If you haven’t heard of Funko Pop! figures, then perhaps you’ve been living under a rock. The popular Funko brand has a variety of toy lines, but without question, the 3.75″ Funko Pop! vinyl figures are the company’s bread and butter.
They’ve been around since 2010, but in the last year or so, Funko Pop! vinyls have exploded in popularity, becoming to 2016 what Beanie Babies were to 1997.
Their stylized huge-head-on-a-tiny-body design isn’t for everyone. Even I wasn’t crazy about the look at first. But their mass appeal comes from one simple fact: No matter what you like in the world of popular culture, there’s probably a Funko figure for you to buy.
Love music? No problem. The Funko Pop! Rocks series so far includes the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, KISS, Bob Marley, Ozzy Osborne, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and Guns ‘n’ Roses.
Into Disney? Name your princess/prince/villain, then name your version.
Are cartoons your thing? Sure. Funko has a ton of Hanna-Barbera characters including Peter Potamus, Wacky Races and Scooby Doo, as well as the Powerpuff Girls, Thundercats, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
TV and movie fanatic? From The X-Files to Supernatural to Doctor Who; Game of Thrones, LOST, Once Upon a Time and The Walking Dead; whether it’s Star Wars, Star Trek, super heroes or even your pet dog — chances are, there’s a Funko Pop! for that.
As Funko steadily works its way through the seemingly endless plethora of entertainment goodness, we all have our favourites that we’re patiently (or in my case, not so patiently) waiting to see transformed into Pop! figures.
They’ve already given us a wave of classic Batman ’66 characters (yah!), and The Munsters (minus Marilyn, sadly), but as of right now, classic television shows are still grossly under-represented at Funko.
Which is why I wish to submit that it’s time for Twilight Zone Funko Pop! vinyl figures.
With 156 episodes in the original series, and many instantly recognizable characters, Twilight Zone Pop!s seem like a no-brainer. But why wait for Funko designers to do all the work? I’m an artist, right? And an uber TZ fan. So… I decided to sketch my own designs.
Since The Twilight Zone is a classic black and white series, why not make the figures black and white too? Seemed appropriate to me. Colour just doesn’t suit TZ, and Funko has experimented with all kinds of cool effects/colour schemes for many other figures already. Should be no problem to create a set of B&W-only models.
Since I’m still anxiously waiting for a Rod Serling figure of any kind, he was my first pick to be Funko-fied. Check it out:
With his expressive caterpillar eyebrows, signature cigarette (a Chesterfield King, of course), and fitted suit and tie, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling would be the first in my series of TZ Pop!s.
Next is a devilish little offering — Julie Newmar’s character from season 4’s “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville”, Miss Devlin.
No question, Newmar sizzled as this she-devil-in-disguise, and with her sexy skirt-suit and tiny devil horns, she remains one of the most recognizable female characters of the series.
Were you heart-broken when Henry Bemis broke his glasses at the end of the quintessential season 1 episode, “Time Enough At Last”? Well, sorry, but I’m afraid you’re not going to get any happy ending from me either.
My Henry Bemis figure features his signature broken glasses, and clutches two of his favourite classic tomes — Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield” and “Shakespeare’s Sonnets” — both are mentioned in the episode.
Now for my personal favourite of the bunch. Among TZ fans, it’s a toss-up between William Shatner’s two episodes: “Nick of Time” is my choice, but there’s something about season 5’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” that usually wins the majority of fans over. And I’m pretty sure it’s Nick Cravat dressed up in a furry gremlin suit that does it.
The Gremlin of “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” is somehow terrifying and cute all at the same time. It’s a scary creature tearing apart the wing of the plane you’re currently on… but look how furry he is!! And for me, that makes him the perfect candidate for Funko to “pop”, as Funkos in and of themselves can’t not be cute with their over-sized heads and huge eyes.
You can catch the Devil, but you can’t hold him long. That was the underlying message in my favourite Twilight Zone episode, “The Howling Man“. While Robin Hughes’s portrayal of the Devil himself is what we remember, I would argue that it’s another character who steals the show. That would be horror legend John Carradine’s wild-eyed, zealous monk, Brother Jerome.
With his robe, big, bushy beard, and modestly sandaled feet, my Brother Jerome Funko Pop! is ready to put his Staff of Truth to good use…
… Because you see, at the end of the episode, David Ellington let the Howling Man out of his cell, and the Devil has once more been loosed upon the earth…
… And looks absolutely adorable in Pop!ed form, doesn’t he? This one was so much fun to draw. His little cape, little horns, little pointed ears, and that little devil-goatee… I love him. (Forgive me, Jesus, the figure, not the Devil!) Yeah, you already knew there was no way “The Howling Man” Devil wasn’t making it into my list.
When “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” begins, Serling tells us it’s a “wintry February night”. How apropos. In this classic season 2 episode, the passengers of a stranded bus must find a Martian in a diner. We’re warned up front that this will be harder than finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Buuuut, well, I beg to differ.
How do you find a Martian in a diner? Easy. Just look for the guy with three arms. Oh, you noticed the guy with the third eye, did you? That’s the cook, Mr. Haley, and he’s not from Mars. He’s from Venus. And there’s the rub: You go looking for a Martian and you find a Venusian too!
For me, a third eye is way more impressive than a third arm — hence my choice of Mr. Haley and not Mr. Ross. Though personally, if I had to choose, I’d much prefer the extra arm myself.
When it comes to quintessential moments in television history, there are few things more memorable than the big reveal in “Eye of the Beholder”. It’s arguably the most famous episode of The Twilight Zone and for good reason — it has an excellent moral message with a huge “Whaaaaaaa –” moment at the end.
Even more shocking than discovering that it was Donna Douglas’s beautiful face under those medical bandages, was the reveal that the “normal” people in this story were actually pig-faced monstrosities.
Serling reiterates the meaning of the title in his end narration: It doesn’t matter where or when this is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder everywhere, for everyone.
But while that’s absolutely true, I think the thing we best remember about “Eye of the Beholder” is that creepy pig-faced nurse. Truly one of the more iconic characters… of the Twilight Zone.
So please, Funko, put The Twilight Zone on your short list of things to “pop”. These are just the top 8 characters I’d love to see you make figures of, but there are so many others just waiting to be plucked out of the idea toy barrel.
And if you need any help Funko-fying other residents of the Fifth Dimension, you know where to find me. Don’t worry, unlike Henry Bemis, I don’t need glasses. And winters in Canada really do make me feel like I have all the time in the world…