Best Figure I Got Last Month – 8|09
August 24, 2009

This one is all about the nostalgia, folks. The moment I laid eyes on this set of figures some part of me was taken back 25 years. Even though I couldn’t remember many details of the cartoon Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, I knew it must have had an impact on my younger self – such was the strong feeling I got when seeing this trio of figures. Whether I ended up collecting the Marvel Universe line or not I would be getting this set.

 

 

 

WHO: Spider-Man, Iceman, Firestar
WHAT: Marvel Universe Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends | Hasbro
WHERE: Toys R Us (exclusive)
HOW: $22.99

WHY:
It hit me that I have more recollections of watching this show as a youngster than I do of watching Super Friends. I’m not sure why that is. After all Super Friends in all its incarnations weighed in at roughly 90 full episodes and 100 shorts. By comparison Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends only rang up around 24 episodes. However, starting with season 2 (1982) the show was paired with an Incredible Hulk cartoon which itself had 13 episodes. Still, not a heck’uv a lot, all told. But I guess I’ve always gravitated to the Marvel Universe, even back in the early 80s when I was just barely starting to know the difference.

The intro to this cartoon is pretty memorable. Peter Parker, Bobby Drake, and Angelica Jones hanging out in their apartment with a poster of the Hulk on the wall. Peter pulls the trophy lever on the mantle and all the furniture and walls spin around to reveal a high tech computerized headquarters! Then there is the split screen showing Firestar and Iceman’s transformations. Starting at his feet Bobby encases himself in a big ice cube and then explodes out of it himself converted into ice.

Honestly, the Marvel Universe figures aren’t really my cup of tea. I’ve gotten a handful and some are better than others. These three just seem a bit cheap and flimsy, in my opinion. Hasbro is capable of knocking out some outstanding 3 3/4" scale figures. I fight the urge to compare these to current Star Wars figures or last years Indiana Jones line, which I believe are very well crafted. But that’s not really fair. Hiding 16 odd points of articulation on a 3 3/4" super hero dressed in spandex from head to toe is a challenge. However, I can’t help but think every time I look at Firestar that she is wearing old lady panties.

 

For Marvel fans the cartoon had a lot going for it. When it says "and his Amazing Friends" its not just talking about Bobby and Angelica. A myriad of Marvel’s greatest characters guest star in the show’s short episode list. Since Iceman and Firestar’s cartoon backstories have them originally as members of the X-Men its no surprise to see that team of mutants on a couple occasions. It should be noted that Firestar is an original to the cartoon. The story goes that the team was supposed to include Spidey, Iceman and the Human Torch. But there were some legal rights issues with Torch and he was replaced with Firestar. 

 

In doing some research for this blog I came upon the Web site spider-friends.com. It is a fantastic resource for fans of the old cartoon. Jon, its creator, was kind enough to let me use some of the screen captures he has collected for his episode guide. One important bit of content on the site is news regarding the disappointing absence of a collected DVD edition for the U.S. audience. Recently, you lucky stiffs in the U.K. got just such a thing. If, like me, you are bummed that there’s no state-side version Jon has put together a thoughtful petition you can sign to show your support. What are you waiting for?

 

TAGS:
Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.

 

 

 

17 Comments »

  • Danny Cantina-Dan says:

    PS – many thanks to xrmc20 for tracking down this set for me!

  • xrmc20 says:

    No problem, my man.

    Those are some neat pics out of package. I too think that I like the idea of this set more than I like the actual figs. That is one awesome collage of screen grabs from the show. The X-Men episode I remember from that show was like a perfect representation of the X-Men I was reading at the time…at least that’s the way it felt back then.

  • Joe G. says:

    Even though I’m too young to have watched the cartoon growing up, I have a fondness for Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. The few episodes I’ve seen were on VHS releases in the late ’80s/early ’90s, as well as a few on ABC Family in the early 2000s. I had been on the fence about this set, but seeing it and thinking about the show really makes me want to pick it up if I can find it. Thanks for the spotlight, Dan!

  • Emerald says:

    I remember the X-men not being really all that popular until the early 80s, and this cartoon got me into the Iceman character. Cheesy cartoon of’course but the memories are of them doing cool stuff with Iceman. It killed me there was no Iceman figure back then (the Secret Wars Iceman doesn’t count as they weren’t in the U.S.-if they had I would have had it). This set is cool, but the price of Marvel Legends is still too recent for me to throw the same cash for figures half the size.

  • elvis8batman says:

    I loved this show as a kid, it was one of my favourite shows and I wouldn’t miss it! I was gonna ask if you wanted me to get you a set Dan as I’m in the UK, but it sounds like you’ve already sorted one out.

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      I appreciate the offer e8b. Its my understanding that I would need a region free DVD player that could play PAL DVDs. Here in the US our DVD players are set to play NTSC format. I think I’d be able to play them on my computer if I switch the region, but I believe there is a limit to the amount of times you can do this.

      Have you seen this set?

  • chad says:

    cool been waiting for proof they are finaly out for have wanted fire star in my mu for so long. and now i can go check toys are us in my area and hopefully have firestar soon and still waiting for the show to be on dvd here its long overdue

  • Matt says:

    Great memories of Spidey and his Amazing Friends…and these Marvel Universe figures are fantastic, hope the line has a long, healthy run!

  • Quinn says:

    Great write-up Dan…I loved this cartoon as a kid too. I wish they’d release these on DVD. I balked at the price tag for this three-pack at TRU, but might go back and pick one up anyway. It’s too cool. And hot.

  • StanDman says:

    I will be going home tonight and cutting out my 2-D version of “Video Man” to take on these heroes!

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    I used to like this show as a kid, except for Bobby being blonde and acting more like Johnny Storm or the fact that Angelica looked just like Mary Jane Watson with super powers. My favorite episode is “7 Little Superheroes” with Cap, Doc Strange, Subby, amd Shanna being picked off one by one like in the Agatha Christie novel. I also liked “Pawns of the Kingpin” where Cap guests again and the ones with Thor, Iron Man (cameo) and the Black Knight.

    I’m not enjoying the constant re-use of tooling on most MU figures but I will get this set if I can just for nostagia’s sake.

  • Hourman says:

    That was probably my single favorite cartoon when I was a kid. It retained the fun tone of the bronze age Marvels tuff I grew up reading while not sinking into the preschool territory that Super-Friends mostly swam around it. Great voice casting, pitch-perfect Stan Lee narration, and the character designs were perfectly on model with the comics. Nobody’s costume had to be “rastafied by 10%”. Good stuff.

    I would definitely buy a US DVD set and am a little astonished that it was never released during the hoopla surrounding the release of any of the three Spider-Man movies. As it is, I am going to stick with the reasonably nice bootleg set that I have. I have a region free DVD player than can play PAL format discs, but the PAL format runs a few frames per second faster than NTSC, so anything originally formatted for NTCS but transferred to PAL runs just slightly too fast. Its supposed to be imperceptible but …

  • Brainlock says:

    I remember the cartoon, but didn’t realize there were so few episodes?
    I do recall that i was aware that Bobby’s “sister” Aurora(?) was made up, and really meant to be Dazzler. How I knew that so early in my comic’s education is still beyond me. I know now about the REAL Aurora, but I don’t think that the cartoon version was supposed to be the Alphan.
    .
    as for the toys, I have not seen this set, yet. I’m trying NOT to get into the MU, esp after seeing all these characters that *should* have been made in the 6″ ML line!
    (and yes, I still want full Alpha and New Warriors line-ups! and Aesir. and the last couple ‘main’ X-Men. and….)

  • […] Cantina Dan (Action Figure Insider) […]

  • HulkRage says:

    I recall watching the cartoon in the U.K back in ’84 or so on Saturday mornings. I was lucky enough to record a few of them to videotape which I still have with me in poor quality although with the DVDs now available, it’s good to be able to relive the Saturday morning fondness:) It’s also a chance for the younger generation to experience the classic cartoons. To go with that, the Incredible Hulk cartoon series which ran alongside Spider-man and his Amazing Friends also has been released to DVD.
    As for the toy set, not sure collecting figures is my cup of tea but those figures sure look good.

  • John says:

    I wouldn’t be too sad that the UK has a DVD set and the USA doesn’t. I bought that UK DVD set and it’s junk. All the episodes are sped up and pitched too high. Save your money. Don’t be a fool like me.

  • carrie says:

    i have spiderman and friends as kids forsale and i also have the 10′ dolls too if anyone is looking to buy email me thanks

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