SDCC 2017 Recap: Funko Fundays Got (Most) of Its Magic Back

Let’s just make this clear: Funko Fundays is one of the best ticketed events at San Diego Comic-Con. Every year, Funko showers those lucky enough to score a ticket with an array of exclusive products, food, alcohol, games, entertainment, and more.

But it’s also not without its problems, and for every two steps forward it takes, it also seems to take a step back. So let’s start with what Fundays got right this year, then circle back around to what it got wrong.

Overall, the event was much improved from last year. While I am very pleased that Funko worked to solve many of the problems in 2015 (namely, table diving and almost-mosh-pits) — it also led to a bit of a lackluster event last year for me. Some of the magic just felt like it was gone, even if I understood the reasons why.

This year, when you arrived, just like always, you were greeted with smiling Funko employees who gave you your Mystery Box of Fun, which included three Funko Pop! figures — so right away, you enter the event feeling valued as a fan. New this year, they also gave you an envelope, which included things like your seat assignment (and more on that later), your two drink tickets, a game ticket, lanyard, and more.

Before the event officially kicked off, there was still plenty to do. You could redeem your game ticket to play three different games, which offered you chances to win cool prizes like Hikaris, Pop!s, keychains, and more. They also had a full spread of food, with options like sandwiches, burritos, fries, salads, desserts, and more (though if you’re looking for suggestions for 2018, Funko — it might be nice if the food stayed out even just 30 minutes after the event kicks off).

Then it’s time for the real show to start. The entertainment was much improved this year (give me anything but little people running around as Oompa Loompas any day of the week — let’s not do that again, Funko), and included a Harley Quinn dressed aerial dancer and a really impressive bit with “astronauts” creating artwork on stage, which combined to form a Freddy Funko astronaut figure. There was even a special appearance by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. I’m not sure if moving up about five tables from my usual spot really did make that much of a difference, but the sound system also seemed much improved this year, in that I could actually hear what was going on.

Funko also brought back using the event as a launching pad for several product announcements, much to the delight of the crowd. The “awards” portion of the night also seemed drastically reduced, in what we think was a smart move. Instead, the videos they played (including a look at an upcoming documentary) and photos they showed (with some really cool customs) were more geared towards celebrating the brand in general, while also being entertaining, without killing the momentum of the evening.

As the night progressed, each section won one prize — though the section which won the Kevin Smith Fatman’s far and away got the best of the bunch — as well as a prototype. It’s always nice to attend any event that wants to keep giving you prizes and keep you hyped. Which, essentially, is what Funko Fundays really is: It’s all about fueling the hype and the passion that fans have for Funko and their products. Even my friend who I dragged along, who doesn’t really collect Funko products, kept commenting how into the energy of the room she was — and by the end of the night, she was screaming and clapping her inflatable Bam Bams as loud as anyone. It’s a night for the fans. And also for cans of corn, but mostly for the fans.

Clearly having no fun.

That’s not to say the event wasn’t without its issues, though. While we can vaguely appreciate that Funko tried to make seating more organized this year, their system of distributing table assignment by envelopes with your table number was often frustrating. We witnessed several family members split up, either because whoever was handing out the envelopes wasn’t paying attention or because they didn’t have two seats left together by the end. At my own table, a father and son had different seat assignments, and they disappeared shortly before the festivities started — presumably to try to find a spot where they could actually sit together. We also know husbands and wives who weren’t able to sit together. None of that should happen, or even be a concern. We’re all adults here (okay, we’re mostly adults) — we can seat ourselves, I promise. It also didn’t really seem to stop gaps at various tables from happening, as we saw several spots (including at our own table) where people left at some point in the evening.

There was also a pretty major mishap at the end of the evening, when Funko CEO Brian Marriotti mistakenly announced that every Fundays attendee would be receiving “one of each” of their four Fundays exclusive Freddy Funko Fluxes. After the prize patrol delivered one total to the tables, rather than one of each, and the lights came on, everyone slowly realized that three additional Pop!s were not on the way. Obviously, it’s an exclusive Funko Pop!, and that’s awesome — but when you’re told you’re receiving four and only get one, a lot of people around us were understandably both confused and a bit disappointed.

By and large, though, Fundays is an event which celebrates its fans in the form of one of the best parties at San Diego Comic-Con. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But there’s a reason it’s one of the hottest tickets in town, and we’re excited to see what Funko does in 2018.

Did you attend Funko Fundays? Let us know in the comments.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site’s resident panel guru.

  • Judith Iancovella

    Here’s the thing about criticism — it’s a mixed bag. You have positive events of the night and a few negatives. You know this, I know this, your readers know this. However, despite the event being vastly improved upon years past and generally a quality night, you continue to draw out a few minor negative aspects and make them the focus of multiple paragraphs. Instead of explaining in detail the more joyful moments of the night, you speak about them in general terms and refuse to give the light of day to the overall positive nature of the night. However, in your negative remarks you transition from the general to the specific, a technique which allows you to stretch out the presence of the negatives and critique the night in an imbalanced light focusing disproportionately on the negative aspects despite acknowledging that the event is one of Comic-Con’s “best” ticketed events. Your criticism is not journalistic and the slant is clearly negative. I’ve read your Fundays reviews the past few years as well as attended myself the past few years and I break my passive silence to let you know that the problems with the event are not with Funko: They are with your attitude. Fundays will never be an overall positive event as long as you walk into it with the belief that you are the absolute authority on quality entertainment and parties and as long as the event ever so slightly misses perfection, you will have a complaint. I’m not here to stop telling you to critique; it’s a necessary part of improving consumer culture. I am, however, here to tell you that I personally take issue with your continually negative approach to the event that comes not from a journalistic viewpoint of an attempt to find an absolute truth, but rather an opinionated standpoint that fails to report an unbiased, informational account of the night.

  • mrichert

    As someone who attended the event for the first time this year I 100% agree with the SDCC Unofffical Blog review. They said it was a great event, and pointed out maybe 3 negatives in the entire article. 1) The food could have been out longer, I arrived around 7:45 and as soon as I arrived they announced the food would be gone in 10 minutes. 2) The assigned seating was an issue. My table was 1/2 full of duds. The table “captain” literally said to me “Oh we don’t need to cheer or anything, we all get the same prizes at the end” and sat there silent the entire night. Meanwhile, I had married friends who arrived later than us and were separated from each other. I would have loved to have sat with my group of friends but because I was later getting there I struggled all night to keep my energy up because of the quiet people at my table. 3) Yeah when someone announces one thing and another thing happens, it’s alright to be disappointed. They mention it was most likely a mistake, but one that was made and should have been pointed out.
    Perhaps what needs to change is your attitude while reading reviews. They gave both positives and negatives to the event, because there were positives and negatives to the event. The Ublog team does so much, maybe next time you read one of their reviews you take into consideration all they do, and that they’re human and not everything is going to be 100% positive, if it didn’t earn a 100% positive review.

  • perc2100

    I agree. I think sometimes (often?) Comic-Con attendees are way too entitled. Complaining about an announcement snafu, framing it as “we didn’t get enough free exclusives” is lame. Also, if someone needs a literal cheerleader to “keep their engergy up” then that’s on them and absolutely zero fault on Funko. I agree that a lot of the criticism seems like almost non-issue quibbles; being separated from family, though, is IMO a notable criticism but a free for all on seating wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem of late-comers finding an ideal seat with their party.

    That being said, I don’t think anyone on earth would categorize this blog as journalistic. It’s amateur blogging by fans, so I guess holding writers and editors to formal journalistic standards is maybe not the best approach for readers

  • StitchFan

    I appreciated the attempt at assigned seating. When I attended my first Fundays, my husband and I had to make several laps around the room to find a table that was willing to let us join them. Several tables had empty seats (no bags or anything in them) and we were told the seats were taken. We felt like Forrest Gump trying to find a seat in the school bus. It was awful.

  • Brian

    I think the problems of 2015 are understated. People actually were injured, and several needed medical attention. Parents were literally strapping toddlers into seats and putting headphones on them so they could engage in the event. The Funko floor staff worked people into a frenzy when they were on the floor with giveaways and incited conflict. I’m glad to know it’s better but it showed a very ugly side of when fandom turns into fanaticism.

  • zakin

    This is why I don’t go anymore. I stopped going after 2013 when I saw that it was headed in that direction.

    I’m glad to read that they have taken steps to curtail that. Maybe one of these days I’ll try to go again. Couples having to not sit together seems insignificant compared to the mob mentality and people getting injured, and accidentally telling people at the last minute that they’re getting 4 instead of 1 is a complete non-issue.

  • maxhdrm

    I think it is important to remember that Ublog imbues a stance of neutrality in the interest of informative passing of knowledge. No “blogger” is a journalist and any “journalist” that obtains a degree in journalism, government or English major will argue to the fact. More over than not bloggers do it as a passion or as a former to their previous employment history. This post was to showcase improvements that Funko attempted over previous years and “inform” us of what could possibly still need to be improved upon. Keep in mind that just because an event is coveted doesn’t make it “the best” even of SDCC. It is only ONE of the best and I dare not to call it the best just the most WANTED event. It’s coveted like any other event similar to the GoT experience or the Funko Pop-u shop, not because of the event but because of the products. Take those exclusives away and attendance will drop drastically. There was no “transitional cover up” ( and it should have been “Additionally, in your negative” not “However”, wrong adverb on line 7 so your grammar is already off.) in order to favor negativity as you
    implied. it was no different from any over pros/cons review and I feel
    your imbued passion about the Ublog perhaps makes me think you could
    possibly be an employee of Funko. Is it from THEIR perspective?, sure but what criticism (movies, news, tech reviews product reviews etc) isn’t from someone elses perspective. It’s only meant as I stated, to be informative in this case to the SDCCblog fans who consistently read. I may not always agree with what kerry and her team put out but I am always thankful for the information that her and her team aggregate into one site saving us time.

    My own experience with Funko wasn’t pleasant. They know they will sell out of MOST of their products for SDCC and with that comes attitude, carefree at-will changing of rules/procedures and attitude ridden employees. Their Funko Pop-Up shop continuously modified their first-come first serve line-up procedures for their tickets contradicting their online source of said procedure giving Thursday & Friday tickets away on Thursday with Saturday/Sunday away on Saturday. I tried twice for their shop and thankfully I achieved 90% of what I wanted from Hot Topic/ Barnes and noble etc. It was an unprofessional experience conducted by ill-informed and uncaring employees lacking cohesive information. It was adolescent and poor consumerism at its worst.

    I think we all need to take a step back at times, let go of our emotional outbursts and look at content as it was meant to be delivered, not at how it was meant to be digested because THAT comes down to our own opinion. How about next time instead of judging someone else’s review, you could give us your own perspective. Perhaps you have lower standards so your easier to please. Who knows but I find it more constructive to have multiple viewpoints from those who went, instead of someone complaining about someone else’s viewpoint.

  • maxhdrm

    That is just sad that such a well known company would have that kind of attitude and act is if they never sat down in a focus group to hash out these kinds of problematic situations. It’s like a toy company run by children. Look I am a big kid but I am a big kid with kids so even though we are kids at heart, we are still charged with being responsible, humane and civilized. The same SHOULD be said for Funko. It’s no different from Hasbro and any other vendor refusing to do online pre-orders. They WANT the mob mentality. They WANT the publicity because it makes them look “popular” Mattel did it right with online for pick-up. Fluid, flawless and hassle free product obtainment.