How to Look at a Funko Pop

© Copyright 2021 Ajay Sharma, Ryerson University


[Fig 1.1: Ajay Sharma, Joker Funko Pop , February 9th, 2021. ©Ajay Sharma]
Funko Pops are a pop culture phenomenon that all ages enjoy and collect. For good reasons, these little sculptures are a work of art, and every one of them is unique to itself. Once stores open up again, or if you have a funko pop at home, I urge you to take a closer look at the figure that caught your interest in the first place, notice the attention to detail in the paint job, the accuracy of the figure to its original presentation. You will be quite surprised how accurate these toys are to their origin. There have been many counterfeit funkos that have been sold; however, it is the tiniest details of the figure that can determine its legitimacy. Looking at the Joker funko pop chosen for this post, the imperfections make this item a detailed work worthy of visual discourse.


The Joker Funko Visual Analysis:

[Fig 2.1 : Warner Bros, Heath Ledger Holds Up a Joker Card in “The Dark Knight”, July 18th, 2008. ©Warner Bros]
The Joker is a pop culture icon; anyone who enjoys action/superheroes will know this character. This specific pop is a tribute to the interpretation of the joker in the movie “The Dark Knight ” directed by Christopher Nolan. This funko is scarily accurate to the character’s visual presentation in the film, starting with the hair, which is overgrown and messy. I find this part of the Funko to be one of the most intricate parts; the hairline is identical to the character. The streaks of green hair not being combed speaks to the Joker’s philosophy of nothing matters and how he has truly let himself go. Another example that speaks to the detail level that goes into these toys’ productions is looking at the card the Joker is holding. It is identical to the one he is holding in the live-action film, with the streak of red going down the side of the stake with a decapitated head. As mentioned earlier, Funko Pops imperfections make each one unique; this Joker funko has an unfinished paint job in his left eye. There is a black mark right above the hairline, and the overcoat is slightly chipped on the left side above the buttons. These imperfections make this figure legitimate; counterfeits are often perfectly crafted with cheaper material. One could tell the difference right away. Since Funko manufacturers make an abundance of pops for each character, the paint job on every individual figure will not be perfect. I have yet to come across a pop without one unfinished feature.



Serial Number Codes:

While identifying the legitimacy of a pop can be viewed at an intermediate level by looking at the paint quality and overall figure structure, the easiest way to tell if one is real or not is the identification number at the bottom of the head for each pop. This code is identical to the one of the packaging of the figure, if it’s the same code as on the box, it is guaranteed that this figure is not a fake. Furthermore, there is also an identification of the brand the character belongs to on the feet on each pop, in this case, it’s DC Comics.

[Fig 1.2: Ajay Sharma, Joker Serial Number. February 9th, 2021.© Ajay Sharma]
[ Fig 1.3: Ajay Sharma, Joker Brand identification. February 9th, 2021. © Ajay Sharma]


On the surface, these action figures have a minimalist design. However, ENG705 and Elkins’s reading has taught us to look at the mundane with an inquisitive eye for detail. These figures take time to make, are creative in their creations with subtle hints to what it is trying to copy. These may retail at $14.99 per figure at your local store; however, those coveted for their designs/artwork can resell up to over $1,000. The pricing may seem ludicrous for such a small figure made of plastic, but these figures affect their buyer. Any Funko can have meaning to a person depending on the context; these little pieces of art require detailed visual observations to understand why.


Works Cited:

Elkins, James. “How to Use Your Eyes.” (2000)

© Copyright 2021 Sharma, Ajay. ” Joker Funko Pop” Photograph. February 9th, 2021.

© Copyright 2021  Sharma, Ajay. ” Joker Serial Number” Photograph. February 9th, 2021.

© Copyright 2021  Sharma, Ajay. ” Joker Brand Identification” Photograph. February 9th, 2021.

© Copyright 2021 Warner Bros, Heath Ledger Holds Up a Joker Card in “The Dark Knight”, July 18th, 2008.


 Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.