My toy collecting history runs in distinct phases, and I find it interesting that as I get older, I tend to revisit them all. Some have never faded completely, like Star Wars and GI Joe. Others have come and gone in waves of interest, sometimes returning like the tides over years. For instance, I’ve collected, sold, and re-collected 1980s Transformers and Masters of the Universe multiple times. Yes, it’s weird, but such is my focus in that it’s rather…unfocused. Maybe this blogging thing gives me some outlet to maintain interest where it might otherwise flag. Or it keeps me from selling away something I might want to revisit in the future.
The second series of Marvel Toy Biz figures represent an evolution for the company’s offerings from a character standpoint, as they branched out into them lesser known Marvel properties like Iron Man, Thor, and even Deathlok. Not only did Toy Biz go beyond the comfortable choices like Spidey, Cap and the Hulk, but they also stepped up their sculpting and action features. Iron Man is quite unique in that he’s the first depiction of not only officially removable armor, but also of Tony Stark in action figure form.
Looking at the figure with modern eyes, he’s chunky and awkward. However, from the standpoint of a Marvel fan in the 90s, this sort of thing was amazing. Even then, he looked goofy without the armor on, but hey–it’s an Iron Man action figure! With the embarrassment of riches we have now, a toy like this may seem like nothing, but back in 1990 I was glad to have a Marvel figure that wasn’t a) old Mego or Secret Wars or b) a tiny PVC “collectible figurine.”
Again, Tony out of his armor looks damn goofy, but the look isn’t too bad when you take only the helmet off. Without all the gear, I’m reminded of a half-dressed medieval knight, what with the half-shoes and high collar. Maybe that was intentional? Yeah I doubt it.
It would take Toy Biz a few years to really hit their stride with this style of figure, but the sophomore effort with Marvel Super Heroes was a step in the right direction.