This cosplayer is no stranger to The Game of Nerds and also happens to have a special place in my heart. He may be known to the Funko world as Poppin Hopper, but at my house, he’s Super Dad and Husband. Andy Parola is a huge Funko collector in the Bay Area and decided to turn his obsession into a cosplay. While it was originally just a Halloween costume, he took it to ONE convention, and the rest was history. Learn more about this seriously FUN cosplayer!

Cosplay Name: Andy Parola
Age: 35
Location: San Jose, California
Social Media Links:
The VIParolaz on Instagram & Facebook
The VIParolaz Blog
PoppinHopper on Instagram

What Got You Into Cosplay?
My first box was actually a Halloween costume for my work. I then wore it to a convention and the rest was history. Everyone loved it and I realized I liked cosplaying. I haven’t stopped since.
What Is Your Favorite Cosplay You’ve Done So Far?
I’ve done three boxes so far: Logan aka Wolverine, Hopper from Stranger Things, and Farva from Super Troopers. My favorite one has to be Hopper but Farva comes in a close second!
What Are The Main Factors in Choosing a Cosplay for You?
It has to be a character I can pull off easily. I usually look for characters that have a beard so I don’t have to shave or change my look too much. I also tend to look for characters that don’t have a lot of props, heavy costumes, or masks. It gets hot in the box and easy to overheat.
Current Favorite Cosplay Breakdown:
All the boxes are hand made by me, my wife, Jon Hicks, and my father in law. You can find out more about the Pop Boxes here. The actual costume bases are bought on Amazon and we add our own custom touches to them to finish them off.
What Is Your Occupation Outside Of Cosplay?
A corporate sales manager for an IT security company located in the Bay Area.
Why Do YOU (personally) Continue To Cosplay?
Because I love doing it. There are so many other characters I can/want to do and the feedback is very positive. This motivates me to keep coming up with new Pop Box Cosplays.
What Is Your Favorite Convention To Cosplay At?
So far my favorite has been Emerald City Comic Con because it was the largest con I’ve been to.
How Much Time Do You Spend On Your Cosplay Per Week/Month?
Due to COVID, I haven’t been working much on my cosplays. I had plans for a new box at ECCC in March but that was scrapped. Right now, I’m thinking about all the future boxes I could potentially do especially now that I have a daughter. Each cosplay box takes me anywhere from 3-6 weeks to complete. As soon as the conventions open back up though, the Funko Box Cosplays will be unleashed again.
Best Cosplay Experience You’ve Had.
My favorite experience by far has been ECCC 2019. I brought Poppin Hopper to Seattle. It was the first time Funko had seen my cosplay in person and they LOVED it. The cast of Stranger Things was also there and they were so impressed with my cosplay. They signed the back of my box and asked to take pictures with them.
Best Advice You Have For New Cosplayers.
Be realistic with what you want to do. I thought my concept was simple and easy to execute. It took a lot longer and way more attempts than I originally thought. Each box has improvements from the last one. So with that being said, DON’T WAIT. If you think you have a good idea, run with it. You never know what you will create and Convention Time Creation Stress is no fun last minute.