Tampa Megacon Report, or How Pops are the New 8X10 Glossy.

Megacon rolled its mighty wheels through Tampa this weekend and brought with thousands of people from every fandom you could think of; from A Nightmare on Elm Street to Dragonball Z seemingly everyone was represented.

And where there are fans, there is merch. While the Megacon exclusives still feel light compared to other major cons like SDCC and NYCC, the fact that any merchandise is available only to these congoers is admirable. However, Funko not only didn’t feature an exclusive item, they didn’t have a booth.

Don’t worry though, plenty of other retailers had pops, and they were plentiful. Nearly every reseller of comics, games, toys and otherwise had at least a small section of Funko Pops for sale. There were at least a dozen places to shop for commons, and a few people sold various chases and exclusives. There were even a few shops that had some higher valued items, so it seemed no matter your taste in pops (from “common” to “COME ON that’s a lot of money”) there was plenty for you to look at.

While longtime fans might groan and insist that 2017 is the death knell of Funko Pops, there were plenty of new buyers who were just getting into the hobby. At one of the most popular stands, a Disney themed shop that stocks hundreds of Pops alongside Disney pins and collectibles, one new collector came up to buy a single figure, noticed the “3 for $27” sign, and ended up walking out with 6 new Pops! Such is the power of Funko.

As previously reported, this con featured Stan Lee, and while he was a last-minute addition to the show, as he wanted to help support hurricane victims, you wouldn’t know it by the crowd of people waiting to meet him. Billed as his last East Coast appearance ever, since he had to cancel NYCC in a few weeks, and while that might not be the case if he does another round of traveling, most fans thought it best not to take any chances.

While not even press can get backstage to see Stan the Man, our report was able to walk by the lines of those waiting to meet him and other guests. The number of Pops in the hands of those eager to meet someone they admire has grown exponentially in just a few short years. Pops are no longer the item a few people walk through with each day, they are the regular, the norm, as common (or more common) that action figures and the free-with-purchase-of-an-autograph 8X10 photo.

To that effect Gaten Matarazzo, Dustin from Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things had a sign on his table for anyone wanting to get an autograph that read “All Funko Pops MUST be personalized.” Probably an attempt at curbing ebayers who will pay for a relatively inexpensive autograph ($40) and then sell the items for much more than that to those unable to meet these stars.

Our reporter caught up with Matarazzo and his co-star Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) and asked them each about Pops!

“Lots” Matarazzo said, when asked how many Funko Pops he had signed at the event. When he asked to elaborate he said “Just… LOTS!” with the enthusiasm he’s known for on the show.

Caleb agreed, and was asked what was the coolest item he’s every signed since starting the whirlwind of Convention life after the show took off.

“I think the Pop [is the coolest]. It’s a little toy that says that this show was something great, and it will be around forever. I feel like the show is going to be a classic, and we’ll always have those Pops from when it was, so so popular.”

He was clearly a fan. So is nearly everyone else.

So, when you walk by the booths at the next local convention, look for the signs up next to the Pops that say, “GET ME AUTOGRAPHED”. That stack of Pops, usually marked a few dollars more than they their common counterparts, is bound to grow.

And as long as there are paint pens and Sharpies in the hands of our favorite actors, so are our collections.

3 comments

  1. Interesting that all pops have to be personalized. Doesn’t bother me, I’m no scalper, though it would make it harder for those who can’t get to cons (I’m in Tampa, but was on call, so I missed the con)

  2. Cool! Thanks for covering Tampa Megaton! I was there with my sister and we had a great time. I didn’t walk away with any signed Pops or additions to my collection but still had a lot of fun!

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