There is no more ToyBiz. ToyBiz has ceased to exist since 2006 when owner Marvel Entertainment sold a license to Hasbro to continue the popular Marvel Legends action figure toyline which is reviewed here. To this day, there is a lot of inside information that’s missing allowing the public and toy pundits to figure why exactly Marvel would give up a very successful toyline – probably the most popular action figure toyline of the first half of the 2000s in favour of Hasbro which continues the line as Legends but just cannot capture the popularity of the original line produced by ToyBiz.
First, some history. ToyBiz was partly the product of producer Avi Arad and Isaac Perlmutter. Early on, ToyBiz created toys that were of poor quality. Some of their early super hero toys included a pastiche of the Super Power series by Kenner but with new sculpts, worse action features and bad plastics. These DC Comics’ based action figures had none of the grace or sturdiness of the Super Powers which were an extension of the Super Friends’ cartoon series in 1984. In the mid-1990s. ToyBiz also produced several toys related to comic book properties, such as their long running X-Men series and various Avengers, Spider-man and related characters such as Alpha Flight. Again, these toys were cheap, badly articulated and a shame for the collector of comic book-based action figures.
However, sometimes during that time, ToyBiz bought nearly bankrupted Marvel Entertainment and Arad became interested in becoming a movie producer in Hollywood. Several movie rights were sold for next to nothing and in some cases in perpetuity to Sony Pictures – but that’s another story. Marvel was struggling in the late 1990s. Although it was ToyBiz that had bought Marvel, it seemed like it was Marvel that ran the show. Just before selling its license for Marvel Comics-based action figures to Hasbro, there was some disagreement with Arad and Marvel’s leadership and Arad was now just a movie producer for Marvel Entertainment and not as involved in their project. It’s hard to say if all of these disagreements were entangled with Stan Lee.
Much of this information is hard to piece out and not many have bothered asking as many questions over the years as The Comic Book Bin. Although we covered the sale of the Marvel Legends licensing to Hasbro way back in 2005-2006, we only had official documents to base our investigations. At the same time a new round of financing for Marvel-related movies on its comic book characters through animation in partnership with Lionsgate was announced. Was Hasbro’s license used to finance and cushion the risk Marvel had taken by borrowing money to finance a series of super hero-based movie blockbusters a movie completion financing had invested, outsiders will never know.
However, there is no doubt that with Hasbro now taking the brunt of the risks for producing Marvel Legends action figures, that ToyBiz was no longer a source of potential trouble for Marvel were things to go badly with the production of toys. ToyBiz in early 2000s also made toys from other franchises it did not own, such as Lord of the Ring, which may have been a risky endeavour for the company as the toys quickly lost collectors’ interests after the trilogy ended. Although other licenses had been pursued by ToyBiz, its most popular product was the Marvel Legends and related action figure line of six-inch-based action figures. Related series had also been produced for Spider-man – Spider-man Classics and the X-Men. ToyBiz’s secret sauce was to create rarity of action figures through a complex web of distribution that some retailers, such as Wal-Mart have access to exclusive variants and whole series. The distribution was so sketchy, that collectors would go into frenzy and hunt the toys all over. It gave rise to a popular after market and frequent stories of creepy adult men buying up action figures and literally stealing them from children’s hands in department stores.
The ToyBiz came up with the build a larger action figure ploy which induced even more frenzy. Success in action figure marketing is how much the market will support variants and exclusive distribution methods. In that regard, no other toy company of the 2000s was as successful as ToyBiz. But as ToyBiz lost its main product line, Marvel Legends, the company renamed itself Marvel Toy and continued with a few licensed projects until the complete demise of the division within Marvel Entertainment just before the acquisition by Disney. All the talented sculptors and toy makers must have been absorbed by other companies. To this day, some fans argue that Marvel Toys belongs to Hasbro. It does not.
September 12, 2021 - 16:54
Johnathan F. Walker is a decorated Army ranger chosen to replace the original Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
July 4, 2021 - 16:35
Hasbro was too skittish to attempt to sell a Peggy Carter action figure on her own, and thus gave us one more Captain America that looked like Chris Evans.
July 3, 2021 - 22:22
This is not the first Peggy Carter action figure. She is based off actress Hayley Atwell.
July 2, 2021 - 09:13
The Gamerverse Stealth Captain America is a repaint of the recently released Gamerverse Captain America with darker colours and a new extra head.
July 1, 2021 - 19:25
This is the second Guardian action figure from Hasbro
June 29, 2021 - 10:32
There have been numerous Red Skull action figures in the past but none in recent times modeled after the villain’s classic comic book look
June 22, 2021 - 08:55
Being the blue version of Quicksilver means that the action figure is not based on the green version designed by Jack Kirby
June 21, 2021 - 11:00
Scarlet Witch and her brother Pietro, escaped the control of Magneto and joined the Avengers where she remained a member for years, and encountered the Vision, the synthezoid who fell in love with her.
June 20, 2021 - 19:53
The original leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Magneto recruited his twin daughter and son Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver to help him in his fight against humanity.
March 25, 2021 - 19:22
While not the first Shang-Chi action figure, I believe the one released in 2020 by Hasbro is the first in the 1:12/six-inch scale.
March 19, 2021 - 09:26
Created by Frank Miller, the Hand was part of the emerging fad related to ninjas and other martial artists in the 1970s and 1980s.
October 8, 2012 - 06:58
A review of the almost vintage of the Thorbuster Ironman action figure
April 3, 2011 - 13:19
The gorgeous body of Mystique is nowhere to be found in this action figure
January 23, 2011 - 16:49
Thanos has long been one of the main cosmic villains in the Marvel Comics universe
January 15, 2011 - 23:27
The funniest thing about this action figure's face, is the uncanny resemblance to actor Brad Pitt
January 9, 2011 - 10:10
I don't like this Cyclops action figure very much
January 8, 2011 - 23:18
The First Appearance Spider-man action figure is an attempt to capture the look of the character when he was drawn by co-creator Steve Ditko
December 29, 2010 - 08:27
With Wall Mountable Motorcycle.
February 23, 2009 - 07:53
Although well articulated, this action figure is not fun to play with
January 6, 2009 - 19:46
Was Marvel Toys right to abandon its license to make Marvel Entertainment-based toys?
November 1, 2008 - 22:42
It was only a matter of time before Marvel Select offered collectors a new Thor action figure
August 21, 2008 - 08:19
Finally, a Rastaman action figure in the form of X-Man Bishop!
June 15, 2008 - 10:30
The Cosmic-born Kree warrior Captain Marvel returns to life as an action figure
October 20, 2007 - 14:01
I don’t like the chunky aspect of the crazy evil Hulk that never was
September 22, 2007 - 17:32
The super fighter created by Aim and Hydra fights the Avengers with his mighty will
September 8, 2007 - 19:22
The leader of the X-Men-related team, Excalibur gets an action figure based on an existing sculpt.
September 8, 2007 - 14:12
Released at the same time as the second Spider-man movie, this set including Dr Octopus and Spider-man is one of the best by Marvel Select
May 21, 2007 - 12:01
The Wasp is a founding Avenger and one of the most underestimated Marvel heroine. Although, she is tough enough to lead the Avengers and stand next to them in their greatest adventures
April 23, 2007 - 09:01
At first I hated the idea of a retro Luke Cage, as I was hoping for a modern version as he appears in comic books today
April 22, 2007 - 16:43
The Wasp, traditionally, is a character fond of wearing many different costumes and hairstyles. The figure reviewed here is the style typically worn during what I call the "George Perez Years" when his artwork was a major part of the Avengers appeal
April 10, 2007 - 09:08
The first woman to bear the name, Spider-Woman was a mainstay in the 1970s and 1980s Marvel Universe. Back from comic book limbo, she is offered as part of the Modok build a figure (BAF) set from the last Marvel Legends series released by Toy Biz.
March 19, 2007 - 21:59
The Destroyer, Odin's protective construct against the forces of the Celestial, was created to be a near unstoppable test for Thor
March 19, 2007 - 00:08
In the alternate Age of Apocalypse Marvel universe, Sabertooth is a hero working with the X-Men after rebelling from Apocalypse
November 12, 2006 - 14:43
It is a good feeling to find toys that you are looking for and to have them freshly displayed so you can buy them before all the other toy hunters get in your way
October 12, 2006 - 23:04
Kitty Pryde has a great face sculpt but skinny arms that make her look odd. Her pet dragon looks cool.
October 7, 2006 - 23:11
A character that shrinks should always come with a smaller version of his shrunken self in an action figure set. At least, this figure is cool to look at.
October 6, 2006 - 23:10
Havok has a great sculpt, although his face looks odd.
October 5, 2006 - 19:34
Warbird could have been a great action figure, if it weren't for he skinny arms and bad paint job.
October 4, 2006 - 22:49
This is a great figure that’s bugged down by bad paint application and weak articulations.
October 2, 2006 - 22:05
Giant Man, the elusive and exclusive action figure that's always sold as a rarity comes back in his best shape ever