Yeah Baby, Yeah! How Austin Powers Helped Turn Funko Into an International Success


Javier SerranohobbyDB’s own International Man of Mystery Javier Serrano, aka Fjaviserr, explains how Austin Powers helped propel Funko to new heights. Read more of his wonderful guest posts here!

A few days ago, an event took place at Bob’s Big Burger in Burbank (Los Angeles -California) hosted by the Chairman of Fun, Mike Becker and the comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, called “Back to the Beginning.”

Beyond the surprises and the presentation of the new Funko line, Project Fred, these kinds of events remind me of the close connection between Funko and pop culture.

Sometimes, it is good to look to the past to understand the origins of this giant toy company, and particularly this news brings me some nostalgia from the early days of the Making Fun factory, and particularly how Funko reached its first success with one license: Austin Powers.

It is hard to believe how the time flies and it seems it was yesterday when Austin Powers came to the big screen in 1997 with Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

The character created by Mike Myers was an instant success, and two new films were produced in the short-term, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). In parallel, Funko, was founded in 1998 and operated as a small business in Snohomish, Washington, until getting the license of the charismatic secret agent.

It was the first hit in sales, and everything changed overnight. After selling 100,000 units of Austin Powers’ wacky-wobblers, I wonder if the small Funko team lead by Mike Becker screamed “Yeah, Baby, Yeah!”

So, as a funatic and Mr. Powers fan, it is time to pay tribute through this trip to the past to the shagadelic figures from the universe of the geeky-looking secret agent into Funko´s catalog. In the end, the mojo of Austin Powers helped to transform everything, and the humble business became one of the greatest toy companies in the world.

The first figure was released in 1999, finding Austin Powers wearing his unmistakable blue velvet suit, highlighting the details of the accurate packaging too. It was followed by a new wave of bobble-heads in 2002, including new versions of Austin Powers and introducing other lovely characters such as Dr. Evil, Mini Me and Fat Bastard.

Later, one of my favorites, for being a “bobble-body,” and probably the only wacky-wobbler which does not shake the head, shakes the body, it is simply a must-have.

We had to wait until 2018, when Funko presented the very first sketches of Austin Powers’ Pop! figures at New York Toy Fair. The trade fair catalog showed four figures: Austin Powers (blue velvet suit), Dr. Evil, Fembot and Vanessa Kensington. However, a few months later, at San Diego Comic Con, Funko made the final changes, introducing three figures of the groovy agent, Dr. Evil and Vanessa Kensington with a new pose.

Sadly, Fembot, Vanessa Kensington with Gun and the exclusive Austin Powers in Dr. Evil’s prisoner suit figures were never launched, and it was a pity, because they are gorgeous, but we know that those things happen from time to time. At least, we can be satisfied with the magnificent concept art of them.

It would be amazing to keep seeing more figures from these spy comedy films in other lines such as Soda, Pop! Digital or REWIND. But, in my humble opinion, I have never understood why we have not seen a Freddy Funko as Austin Powers yet considering the importance of the character in Funko’s history. Only time will tell.

It is very difficult to know what would have been happened if Funko did not get this license, but one thing is true, it is good to go back to the beginning to remind us of where we came from and what things made the difference, because times can change, but the essence must be the same, and the successful secret formula is always hidden in those tiny details.

So, it would be appropriate to close this article writing, I hope to meet you again, Mr. Powers.

I hope you find this information helpful. Have an excellent week. Let me know if you’d like to know more in the comments below and keep on Popping!

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