheel wrapped up, they were spinning in groups of 15 or more and trying to get everyone back into the ballroom so they could start the presentation. It felt like that scene in ‘A Christmas Story’ where Ralphie visits Santa. Ho, ho, ho and down the slide you go. Don’t shoot your eye out, kid.
My mood improved with dinner. The food was decent. And everywhere. In previous years they had a fajita bar. I really missed that. Also missed, a life changing garlic cheese dip that was worth twice the price of admission. The drink situation was greatly improved. They were still limited to two freebies, but they had more bartenders this year. No more wandering off for drinks only to come back and realize you missed half the event.
Did I mention the garlic cheese dip?
To kick of the evening in the ballroom, there were some dance numbers, a video and a couple of scripted skits. Aside from the video, I didn't really get into this part of the evening. It wasn’t to my tastes. But as you’ve come to understand, I was a little out of sorts. I felt like things were kind of coasting along and I still wasn't sure how much longer I was going to stay. That changed the second Brian Willy Wonka’d the crowd, summersaulted across the runway, and gave away four trips to Funko! Whoa, WTF? Golden Tickets to Funko? Where’s that damn chocolate bar! That got a little dicey with people reaching in to grab extras, but they settled down with a little encouragement (SIT DOWN AND DON’T F**K THIS UP FOR EVERYBODY!) I didn’t win a trip, but a friend’s son shared his candy with me, which was super nice of him. I realized then, that I was being a dick about the whole evening up to that point. This wasn’t my night to be a pissy little shit.
What? Oh yeah, I forgot something.
The room was divided into four sections: Vader, Stitch (boo), Batman and Deadpool. Instead of throwing them into the crowd, prizes were given out by ‘random’ drawings of Funko cards (pull your suit-win a prize) and by ‘loudest’ section. I’ve put ‘random’ and ‘loudest’ in quotes because everyone was going home with two prizes no matter what. I think many people figured that out early and just kind of played along and cheered when they had to (Stitch, Vader and Batman). In fact, I’m pretty sure there were a lot of people there who would have preferred to get their Box of Fun (Freddys!), a bite to eat, spin the wheel, gather up two more giveaways and go home to Ebay. I know some people thought the awards (Spirit, Custom and Hall of Fame) were boring and meaningless. As a Funko HOFer, I’m rather disappointed in that attitude. HOF and Spirit are both about being a respected part of the Funko Community (not Family). They aren’t given to the collector with the most toys, or the most expensive toys, but to the collector who gives the most of themselves back to others to make collecting fun. Not a lot of ego in the HOF for the most part, just a bunch of good people. Certainly better than me. To this day, I’m still convinced my induction is due to hard liquor, a dartboard, and no better choices.
Back to the fun.
Fun is spontaneous, not forced. Team Awesome (Deadpool) quickly figured out that they could outyell, outcheer, and outobnoxious all the other teams combined. And we did. Anytime we had a chance. I’ve seen videos of the event, it looks like we won the lottery in every one of them. We knew the contests were rigged, but so what? We wanted everyone in that room to know Deadpool owned them. If someone from Deadpool won a prize (Custom Contest, for example), Deadpool won that prize. When someone from Deadpool went into Hall of Fame, Deadpool won Hall of Fame. When someone from Batman won Spirit Award…Deadpool won Spirit Award.
Yeah, we were that freaking obnoxious.
And it was glorious.
By the end of the evening I had completely come out of my funk and had a great time. I was also very aware of how much I had had to drink, so I bailed out before I did anything embarrassing or unbecoming (which I probably did anyway). Seems to me that’s how I missed out on getting one of those supersized Dorbz. I’m a little disappointed that Brian didn’t give a ‘State of Funko’ address, which had been a part of past Fundays. I’m assuming it was cut for time or lack of interest, which is too bad because it was a highlight of the evening. Brian would announce upcoming releases and give us a little taste of what to expect from Funko in the coming months. I liked it, but I guess that’s what FB, IG, the Funko Blog and Kevin ‘Funkotree’ are for now (ha!).
In the future, I would like to see that return as well as allowing us older HOF members to participate in the induction of new members. It doesn’t even have to be anything major, just have us up there on stage or on the runway to congratulate new inductees as they come up. Admittedly, this request is mostly ego-based (I didn’t say ‘no ego in the HOF’). Maybe I need to send a memo to the fun-committee for 2017.
All in all, little quibbles aside, Funko threw an amazing party (after I got over myself). They managed to manage the craziness, but left us just enough room to cut loose. I think most everyone went home happy, except maybe the people who thought they were going to get thousands of dollars worth of rare Pops. Thank you to everyone who had a hand in the event, I look forward to 2017 already.