It’s FUNKO UNIVERSE MONTH here at IDW!
For five consecutive weeks, we’ll be asking the creative teams behind the different Funko Universe one-shots five Funko-related questions.
This week we have creators Derek Fridolfs, Mike Raicht, Matthew Dow Smith, Chris Fenoglio, Troy Little, & Charles Paul Wilson III of the X-Files: Funko Universe issue, which you can pick up at your local comic book store NOW!
What do you see as the major difference between the standard versions of these characters and the Funko versions?
Troy Little: Massive box-shaped heads? Okay, that’s obvious. I think the great thing about turning any character into a Funko character is you instantly know it’s going to be fun and silly. Even a gruesome zombie has a cute charm to it, so you can’t take the thing too seriously in Funko world.
Mike Raicht: Well, in my Funko X-Files universe everyone speaks in picture balloons (drawn by the amazingly talented Charles Paul Wilson III) so that was one major difference. Otherwise, I tried to focus on a more humorous spin on a normally twisted and fun X-Files tale. X-Files episodes go in so many interesting directions and apply all sorts of tones so Mulder and Scully’s adventures slip seamlessly into the Funko Universe.
Matthew Dow Smith: Well, they’re shorter for one thing. And their heads are a lot bigger. Seriously, though… the fun thing about doing a Funko story with these characters is you can boil them down to their absolute, most primal essence and play around a bit. I love Mulder, but he can be impetuous and pig-headed and cause a lot of trouble, both for himself and for the people around him, and we get to explore that in this story in a way that you just can’t in any of the other X-Files comics.
Derek Fridolfs: Button eyes. Everyone needs button eyes.
Chris Fenoglio: Well, especially for something like The X-Files, because the Funko versions of the characters are so cute and fun, it gives us a little more license to be funny and goofy with the characters.
Charles Paul Wilson III: For my part, I enjoy the fun caricature aspect of the Funko X-Files figures. The show and comics get very serious and dark (mostly, and I’m looking at you Jose Chung’s from Outer Space!), but this book plays off the wacky silliness of the Funko figures while staying true to the characters and I love it.
Is this your first time writing/drawing for these characters, and if not, how is your approach different?
TL: This was a first! I was worried at the start that their simple, almost blank expression would make it difficult to convey any acting or emotion but it turned out not to be a problem. I was very mindful not to make a comic that looked like a bunch of posed toys as well, and despite their big heads and tiny bodies you can get a lot of action out of them!
MR: I’ve written X-Files one other time in the 2016 Annual. That was a flashback story set at a High School reunion. That version I was really focused on delivering the banter and vibe of the early seasons of the show. Back when the show featured stories where you weren’t quite sure if things were what they seemed. I also wanted it to be a bit creepy. I loved the old one and done episodes which made you wonder… is this supernatural or something else?
In this one, I tried to make sure the art was fun for Charles to draw and hopefully a bit humorous for the kids reading. Fun aliens, gunky oil milkshakes, and fake mustaches seemed like great places to start. I also wanted to have some Easter eggs for longtime fans. Hopefully they are apparent!
MS: It’s the first time writing Mulder and Scully as adults, though I’ve worked with them as teenagers in the X-Files: Origins series (with my fantastic co-writer, Jody Houser), and I’ve been drawing the adult X-Files crew in the ongoing title for several years now. So I saw this as a challenge, a challenge to torment another artist for a change. Seriously, you should see the script, it’s page after page of me trash-talking my artist, Chris Fenoglio, and making him draw all the things that would drive ME nuts in a script. He’s just lucky I didn’t make him draw horses or Samurai. Oh, and they don’t usually let us tell this many jokes in the other X-Files titles. Or have someone call Mulder an idiot.
DF: Yep. I’ve been a fan of the X-Files since it’s original television run, even attending a local casting call for extras when they filmed the original series finale near me. But I never thought I’d get the chance to write the characters, in any version. So it was exciting to be asked.
CF: Yes and no… I drew Mulder, who I draw a young version of for the X-Files: Origins series. Even though the Origins series is a little more light hearted than the main X-Files books, it still has a bit of a serious undertone, so I have to pull back a little bit on gestures and humor (which you might not notice considering how cartoony my art style is). The Funko stuff really lets me go crazy. I can make it as wacky as I want, which is super fun.
CPW3: Outside a couple covers for IDW’s comic series, this is the first time I’ve actually drawn Mulder and Scully for print. I got a chance to read everyone’s stories for this issue, and while our story might be stylistically different from writing and drawings to colors, I think we all aimed at a fun absurdity the Funko figures impress upon everyone (or that’s my take on it), and I think everyone involved in the book managed to capture what we all love about Mulder and Scully.
What makes (your character) a good fit for the Funko Universe of comics?
TL: I worked on both the X-Files and Judge Dredd Funko books. Taking these “serious” characters and giving them the Funko treatment makes it instantly accessibly to anyone. A character like Funko Judge Dredd doing menial police work is immediately hilarious! I want that as an ongoing series.
MR: I think the quick hit mystery type stories are perfect for the short Funko Universe tales. Our two main characters also provide a lot of silent body language banter which Charles does an amazing job with. On top of that, Mulder, Scully and the aliens are pretty cute as Funkos.
MDS: Honestly, I don’t know if there are ANY characters that aren’t a good fit for the FunkoVerse (I’m trademarking that as soon as I’m done answering these questions). I’m sure there are some, but there’s something about the Funko-ization process (I’m trademarking that, too) that immediately sparks endless ideas of silly, fun adventures those characters could have. And characters like Mulder and Scully are perfect examples of that. Take away the dark, moody trappings of the show and you basically have two grown people running around arguing about whether aliens are real or not. Make their heads about 20 times too big and they’re already Funko characters.
DF: Visually, Funko has fun designs. So adapting that to their variety of licenses makes for a very light-hearted approach. But the thing that’s great about the X-Files show itself, is they also had fun with how they presented their stories. While a majority were dark and scary, there’s a good amount of fondly remembered episodes that were more tongue-in-cheek with their humor. So it’s a very easy fit to play up that humor in this story, poking fun at the X-Files in good natured fun.
Plus I’d love to see some of the versions in this story adapted into figures. Pamela drew such an adorable Skinner. And we definitely giggled over wanting a Scully figure with a poofy 90s jacket.
CF: Like I said, X-Files is such a serious show that you don’t really register all the camp that comes along with it — not to say that the show is campy (please don’t fire me), but anything about aliens and monsters is bound to have a little bit of zaniness built in. With these Funko comics, we’re able to explore and poke fun of that side of the series without diminishing it at all.
CPW3: Every now and then the tv show would do a good, funny/comedic episode, and Mike Raicht’s script for our story made for a good play on one of those in addition to how ridiculously fun the Funko figures look.
PM:I love the whole comedy out there feel the Funko Universe has and I have always loved to draw those kinds of things, it’s always cool when you can take a serious character or characters and give them a comedy twist.
Now that you’ve worked with these characters in the Funko Universe setting, what other characters do you think would be fun to Funko-ize?
TL: Give me Aliens VS Predator quickly.
MR: I’m a huge GI Joe fan. That universe would be a blast for these types of stories. I also saw IDW just picked up the Star Wars younger reader license. There would be nothing better than a Funko Star Wars Universe.
MDS: I’d love to see Funko versions of the Lone Gunmen, that would be awesome. My favorite characters from the X-Files universe. And there are so many fun things you could do with them in a FunkoVerse setting. And if they haven’t already got a Funko Star Trek comic in the pipeline, someone needs to get on that. And then call me, because these stories are so much fun to write.
DF: I think they have every license in the known universe, don’t they? So any that aren’t part of this initial run of comics, seem up for grabs. Star Wars would be especially fun. And since I’ve recently been writing for Back To The Future, they’d also be great to see.
CF: There are still people who haven’t been Funko-ized?! Does Krang from Ninja Turtles have one? If not, he needs one.
CPW3: Apart from Wings (the tv show, and I’m sure the whole world at large would/should agree), I’d love to see the cast from Locke & Key get the Funko treatment. And, a step further if it isn’t too graphic, the tops of their heads would pop off and there would be cool L&K prop stuff inside. Maybe miniature reproductions of Skelton Crew’s sculpts of the keys and each character could come with one. Oh, a Charlie Manx from WRAITH figure would be great (or the greatest). And Jester from The Stuff of Legend (a book I work on, while I’m picking with heavy bias). I may attempt to draw that up if I get a chance.
Do you own any Funko Pop figures yourself? Which ones?
TL: Oh yeah. I’ve got Ellen Ripley, a Walking Dead Zombie, my wife has the entire My Little Pony set, my kids have 3 Frozen characters and I gave a Predator to a friend of mine. I’m eyeing a few more at the comic shop…
MR: I don’t officially own any Funko figures, but my son has some. He has a few Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars ones. I have to admit, I bought them for him, but they probably reside on my office shelf more than they do his bedroom. All for writing inspiration, of course.
MDS: I actually have a set of the X-Files Funko figures. Well, I say ‘I’, but really my partner stole them and put them on her desk at work, where they live quite happily with the Ron and Hermione Funko figures and no doubt solve many mysteries and protect the world from he-who-must-not-be-named along with fighting off the occasional alien invasion.
DF: I have to admit, while I love seeing all the designs when going to the store or seeing them stacked tall at conventions, I’ve resisted the urge for the longest time. But I recently got one of Beast Boy from Teen Titans Go, and it stares at me on my art table to keep me on top of my deadlines for writing and art.
CF: Of course I do! I have two Batmen (Batmans?) — a BvS version and a ’66 version complete with Batmobile (my favorite of all the Batmobiles, I might add), a Slimer, a Stay Puft Marshmellow Man, and a Christmas Baby Groot. I really want a Vegita one… And a Captain America one… And pretty much everyone from Star Trek: The Next Generation… And Robby the Robot…
CPW3: I own one figure: Scully. Scully is now a part of my three-year-old’s small (but growing) collection of Funkos, and she has: Elsa, Anna, Moana, Maoi, Shaggy, Daphne, and Flounder (from Frozen, Moana, Scooby Doo, and Little Mermaid, respectively). I kinda stopped buying stuff for myself and mostly look at fun stuff for my kid these days, and, honestly, I have a lot of fun looking through all of the different Funko figures when we come across a display (which is often because I see these little guys everywhere – not kidding or blowing smoke).