It seems ToyBiz loved Spiderman as much as Spider-Man has been made into plastic more times than any other Marvel hero. Thanks to the folks at ToyBiz, collectors have a huge representation of the Spider-Man universe available. This archive spotlights all the good, the bad and the downright ugly!
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 however 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 poor 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 generally the included accessories, the paintwork or the action feature. 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 (see above) at the top. Below this the left hand side of the card featured a cartoon style drawing of the figure on the card, 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.
Spiderman web racer – This action figure slides back and forth on a string. Has strong sculpting but fails on points of strong articulation. This figure also came with a special Spider-man collectors badge.
Spider-Man Web Shooter- This was the second Spiderman figure in this series. This was the first variant of Spiderman released under Toy Biz, and the second "real" spider-man figure in the wave.
He had a regular red and blue glossy paint job with a black spider on the chest and on his right arm, was an embedded web-device, which protruded from his palm. When you flipped the switch, he would launch webs from his wrist.
Smyth – This is the Smythe transformed version. Smyth featured very good articulation and TV series accurate sculpting. He also had a removable ponytail adding a touch of bling for collector’s fun and a double punch ability when flipped.
Venom – This was the first action figure of Venom and was a decent sculpt of the animated series character and featured a movable head with chomping jaws.
The big bad black symbiote, Venom, was a fan favorite and this figure looked cool with its jet black and white color scheme. When you brought his legs together the jaws would open and close in a chomping motion.
Carnage – Also, a symbiote, like Venom, there was Carnage, painted red and with patterns of plack all over. This figure proved to be a popular character for Toy Biz, with snap on weapon arms and decent articulation the figure was a hit from the time it hit the shelves. He came with several accessories that could be clipped on, i.e. a claw and an axe. For his “action feature” when his waist was turned his arms moved in a punching movement.
Dr. Octopus!- Almost as famous as the hero himself, Spidey’s oldest foe Dr. Octopus was second in the line and featured whipping tentacles and great articulation and a fairly accurate sculpt. With a bright color scheme; green and yellow, and four mechanical arms which were moved by a cord in each arm and a "knob" at the back, which was pulled to manipulate the arms a simple yet elegant action feature.
Hobgoblin When released, most people didn't know the character, but the CEO of Toy Biz, back in the day, instructed them to include it as a part of the first wave since the figure had already been created. Hobgoblin came with two accessories; the goblin glider and a tiny pumpkin grenade. However, the face sculpt wasn’t one of the better sculpts in this series. He featured a spring-loaded arm to help hurl pumpkin bombs, a glider and cape to complete the look.
The second series lineup featured another good assortment of villains as well as the standard assortment of Spider-man variants. The choice of villains was determined by the characters who were appearing in the show at the time.
This series was also a lot larger with seven action figures as well as vehicles, plasets and plush toys.
Spiderman Web Parachute – A version of Spider-man with a parachute. The standard type design has been used many times over after this first release.
Peter Parker- This is a rare action figure of Peter Parker from the Spiderman animated series with a very good likeness of the character; however, the figure isn't exactly as cartoon accurate as you'd expect, with his outfit being quite different.
The figure came with a nicely sculpted removable camera accessory hanging over his neck and articulation on his neck and arms and single jointed elbows, a swivel waist and bendable knees.
Alien Spider Slayer- A robot spider slayer from the outer stratosphere, this was one cool looking guy to add to your collection. This figure featured strong articulation with snarling jaws and spider pinchers.
This character was only in the comics series but, was never featured on the TV show. It was a fierce-looking character, painted all grey, intricately detailed with his cool pincers popping from the center of his torso.
The play feature of this figure is, squeezing his legs together would make his pincers snap shut, and his mouth too would close in a bite. The alien Spider-Man has movement at its neck, shoulders, elbows, legs that could kick, and bendable knees. It also has some articulation in its tails.
King Pin- This heavyset figure featured a massive torso, that was quite befitting of the formidable villain, Wilson Fisk. Unfortunately, due to his bulky frame, Kingpin had very limited articulation in his neck and arms.
He wasn’t a very popular toy, but King Pin was an important character in the show and so was an important addition to the line. He had a simple, neat paint job with nice little details. For accessories, King Pin came with a black cane with a diamond on top. Like Kraven, King Pin's play featured him lifting his arms and dropping a blow with his cane.
Kraven- This was the first and only time Kraven featured in a ToyBiz action figure line. Later versions were only repainted re-leases of this original figure. It featured a very good likeness of the animated series character and he had a spring-loaded arm for throwing spears.
Clearly, a lot of thought was put into the little details of this figure, with a well-sculpted mane and perfect eyes. He had eight points of articulation in the neck, shoulders, elbows, bendable knees and a kick movement.
Lizard- This was the first attempt of Lizard that Toy Biz made and as a result wasn’t the best action figure made of him. Like in the initial Gambit figure, the Lizard was dressed in a plastic lab coat, but the likeness wasn’t quite right.
Toy Biz also launched a variation figure of Lizard dressed in a red shirt. This figure was in high demand after its release. The Lizard had a long bendy lashing tail, like his signature move. The figure had articulation on its neck, arms, with single jointed elbows, legs that could kick out and bendable knees.
The Vulture- This is a hard figure to find with a spot-on look of the character from the show, a really cool design and awesome paint job. True to his name, the Vulture has wings attached to the figure's body.
The wings were detachable from the arms, and the arms just drop to the side. He also came with a little yellow gun in a holster as also his wings and arms would go up when you squeezed his legs together.
Playsets and Vehicles
Plush Spiderman Superhero- This is a soft cuddly cushioned plush version of Spider-man. A great toy piece. Well, as for its articulation, he's flexible. Our cuddly neighborhood Spiderman to the rescue!
Tri-spider Slayer- This vehicle consisted of all three awesome spider vehicles – The Black widow, Tarantula, and Scorpion–, locked together to form the formidable tri-spider slayer.
The widow features water refillable "venom" squirter, the Tarantula is also equipped with two-button firing missiles and spring action capturing legs, and lastly, the Scorpion also is armed with launch-able stinger missile and twin pincer crunching legs. No figure is attached.
Hobgoblin Wingbomber- This winged vehicle had a retractable pistol grip. Whe you pulled-back the launcher released "flaming" Pumpkin missiles! It also included 2 saw-toothed discs, 2 pumpkin bombs, and armor mask. It doesn't come with a figure.
Daily Bugle Skydive Spidey- This set featured a jump action Spider-man, the Daily Bugle building, and a web crane that let's Spidey jump right into action to save the day.
By series 3 Toy Biz was ready to make re-releases of the popular villains and one of the most in-demand variants of the legendary hero himself. This was the Super Poseable Spider-man.
This series also included one of the most collectible figures of all the Spider-man lines, the original Rhino figure, which was short-packed.
In fact when word got out it sparked off what became known as the great Rhino hunt of 1995 causing prices on the secondary market to soar as collectors feverishly hunted them out.
Over time though the market settled down as more became available and demand began to dip as more collectors managed to acquire him. His price has now leveled off to around the $40-50 mark.
As a result, this series became and probably remains, one of the most popular series of figures.
Spiderman (Super Poseable)- One of the best variants of Spiderman action figures ever released by ToyBiz, this figure contained strong articulation but less detailing. He had joints at his ankles, knees, hips (full range of motion), waist, torso, shoulders (full range), elbows, wrists, and neck. What was nice about the neck was that you can make Spider-man face in almost any direction a normal person could since it worked like a ball-and-socket joint. The fact that he can also twist at the torso lets you pose him is realistic positions.
Spiderman Spider Armor – A heavily armored Spiderman based on a brief appearance of the hero in one of the early comic book series. Great detail and good articulation makes this figure a top pick. This figure had a web shield that could shoot off his arm and had the basic articulation format; its neck, shoulders, elbows, kick out knees.
Shocker- This was the first and only action figure released of Shocker and had limited articulation. Shocker (Herman Shultz) was a character from the show who never took of his face mask. His play feature was a shock blast that shot out a little red plastic from his arm. He had articulation at the neck, shoulders, kick out legs, and bendable knees.
The Green Goblin- Norman Osbourne AKA, The Green Goblin, was a reoccurring villain/enemy of Spiderman, that is included in almost every series.
Unlike the first edition, Toy Biz managed to get Green Goblin’s features right down pat this time, even his evil grin.
This figure came with a couple of cool accessories also, like a pumpkin bomb that can be fitted into one hand with an open palm, and a solid blue Goblin glider with plastic missiles that could be launched by a spring. The goblin could be hooked on placed onto the glider. He had articulation at the neck, shoulders, elbows, kick out legs, and bendable knees.
The Scorpion- This figure is a near-perfect rendition of the character from the show, with the face, backpack, elongated tail, and bright green paint. Scorpion had some great detail, with good articulation and strong sculpting. Posing was rather difficult however, as a result of minimal articulation of the tail. The Scorpions "action feature" was that he could his arm could make his tail strike like a sting when you moved it.
Rhino – Lastly we have Rhino. This was the first release of Rhino and it had its fair share of flaws, including a poorly sculpted head and face. In the show, he was known for his sheer destructive power and love for bashing into things head first. This was taken into consideration in the action figure, as his head could pop up like a head-boot when you pressed a peg in the back of the figure.
However, this was an ultra rare edition in this series, as stated above, and was the one to look out for, as a result of production issues. Probably due to his size.
Series four was another hit with new villains and three new versions of Spider-man, with a total of 7 figures in all.
Spiderman (Black costume)- This is one of the rare black costumed Spider-man figures that had a web climber action triggered by a mechanism attached to his chest. When you detached the chest piece there was a long extendable 'web' that extended out and the figure rolled up. The figure had articulation in the neck, shoulders, elbows, and knees as well as legs that could kick out.
Spider-man (web glider)- This Spiderman had web wings attached to his outstretched arms, sides, and legs with a backpack. When the string of the backpack was pulled, it made the figure look like it was flying. He had great articulation however, this was hampered by the wings affixed to his arms and legs.
Night Shadow Spiderman- This dark toned Spiderman came with web-swinging gear where you could make a line and hook for the figure to slide up and down.
The Chameleon- The Chameleon was an assassin and terrorist who could change to look like other characters, with the ability of head morphing in to Spider-man, Jonah Jameson and Venom with three changeable heads. however sadly that's all the heads he came with to change into.
The Prowler- This figure is often referred to as the Wolverine of the Spider-man universe, and quite rightly so. He has wolverine style claws, and a cape also. The Prowler has pegs on his hands that let his claws shoot up when pressed. The cape can be removed, but the Prowler would be left looking a little weird. He had articulation in his shoulders, elbows, bendable knees, and neck that could turn, and kick out legs.
Venom II- Venom AKA Eddie Brock is revamped in this series, looking bulky,with a detailed paint job. It comes with what seems to be a bulletproof symbiote vest. A cool feature about the Venom figure was that his face was a soft removable mask that reveals the face of Eddie. His head had good articulation, legs that could kick out, bendable knees and also joints in his arms.
The mysterious Mysterio was a really cool figure with a green paint job, yellow boots, gloves and a purple cape. On his back was a large hole in his back for a plastic canister that could be filled with water. When squeezed, it shot water from tiny holes in his chest to mimic Mysterio's vapors. While Mysterio couldn't turn his domed head, his shoulders, elbows, legs & knees had articulation.
This was another excellent line of figures introducing some of the newer characters from later episodes of the Animated series. The villians in this series were some of the more popular characters, which made this series very popular with fans. Carnage was originally due to be in this line-up but was dropped to shorter the number of figures to help keep costs down.
Six Arm Spiderman- This was quite a unique and popular figure of Sider-man. On this figure Spiderman had six arms that were a result of a failed science experiment. All the arms had articulation, as well as the legs, bendable knees and neck movement.
Also the figure came with a webbed up punch glove and webbed up club with spikes. A cool, weird "action" feature was that all the arms rotated at the shoulder when the legs were squeezed together.
Battle Ravaged Spiderman- The Battle Ravaged Spiderman featured our hero wearing a ragged, torn and dishevelled looking outfit. He looked beat up, with claw marks on his thigh, a torn mask and hair tuff sticking out from the top of the mask and a removable camera in his belt. He also came with what seems to be a ripped up tentacle from a fight and a soft webbed backpack that split opened when squeezed. He had the usual joints in the neck, shoulders, elbows, legs, and knees.
Spider-Sense Spiderman- The overall costume on this figure was painted black with red spider web patterns and blue leggings. The figure also had a large peg at the side of the for his web crawling action!.
He came with a web-hook and cord that attached to his wrist, then when the peg was pressed, his arms would move up and down, to climb. Which, realistically, is kinda weird because, with his abilities, why would he need this?
Articulation: neck, shoulders, elbows, knees and legs that could kick out.
Nick Fury- dressed in a blue outfit with white boots, gloves, and an eye patch Nick Fury is an imposing with a "Missile Launching Jet Pack" with shooting missiles that plugged onto his back and a side-arm that attached to the side of his waist.
Articulation: arms, legs, knees
Punisher- AKA Frank Castle was a popular character in this line, painted and designed in great detail. One of the best figures made in the entire lineup. He possessed very strong articulation and a sculpt with a strong resemblance to the animated series character. The Punisher came with a removable plastic shoulder belt, a headset, an ankle knife and a gun with yellow glue shooter effects that could be added to make it look like his gun was spitting out bullets.
Articulation: head, shoulders, elbows, legs and bendable knees.
Morbius- This was another fierce-looking character from the series but lacked the blood-sucking holes in his palms. He was painted wearing a black dinner jacket, red shirt with white veins running across his arms and blue pants. He also had piercing red glowing eyes, a goatee beard and long black hair. To complete his vamperic look he came with a scary looking bat that could be attache to his forearm. This figure allso had the added feature that when his likes were squeezed together his face changed from vampire to Morbius.
Articulation: Arms + legs
This series featured a new Carnage figure as well as Tombstone and three new Spider-man figures.
Web Cannon Spiderman- This figure had detachable futuristic canisters on his back with web globs that could be attached to the end of the canister pipe in his hands and fired when the backpack was squeezed.
It has articulation at the essential points
Octospidey- This was a wonderful figure that featured our hero Spider-man wearing Doctor Octopus's apparatus, with bendy tentacles attached to a waist belt, and his headset. These were also detachable and without his tentacles, it was a regular Spiderman figure.
Articulation: neck, shoulders, elbows, legs and knees.
Man-Spider- This was a really awesome monster version of Spiderman with multiple arms, a ripped outfit, three sharp fingers on each hand and a monster face with mandibles (possibly to make him look "spider-like I guess, but failing to!). This monster Spiderman actually came with restraints for all six arms and a flask mask, to prevent him from attacking with his pincers. All this came about in an effort to reverse his on-going mutation. took an experimental serum created by Dr. Mariah Crawford. But the serum backfired, causing Spider-Man to mutate even faster, transforming him into the six-armed, inhuman Man-Spider!
Articulation: arms, the neck, shoulders, legs, and knees.
Carnage II Unleashed- This version of Carnage looked awesome with great red and black color paintwork. He also came with two alternative "hands", one an over-sized arm with five claw like fingers and the other hand. a saw/blade. There were also tentacles wrapped loosely around his body.
Articulation: neck, shoulders, elbows, legs, and knees.
Tombstone- AKA Lonny Lincoln was a muscular ghostly white looking character, he was an albino, dressed in a black shirt and grey fitted pants, with some red lipstick and a hint of eyeliner. He came with chrome painted gauntlets that could be attached to his hands, he also had a gun. There was a peg on his back that when pressed would make his arms swing like jabs'
Articulation: arms, elbows, legs, neck and knees.