Seattle Bound - Day 2: Good Pricing, Great Cosplay and Diverse Artistry at Emerald City Comic Con
This time, more familiar to the locale of the con and armed with my Resident Evil map, I had a few goals in mind as to how I was going to spend my day. Friday’s excursion into the Green City of Pop Culture led to some major Funko shopping, cosplay picture snapping and a great panel discussion.
Funko Shopping: Dollars Dropping
Yesterday I mentioned that I bought Jiren and Sasuke at ECCC, but I never mentioned the price. Well…the Funkos out here are super low priced. Imagine if you will, a specialty pop with any specialty sticker: Chase, Specialty Series, Flocked, and ‘Only ‘a certain amount created’. Well its lowest price is $25. My heart just dropped on how low these ‘black market’ prices are. Too good to pass up, I bought a few good ones. Then a thought entered my head… either the black market prices are dropping on the secondary Funko market or this is just one of the more lower priced ‘comic-cons’ I’ve ever experienced?
For those that don’t know, not every con is built the same. Some are in areas where the townsfolk aren’t really hip to the comic, anime and pop culture scene and the vendors there have merchandise that are sometimes at low cost. With these lower priced cons, some businesses will take a chance to promote their goods at super low prices to draw customers and as such, collectible-business owners, who see opportunity, will go out to these areas, take a chance and ‘buy the bar’ in Funko exclusives and ship’em back. This, people, is a better way to get those hard-to-reach Funkos, then ordering on eBay or Amazon. In a way, it’s like going to the source to collect the ‘hardcore’ Funkos with you controlling the product and shipping it at a low price. Now that’s official. While shopping for low priced Funkos at this con, I had to give props to Booth 2928 -Top Shelf Toys for their special pricing on those collectibles.
Funko Regulation Theory
Now after looking at the pricing of the Funkos in Seattle I had a thought. More possibly a theory. What if the actual Funko company started to see what their products were doing to the average collector and wanted to curb the savagery that ensued. What if they started to create they own pricing for collectors and created a ‘regulatory system’ to standardize the black market prices of the Funko Pops? Looking at it in the age of the ‘pop culture movement’ and technology, I’m not that far off. Think about it, what actuality makes a Funko pop or any toy for that matter valuable? Before social media and the ‘pop culture movement’ merchandise was valuable due to the year it was made and sometimes it was the ‘ancient legend’ that surrounded the toy that made it even more valuable.
Now, with social media and the age of easy data access, data has driven the toy industry and many others (i.e. facebook, instagram, elections, etc.) into a series of collectible markets that could possibly ‘assist’ in making the product more valuable based on data regulating. How is that possible? What if the data collected from companies like ebay, PayPal, and CashApp (and other tech companies that collect your financial data) brokered a deal with Funko to collect only data that had certain key words that related to Funko-based products and averaged the black market prices for each particular Funko product?
But like I said…It’s just a theory.
Fugitive Toys and the legend of the ‘Clockwork Orange’ Funko Pop
Fugitive Toys has been a staple for comic cons on the west coast as well as the east coast for some time. Their pricing is pretty reasonable as they are the suppliers of all things Funko. Additionally, their price points in regards to the black market are definitely spot on, if not slightly lower than average.
Well, every now and then I’ve run across a Funko Pop whose price was so extraordinary that I couldn’t believe the fine print on it. In the past, legend had it that the Planet Arlia Vegeta Pop was the most sought after and prized Funko collectible. Well, not anymore. There are some ‘Funko Pop Gems’ that are considered more valuable and prized than Vegeta (I couldn’t believe it either).. In my Seattle journey I saw the ‘Clockwork Orange - Alex’ Funko Pop which was priced at $15,000. Why? Why is this collectible so expensive in price, that its vinyl skin is equivalent to a 2.00 ct French Pave’ Diamond Engagement Ring in 14k White Gold? Well its based on the story involved:
The Legend as it was told to me:
‘The Funko CEO at the time, designed a significant number of Clockwork Orange ‘Alex’ Pops to present to the movie studio at the time. The studio that carried ‘Clockwork Orange’ looked at the pop and said ‘hell no’ and dismissed him. Now mind you, this was prior to the company going to its meteoric rise in the collectible industry. The CEO at the time, to prevent any licensing violations, designed the box in such a way that its appearance is different than the normal packaging.
Well, when Funko started that climb to top collectible status; becoming one of the best and brightest in the game, Warner Bros pictures, the company that distributed the film, started to have second thoughts and asked [3x] to release Alex for production. The CEO conceded, but a problem happened. The originally made ‘Alex Pops’ in their abnormal packaging were distributed with some stipulations: Those Pops were numbered and signed at the bottom to ensure that whoever did buy, bought the original draft model.”
When I asked to see it, the vendor said, “you can’t see it, its for serious inquires only. If we handed it to you and you saw the number we would be flooded with inquires and requests for it. Once you buy it, its yours.”
I couldn’t believe it. For me, looking at that Pop, I just saw my down payment for a house, a small nick in my student loans and another engagement ring for my wife!! So rather than get jealous and be mad, I just took a picture so people didn’t think I was lying as I wrote this.
The collectible industry is something else.
Celebrating Women of Atari
This panel really captivated me as professional women in the gaming industry and the academic environment revealed their experiences in gaming and how there contributions were part of the evolution in gaming.
First, we had Dr. Evie Powell, the President of Verge of Brilliance. Holding a PhD in Information Technology - Computer Science from the University of North Carolina, her prestigious gaming firm focuses on creating meaningful experiences in gaming through the use of colors and intricate designs. Next, we have Katherine Cross, a PhD student at the University of Washington, who also spoke on the panel; Then we had Video Game Goddess; Rebecca Heineman; who graced the scene with her vast knowledge of video games, gaming and technology. Honestly, she is ‘ The #1 Official Gamer’ as she was one of the first ‘Contributing Goddesses’ to the gaming community. Having been the first to successfully win the ‘first’ national video game tournament, she is an expert video game programmer that has contributed to countless games (from Atari to present) and the many shifts in video gaming and technology. For her contributions, a solid thank you is definitely given by me to her. Next we had Dr. Daniela Rosner; Professor of Human Design and Engineering, whose research in computer technology has been supported by multiple awards from the U.S. National Science Foundation, including an NSF CAREER award and last but not least, Professor Pernille Bjorn , founder of Atari Women and prominent researcher in Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW); she was brilliant as she facilitated the discussion in regards to women in gaming, diversity and the need for having interdisciplinary skills in the workplace.
One notable aspect of this conference was the need to get ‘recognition in regards to your creative work so that others, who are interested in this career path, can see that there is work in gaming and it can be a viable career option for individuals who resemble them. There is truth in those words as females are less represented in gaming and computer science. Usually a White - male dominated workplace, some companies and other groups are looking to diversify gaming and technology to include other members of the community meaning Black, Latino, male, female, non-binary. After all gaming isn’t just a one-sided platform for one group of people.
With Cosplay, Friday didn’t disappoint, as cosplay was ‘Over 9000’ at ECCC. Illustrious colors and beautiful designs laid the foundation for the awesome cosplay that was going to take place on Saturday. Armed with my Iphone camera, I took some great shots of these cosplayers to reflect how Seattle does it for Cosplay. Although most of the pics are on IG, there were some who deserve special credit for the costumes they displayed. Below are some great pieces that I felt deserve their own moment to shine.
Looking for the ‘ohhs and ahhs’ of the con, there were some star-artists that were supernovas. Using colors in patterns to create some star quality work. I had no choice but to take pics of them. Some of their artwork provided messages while others capitalized on current pop culture trends.
‘Digit’ or ‘Dig it’
The artist, Kristen Bailey, provided some great designs as she focused on female characters in multiple pop culture settings. From the Chippetts from Alvin and the Chipmunks to Alice from Alice in Wonderland, her characters are set in comedic stances while portraying a given emotion or reaction. Personally, I like the ‘Good Burger’ print, which reflected 90s Nickelodeon TV.
His artwork demonstrated that representation in the female spectrum is important. Focused on women and excellence; his artwork represents that dreaming, thinking and reading is not gender specific. Women and Girls can be and do whatever they want to do and any action represented can also demonstrate how a female trait is opposed to a male one. He definitely deserves some accolades as he defies male conventional thinking to portray women in positive and powerful forms.
Val Hochberg – The Creator of the Comic Series Mystery Babylon,
Her graphic novels were first kickstarted online and after receiving tremendous support, have now cumulated to an 8 volume series of the great content. Mystery Babylon stars the adventures of two individuals: Kick Girl and Zero, whose goals is to prevent the upcoming apocalypse from happening. Again.
Kick Girl, a demon from an apocalyptic past, made a promise to prevent the seal that houses the demons from opening again. What begins as a sincere promise turns into a battle of survival as she teams up with Zero, the priest to the goddess Vesta, to prevent the seal from opening again. A feel good graphic novel with pitfalls and adventures; the graphic novel is a fun read.
ECCC marked a pivotal point for me as I noticed that this con opened its doors to multiple races and genders. With an emphasis for diversity, ReedPop is ensuring that everyone’s voices are being heard in all aspects of pop culture. Additionally, this mentality is also demonstrated in Seattle’s openness to the on goings that is taking place in America today. From Black Lives Matter to the March for Women’s Rights, their school system is also knowledgeable to the plights facing many underrepresented groups across America today. This was demonstrated by my accidental bus stop by a school.
Coming from New Jersey, I’ve never seen this and I had to take a shot of a flagpost with multiple flags hanging at half-staff at a local school. Absent the American Flag and present the Seattle Flag, The Pride Flag for LGTB, the Black Lives Matter Flag, and the Transgender Flag; Seattle’s pop culture community and community at large is a welcoming to all who might be different in nerddom, geekdom and in lifestyle.