The Funko Pop craze is here to stay. Unlike Beanie Babies or their modern equivalents the Tsum Tsums, Funko has seemingly grabbed the hearts and minds — not to mention wallets and shelf spaces — of fans everywhere. Part of the appeal of their Pop figurines is that they reach the widest possible demographic of geek and collector culture, through the sheer depth and variety of their catalog. If there’s a TV show, movie, comic book or video game franchise that’s even tangentially linked to geekdom, then you’ll no doubt be able to find a Funko Pop vinyl figurine of the most prominent characters from that series. It feels like every new movie or TV series significant to nerds comes with a line of these adorable, big-headed statues.
Yet, what you may not know is that there are times when Funko’s reach has gone far beyond even the most unlikely TV shows (looking at you, Gilmore Girls.) Sometimes, Funko steps outside of the fictional franchises and produces loveable large-eyed figures of real world celebrities, people you never knew you wanted sitting on your shelf alongside Tyrion Lannister, Peter Venkman, and Leroy Jetson. CBR counts down the 16 Celebrities you never knew had Funko Pops!
16. CONAN O’BRIEN – WHITE WALKER VARIANT
Perhaps what’s more strange than a late night talk show host getting a Funko figure is the sheer volume of variant statues Conan has received. Mostly Comic Con exclusives, the red-haired host has spawned figures of him ingratiating himself into a whole range of geek-based franchises.
For the last three years, The Conan O’Brien Show has attended San Diego Comic Con, and as a result, every year there’s a set of exclusive Conan variant pop vinyls. There has been a Batman Conan, Zombie Conan, Ghostbuster Conan, Jedi Conan and more. The strangest one has to be this one — White Walker Conan, from Game of Thrones. As a set, these would no doubt look great, but taken out of context you might get some raised eyebrows at a snow-zombie Conan O’Brien sat on your desk at work.
15. ANDRE THE GIANT
A figure very literally larger than life, André René Roussimoff, aka Andre the Giant, was seen by many as the finest example of a true celebrity wrestler. Andre transcended the sport and was beloved by millions, many of whom weren’t even fans of wrestling, merely fans of the man himself.
The Giant isn’t the only wrestler to receive the Pop treatment, with multiple series of the vinyl statues devoted to WWE superstars like Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Macho Man Randy Savage. So far there are over 43 figures, including variants, with a wide back catalog of characters still waiting in the wings. Still, to own a miniature version of Andre the Giant has to be high on the list of priorities for any Pop collector, not to mention wrestling fan.
14. TUPAC SHAKUR
Speaking of rare figures, one quick search will tell you that the average this long-retired Pop goes for is around $350. Ouch. There aren’t many people that deserve that kind of price, but as icons go, they don’t come much bigger than Tupac. One of the best-selling artists of all time, 2Pac sold over 75 million records worldwide, and his influence looms large over the hip-hop scene, not to mention music as a whole.
In another case of a talented life tragically cut short, Tupac’s death in 1996 still stands as one of those “where were you when…” kind of moments. His Funko is one of the coolest around, making its rarity even more understandable. Pac’s signature style is there, down to the intricate tattoos. If you really want to finish the set, track down his former friend and eventual rival Notorious B.I.G, although his Pop can also go for over $250.
13. BERNIE SANDERS
Ah, these were simpler times, weren’t they? Back during the 2016 presidential race, Funko — like a lot of merchandising chains — jumped in with both feet and produced Pop vinyl figures for people to proudly support their chosen candidate. What better way to show off your political beliefs than with a 4-inch figure of your favorite to win the race to the White House?
In what many voters feel is the post-election, pre-apocalypse times of 2017, having an adorable Funko of President Trump on your shelf may seem a little odd to a lot of people. Yet by choosing the Trump Funko pop, you could at least say your bookshelf is still politically topical. Choosing Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, however, may do nothing more than leaving the bitter taste of resentment in your mouth and an unhealthy amount of daydreaming about the world that might have been.
12. BOB ROSS
Anyone that has ever watched The Joy of Painting will tell you the same thing: there’s something about Bob Ross that instantly instills a feeling of peace and contentment in your soul. With that in mind, who wouldn’t want a constant reminder of one of the most gentle and calming TV personalities sitting on their desk at work, helping to relieve their stress?
Running for over 10 years, Bob Ross’ wildly successful show The Joy of Painting has garnered somewhat of a cult following in the near 25 years since its end. Whether it’s memes about painting trees or motivational quotes about life’s happy little accidents, Bob Ross has become an icon to a whole new generation of fans and earned himself a Funko Pop figurine.
11. GERARD WAY
Much like Conan O’Brien earlier on the list, Gerard Way is a celebrity that’s gathered quite the collection of variant versions of his Funko Pop statue. Unlike Conan’s invasion of the world’s most beloved geek franchises, Way’s various guises as the lead singer of My Chemical Romance has led to Funko producing enough Pop figures to satisfy fans of every version of Way from over the years.
Whether you prefer your MCR singer as a skeleton, in his Revenge guise or even just wearing a red tie, Funko has you covered. One of his — and indeed the band’s — more iconic moments was in the video for “Black Parade,” so there was no way you wouldn’t be able to buy that version. Tracking down the actual figure nowadays, however, may prove as difficult as being able to now get that song out of your head. Sorry about that.
10. JUSTIN BIEBER
Is it too late now to say sorry? No really, is it? Because for those completists among you, any collection of musical Funko Pops would go unfinished unless you add the Canadian Prince of Pop to your shelf. You may not “Love Yourself” for doing so if you’re not a fan of his brand of chart pop, but at least the figure, with its slightly upturned eyebrows, looks suitably apologetic.
You may be asking “What do you mean?” if you’re as big a Belieber as the millions of teenage girls across the world. In that case, you’ll no doubt be rushing out to add this “Baby” to your Justin Shrine. Being one of the biggest musicians in the world right now means that Funko couldn’t avoid producing a Bieber Pop, but just try and get “Despacito” out of your head with this little figure sitting on your desk.
9. PAUL FEIG
One of the most obscure entries on our list, the director of Knocked Up, Spy, Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters (among many, many others) was the first in the Funko line of Pops dedicated to filmmakers, with his figure being released in 2016. Strangely enough, he’s so far the only director to receive the adorable honor.
Quite why Feig was chosen over people like Spielberg or Hitchcock remains to be seen, as well as why we’ve yet to see any other director immortalized in vinyl. Still, there’s no denying that Feig makes for a distinctive statue, with his dandy style and jaunty pose. Due to either his popularity, his rarity or a mixture of both, however, current prices for a Paul Feig Pop range in the $100+ category, so best of luck getting that Ghostbusters collection completed.
8. JOHNNY ROTTEN
Yet another world-famous musicians on our list, the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten, makes for a distinctive and instantly recognizable Pop figure to grace your shelf. Unlike Pops of, say, Ross Gellar, this pocket-sized punk icon can be spotted a mile away.
There was a time when the mere concept of Rotten gracing an item of such flagrant and wasteful capitalism as this was the very thing that the punk rock movement was against. There’s a reason “God Save the Queen” isn’t a title to be taken literally, after all. That way of thinking flew out the window, however, when Sex Pistols could be found on everything from wallets to credit cards, and Rotten himself (aka John Lydon) appeared in celebrity game shows and adverts for butter (true story, look it up.)
7. TOM BRADY
If the age old stereotype is to be believed, then jocks and nerds never mix. So the idea of a geek collectible series based on prominent NFL players seems doomed to fail, yet Funko has produced a line of 40 Pop vinyl figures of players, from Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and our first entry on the list, Tom Brady.
The hard divide between nerds and sports is clearly a myth, as thousands of people enjoy catching the big game as much as catching up on comics, and the collector market is hugely into sports memorabilia — some of the first collectibles of this kind were baseball cards, after all. Yet on shelves dominated by Game of Thrones and Star Wars, it’s a little jarring to see a Pats Quarterback right there alongside the rest. Still, the popularity of these statues is echoed in a similar line of NHL figures too.
6. AMY WINEHOUSE
An icon in her own right, Winehouse was seen by many as a candle that burnt too brightly, and whose light was extinguished far too soon. The singer/songwriter’s heady mix of soul, jazz, rhythm and blues was transcendent and timeless, making her death fafter a long and public battle with addiction all the more tragic.
With all that said, it makes sense that Funko would choose to recreate her likeness in a Pop vinyl figurine, and much like Johnny Rotten there’s no mistaking her as she sits on your shelf. She joins quite a long list of Funkos based on musicians that suffered tragic ends, such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone and Lemmy, meaning that — were you inclined to do so — you could fashion yourself one insanely talented, yet ever so slightly morbid bookshelf. Or one hell of a fantasy band.
5. CHUCK D
Proving that Funko really does produce Pops of all the best music, Public Enemy have earned their place on this list with arguably the most acclaimed, most influential hip-hop ever produced. You too can “Fight the Power” with your very own Chuck D Pop!
Much like some of the previous entries on this list, having an adorable, wide-eyed version of Chuck D on your desk isn’t perhaps the first thing you’d think of if you wanted to celebrate your love of Public Enemy. Even if you did decide that, yes, you do want a perfect, if large-headed, vinyl replica of one of the biggest rap games ever to redefine the genre, you can’t even collect the whole group. So far, Funko has only released Pops of Chuck D and Flava Flav, with seemingly no plans for DJ Lord, Professor Griff, Khari Wynn or any of S1W.
4. ELVIS PRESLEY
One of the very first figures in the Pop Rocks! line (the second, in fact — only Jimi Hendrix came before him), Elvis Presley makes perfect sense as a vinyl figure. The pop music legend and cultural icon of the 20th century shaped and redefined whole generations of fans and musicians alike, and to this day, more than 40 years after his death, his presence is still felt in the charts.
Funko would be far from the first piece of merchandise to bear the King’s likeness. Bath towels, key chains, mugs and plush toys are just some of what must amount to tens of thousands of Memphis memorabilia released over the years. If you’re going to start a Pop shelf filled with musical superstars, they don’t get much bigger than The King.
Oppa Gangnam Style! Remember that? Remember Gangnam Style? Don’t pretend you don’t because, with nearly three billion views on YouTube, you’ve definitely seen the video more than once. Besides, this song was everywhere in 2012, sparking a whole summer of people failing (badly) to sing along, and providing enough dancing fodder for millions of drunk dads at family weddings.
It really did feel as though Psy was the next big thing and not the flash in a pan that he ended up being, which is why it makes perfect sense that Funko gave him his own Pop. After all, he was the greatest musician of all time for one month over five years ago. His distinctive look gives him a pretty fun figure though, and having him in your collection isn’t as regrettable an investment in a one-hit wonder as that Hanson tattoo we all know you have.
2. BRYAN FULLER
In a strange case of life imitating art, the Bryan Fuller Funko Pop — no doubt in an effort to make his figure in any way identifiable — sees him in a sharp suit with an even sharper knife, emulating the titular character of the TV Show he helped create, Hannibal.
Funko brought Fuller along to San Diego Comic Con back in 2012 at a special signing event, and to commemorate the occasion, they released just 144 of these exclusive figures to SDCC attendees. You’d think that would drive up the price of such a rare statue in the aftermarket… and you’d be right! While not the most expensive figure out there (surely there’s not enough demand for a 4-inch statue of the writer/producer of Star Trek: Voyager?) it still averages around $250.
1. STAN LEE (GUAN YU VARIANT)
Stan “The Man” Lee is so prevalent in pop-culture that it’s a safe bet he’s made a cameo in the lives of each and every one of us at this point. The legendary Marvel Comics creator is such a foundational part of the culture that there’s less chance of him not being immortalized as a Funko Pop than there is of them releasing a “Forgotten Creators” two-pack of Jack Kirby and Bill Finger.
The only surprise here is just how many different versions of ol’ Stan there are. Rivaling and easily surpassing Conan O’Brien, there are a whopping 24 variations of the Stan Lee Pop figure out in the wild, no more strange and bizarre than this Pop Asia version, entitled Stan Lee (Guan Yu) — which itself comes in three different colors.
What are your favorite celebrity Pop!s? Let us know in the comments!
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