Derek Trum writes from New York Comic Con 2017:
Getting your hands on exclusive items is a big part of the New York Comic Con. Image Comics is selling exclusive G.I. Joe-themed Walking Dead figures, BOOM! Studios is offering a deluxe hardcover Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers collection, and let's not forget all the adorable pins you can buy from the Marvel booth. Most of those exclusives are readily available anytime of the day. Then there's another type of exclusive: Funko exclusives.
Over the last few years, Funko has been a huge draw at all the major comic book conventions. Some of the exclusives are shared with stores like GameStop and Hot Topic, but there's always those few items a very elusive.
If you are interested in buying your exclusives at the show, Funko tries to make it easy doing a lottery system. You enter the lottery, and if lucky, you win a spot to shop at their store during a set time of day. The system works pretty well, and with the lottery, you only have to worry about your favorite items being sold out before it's your turn. If you didn't win a lottery spot, you can easily get in line at 5 p.m. when the store opens to the public. Wait a second, did I say "easily"? Because what I meant to say is that you can sacrifice a part of your mind and soul to attempt to survive the wasteland that they call Open to the Public.
At 5 p.m., the Funko Lounge opens to the public. Above is a picture of the "line" that started to from at 3 p.m. Being the risk-taker I am, I welcomed this challenge head on.
Right away there were signs of concern, as they only had one person working security for the line. As the line continued to build in length it also started to growth in width as more and more people pulled off the classic "Chat & Cut". As I stood in line, I made allies, as I knew this quest was too dangerous to go alone.
After about 40 minutes, the first real drama started as the line started to move. Quickly people moved towards the Funko booth as they were led away by a security guard. My group and I got right to front when we were told to stop. The guard promised to come back and get us but we knew this could be game over. The crowd that was wrapped around the Funko Lounge continued to swell. Minutes passed, and each felt like days. The group was getting restless and morale was not great. Out of the crowd we spotted our security guard. We knew he was either bringing us hope or telling us to get lost.
"Okay, who is in group here?"
I spoke up quickly, "My group is right here, it's all four of us."
The security guard looked at us, not knowing that I didn't even know anyone's name in my group. "You four come with me."
We were moving on to the phase of this dungeon, and doing so as a group.
We were brought up closer to the Funko Lounge. No one in front or back of us were from the previous line. I can only assume that anyone else from the previous line was fed to a Rancor, or dropped through a trap door. As we waited in the new line it became very clear the volunteers working line control would still be an issue. The area we were standing in was directly in front of the Lounge. This area had a ton of traffic walking through and many were trying for the Chat & Cut. As people continued to sneak into line a new voice began to speak up against the line-cutting scoundrels.
"Secuirty! Security, those people up there are cutting the line!"
This man was determined to get his hands on a Dragon Zord pop and didn't care who he snitched on to get one.
Things started to look better, even though we had not moved for about an hour. The customers who won the lottery had all taken their turns. It was only a matter of time before the line would start moving. As long as no other major attention was brought to the booth we would be okay. Before we could take a sigh of relief the Funko Gods threw another curveball at us.
"Hey, it's Mary Poppins, y'all!"
Enter Michael Rooker to the mix.
The crowd went crazy as Yondu himself showed up to the Lounge. Michael Rooker is a true rockstar at these events. From the looks of it he could not be friendlier. Right away he started hugging people and taking pictures. He even stopped by with my group to talk to us about the best Pops to get.
After the excitement of Rooker's visit subsided, it was time for the main event. The Funko Lounge would officially open to the public at 4:50 p.m. The line started to move, no more worries of people cutting the line as security tightened up. Now was the time for crossing your fingers and saying your prayers to the Funko Gods that your Funko would still be waiting for you when your turn approached. Everyone copes their own way with this anticipation. Some would look for constant updates from people closer to the front of the line.
"How many Dragon Zords are left? Anyone in front of me NOT getting one?"
Then you would have the superstitious ones who kept covering their ears when anyone shouted out an update.
Time now started to speed up as each person got closer and then disappeared into the Lounge. I would love to tell you the happy ending of each person in my group, but I can't. Once you get to that point where you're next in line, it's like you're in our own pocket of reality. The rest becomes a blur. I know I got my turn and listed off a bunch of Funkos. Someone swiped my credit card and handed me a huge blue bag. I never saw my group again, but for the sake of the story, let's say they all got Dragon Zords.
If you have a few extra hours to kill at the show, I highly recommend you have an adventure and try for the Funko Lounge.