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Five Questions with Mark Robben, Director of Marketing for Funko

Welcome to Five Questions, a sometimes fun, sometimes irreverent, always informative look at the people – and companies – that make geek culture run. Every month, we will talk to cool people and do our best to learn more about them, while seeing how they do with off-kilter questions.

This month, we are getting to know Mark Robben, the Director of Marketing for Funko, one of the fastest growing collectible companies in the industry. Founded in 1998 as a bobblehead producer, the company began taking off in 2005, when new owners took aim at licenses both known and obscure, creating a product base as diverse as the television dial, comic rack, and movie screen.

Robben joined the company in March of this year after a decade at Big Fish Games (the creators of tremendous games for mobile, online, and PC platforms) and, before that, 7 years at RealNetworks. Of course, the most important thing to note about Robben is that he is – like all of us – a collector and major geek with a HUGE fondness for Star Wars and Nightwing.

With that in mind . . . to the questions!

Lee Morrell, Fanboy Comics Guest Contributor: Which current POP! will make people think it was made with you as the model?

Mark Robben: (Game of Thrones’) Ned Stark. We have similar hairstyle and beard styles, as well as a fondness for giant swords. Luckily, I still have my head.

LM: If you weren’t in this job, what would you be doing?

MR: I’d probably own and operate my own comic book/toy store. I’d have to be in the collectibles industry in some regard in order to keep fueling my habit.

LM: Who wins in a fight between Batman and Superman? (We encourage you to support your thesis.)

MR: Superman. This isn’t even a debate, and I can’t believe there is a movie being made over what should be a 5-second fight. Superman picks up Batman and throws him into the sun. On the way to his fiery doom, Batman regrets a life spent on revenge. The end. The only reason this might not happen is because Superman would feel sorry for the crazy, old guy.

LM: What is your most embarrassing Halloween moment?

MR: As a child, I once insisted on doing my own Halloween make-up. My costume ended up just looking like a fingerpainting, even though I insisted to everyone I was a werewolf. There was nothing were nor wolf about this particular effort.

LM: Would you prefer to get a tooth pulled or buy a car?

MR: While both are awful activities, I’d go with buying car. At least you have something to show for your efforts!

I have my own Mark Robben anecdote . . . and it really helps you understand the kind of guy he is. The entire family went to SDCC for the first time this past July and, after wading through the crowds, tried to figure out how to get into the ultra-exclusive Funko line to buy POPs. It wasn’t happening, as we just didn’t know how the lines worked. On the last day, I lined up at Marvel Collector Corps to buy an Avengers box and met a bearded, long-haired dude who saw my daughter and asked if she’d been to Funko yet. I told him that we couldn’t crack the code. He handed us a pass for the line and told us to enjoy ourselves. It may have been one of the most triumphant moments of the entire con.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into one of the geeks who makes your passion run. Keep your eyes peeled for more installments of Five Questions in the coming month, including a much-beloved magazine writer turned film writer, as well as the founder of a very cool company that makes geek memorabilia.

Fanboy Comics is always looking for new individuals to include in the Five Questions interview series!  For inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Barbra Dillon at barbra (at) fanboycomics (dot) net.




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