Funko Posts

Pops! For Patients and hobbyDB Team Up to Provide Toys to Kids in Hospitals

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Randy Lee and Krysten Barrera founded POPS! for Patients after their own kids had extended stays in hospitals.

Sometimes you need a little fun to pop into your life to brighten your day. Especially if you’re a child spending a lot of time in the hospital.

That’s what Randy Lee, Co-Founder of POPS! For Patients, figured when he and fellow Co-Founder, Krysten Barrera, came up with the idea for their toy donation cause.  Lee and Barrera had the experience of seeing their own children struggle during extended hospital stays. “We both personally know how sad it is to be stuck in the hospital, so we decided to give back and bring joy to kids in the form of POPS!” he said. “I helped my good friend and fellow P4P team member, Dustin Taylor, with a Toys For Tots benefit show in honor of his son several years ago. It was a great success so I felt extremely confident going into this that we could succeed.”

popsforpatientsSince August of 2016, they have donated almost 10,000 Pop! figures. That’s ten… thousand in two years! The two had been donating by themselves for a few months before going public with the idea.

Why Funko Pop! figures, specifically? Kids love them, of course. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out Lee is an avid fan and collector of the toys. He doesn’t accumulate them for himself quite as much lately, however. “I’ve been collecting for three years but recently slowed down significantly to focus on having the necessary funds required to attend all of the shows and events we are being invited to lately,” he said. “It’s a trade-off I’m happy to make!”

The toys currently go to whichever hospital the teams in any specific area collect for. “We have hubs all across the world including ones in San Diego, Colorado, New York, Canada, and Brazil. to name a few. And more coming soon!” The Colorado connection has just been strengthened courtesy of hobbyDB. When Rodney Porter from Appleseed Collectibles talked about P4P (as they sometimes refer to), Christian of hobbyDB felt a kindred spirit. “As collectors, we try to avoid growing up sometimes,” he believes. “But it is important to act grown up. What Randy and his team do is fantastic, and we wanted to help by doing what we do best.” So to that end, the two organizations found a way to be a partner in POPS!

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Kayla Fuller, of WVLT, Knoxville, joined Krysten Barrera  and Randy Lee to distribute Pop! figures at a hospital in Tennessee.

hobbyDB, a website concerning anything and everything collectible, including vinyl art toys, is a natural fit for such an endeavor. It’s an ever-growing database of every variant of any given toy or collectible, as well as a marketplace for folks to buy and sell. And Pop! figures are a huge part of that model.

“We are so excited about the idea of a private seller-fueled Funko Pop! marketplace that will result in POP! donations. It’s a no-brainer partnership” Here’s how it works: If you’re shopping for POP! figures on hobbyDB, you can visit the POPS! For Patients Marketplace, and part of the proceeds from any purchase will go towards buying figures for the P4P program. It won’t cost you anything extra…. just shop for Pops!

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According to Lee, there are other ways to help out as well. You can send them POP! figures in the mail to distribute at two different children’s hospitals in Tennessee. If you want to donate figures directly, they do have a few rules: The characters must be kid-friendly (Sorry, Pennywise, even if you are a clown), and they must be in sealed boxes (for sanitary reasons, not for collector value). Other Funko lines such as Dorbz and Wacky Wobblers are fine as well, as long as they meet these criteria.

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Knoxville’s Tall Man Toys & Comics and Lexington’s Heroes Realm teamed up to support P4P.

You can also form a team in your area to help them spread the cheer. Details of all the ways you can help are available on their website at www.popsforpatients.org. The P4P team also encourages you to get involved and support your own local Children’s Hospital. They can be contacted at PopsForPatients@gmail.com.

Halloween Means Thrills! Chills! Collectibles!

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Aside from Christmas, there’s no holiday that inspires decor, commemoratives, and good ol’ limited edition fun as much as Halloween. As the holiday rapidly approaches, we thought it would be a good time to look at some of our favorite Halloween collectibles.

nightmare before christmasFirst of all, a question… is “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a Halloween movie, or a Christmas movie? Or should you just watch it every night for two months straight between both holidays? Regardless, there are so many great characters to base collectibles on. Nearly 25 years after its theatrical release, the Tim Burton stop motion masterpiece has only grown in legend, and more items pop up every year. This sculpture of Zero and his dog house is pretty neat.

funko ghostbustersOddly enough, many horror movies have become associated with Halloween, even though the vast majority of them have nothing to do with the holiday. “Ghostbusters,” more comedy than horror actually, has become another favorite movie that embodies the fun of Halloween. There is no shortage of collectibles from the classic 1984 movie (as well as its sequel, the 2016 remake, and the cartoons).

halloween chip n daleIn fact, Halloween has an interesting distinction for fans in that anything gothic, spooky, scary, or macabre fits in. It doesn’t matter if they are officially part of the holiday or not. Heck, you can take any popular characters such as Disney’s Chip ‘n’ Dale,  put them in vampire garb, insert them into a jack-o’-lantern, and presto… instant Halloween collectible!

hallmark great pumpkin peanutsSnoopy and the Peanuts gang hold a special place in Halloween lore ever since their 1966 animated special introduced the world to Linus and his story of The Great Pumpkin. This 1996 Hallmark Keepsake set includes everything you need for a good time except the Dolly Madison snack cakes.

labbit skeleton hello kittySkeletons are always a popular Halloween theme, even though they’re everywhere year ’round. (Here’s a fun joke to play on little kids… ask in a scary voice, “Do you know where you can find a skeleton? INSIDE YOUR OWN BODY! Bwahahaha!” Never gets old!) Apparently Kidrobot’s Labbits have skeletons. Slightly less scary is this Hello Kitty skeleton figure from Funko.

lego skeletonLego has also done minifig skeletons a couple different ways. One version that came with various building sets has a bony, hollow structure, while the other version, sold by itself in blind packs, has a more traditional costume look.

tin wizard harold maude hearseHearses are used year ’round in the real world, too, but if you park one in front of your house the rest of the year, people look at you kinda funny. But in October? No sweat. There are lots of miniature hearses out there to collect, by the way. Just in case your HOA frowns displaying the real thing. (By the way, Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters’ car, is an ambulance, not a hearse.)

halloween hot wheelsSpeaking of driveable collectibles, Hot Wheels has commemorated various holidays over the years with limited edition cars. After Christmas, Halloween is probably the most popular among these series. 2017 is no exception, featuring cars with special skull-themed wheels.

liberty promotions halloween drag busFor something even more limited, Liberty Promotions has offered yearly, low production Drag Bus models for Halloween and other holidays, along with Chase versions.

kfc colonel sanders maskYou like zombies? Kentucky Fried Chicken’s recent ad campaign features multiple actors doing off kilter impressions of the Colonel Sanders , making KFC a pop culture phenomenon. Now you can add your own take on the long-deceased company founder and spokescharacter with this Halloween Harland costume. It was available very briefly on the KFC website this before selling out.

Regardless of your age, Halloween is a fun holiday, and there are collectibles of all kinds to enjoy throughout October or year ’round if you dare.

Do you have a favorite Halloween collectible? Tell us about it in the comments and add it to the hobbyDB database if it’s not already there!