I may have gone a little overboard at Comic-Con this year. Normally, I’m in such a rush to get to appointments I barely have time to visit the show floor. But this year, with the WGA and SAG on strike and so many last-minute cancellations, there wasn’t a whole lot to do, and I found myself spending a lot more time exploring the expo, taking in the atmosphere, and looking for opportunities to pick up some rare SDCC exclusives. While killing a little time between appointments on a Sunday afternoon, I inadvertently trapped myself in a new hobby I never intended to pick up. As if I didn’t have enough games to play and TCG to buy already, I’m now a reluctant collector of the Funko Pop Marvel Cinematic Universe trading cards. Send help.
I wasn’t even interested in the cards when I bought them, which was my first mistake. After attending my first Funko Fundays, a completely unhinged Funko frenzy you have to see to believe, I guess I had Funko-shaped dollar signs in my eyes, and I made a terrible decision. I had heard a bit about the Comic-Con exclusive Funko Pop Trading cards, which came with an exclusive trading card, and it sounded like an easy thing to add to my giant bag of Funko Pops I have to list but still plan to sell on eBay. I promise.
I picked up a booster box expecting to flip quite easily, but the damn things haven’t gone up as much as I was hoping. It’s been nearly two months, and I barely stand to make $100 on my investment, so last weekend, I decided to just open it.
You can see how innocently this all started. If I couldn’t make money on the box, maybe I’d get lucky and pull some high-value singles to sell. There are some surprisingly impressive items you can find in these Marvel booster boxes. Aside from your standard holographics and chase cards, there are redemption codes that you can trade for an actual, limited-edition Funko Pop, hand-drawn sketch cards from famous artists, and, in typical Funko fashion, one-of-one prototype cards for each character in the set. You can even find the actual printing plates they use to make the cards stuffed into random packs. I could be looking at thousands if I found the right cards, so I ripped them open.
I did okay. My box had a convention exclusive card and a numbered x/99 cards – called confetti bomb cards because of their glittery background – that both happen to feature Korg. I don’t know if that’s lucky or incredibly unlucky. My numbered card was 68/99, which is definitely unlucky. I got a redemption card for a Captain America figurine, which matches the Captain America promo card I received when I bought the box, so between those four things, I’m hoping I can almost make my money back.
Then there’s the rest, which is actually still a lot. There are 150 cards in the set, with 50 of them filling the ‘rare’ one-per-pack slot, plus 12 secret rares based on Marvel TV show characters. There’s also a handful of Art cards and Shorts – recreations of famous MCU scenes with Funko Pops – scattered throughout. But then there’s the parallels, which is where the real hunt begins.
The first 100 cards in the set come in 13 different parallels. There’s your regular holographic, called Patina, as well as platinum and gold versions of each character. There’s the convention exclusives, facsimile signature cards, glow-in-the-dark, clear cut, numbered confetti bombs, spectrum signature (where the signature itself is holographic, there are only five each of those), prototype, printing plates, gold glitter backgrounds, and glitter backgrounds.
The sheer variety of cards you can pull from each pack is unbelievable, and I must admit, I had a pretty great time opening them. I pulled gold glitters, patinas, a signature, and tons of platinum and gold variants. In one box, I pulled at least one of every card in the base set, and about half of the 3D cards. I didn’t see any glow-in-the-dark, clear cut, or Marvel TV characters – but considering that the last category has a pull rate of 1:480, I’m not surprised.
As a TCG collector, these pull rates are absurd. You’ve got plenty of 1/1 cards like the prototypes and printing plates, and cards that are limited to 99, but you’ve also got clear cut cards at 1:288 packs, glow-in the-dark at 1:160, and Sketch cards at a staggering 1:11,520. No matter what you think of Funko Pops, the after-market speaks for itself: people are willing to pay a lot for these Marvel trading cards.
How much? A sketch card featuring Doc Oc sold last month for $3,301. Red glitter cards go for $500-600. Printing plates are selling for $1,000. Even the simple patina cards are going for as much as $50 for a popular character. This isn’t a game. There’s nothing you can do with these cards other than collect them. So why is it that I want to go buy another box and try my luck again?
Part of the draw is my gambler’s instinct, which is something I definitely have to actively keep in check, but I also have to admit that I had a lot of fun opening these packs just to see what was inside. The huge variety of pulls makes them a lot of fun to bust open, even more so than Pokemon, which I already thought had an absurd variety of chase cards. I’m not trying to encourage anyone to start investing in Funko Pop trading cards, I’m just saying I saw a fresh box sitting on the shelf at Target yesterday, and if someone else bought it first, then I wouldn’t have to.
Next: McDonald’s Halloween McNugget Funko Pops Now Available At GameStop