If Forbidden Planet is, as I suspect, owned by Dick Turpin, I report those nauseatingly cute figurines, Funko Pops, have escaped and now they’re every-bloody-where. I even saw some in the Shambles market in Devizes; and there was me assuming I could saunter through with my offspring, without the need to dust cobwebs off my wallet; no siree Bob Kane, I’m not taking her in there!
If I whinge materialistic mutterings, in my youth once, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Danish consumerism swallowed me whole, and so did the George Lucas franchise. All’s fair in love and war; if I’d seen Lego Star Wars products back then I think I’d have had a seizure.
For those without geek kids, asking what the devil’s new haircut a Funko pop is, it’s an overpriced bobblehead figurine, an amusingly oversized headed icon or totem to a fictional character or celebrity. Bobbleheads have come a long way since the nodding dog, hence why they’ve not made a Kier Starmer one.
So, in the name of investigative journalism I’m out to out-nerd the nerds and prove my daughter wrong when she claimed, “they’ve made a Funko pop out of everything, Dad!”
Agreed, on searching for the weirdest or rarest Funko pops, I was shocked to note just how deep the rabbit hole goes. Seems the rarest come exclusively from The San Diego Comic Cons, Ozzie’s Collectables state the rarest is a silver Mickey Mouse from the 2011 con, and can fetch $1,130! Shut the front door Uncle Walt, it’s a malleable flipping dolly?
On the weirdest, oh, there’s plenty, from Laura Palmer of Twin Peaks to Hindu gods, and from Chris Oram from Alien: Covenant, unfortunately for him being attacked by a face hugger, to seventies afro-sporting painter Bob Ross. But, ah, there must be some characters this fledgling craze failed to recognise the importance of in popular culture….
So, casting my aged mind back to the most obscure, yet strangely memorable to me, characters from my youth, sticking them in Google with the term “Funko pop,” to see, for no other reason than to satisfy myself, if they’ve indeed made a Funko pop out of them. Here be the lost legends, the ones Funko Pop seem to have either missed, or deemed to “Weird Al” Yankovic to produce; shame on them, because they’ve even managed a “Weird Al” Yankovic one. On that thought, a tear dropped to my cheek.
But so chuffed am I with my futile research, I thought I’d bore you stupid with it, on this slow news day; no one wants me to slag off local councils every day of the week, do they?
1. Hartley Hare
Pre-school psychiatrist’s dream come true, Pipkins’ well-spoken west-country hare, was first to spring to mind. Though ATV never even made any Pipkins merchandise during its run, it begs a Funko pop in the weirdest category.
Unusual, even for the seventies, not to have sold toys of the characters, perhaps such absence of familiarity is partially why it’s so creepy in our mind, looking back on it. That, and the fact Hartley was the dictatorial egomaniac Mr Krabs needs to take lessons from. A pawky, manipulating creep, the kind who’ll slime over your girlfriend the moment you turn your back.
Always on about “being naughty,” it’s a wonder why Operation Yew Tree didn’t pick this straggling suspect up on its radar, least cockney monkey Topov should’ve knee-capped the carrot-juice-injecting bastard, if, of course, he wasn’t just a hand puppet and therefore had no knees to cap.
2. Miner Willy
Strangely, except for retro-gamers, you can buy 2D figures of the unfortunately named Miner Willy (I said miner, not minor) online, but alas, no Funko pop. Despite holding a soulless persona, I personally believe he was a vastly misunderstood labourer. All he asked was to get some kip, but a foot-tapping madam with the touch-of-death prevented him until such a time he collected all the gems from the mansion, which was fucking impossible due to Software Projects’ programming incompetence; you needed a “poke,” apparently.
I’d favour, it was them who needed a poke, a poke back into reality. It’s Thatcher’s England, 1983, how many miners lived in a mansion?
Though just because the infuriating attic bug caused every Spectrum gamer a meltdown, with Fiddler on the Roof’s If I Were a Rich Man perpetually lingering in their nightmares, doesn’t mean the precursor to Minecraft’s Steve, who’ll have millennials and gen Z asking Siri what the heck I’m on about, Miner Willy deserves a Funko pop of his own, surely? He’s an icon, at least to everything that was shit about gaming in the eighties.
Nearly failed by fanboy default, as, like an anorak’s wet dream of The Island of Doctor Moreau, some sad individual actually spliced two Funko pops to create their own Servalan Funko pop. I ask you, isn’t that the genius of a perv with a feathery evil fetish far greater than my own? Made me feel somewhat inadequate by comparison.
Still, I confess an unnatural obsession for Blake’s Seven’s arch-nemesis. Is this the same strain of sexual attraction which would, post-pubescent, morph into magnetism for goth girls, or perhaps Servalan is to blame, the raging hussy?
You don’t gotta answer that, unless your name is Sigmund Freud, but you have to agree, if Servalan appeared in the Star Wars reboot, she’d head the First Order fashion task force, with or without shoulder pads, and for that alone she’d make a better Funko pop tart than Avon, who only ever had a door-to-door beauty product brand named after him, or any other Bee-Gees hairdo crew member of the Liberator.
4. Bubblegum Bert
Anyone who can trap the legendary man of peel in a bubblegum bubble deserves his own Funko pop too. But, being they’ve not even created one out of Steve Bright and John Geering’s iconic DC Thompson superhero, Bananaman, or his arch-nemesis Appleman, I doubt poor ol’ Bert, a mere passing enemy, is sadly anywhere on their hitlist.
Shame, really, because Bert is unlike your average, pretentious supervillain, who never knows when they’re beaten. You know the score; every supervillain is an egomaniac, left for dead at the final scene, perhaps whirling out of control in a half-demolished spacecraft, or some other lethal scenario, yet still they seek vengeance in a relentless fashion, episode after episode. Bert, on the other, as far as my comic budget allowed me to be aware, gave it his all in a Beano comic library, was shamefully defeated, but accepted his failure and never tried again, not even at their home in Nutty. The true Homer Simpson logic here has to be respected, and Funko should acknowledge that, or be damned.
I want a full inquiry into this one, because I accept up till now, I’ve only provided British suggestions, whereas Funko is as American as the golden arches, still no joy. And I dare not Google the other gang’s great Dane; Scooby-Doo is bound to have multiple Funko pops. Yet Hanna Barbara’s greyish blue, poor pastiche of their own creation, Goober, who’s only upgrades were to articulate, but only when breaking the fourth wall, and involuntary invisibility, save for his bobble-hat, and for reasons of samey, his Ghost Chasers seems unjustly to be condemned to lost archives.
Why an invisible dog needs a bobble-hat aside, at least this gang occasionally found real ghosts, and in doing so encouraged to help them catch the hoaxes; far more effectively than the cowardly Scooby’s gang; chew on that Scooby snack fact, Funko!
Pop star pops, makes sense, really, and is a reality, for both contemporary and legends at any rate. But what about mediocre eighties new wave ensemble, Kajagoogoo frontman, Limahl? Huh?
And if you think, for sardonic effect, I’ve erratically selected him from a catalogue of eighties throwbacks, you’d be surprised to note there’s logic in my madness. Predominately popular are superheroes in Funko popland, aren’t they? Well, just like a fan in a hairdresser asking for his idol’s style, X-Men character Longshot demanded a “Limahl cut” from his stylist, artist Arthur Adams, least the hair-do was the inspiration; Howard Jones must’ve been livid!
Either that, or I totally picked on Limahl at random and just happened to spot this pointless bit of trivia on Wikipedia.
7. Tufty Fluffytail
It’s not a widely publicised fact, that young children in the seventies learned how to cross the road, thanks to Bernard Cribbins and a red squirrel in yellow joggers and a denim jacket. Tufty was on tele, and he came to your playschool, and gave you a badge, your inauguration into his exclusive club. I liked badges; it was a simpler time.
Nowadays cars have better safety technology, like seatbelts. Attitudes to driving has tended to steer away from the once standard notion you must drink ten pints in your lunch hour and drive back to the office as like a headless chicken, unless you’re a politician. And councils have improved roads by failing to repair potholes, forcing drivers to slow. But it’s offset by the quantity of vehicles on the road, the complete incompetence of parking with consideration for others and the necessity of text messages on the go.
But regardless of if roads are safer or not, kids now aren’t content with a badge, they need a Funko pop, but Tufty’s replacement has already been done. Unfortunately, road safety was shouted at the next generation by Darth Vader in white and mint green spandex. Hayden Christensen might not have been born, and we nothing of him slaying Jedi younglings, but we knew when he vapourised into reprimand children disobeying the green cross code, he was of an evil disposition Tufty could never be. Hence why that extinct squirrel needs a reboot, if not for conservation.
8. Smash Martians
Smash Martians, for me, are more than fictional wok-headed robot alien characters advertising a popular brand of instant mash potato. They’re symbolic of how times have changed.
Because, you see, the idea was to place the unusual, robots, in an everyday scenario, a family sitting for an evening meal. Whereas today while robots are everywhere, the idea of a family meal is the unusual, in this just-eat TV dinner era, where Dad works a continental shift pattern, and did a runner in 2011 anyway, the kids only communicate through WhatsApp and mum is a full-time blogger who has lost the basic knowledge of how to make a shepherd’s pie.
I deliberate, if a Conservative thinktank really wanted us to return to a golden era of yore, they’d be better electing a leader from the Smash Martian family rather than their crooked politicians. Then again, they were the ones promoting the use of instant mash, an abomination of a shepherd’s pie. So, maybe the fault lies with them, maybe they were the start of this throwaway, impatient fast-food culture. Therefore, I’ve retracted my pitch the Smash Martians should be Funko popped on the basis the deceiving wankers are no better than Tories.
9. Dempsey and Makepeace
In LWT’s attempts to bring seventies gritty back into British TV cop shows a cleaner decade later, it merged UK upper class pomposity with hard-edged New York rouge police type drama, and failed on all parts, save the eye candy element.
Dempsey and Makepeace were never The Sweeny, neither Kojak or Starsky and Hutch, but man, Dempsey was cool, and Makepeace, well, eighties school sex education at best, I wasn’t precisely sure what it was I wanted to do with Glynis Barber, but I knew enough never to tell my mum.
Lucky bugger, Michael Brandon married his co-star and they’re still together, the kind of relationship Cilla Black yearned for on her show, but in turn, their off-screen romance killed the “will-they-won’t-they” element of the show by blatantly flirting as their characters, so, neither was it Moonlighting either. Of course, none of this justifies why they should make Funko pop characters out of them, I just think it’s a shame they haven’t, being they have made one out of the teapot and cup from the 2017 live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, and Michael and Glynis rank just above them in my book.
10. 7 Zark-7
If I rejected the Smash Martians for being right wing, this abomination was truly the Mary Whitehouse of robots, but hear my pledge; it wasn’t his fault. Like Boris Johnson, per say, his clowning was a facade to a darker philosophy of conservatism, but unlike Bojo, he was a robot, and was programmed rather than nurtured to be a gammon.
Both American and UK kids wet themselves over Battle of the Planets, and was likely their introduction to Japanese anime before the term was popularised. But everyone was dubious of this bizarre droid, ripped off the back of the Star Wars craze, visually akin to R2D2 but with arms and cloak, yet with the pedantic camp persona of C3PO, and couldn’t quite figure why he was such a boring bastard.
It’s because he was never a part of G-Force at all, he was a fraud, poorly drafted in by Sandy Frank, to fill in the gaps of his heavily edited American version. Every time we saw this pathetic dustbin, acting like a school teacher trying to be amusing but failing abysmally, something deemed too extreme for US kids was going on behind the scenes.
The original, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman was chockful of reality; naughty words, scenes of death, violence, nudity, and of a sexual nature, but if you lived in the western world, you witnessed none of it, just this cover-up dumb-ass droid, being a twat. Tackling transgender issues, for example, simply wouldn’t do. Alien nemesis Zoltar never had a sister, it was hermaphrodite.
7 Zark-7 was a prostitute to censorship, symbolically wrapping kids in cotton wool, and now they know, every fanboy wants his head on a platter. But just how every market town in the UK without a railway station blames Dr Richard Beeching, when his hand was forced to make cuts, perhaps we should show a little sympathy for this misunderstood droid; because, while you can rebel from your upbringing, a robot cannot break its programing. 7 Zark-7 cannot be held accountable for his suppressive algorithms. And maybe a Funko pop might be the perfect way to exonerate him in honour.
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