“How obsessed am I with Funko Pops? Well let me put this into perspective,” offers Tristan, an Ontario, Canada 17-year-old who pretty much lives for the small plastic collectibles that pay homage to various pop-culture moments.
“My entire room is Funko Pops, floor to ceiling. On my bed, I have a Funko blanket. When I eat my cereal in the morning, I eat it out of a Funko bowl. And inside that Funko bowl is Funko cereal. Every single one of my T-shirts practically is Funko Pop. And if anyone sits near me during the day they know they’re going to hear about, well, Funko Pops.”
Tristan (who did not want his last name used) tells Yahoo Lifestyle that his collection started four years ago, after his brother bought him a Funko Pop of TV character Sheldon Cooper and it sparked his passion for the cartoon-like figurines.
“He bought it for me because we both love the Big Bang Theory,” he explains. And now, just a few years later, he’s the proud owner of about 1,300 Funko Pops, which line the walls of his bedroom.
“I have them from so many different categories, from musicians to Disney to Marvel,” he says. “I have Batman, Muhammed Ali, Ernie, Michael Jordan, Lucky the Leprechaun and hundreds more.” Over the years, he believes, he’s spent a total of between $15,000 and $17,000 on the little guys, which typically run between $10 and $25, with exceptions.
“The most I’ve ever spent on a Funko Pop was $110,” he says, which was for a Jollibee, the little red mascot of a popular fast food chain in the Philippines.
The one Funko Pop Tristan covets these days is a 2016 San Diego Comic Con exclusive of Bob’s Big Boy, another food-chain mascot, which is worth about $1,100. “So I don’t know if I’ll be getting it anytime soon,” he says.
In addition to just collection items and the branded counterparts, Tristan has a pretty popular YouTube channel dedicated to the topic. Launched with his brother in 2014 and called “Top Pops,” it now boasts over 140K subscribers who tune in to watch the boys do everything from track down favorites to cutting figurines in half to see what’s inside.
“We go hunting for them at different stores, we do unboxings, reviews and go to conventions looking for them,” he explains of the series. The brothers will often document their travels as they go looking for them in various corners of North America. The farthest they’ve gone so far was to New York Comic-Con, and this summer Tristan will head to Funko headquarters, in Everett, Washington. “This is literally any Funko Pop fan’s dream vacation,” he notes.
Tristan says he often gets asked why he collects this figurines, and he’s got an answer: “Simply because it’s fun to collect,” he says. “They’re also really colorful, they’re small, they’re affordable, and there’s always something new coming out… I don’t think I’ll ever stop collecting Funko Pops.”
The main reason they even exist, he adds, “is to bring joy to people, and to help them remember pop culture things that they love.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: