Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Cool Stuff!

Time for another parade of photos of collectibles that I figured you, the readers of Random Acts of Geekery, might get a kick out of seeing (and perhaps even send you searching eBay or your local stores or events to add one of these items to your collection). We are probably looking at all Spider-Man items this time around!

First up, it's Spider-Man Crazy Foam! I've written about Crazy Foam before, it was a mini-craze in the 1970s, cans full of pressurized soap that would come out in a foam (rather like shaving cream). The cans were designed so that the foam came out of the "mouth" of whatever character was printed on the can. If I recall correctly, the line initially came out with generic characters, like a clown, animals and so forth, but then they licensed some DC and Marvel characters for them.

Here's a rather unusual Spider-Man coloring book, intended to teach the kids about endangered species. I don't quite get why Spidey would be the character chosen for this, it seems to me Tarzan would've been a much more appropriate choice, don't you?

Another unusual coloring book here from Europe, it's not based on the Spider-Man comics, but rather on the 1960s animated show, hence the lack of most of the webbing! I believe I've presented a photo of this before with some interior pages, but this is a larger photo of the cover than I'd previously had.

This Spidey frame-tray puzzle looks as though the art was done by one of the Marvel artists, but it's hard to say for sure who might've done it. I'm tempted to guess Sal Buscema, maybe with Joe Sinnott inks, but that's purely a guess on my part, mostly based on what the woman Spidey's saving looks like.

I'm not sure when this figural Spider-Man gumball machine was made, but based on the logo, my guess would be late 1970s or early 1980s. Definitely pre-Secret Wars.

This puzzle fits two different puzzle trends of the 1970s (three if you count licensed characters): First, it's a round puzzle, which are still made occasionally these days. Second, it's the "oil can" packaging, so called because it's about the same size of an oil can (back in the days when you bought motor oil in cans, as opposed to the plastic bottles used today). I don't know who provided the art for this, although at least the Hulk figure appears to have been based on a Herb Trimpe drawing.

Here's another one in the same series of puzzles, this one guest-starring Thor!

Next up, it's Spider-Man Ice Pops, produced by Nasta, who was one of the manufacturers of rack toys that took up the slack when AHI (Azrak-Hamway International) started to fade away in the 1980s. As you can see, it's not actually ice pops, but rather ice pop makers. At least when the Spidey figure washed away from the molds (as it would've done after repeated washings, I'm sure), you still had the figural handle for the ice pops to help you recall what character it was licensed from!

Next, a Spidey Iron-On, which I wish I had a larger photo of. This same pose was used for a larger t-shirt or sweatshirt in the 1960s, I believe sold through Marvelmania. This one, obviously a very bad tracing, might have been a vending machine item, or perhaps even a Cracker Jack prize.

When it comes to Italian toys based on US comics characters, all sense goes out of the window, even moreso than the AHI toys could be. A Spider-Man car (unless based on the short-lived Spidey-Mobile, a souped up dune buggy) is odd enough, but this one is much more of a sports car than anything else I've seen! As you can tell, none of the details are molded int the car, but rather are all applied on it, either via decals or somehow printed on it (I can't tell if the body of the car is plastic or metal, so I don't know for sure).
At least the box art had some nice Spidey poses on it!
Looking at this photo of the car out of the package, it appears that the body is plastic, with some details applied as decals on the body, while others were probably printed on tin and sealed to the body via clear plastic. The detail at the top makes me think that this body design was originally used as a Batmobile toy, and they figured some minor changes would make it a Spidey toy.

Next, we have a Spider-Man figure from Japan. I'm going to guess that, based on the accessories, this was a toy that tied in with the Japanese live-action Spider-Man show, which was quite a bit different from the familiar Spidey we know and love! The costume shots on the box art are definitely not from the Nicholas Hammond-starring TV show that was on CBS!

Next, it's a Spider-Man mirror... and I'm not sure how much practical use this would have, since the Spidey figure covers up most of the useable area! As you can see, when taking photos of a mirror to sell on eBay, one should carefully consider whether or not you'll show up in the reflection!

I've seen a few Mix 'n Mold sets featuring the Universal Monsters, but the Spidey one doesn't show up on eBay too often. I don't think I've ever seen a photo of a finished piece, for that matter.

On the other hand, I have seen quite a few photos of the Aurora Spidey model kit built and painted! I wish this had been a larger photo, so we could see the details better. It always bugged me that Spidey's hand isn't in proper web-shooting position, as well as the fact that Kraven appears to have sunken into the ground!

Here's a couple of Spidey patches, probably circa late 1970s. The earlier superhero patches tended to be rather crudely designed, but they would improve as time went on.

I've always been disappointed with these Pencil By Numbers kits, as they would promise that there were six pictures, but nowhere on the box would it show what those six pictures were! Note that Spidey and the Hulk got their own sets, while the DC heroes had to share one (as did the Looney Tunes crew... although Popeye, the animated Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, and the animated Laverne and Shirley sets were solo).

This Spidey Pool Raft from 1977 is pretty cool... but I don't think it's a very accurate representation of the cover of that issue! It appears to be more of a hodgepodge of images from different sources (the Spidey figure at the bottom was a classic Spidey pose for merchandisers to use). Still, I think I'd have preferred this one to the swim ring below:

These aren't just plain Spider-Man Sandals... they're Flicker Sandals, with an image that would change when tilted at a different angle!

This Spidey sliding puzzle uses another of those poses that would show up on a lot of Spidey merchandising, particularly on the box art.

Marvel really tried to push Spider-Woman in their merchandising when she came out, sort of forcing her as one of the "big four" they'd use in selling licenses, along with Spider-Man, the Hulk, and Captain America.

In 1977, the Thought Factory produced a series of posters of DC and Marvel characters, although they were mostly the usual suspects (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Shazam, Spidey, Hulk and I believe Captain America). They all followed the same pattern of having a large image that was airbrushed to provided a modeled effect, with a panel or two from the actual comics along the bottom.

Kudos to the designer of this Spidey towel set for thinking of having the web one figure is swinging from being the web the other one is behind (even if it doesn't make sense for that to be a swing-line).

One of these days, I will find some of these Marvel puzzle books that Tempo produced for a reasonable price... this I swear! But they're pretty pricey when I see them listed on eBay, and it doesn't seem that anyone's willing to scan these to share online, either!

I'm not sure when or where this wind-up Spider-Man motorcycle toy was made... or how they figured Spidey would be able to see with his head facing down! Note that the card art shows a full-color Spider-Man on the motorcycle, but the actual figure is all blue!

That does it for this edition of Cool Stuff, next time we'll move on from Spider-Man items and into some other stuff, possibly getting into some Superman items!

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