Funko had already made my action-figure-collecting year by finally putting Adam West-era Batman in the 3 3/4″ “Star Wars scale”, and they gave me a good chuckle by putting, of all things, Twin Peaks in the same format. Even though I knew they’d already snagged the license for Netflix’s ’80s-themed sci-fi-horror series Stranger Things, months of nothing but Funko’s Vinyl Pops had lulled me into thinking that action figures were highly unlikely.
I am delighted to report that I was dead wrong. As wrong as anyone who thought Will Byers was dead forever.
Funko will be releasing not one but two boxed sets of action figures in August 2017, in a format very similar to the existing boxed sets of E.T., Twin Peaks, and Golden Girls (!) figures. If anything, the imminent arrival of Stranger Things action figures makes me want to circle back and pick up an E.T. box set: Elliott and Gertie and E.T. should totally team up with Mike and Lucas and Dustin and Eleven to save Will from the Demogorgon. I don’t think you could even construct a more ’80s scenario than that without bringing Mr. T and/or Q*Bert into the mix. (I really regret missing out on the Golden Girls action figures now; a New York City Comic Con exclusive, those sets now run into the hundreds of dollars, cheating me out of ever experiencing a toy shelf showdown between Betty White and the Demogorgon. I am bitterly disappointed.)
Each Stranger Things set features three figures – Eleven, Lucas and Mike in one set, Will, Dustin and the hulking Demogorgon in the other. Due to the scale they’re in, which assumes the height of an average male character to be around the 3 3/4″ mark, these figures will be a bit on the short side – they’re kids. (The same was true of the E.T. character set.) All of the adult or even young adult characters are conspicuous by their absence – even Will’s older brother is missing from the mix, to say nothing of the other adult characters who did a lot of the story’s heavy lifting in season one.
Of course, there’s another possibility: with season two of Stranger Things due just a couple of months after these action figures, could a second wave be on the way? Will we get Mr. Clarke the science teacher in action figure form? Funko isn’t saying for now. That’s okay. We Stranger Things fans can wait for a mystery to unfold. We’re used to it.
The accessories are also a thing of beauty – Mike’s walkie-talkie, Lucas’ slingshot, Eleven’s box of Eggos (which had to be licensed separately from Stranger Things itself, though something tells me Eggo isn’t opposed to the publicity). The one thing I realized was missing from this package? Bikes. Bikes, man. These kids are on bicycle throughout the story. It almost seems wrong for them to not to have their wheels. I mean, they can borrow my Tron action figures’ light cycles, or the Batmobile, but that’s not quite the same.
But for now, the announcement of these sets has become the latest feather in Funko’s cap. It seems like the myriad mistakes made with the ReAction line (which has now reverted to it originator, Super7) have informed Funko’s second swipe at doing 3 3/4″ figures. They’re not oversaturating the toy aisle with licenses of questionable novelty value – they’re sparingly rolling out sets of classics both new and old, a description that definitely fits Stranger Things.