Funko has cut about half the staff — including the co-founders — of Mondo, the Austin, Texas-based collectible company that Funko acquired less than a year ago, according to two reports and additional sources.
The layoffs spell an end to a near two-decade run for founders Rob Jones and Mitch Putnam, whose company was best known for alternative movie posters, vinyl music albums, and other collectibles tapping some of pop culture’s deepest fandoms. The Wrap and Gizmodo both reported the layoffs Friday afternoon; sources close to the matter confirmed details of both reports to Polygon.
Mondo was founded in 2004 as a T-shirt-making subsidiary of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain. It became known for its stylized reimaginings of movie posters, beginning with the screenings of several classics at the Alamo Drafthouse. A decade later, licensing agreements with Lucasfilm and Disney helped put Mondo foremost among poster makers; numerous top artists came along to work with Mondo.
Many of those artists were outraged by the unceremonious termination of Mondo’s leadership, and vowed not to work with whatever remains for Funko.
Funko effectively decimating MONDO by firing the creative old guard of Rob Jones, Mitch Putnam, and Eric Garza among others is a fucking travesty and sheer idiocracy. End of an era, but im with them for whatever they want to do next, and I imagine every Mondo artist will follow.— Daniel Danger (@tinymediaempire) March 24, 2023
The Wrap reported that Funko “killed the poster division” of Mondo, leaving behind its toy and vinyl record divisions. And those two might still be in jeopardy, The Wrap said.
At the beginning of the month, Funko reported steep losses in its quarterly report to investors. That included writing off about $30 million (retail value) worth of big-head figurines it couldn’t sell and sending them to the dump.
Update (March 30): Funko chief executive Brian Mariotti said in a statement on Thursday that Mondo’s poster business would continue, and he added that while the March 24 layoffs did amount to “about 10% across Funko, the majority of the company-wide layoffs weren’t in Mondo.”
“The Mondo posters business will continue, period,” Mariotti said. He said Mondo will focus on creating and selling posters in larger runs than they have been printed before, saying that the smaller runs “limits access to fans unfairly” and that collectors and speculators bought them up with the intention of reselling them. “We also believe that broadening the pop-culture scope to include TV properties, sports, anime, and music will have an amazing appetite from Mondo fans and pop-culture fans alike.”
A note to Mondo fans from Brian Mariotti. pic.twitter.com/5yVTDrvcNi— MONDO (@MondoNews) March 30, 2023