It seems that Toy Biz loved Spiderman as much as his fans did as there are probably more Spider-Man figures than any other Marvel hero.
Unlike today's "toys", that seem to target the 'collectors' market more than it does the children's market, in the 80's and 90's action figures were generally targeted for young children with many variants of the main characters and all types of "action" features. Many of the characters, accessories and features had little to do with the series or comic books but were designed to appeal to the younger audience.
Toy Biz produced and manufactured Spiderman Action figures between 1994 and 2007. During this period they released more than 20 lines of Spiderman figures with literally hundreds of variations.
Most of these figures were generally massively over produced with mediocre sculpting and paintwork and as a result remain fairly easy to get hold of even 30+ years later.
Also nearly every series, except a couple, had two or three different Spider-man figures, which were essentially the same. The only difference between them was the included accessories, the action features, or a variation on the paintwork.
Some had a different hand different hands, but on the whole the bodies and head-sculpts remained the same. About the only plus side was that they were great fun to play with and were immensely popular with kids. Each of the figures in series 1-7 of the line also had a Bonus Collectors Pin.
The backing cards were fairly generic also to keep down costs, with a cartoon style Spider-man logo at the top. Below this, on the left hand side of the card was a cartoon style drawing of the figure, and on the right hand side was the bubble containing the figure, which took up approx two thirds of the card.
The top half of the back of the card featured the Spider-man logo at the top and the same image as on the front with a short bio of the character. The top left hand side shows a diagram of the figures 'action' feature.
The bottom half of the consisted of photos of each of the characters in the current series and the previous series, e.g. series 4 had photos of the series 3 and 4 characters on the back.
The first line of figures released by Toy Biz was the Spiderman Animated Series line which ran from 1994-98, which in turn was based on the long running Spider-Man comic book titles.
The first few series of the Spider-man line was modeled after their appearance in the animated series. This also influenced which characters would make it into the lineup.
The first seven series came under the general “Spider-man Animated” title but from mid-1996, i.e. after series 7, they decided to give each release a sub-heading. This was mainly to assist retailers differentiate from each series, as there were a total of 18 by 1998, when ordering, re-stocking and stocktaking etc.
Series one had a great assortment of characters right out of the gate and was hugely popular with fans. Three of the entire line's most popular, and best, charecters where in this series much to the pleasure of the fans. The full series one wav included:
Web Shooter Spider-man was sculpted in this classic blue and red outfit and had fairly average sculpting and paintwork, which could have been better. He had articulation on his head, hips, knees, waist, left arm, and left shoulder, giving a total of eight POA..
why he only had articulation in his left arm and left shoulder is because his special
feature was his web launcher.
launcher was embedded in his right hand, and when the web was placed into the
web launcher, a piece of string was threaded through his right arm and came out
at the back of his right shoulder.
that when the web was released from the launcher using a button on Spider-man's
right shoulder it shot out of the web launcher. and could easily be retrieved by
pulling the web back into the web launcher with the string or yarn, ready to be
used again, but this also meant that there wasn’t any articulation in his right
*I could only find two examples of these that had been sold, both were in incomplete and poor condition. I would therefore expect a mint condition, complete loose figure to sell for about $15.
The second figure we are going to look at today is the Web Racer Spider-man. The Web Racer Spider-Man only has five points of articulation due to his special feature; on his head, waist, knees, and legs. He had average paintwork and sculpting.
He came in his
classic blue and red outfit. The paintwork had a glossy sheen to it and was
well applied except for his webbing being missing in a few places and not “connecting”
properly on the seams. The sculpting also was pretty basic with little detail
necessary, but overall the figure accurately portrayed the cartoon character.
feature on this Spider-Man was his ability to climb up, or slide down, the “webbing”
that was threaded through his outstretched arms and came out of his and out his
opposite hand. When the string was pulled taut Spiderman could slide up or down
the string giving him a climbing or swinging action. This also meant that his
arms could not be articulated.
Alistair Smythe was the son of Spencer Smythe, who was the original builder of the first Spider-Man Slayer. Whose only purpose was to
destroy Spider-Man. He was usually portrayed as an ally of Kingpin’s throughout the show, but towards the end they did have a falling out.
The figure had
a flesh-coloured torso and grey spider-like legs and two large mandibles that
came out of his shoulders. This was a very different look to that in the comic
articulation on his arms, waist, legs, head, and knees. His action feature was
a punching motion when a lever on his back was pushed, although this was fairly
feeble and highly unlikely to hurt anyone, never mind Spider-man.
accessory he had was a ponytail, which was a very poorly sculpted and clipped
on to the back of his head and is usually missing from figures being sold on
the secondary market.
sculpting and paintwork on this figure was very good and a close resemblance to
the cartoon character and great detail.
this was a pretty mediocre figure, with a pretty mediocre look and a very
lack-lustre feature so it was really no surprise that this ended up being the
peg-warmer and red tag special of series one. However, that said I haven’t seen
to many (compared to the others) being sold on the secondary market lately. May
be this has something to do with the fact that back in the day he didn’t sell
well and a lot of them probably ended up in a landfill somewhere?
Next up, we're taking a look at
Rumour has it that the Hobgoblin was never going to be featured in the Animated Series, but Toy Biz had already designed and created the figure, so they requested that he was included. The Hobgoblin was a hideous looking creature who stole some of the Green Goblin’s paraphernalia when he came across his lair.
sculpting and the paintwork on this figure were fantastic with a garish orange
hood and cloak and purple suite. The head sculpt was superbly detailed and featured
him with a mean and menacing grimace.
Hobgoblin only had six points of articulation on the hips, knees, and arms, but
it came with two excellent accessories.
These were his
Glider, which was very similar to the Green Goblin’s, and his Pumpkin Grenades.
The glider had a missile firing launcher at the front. The missile was attached
to the glider by a piece of string or yarn so it could be easily retrieved and would
not get lost. His pumpkin grenades could be place in his open hand which could
then be pulled back a released to throw the pumpkin bomb.
Carnage was the spawn of the symbiote Venom who blended with Eddie Brock's cellmate, Cletus Cassady. This was an excellent figure with great sculpting and paintwork giving him a very cool look with a close resemblance to the cartoon character. This was one of the best figures in the entire Spider-man The Animated series line.
It came with
articulation on the knees, hips, waist, shoulders, elbows, and
head. His special feature was rather disappointing, though, and consisted of him making a punching motion when his waist was twisted.
He came with
three “appendages” for accessories, which could easily be clipped onto his arms
and included a hand-claw and an axe-blade weapon.
only find two examples of these that had been sold, both were in incomplete and
poor condition. I would therefore expect a mint condition, complete loose
figure to sell for about $20.
Venom is an alien symbiote who melt with ex-reporter Eddie Brock, giving him powers even greater than those of Spider-man and was one of the more popular characters in both the animated show and toy line.
The figure had
excellent sculpting and paintwork and very closely resembled the character in the
animated series. With his jet-black suite and white spiders’ emblem and
He had eight
points of articulation on the hips, knees, shoulders, and elbows. His “special
feature” was very disappointing and mediocre, when his knees were pushed
together his head extended in a “chomping” motion.
paintwork on this figure was very shoddy, particularly on the spider and
this, kids were overjoyed and excited to finally get a Venom figure and quickly
forgot these minor faults.
Otto Octavia was a mad scientist who engineered four long tentacles or arms that he could fix onto this body and gave him enormous powers. This figure had a quite different look and character to that in the comic book. Not only did he look a lot different, but he was a lot more sinister, and dangerous, evolving into the character we are more familiar with today.
He was painted wearing a yellow cloak and gold gloves, with green arms and legs and some cool shades. The colours looked really good, and the shades were a nice finishing touch, but the paintwork was shoddy in some places and could have been better. However, overall Toy Biz did a great job in capturing the characters look and feel of the character.
He had six
points of articulation on the waist, arms, and head. The best part of this
figure was that his tentacles or arms were also articulated. This was done
through a string that was threaded through each of his tentacles on the arm to
a “knob” or “handle” on his back that when pulled caused his arms or tentacles
to activate and move. This gave many kids hours of fun and was an excellent
feature. As a result, Dr. Octopus was an extremely popular character in this series
and was exceedingly difficult to find.
This is most expensive in this series and probably the hardest to find mainly because of his cool action feature. However, mint from the card, he can sell for as much as $100 to $120.But when I looked on eBay, I could only find two of these figures being sold.