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I Can’t Believe This Exists: Funko Pop! Vinyl Bob Ross

We’re living in a time of rampant iconography, where it seems like everything that exists has the potential for mass-market merchandise. Whether it’s current pop-culture deities or nostalgic remembrances from our childhoods and beyond, sooner or later everything gets something.

But I can’t say I ever saw this one coming.

Back in the summer of 1992, I discovered the soft-spoken, afro-headed dynamo of the canvas named Bob Ross on an idle flip-through of television stations. I watched, mesmerized, as he spat out a full painting in real time over the course of 25 minutes or so. His brush strokes were swift, his method seemingly haphazard, but soon from a swirl of color you could see trees erupting from the tip of a fan brush, or snow-capped mountains scraped into existence at the edge of a palette knife.

The Joy of Painting was a hypnotic, strange world with a curiously mild host filled with encouragement, quotable descriptions (“happy little trees”) and accessibility. It looked like something even somebody like me, who was not one of those lucky individuals seemingly born with artistic talent, could achieve. I kept coming back to that show during that hot summer, soaking in the lessons. I managed to make a couple of passable recreations in my high school art class the following year, smushing out off-kilter yet happy little trees with my own unskilled fan brush.

Despite being an avid consumer of toys, I never really needed a Bob Ross action figure. I never needed Bob Ross merchandise at all. Until I saw the Pop! Vinyl figure and realized how mistaken I was. Yes, yes indeed … I needed a Bob Ross figure. I just didn’t know it.

Funko has tackled approximately three shmegillion properties in their Pop! Vinyl line, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Bob Ross finally got his turn at bat, but I was absolutely surprised to see one, and I pre-ordered it as soon as the listing went up on BigBadToyStore.

If you hate Pops, then you won’t get it. That’s fine, because I don’t get the hate, so we’re even. They’re deformed and strange, but there’s something oddly appealing about them, and I’ve ended up with far, far more of them than I ever suspected when I picked up my first one. I’ve heard them likened to Beanie Babies, but that was a fad based on nothing, while these are all, I’m assuming, rooted to properties that have some measure of meaning to those who collect them.

Because of the nature of Pops, then you know what to expect with a Bob Ross, and you get it. You get an oversized head devoid of much facial detail except for a certain defining trait, which here is the hair and beard. You get a small, unarticulated body permanently posed in a character-specific way. Here’s he’s holding his palette and brush.

The success or failure of a Pop is measured by how recognizable it is as a deformed miniature thing without being told what it was. This is obviously Bob Ross, in all his itty-bittiness. Mission accomplished.

Even more surprising is that this is not a standalone endeavor. This Bob will soon have company, in the form of Bob with Squirrel, Bob with raccoon, Bob with owl, Flocked Bob, and Bob in overalls and oversized brush as seen in the opening to his show.

Who knew?

While I doubt a fully articulated Bob Ross action figure will ever be in the works, it’s enough that this Pop! Vinyl exists, even though I can’t believe it.


Buy yours here!

9 thoughts on “I Can’t Believe This Exists: Funko Pop! Vinyl Bob Ross

  1. I like Pops and own a few. What I really like about Funko is their willingness to produce properties that you wound never think could exist in plastic form (hello Golden Girls). Bob Ross definitely falls into that category. I bought him the moment he was available.

  2. A lot of the time Funko Pops surprise me with the accuracy of their likeness, so I was even more surprised to see that “George Lucas with a paint palette” is in fact not George Lucas at all. That is one Funko I’d buy in a heartbeat!

  3. The “happy little tree” joke is awesome. I’m gonna have to add Bob to my Guardians display. Did you come up with that, Benty?

  4. I dislike Funko Pops in particular because of their visual style (or… rather, lack thereof, they seem rather devoid of character) and because they relegate far more visually interesting vinyl figures to blind box status (Mystery Minis are SO much better, honestly), but I don’t actively hate them. I own a couple.

  5. Blast it all, you’ve made me realize how much I’d pay for a Funko Pop Jack Kirby.

    It’s a great deal that I would pay.

  6. Hmm… If they start doing comic book artists, then I’ll have to do something similar like your pics. Great idea!

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