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.
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.