Did you get the DC TV Legion of Collectors box from Funko? If you didn’t, then you missed out on a fantastic box filled with all sorts of unique and cool DC Comics items (check out our review of the second box). If you are looking to get into this subscription service, each box will cost you $25, and you’ll get $50 in value of exclusive high-quality collectible products including bot not limited to apparel, accessories, toys and memorabilia.
Just like for the DC TV box, we went to Funko’s Director of Marketing Mark Robben, to tell us about the next box which is the Legion of Collectors Suicide Squad box, and to give us a little inside information for our readers. We also talk about other Funko DC items in this interview.
For those that don’t know, Mark is the Director of Marketing at Funko. He has been at Funko for a year, running the marketing department like a champ. His responsibilities include the subscription services, to the regular lines of POPs, Mystery Minis, and more. He is a Star Wars collector at heart, but does have a strong affinity for Nightwing collectibles.
Editor’s note – this interview was conducted last week.
DCCollectors – Last time we talked you hadn’t seen Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice yet, now that you have, what did you think?
Mark Robben – You know, here’s my thing, I really liked Ben Affleck as Batman. I loved the new Wonder Woman. I think she is fantastic. She was definitely the bright spot of the movie for me, but my problem with this is that I think the Superman they created for this is a little cold. He is kind of removed from everybody and that is like Dr. Manhattan is supposed to be in Watchmen, but I feel like Superman is supposed to actually like people. I just don’t get that from the current movie Superman.
I wish that Superman would be a little more relatable and a little less aloof.
DCCollectors – Many people think that about this current Superman. Some are hoping that he changes in the Justice League film. They are wanting a more “likable” Superman.
Mark Robben – Superman is supposed to be fun. If you read All-Star Superman, he likes people. He genuinely wants to do good things and he cares about Earth. I feel like they are dwelling too much on the fact that he is an ALIEN. That’s not they way he is portrayed in the comic books, so too me this is not my preferred Superman, and that’s all I’ll say.
DCCollectors – Well hopefully when the Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition comes out, maybe it will fix some issues people have with the film. Let’s move on to some Funko talk. Did the DC TV box do as well as you had hoped?
Mark Robben – Well it’s still growing. I would say that as rabid as that fanbase is around those shows, I expected more. You know it was our second box and with every program it is going to take time to grow. It’s taken Marvel time to grow and I get that. I just thought that the fanbase, such as they are for Arrow, Supergirl and The Flash, I was kind of hoping that they would rally around it a little bit more.
Now we are on to Suicide Squad, and the movie is not even out yet, but obviously people are really excited about it. The box is selling great and it looks to be a runaway hit for us and I am really happy to see that. I am not surprised at all that that is the case for Suicide Squad.
I know the DC shows are kind of like cult hits, versus a big major motion picture. I understand that and its not fair to compare Arrow to Suicide Squad, so I wasn’t disappointed by it. However, I thought with as much stuff as we had in there for those shows, that there would have been a little more excitement about it. Live and learn though.
DCCollectors – Will the Suicide Squad be strictly movie based, or is there some hope of elements of the comic book version in the box?
Mark Robben – It’s strictly a movie based box.
DCCollectors – Some fans are wanting to see items in the DC box similar to that of the Star Wars and Marvel boxes, for instance multiple POP! vinyl figures in a box. Is this something we can expect for either Suicide Squad or future boxes?
Mark Robben – At some point you will see that, but to be honest, one of the reasons we do multiple POP! figures in Star Wars is because we don’t have a lot of flexibility to create new and different products with the Star Wars license, but we are working on that. With Marvel, and especially with DC, we have much more freedom to try new things and make product that we don’t even make for mass retail yet. So I actually think that what you are more likely to see with DC is us debuting and creating products that might be your first time seeing it, in the box. There will always be POP! vinyl. Always. In addition to that you will see other products that we have not shown in retail and other form factors, because DC and Warner Bros. is so willing to work with us to create new products.
Rather than us putting multiple POP! figures in the box, I’d say what you are more likely to see is us trying new and different types of Funko content. Obviously with DC characters.
DCCollectors – Since Suicide Squad is tracking to be a major hit for Warner Bros. and the merchandising side looks to be doing big things for the them, is this going to translate into multiple waves of Suicide Squad POP! figures? I know Funko showcased 15 pop vinyl figures on the box of the current releases, but is their room for more?
Mark Robben – That honestly is dependent on two factors. One how well does the movie do? I think it will do really well, so I doubt we have anything to worry about there. Two how well do the items sell? If a line sells really really well, then there is going to be a wave two. That is what I always tell people. I always tell people, if you want a wave two, then make sure you support wave one. There will not be a wave two, even if the movie is a giant hit, if wave one doesn’t sell. We are only going to do additional waves if fans are buying the original series.
I think that the movie will be a hit and I would hope that these sell really well. If they do, then I am sure there will be a second wave. It really just comes down to how they are selling.
DCCollectors – Is that the same for the Suicide Squad Mystery Minis?
Mark Robben – Exactly. The same thought process applies to those as well.
DCCollectors – Has Funko thought about randomly throwing in something special in one or two boxes, like original art by one of your artists? Just something that only 1-10 people would pull from their boxes? Like a golden ticket type of promotion.
Mark Robben – We have thought about it. We don’t have any plans right the second, but yes that is something that has been considered. Stay tuned.
DCCollectors – Do you monitor the web and here the concerns about fans not being able to find things like the recent Batman of Zur en arrh and Joker Target exclusives? What are your thoughts on the outrage some fans have?
Mark Robben – I absolutely hear that. My response is we work carefully with the retailers to develop these programs. There is a fine line between making something exclusive enough that people will want it versus just making so many of them that they’re not exclusive anymore. That is always the struggle.
Frankly is the same math that goes into our calculating of how many of a certain item we bring to Comic-con or another event. If we made enough for everyone that wanted one, my guess is that less people would end up wanting them, because they wouldn’t be exclusive anymore.
We are always playing with what that math looks like, and what the proper ratios should be. I will say that the intention for the Batman of Zur en arrh program was to make it extremely limited and hard to find. And it certainly is. Will there be other programs where the item is in higher quantities than that? Absolutely.
The Suicide Squad Joker shouldn’t be any less quantity than any other unit that they have. It’s their exclusive and they didn’t order any less of that than anyone else did of theirs, like Hot Topic exclusives or anyone else’s Suicide Squad exclusives.
I hear the people saying, “oh the employees are stealing them”, but I don’t really buy that. I know you probably get scalpers that go in and grab the stuff and put it on eBay, but I am a Star Wars collector, and damned if I have been able to find Ahsoka Tano on the pegs. She is not even an exclusive, just a regular release, but I have to turn to eBay and Amazon for that.
I think it is a problem that affects all of collecting and honestly if we as collectors are willing to go to eBay and pay those prices, then that is going to continue. I am not sure that the answer is to have manufacturers flood the market with it because it won’t work. Invariably someone is going to have a warehouse full of them, whether it is us, Target, or whoever. I agree that maybe the math isn’t always right in the way that we are producing, but I will also say the more that we as collectors are willing to pay into the secondary market, then that is were the demand is and that is what is setting the prices.
DCCollectors – I totally agree. I don’t get the whole complaining about the flipper mentality. If I went to Target and found two of those Batman figures, I would buy both. I would keep one, and use the other to help me find something bigger and more expensive for my collection.
Mark Robben – Sure, so would I. Absolutely.
DCCollectors – I just don’t get the hand out mentality, and the “save one for the true fan” idea.
Mark Robben – Well it would be nice if it all worked out that way. You know all of this can be tweaked. We did Emerald City Comic-con, our home town con, and admittedly our quantities on some of the stuff we sold was too low. That can be tweaked and we are adjusting for San Diego. We are adjusting for New York. When we go back to Emerald City next spring, it will be different. We are always learning, so we can take the feedback to Target and say for the next promotion we do, we need to adjust this math.
You also have to understand what the goal of the program is. The goal of that program was not to make sure everyone that walked into Target got a Batman of Zur en arrh. The goal of that program was that it was a treasure hunt. The goal was, it is going to be hard to find, and it is almost like a chase piece. Maybe you are going to find it, but you are probably not. It’s not going to make everyone happy, but it was a different goal, than just have this item be proliferate on every shelf at every Target.
If you are interested in picking up the Legion of Collectors Suicide Squad box, then visit the official site and secure your box today! We want to again thank Mark for taking time out of his schedule to give us the lowdown on the next box and more!
DCCollectors – I completely agree with that. Having it that limited gives you something to strive for and gives you that grail piece that you are always on the lookout for. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thanks for producing these fantastic boxes for DC Fans. The DC TV Box was spectacular and I am eagerly awaiting that Legion of Collectors Suicide Squad box.
Mark Robben – It will be a tremendous box and I think you will really like it!