Thursday, September 29, 2016

Guide to Comic Spider-Man Action Figures (updated end September 2016)

Hasbro has been churning out Marvel Legends fast and furious this year.  And with a Spider-Verse wave announced, spider fans have a lot to look forward to.  For this update, I have added the Space Venom BAF Ultimate Spidey (teen) Peter Parker figure.  With what was announced so far, I guess the next update should be the black Spidey figure based off the Pizza Spidey mold.  Really looking forward to that as the last proper black Spidey figure was from the Red Hulk BAF wave.

For this guide, I will focus on the red/blue (red/black) Spidey costumes and black costumes, but the figures will be shown in reverse chronological order, roughly from the latest figure to the oldest.  I will also provide my views on what I feel are the pros and cons of the figure.  I will also try to link to the artist who inspired the figure to the best of my knowledge.


Again, as you all know, Spidey is probably one of the most made action figures, my guide will only cover the 6 inch scale, articulated (good useful articulated figures with no action feature) and comic red/blue (red/black) and black costumes action figures.  And all these figures that I am covering are figures I actually owned but since I am not such a good photographer, most of the pictures are obtained from the reference sites mentioned below.  Figures from movies, alternate costumes (e.g. Morales, Iron-Spidey), knock-offs are not covered in this guide.



Comic Red/Blue (Red/Black) Spidey



Marvel Legends Space Venom BAF Ultimate Spider-Man Peter Parker (released 2016)
Hasbro kept up the momentum in 2016 with a Spidey themed wave for Space Venom BAF.  The wave includes Miles Morales, Electro, Silk, Spider-Girl (Ashley Barton) and Hobgoblin.  This Ultimate Spider-Man Peter Parker figure is utilising a new teenage male body that Hasbro has recently developed.  The other Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales is also utilising the same teenage body.  This teen body stands at about 5.5” and is significantly smaller than the adult male body e.g. Pizza Spidey.

The overall look of this Spidey figure is very good.  Hasbro has added the mid-calf twist that was missing in the past few Spidey figures.  However, they removed the shoulder butterfly joints.  Surprisingly, even without the shoulder butterfly joints, the shoulders range of movement is great, though it compromised the four point crouch pose slightly.  The highlight of this figure is that Hasbro has given us a teen unmasked Peter Parker alternate head.  The Peter Parker head sculpt is pretty good and I feel it is quite a good representation of Peter Parker from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics.

I have had hopes that this Spidey can be the best Spidey figure in the 6 inch scale but sadly Hasbro took some steps towards that direction, but then took some steps backwards.  The lack of shoulder butterfly joints and limited range of upward ankle hinge sets this figure back, coupled with some quality control issues leaves much to be desired in the next comic suited Spidey figure.








 
Pros:     Mid-calf swivel.  Fantastic Hasbro’s ankle pivot.  Better hip articulation range than Pizza Spidey, hence can pull off a decent four point crouch.  Alternate hands (fists, normal and “thwip” web shooting) and alternate unmasked Peter Parker head.
Cons:    Limited upward hinge range on ankles.  Quality control issues (some loose joints, misaligned weblines, excess plastic on Peter Parker’s head chin area, paint chip on shoulders).  Lack of shoulder butterfly joint (though range of movement in shoulders is still decent).

The full review of the Ultimate Spider-Man Peter Parker figure can be found here.


Hasbro Marvel Legends SDCC 2016 Raft Box Set Spidey (released 2016)
This Spider-Man was released in SDCC 2016 exclusive Marvel Legends Raft Box Set along with five other figures, namely, Enchantress, Abomination, Sandman, Purple Man and Dreadknight.  On first look this figure look like a straight on repaint of Pizza Spidey from the BAF Hobgoblin wave released the year before with a new head sculpt, but on closer inspection, it is clear that it is more of a repaint of the Ben Reilly/ Spider-Carnage figure released months ago in the BAF Absorbing Man wave.  In fact the head is also a straight repaint of the Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider from the BAF Rhino wave.  So this is an amalgamation of the previous Ben Reilly figures.

Personally, I think Hasbro is going for the Todd McFarlane look on this Raft Spidey figure (have not heard any official confirmation on this though) and it is a hit-and-miss for me.  The spider symbols on the chest and back are spot on, if you do a quick comparison with Todd’s artwork in ASM comics.  As for the head sculpt, they got the large eyes, but the overall sculpt does not really scream McFarlane Spidey to me.  But the overall look of the figure is good.

One major improvement on this Raft Spidey from the Pizza Spidey is that the hips range of movement has been improved.  This is because for the Ben Reilly/ Spider-Carnage figure’s hip has been tweaked to give a wider stance.  But it is still not perfect but it can hold a decent four-point crouch.  One major setback of this Raft Spidey is that it is sorely lacking in alternate hands, and because it is using Ben Reilly Spidey’s base figure, the hand pegs are different from Pizza Spidey, so we cannot use the alternate hands that came with Pizza Spidey, which is a major bummer.








Pros:     Fantastic Hasbro’s ankle pivot.  Better hip articulation range than Pizza Spidey, hence can pull off an ok four point crouch.  Great spider symbol rendition from Todd McFarlane’s artwork.
Cons:     Lack of mid-calf twist and toe-bent for crouching poses.  No alternate hands and different pegs from Pizza Spidey to be able to use the alternate hands

I did a more complete review of this Raft Spidey here.



Hasbro Hobgoblin BAF Wave Pizza Spidey (released 2015)
This is the first Hasbro unique sculpted Spidey that made to this list.  It has been 10 years since the last unique sculpted red/blue Spidey (Super Strength Spidey by Toy Biz) and it is worth the wait.

Hasbro made used of the success they got from the figures of movie Spidey (Andrew Garfield) and Superior Spidey released prior to this wave and they retooled the body for this Pizza Spidey.  Though the weblines are painted, the red and blue used resulted in a very vibrant-looking figure.  Together with the great head sculpt, the figure looks like it stepped right off the comic book pages.  What make this figure great are the alternate hands, half-masked head and a cool slice of pizza.  The pizza accessory does not do much but it is still a fun pack-in.  The alternate wall-crawling hands allow of extremely cool poses (e.g. single handstand pose), allows for punching and webshooting action poses that was unable to be achieved convincingly with the older figures.  However, this figure is not without flaws.  In order to streamline the hips, Hasbro reduced the range of movement to the hips (less range of movement compared to Garfield Spidey and Superior Spidey).






Pros:     Many alternate hands (fists, normal and “thwip” web shooting), alternate half-masked head and a very cool pizza accessory.  Awesome ankle pivot.  The figure can hold a single-hand stand pose using the wall climbing hand.
Cons:     Limited hip articulation, not allowing a convincing four-point crouch.  Lack of mid-calf twist and toe-bent for crouching poses.  Lanky mid-torso section.


SDCC 2007 Exclusive Stan Lee Spidey (released 2007)
I feel this figure deserves a mention in its dedicated section.  The base body is not new, it is a re-issue of the ML10 First Appearance Spidey body in red/blue colour scheme.  However, this SDCC exclusive comes with alternate head sculpts: Stan Lee and unmasked Peter Parker.  It also comes with cloth civilian clothes with normal un-costumed hands and feet for changing into civilian clothes.  It also comes with a mask accessory that allows the figure to hold it in the hands as though the mask had been pulled off.

Love the box packaging which showcases the figure and Stan Lee interacting with Spidey in comic panels.  There is an alternate packaging, one with Stan Lee’s spectacles on the figure and one version with the spectacles held in his hand.





Pros:     Stan “the Man” Lee head.  Peter Parker unmasked head.  The mask accessory that can be held in figure’s hand is a cool pack-in.  Love the packaging.
Cons:    ML10 FA Spidey base body with “sausage” fingers on hand.  The civilian costume for Stan Lee does not look that good.


Fearsome Foes of Spidey boxset Spidey (released 2005)
This figure has the same base body as Campbell (McF) Spidey with a lighter blue colour scheme.  In the boxset, the figure also has a cloth webbing hooked on the back as an attempt as underarm webbings.  The webbing is removable.

In Singapore (and maybe also Malaysia), there seem to be a running change of the boxset whereby the Lizard figure was an older, less articulated Lizard figure from the older red carded SMC.  Also in that running change boxset, some of the Spidey figures does not come with the cloth webbing.  There were also rumours from Indonesia that this Fearsome Foes Spidey was issued on the red carded SMC on the Campbell Spidey packaging.




Pros:    Campbell (McF) Spidey base body i.e. able to hold awesome poses.
Cons:    Not a fan of the head sculpt.


Blue Carded SMC 16 Super Strength Spidey (released 2005)
This is the first worthy SMC Spidey after SMC changed the card to light blue card instead of the initial red card packaging.  This figure was rumoured to be inspired by David Finch’s artwork.  I like this figure but it has not surpassed the figures before.  The stocky upper torso and the limited articulation is limiting the potential of this figure.  But on the whole it is a decent Spidey figure.




 

Pros:     Decent head sculpt.  Has decent articulation.
Cons:    Unable to pull off four point crouch.  Stocky upper torso.  Only middle 2 fingers articulation for “thwip” webshooting pose, i.e. unable to make fists.


Marvel Legends Series 10 (Sentinel BAF) First Appearance Spidey (released 2005)
Since the clamshell SMC, this is the first single carded (i.e. outside boxsets) Marvel Legends Spider-Man figure that was introduced in the ML line.  It is a re-make of Ditko’s Spidey from Amazing Fantasy #15.  In fact, a re-print of Amazing Fantasy #15 was included in the packaging.

This ML10 FA Spidey comes with Sentinel's head and chest as part of the Build-a-Figure (BAF).  This figure comes with the cloth webbing (similar to the Fearsome Foes Spidey) to represent the underarm webbing.  The major complaint on this Spidey is the fingers.  Even though each finger is individually articulated, the fingers are of equal length, making them look more like sausages.  Furthermore, the shoulder articulation is a hinged shoulder, and the way the articulation functions proved to be ineffective and affect the look of the figure.

This base body was again re-used in the SDCC 2007 Exclusive Stan Lee Spidey figure.






Pros:     Great head sculpt, a very accurate Ditko rendition.
Cons:    The “sausage” looking fingers.  The hip articulation restricts a proper four point crouch.


SMC 12 Superposeable Spidey with Wall-Crawling Action (released 2004)
This is still my favourite Spider-Man figure to-date.  When this was first released, many felt that this was right off the pages of Todd McFarlane’s artwork.  However, Jesse Falcon confirmed that the inspiration of this figure actually came from Jeffrey Scott Campbell.  However, many fans still prefer to call this figure McF Spidey (including myself).  The awesomeness of this figure comes from the fact that it can hold a variety of poses, including the four point crouch, and looked like it came right off the page of the comics.  The individual articulated and sculpted fingers were a great as compared to ML10 FA Spidey.  The figure comes with a wall climbing base with a gargoyle that shoots projectiles.  This was in-line with the figures with action features for most of the figures release under the red carded SMC.  This figure was a peg warmer at some point in time and was even in clearance bins in the US, but as time goes by, this became such a sought after figure (including any re-issues) that it goes for in excess of USD100 on eBay.

Toy Biz also issued this figure in 2005 in a 2-pack with Abomination under SMC Classic Clashes.  After Hasbro took over the Marvel license, this figure was reissued with a red/black paint app in 2009 under Hasbro’s Spider-Man Classics (Wave 3) with a streetlamp accessory.  The Hasbro released figure also added peg holes on the bottom of the feet.

Toy Biz Release






Hasbro Re-issue



Pros:     One of the best, if not the best, 6 inch scale Spidey figures that can hold a four point crouch.  Amazing head sculpt.  Great useful articulation.
Cons:     Ankle pivot has very limited range.  No peg-holes at bottom of feet (Hasbro version fixed this).  Lanky body sculpt.  Finger articulation does not allow for a good fist pose.


Sinister Six boxset Spidey (released 2004)
This Sinister Six boxset Spidey (SS Spidey) has much of the base body as Snap Shot Spidey and many people mistook them to be the same.  It is probably a retooled Snap Shot (or vice versa) but they are definitely different.  Sinister Six Spidey does not have the upper torso twist as compared to the Snap Shot Spidey.  Due to the lack of the upper torso twist it has a shorter upper torso and this helps in getting into a tight four point crouch.  The head sculpt is also very different from Snap Shot Spidey.  Many considered this to be a good Romita Jr rendition.  This is also the first 6 inch scale Spidey figure that has a cloth webbing accessory for underarm webbing effect.  This trend would continue for ML10 FA Spidey and Fearsome Foes boxset Spidey.






Pros:     Able to hold four point crouch, in fact next best after McF Spidey.
Cons:    Bulky looking shoulders.  No mid-torso twist like Snap Shot Spidey.  Finger articulation does not allow for good fist pose.


SMC 10 Snap Shot Spidey (released 2004)
The Snap Shot Spidey figure is the first comic Spidey figure to sport individual finger articulation (first being Spider-Man 2 movie superposeable Spidey).  I like the Snap Shot Spidey head sculpt a lot.  It reminds me a lot of the classic Spidey I grew up with.  However, brittle plastic plagued this figure, as there were many complaints on breakage of the joint pegs.  There was a running change, with the initial release having red pegs in the elbow and knee joints whereas the later releases had blue pegs (or probably painted blue).

This is also the first 6 inch scale Spidey figure that can pull off a nice four point crouch pose.  The included display stand also allows for multiple action poses.  I really like this figure, and the main issue I have with this figure is the broad looking hips when posed in a vanilla pose but otherwise in action poses it looks fantastic.








Pros:     Able to hold four point crouch but less pleasing to the eye compared to Sinister Six Spidey (or McF Spidey).
Cons:    Broad looking hips.  Bulky looking shoulders.  Finger articulation does not allow for good fist pose.


SMC 6 Parachute Spidey (released 2003)
Toy Biz started the red carded SMC in 2002 superseding the clamshell SMC.  This red carded SMC focused mainly on kid-friendly toys and the first 5 waves seen many Spidey figures with action features.  In Wave 6, they issued Parachute Spidey (commonly known as Para Spidey) and at that point in time, many collectors liked it and some even called it the definitive Spidey figure.

Personally, I find the figure decent but I never cared about the cartoony look.  It has painted weblines versus the sculpted weblines from many of other Toy Biz’s offerings.  It also has the articulated 2 middle fingers which allow for the “thwip” webshooting pose.  This figure was re-issued in subsequent waves to come with varying bases or accessories.  One main re-issue was in Urban Legends boxset in 2003.  The Para Spidey in Urban Legends boxset has a deeper blue compared to the red carded SMC version.  The Urban Legends boxset has a slight variation in packaging where the arrangement of the figures in the box changes.




Urban Legends Boxset



Pros:     Decent articulation.  First good comic Spidey figure for the red carded SMC.
Cons:    Cartoony looking.  Lanky body.  Only 2 middle finger articulation, unable to make fists.


Clamshell Spider-Man Classics Series 2 Amazing Fantasy Spidey (released 2002)
Following the success of Clamshell SMC Series 1, Toy Biz introduced the second wave of SMC.  This time this wave was launched with Kaybee exclusives of Spider-Man 2099 and Scarlet Spider.  The other figures include Battle-ravaged Spidey, Rhino, red Daredevil and the ever so rare Yellow Daredevil.

However, the main figure is the Amazing Fantasy Spidey, or more affectionately known as Ditko Spidey as inspired by Steve Ditko's art in Amazing Fantasy #15.  There were 2 different packaging as well, the more common one is the one with the Amazing Fantasy #15 reprint inserted whereas the other is a silver foil poster.

One other "running change" worth mentioning would be that some of this Ditko Spidey actually had an improvement in articulation.  It has the added bicep twist.  Most of them do not.  There was no breakthrough improvement in articulation and they only have the "thwip" webshooting finger articulation.  The clamshell SMC ended with this wave despite doing very well.  Thereafter they introduced the red carded SMC.


Figure without bicep cut (Left) and with bicep cut (Right)

Pros:     Very good articulated first appearance Spidey figure for its time.  Display base accessory.
Cons:    The improved bicep cut is not on all released figures.  Outdated articulation compared to newer figures.


Clamshell Spider-Man Classics (SMC) Series 1 Red/Blue McFarlane Spidey (released 2002)
This is the first wave of SMC introduced by Toy Biz in 2001.  They had decided to go with a new type of packaging, a sturdy clamshell instead of the typical bubble/card packaging.  This wave did so well that they decided to package (and articulate) the subsequently released Marvel Legends in this manner.

This is the official McF Spidey.  The design was based on Todd McFarlane's artwork.  The articulation was fantastic in its time.  The finger articulation enables our friendly neighbourhood web-slinger to do the "thwip" hand pose.





Pros:     Pioneer for articulated figures.  Great nostalgic value for me.  Decent Spidey figure, even for today.  Official McF Spidey.  Nice display base.
Cons:    Articulation is outdated compared to current figures.



Comic Black Costume Spidey



Hasbro Red Hulk BAF Black Spidey (released 2008)
In 2008, Hasbro issued a Black Spidey for the Red Hulk BAF wave.  This was a Target exclusive in the US.  The base body made use of the old Toy Biz Bullseye body, which gave it decent articulation.  But for Spidey, the range of movement is still limited.  And for this figure, Hasbro made hands and new ankles for this figure and the range of movement is really limited.  Note that this was before the days of Hasbro’s ankle pivot.  However, the head sculpt is nice with a good paint app.  I certainly hope that with the new Hasbro Spidey base body, a new Black Spidey figure will be released soon.





Pros:     Nice head sculpt.  Good paint applications.  Decent articulation (but no four point crouch).
Cons:    Very weak ankle articulation and no ankle pivot.  No hand articulation and hands are stuck in claw pose.


Red Carded SMC 9 Black Spidey (released 2004)
Toy Biz released an articulated Black Spidey in 2004 in Wave 9 of the red carded SMC.  The base body was based on Toy Biz ML7 Ice Man.  The hands has full palm articulation that allows the hand to be open or closed into a fist, which works ok as Spidey is supposed to be shooting webs from the white patch on the top of his hands when wearing the symbiote costume.  The minor flaw is the lanky lower torso which makes the figure looks weird in a vanilla pose.  I am not a fan of the head sculpt, or more so about the painted eyes.  Personally I feel that the painted eyes and lack of facial details make the head looks weird at certain angles.

After Hasbro took over the Marvel license, this figure was re-issued in 2007 under the Spidey Origins wave.  The re-issue even included the same glider accessory, with the only difference is in the paint apps on the figure and glider, where the silver replaces any of the white paint in the Toy Biz version.




Hasbro Re-issue in 2007


Pros:     Good articulation (though still cannot pull off the four point crouch).
Cons:    Does not like the way the painted eyes look.  Bulky shoulders.  Lanky lower torso.


Clamshell SMC Series 1 Black Spidey (released 2002)
This is the first 6 inch scale Black Spidey made by Toy Biz.  It is part of the Clamshell SMC Series 1.  It utilises the same base body as the SMC 1 McF Spidey with the exception it is a smooth body (McF Spidey has sculpted weblines).

And since this figure shares the same base body as the red/blue Spidey it has articulated middle 2 fingers to form the “thwip” webshooting pose.  And if you are particular about this, since Black Spidey shoot webs from the white patches instead of the webshooters, this may be an issue for you.





Pros:     Good overall sculpt.  Nice base.  Great nostalgic value for me, as it is the first articulated Black Spidey which still is a decent figure.
Cons:    Finger articulation is the “thwip” webshooting pose.



References
Pictures and some information were obtained from the following sites, do check them out and give them your support!



Editor’s Note [end Sep 2016]: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and to include the new ML Raft Box Set Spider-Man and Space Venom BAF wave Ultimate Spidey (teen body).

13 comments:

  1. Amazing post! I have the "Pizza" figure and still trying to find one with the McFarlane body for a decent price… D:

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hasbro put out a handful of new figures in 2008/09, including a black suit and one with a glider and removable armor. Were those bad figures?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please let me know if I missed out any you think is a good figure to review. Personally, if they were articulated sufficiently, I would have picked them up and reviewed them, so in summary, yeah, I think they were bad. I did mention any reissue of the Toy Biz mold by Hasbro though.

      As for the black suit with the glider, is that the one I mentioned that it is the reissue of Toy Biz version with silver instead of white paint?

      Delete
  3. This may be the coolest thing I've ever seen on Spider Man it's very simple but looks great. Fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a boxed set of a red spidey and a black spidey somewhere in storage. They are pretty tall and if I remember right only 500 were made. I think McFarlane made them? I can't find any info on the web ago about them. Do you have an idea of where to find info? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No not really. I have not known that McFarlane toys made any Spidey figures. It would help if you provide a picture or more info on this.

      Delete
  5. I wish I could but I don't think I could dig them out quickly. They would have been made in 2001-2002 and were in the box together. I will see if I can find them to get a pic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't happen to be referring to the Bandai's SIC move realization Spidey right? If it is, I did a review of it a few years back.

      https://spideywebtoys.blogspot.com/2007/09/toy-review-sic-movie-realization-spider.html

      Delete
  6. to bad you forgot the civil war 3 pack spidey. or was that on purpose?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was on purpose. This guide is meant to cover comic Spidey red/blue or black costume figures only. I consider Civil War Spidey movie costume. I did however do a review on the Civil War Spidey figure. Thanks for dropping by!

      Delete
  7. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post!
    It's the little changes that will make the most significant changes.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete