Guest Blog: History of Funko’s Early Licensing Partnerships

Wacky Wobblers

Javier SerranoFrom the Desk of Fjaviserr
Javier is a big Funko fan with a particular passion for horror and SciFi. You can read his other articles here.


 

It was way back in 2005 when Mike Becker decided to pass on the baton to Brian Mariotti. Funko started a new era, with the goal of expanding the business to new lines of products and licenses. From then on, the company from Everett, Washington, became the monster toy brand we know today.

In those days, not all the projects had the green light, sometimes for the design, sometimes for the license, something usual in a toy company. From this point, begins a story surrounded by interesting facts and a kind of mystery.

One of the companies which supplied licenses to Funko at that time was Radio Days a licensing brand featuring Hollywood’s rich history and pop culture aligning itself with music, fashion, movies, and sports.

From 2008 to 2010, it is interesting how Funko and Radio Days presented us iconic characters such as Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, in their Wacky Wobbler, Pop! Vinyl, Funko Force and Plushies versions respectively. We can see many details that were omitted on the boxes and labels, just to use the license properly, and they never use the name of these legendary artists.

In parallel with Wacky Wobblers releases, the company from Everett was focused on the launch of the very first Pop! figures, after their world premiere at 2010 SDCC.

That year, the partnership with Radio Days worked on the project related to one of the most expected characters by Funatics, Alex Delarge from the iconic movie “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), a film adapted, produced, and directed by the master New Yorker director Stanley Kubrick.

The issue was that “A Clockwork Orange” and all related characters are licensed by Warner Bros. So, it was very difficult to use the names and images without the licensor’s approval. As we can see in the pictures of the Funko products, a few changes were made if we compare with the original film typing.

The logo of Radio Days was displayed next to “Clockwork Orange,” the A was omitted, and the O was spotted with the characteristic eyelash from Alex Delarge. Besides, in the Wacky Wobblers, they also added an image which represents the charismatic delinquent.

I guess that those details were not enough and Funko had to cancel the project for being so similar to the original license.

A few items of the standard version of the Wacky Wobbler made it to the market at the end of 2010, however, Funko had to cancel the production and the distribution. As we know, only twelve pieces of both Pop! variants and the GITD Wacky Wobbler survived.

Alex DeLarge

Those pieces were signed and numbered by Brian Mariotti, and as the legend goes, some of them were given away to long data Funatics and greatest collectors. And not all of them have the lot sticker, as well.

About the Pop! Plush, it could be possible that there were twelve or even less. And at this moment, I don’t know if they were signed and numbered as well. So, we have an interesting quest to keep searching.

 

Clockwork Orange

Finally, the urban legend said that some of the Pop!’s and GITD Wackys were stolen from the factory before Funko destroyed them, but the fact is, if I had to spare thousands of dollars, I would search for one with the autograph on the base.

As collectors, we always find stories like that, no matter what we collect. That’s the magic of our Hobby, and these treasures are the real Holy Grails that a few chosen people can show with pride in their collections.

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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