The Amazing Mego Man!
Mego turned Spider-man into a toy phenomenon
Most people when they hear “Mego Spider-man” think of the sarcastic star of “Twisted Toyfare Theatre” but would be surprised to know how many products Mego produced of the classic character.
When Mego first obtained the rights to produce Superhero merchandise, they hadn't even bothered to get Spider-man! When the son of Mego's president enquired as to his whereabouts, Spidey was quickly added into the second wave.
8" Spider-man was an immediate hit and never ceased production from 1973 until 1982 when Mego ceased producing toys. Spidey also had the distinction of being only one of three heroes that was added to every line of hero merchandise Mego produced. (The other two heroes were Superman and Batman)
In 8" Spider-man's first year there were a number of production changes that created variations in Spidey's outfit. Commonly referred to as "Circle or Diamond" suits, these were produced briefly and are sought after in collector markets.
By 1974, Mego had expanded its Heroes license into a series of bendable heroes (called Bend n Flex) which of course featured everyone's favorite webslinger. Mego also created a series of plush heroes called "Super Softies" which were available in talking and non talking versions. Spidey Super Softie says things like "I'll get you Green Goblin" and "Crime Doesn't Pay!". Super Softies were a poor seller and are very hard to find in mint condition. Also hard to find is the Wards exclusive "Secret Identity" Peter Parker, offered for only one year, this figure is a repainted Mego Shazam in a unique outfit.
In 1975, Mego produced the "Super Savers" a series of figural banks, the only Marvel character in the line was everyone's favorite webslinger.
The next year was a big year for Spider-man at Mego; the eight inch figure got his own set of wheels! The Spider car was a red beauty with a web trap so Spidey could catch his enemies while cruising around.
1976 also saw the launch of the Comic Action Heroes, a line of 3" Hero figures and play sets. Spider-man was there along with a smaller version of the Spider car. The "Mangler" was an odd vehicle that Spidey used to "Squash" the Green Goblin. An exploding tower play set was also proposed but never produced.
Across the ocean in 1977, Palitoy UK produced a fist fighting version of Spider-man and the Lizard, "fist fighting" heroes were limited to the Batman family in the US, so these UK exclusives are popular among collectors.
Scales had changed in 1978, Mego offered 12" Superheroes to combat other companies attempt to infringe on the Superheroes license. 12" Spider-man was sold with or without accessories such as a Spider web or a "Fly Away Action" device.
A Magnetic 12" Spidey was proposed but never made it to retail, kids got a "Web Shooting" Spider-man instead, a figure that literally spun webs.
Mego left the 70's with a bang, introducing many new Spiderman products for the 1979 toy buying season. By this time Mego concentrated more lines to the "Heavy Hitter" Superheroes, namely Batman, Superman, Hulk and the webbed one.
Die cast Spider-man was a 6" tall "Limited Edition" action figure of Spidey. Magna Spidey was only available overseas, essentially a figure with Magnetic arms and legs that were interchangeable with the other heroes in the set.
Elastic Spider-man was exactly that, a corn syrup filled figure of the Webbed Wall crawler. Words of warning, many collectors have noticed these figures spring leaks and can cause damage.
The Pocket Superheroes were a revamped version of the Comic Action Heroes, in 1980 Spider-man received three new vehicles The Programmable Spidertrax" (something of a big red tank) the "Spider Mobile" and the "Shuttle Glider". The last two vehicles were merely revised designs of earlier vehicles produced for Mego's "Micronauts" line.
More Micronauts vehicles such as "The Claw" and a Spider-man Alley Play set were proposed but never saw released.
By 1982, Mego Corp had declared Bankruptcy and for the first time in nine years, Spiderman figures were not available in toy stores. Others were quick to pick up the slack but for those who grew up in its heyday, it just didn't have the same magic that Mego had.
Two great sites to visit for more info on Mego Spiderman