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Disney Toybox
by yo go re

The Disney Store's exclusive Toybox line has several different yet compatible sublines: Disney Toybox, Pixar Toybox, Star Wars Toybox, and of course Marvel Toybox. Hardly surprising, that. But what is surprising is how deep into the license they're willing to go.

After moving up from Editor-in-Chief to Publisher of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee had to look at monkey-making from a new angle. And so it was that he told writer Gerry Conway to create a car for Spider-Man that Stan could then pitch to toy companies. Conway thought it was a stupid idea, and to his credit, he wrote it as one.

Having developed a new pollution-free engine, Corona Motors hired the ad agency Carter + Lombardo to promote the thing. Their inexplicable idea was to hire Spider-Man as a spokesman. Having his usual money troubles, Spidey agreed to it, and turned to his pal Johnny Storm to help him build a car. You can read a great recap of the entire saga here, but suffice to say the Spider-Mobile was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #130 (a single month after the Punisher, which is some real narrative whiplash), got parked in an alley at the end of that issue, and didn't show up again until #141, where Spider-Man immediately plunged it into the Hudson river at 90 miles per hour.

It may be an ingominious part of Spider-Man's history, but the Spider-Mobile is also distinct and (just as Stan wanted) toyetic, so it does make a certain sense for a toyline. Hot Wheels has made a couple versions of it, for instance.

The Spider-Mobile is basically a dune buggy with details meant to mimic his costume: a bright blue body and large red fenders with webbing patterns on them. The webs here are raised elements, though they don't get any paint to make them stand out. The car's frame is light blue, and the chunky wheels have Spidey faces in place of hubcaps. This toy has gigantic exhaust pipes the comic art never showed, but they do look pretty cool, so we're not going to complain about that.

This toy is about 10" long, 5⅜" wide, and 4" tall. The wheels roll, but that's not the only action feature it has. The one in the comics could shine a Spider-Signal and shoot webbing (and, after The Tinkerer had his way with it, drive straight up walls), but this one doesn't do any of that. A hatch on the back opens, providing some trunk space, and there's a retractable winch between the rear wheels. A switch on the bottom allows you to turn electronic features on or off: press the buttons on the hood, and you'll hear either a selection of voice lines (the passenger side) or engine noises (driver side).

  • "You know what it is I love about being Spider-Man? Everything."
  • "It's web-swingin' time!"
  • "My spider sense is tingling!"

  • *tires screeching to a stop*
  • *engine starting*
  • *engine rattling*
  • *tires peeling out*

The sounds play at random, not in a set order, and the headlights shine as the noises sound off. The volume is very loud, even with the speaker located on the bottom of the car.

Selling the car by itself would probably be a tough prospect, so the set includes a Toybox Spider-Man to drive it. Like the other figures, the sculpt is based on the defunct Disney Infinity game, but with articulation - balljointed head, swivel waist, and swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. The figure stands just under 4⅞" tall, meaning that it's not really in scale with anything: too big for Marvel Universe, too small for Marvel Legends. Even too big for the old ToyBiz lines! He does fit in the driver's set nicely, though.

If you're willing to fudge the scale a little bit, though, the same thing can be said about Marvel Legends figures. There's not a lot of leg room, but a 6" Spidey can fit behind the wheel (and small figures like Miles Morales have an even easier time). And before you scoff and declare you'd never want something as silly as Spider-Man's stupid car, consider the "Spider-Verse" crossover - it introduced lots of new Spider-Men from lots of new alternate realities, including the one from Earth-53931, where the Spider-Totem is not Peter Parker, but is instead Peter Parkedcar, a sentient automobile in the vein of Hanna-Barbera's Speed Buggy. So if you want to build a complete Spider-Verse collection, you're going to need a Spider-Mobile, and this Marvel Toybox version is a better fit than the Hot Wheels.

-- 09/09/19

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