Comics : Toy Fair Special

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: A Word From Our Sponsor

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Over the years Marvel has produced numerous "specialty" comics that have partnered the publisher with various pro-social groups and corporations utilizing the various Marvel characters to promote specific causes or products. One of these comics was produced to help promote Toy Biz (a Marvel sister company) promote its line of toys for the 1999 New York International Toy Fair. The comicbook was distributed to patrons of the '99 show who visited the Toy Biz booth.

In Detail...

"Toy Fair Face-Off"
Toy Fair Special
Feb 1999 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man and Venom Star
Editor:  Steve Behling
Writer:  Michael Stewart
Pencils:  Dave Tata
Inker:  Al Milgrom
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Review

Spider-Man is attacked by his old foe, Venom in a brawl that spills onto the floor of New York's International Toy Fair. As the two of them go at it, they mix it up through various displays of (Toy Biz) toys, thus promoting the toys themselves at the show.

In General...

The story opens up with Spider-Man and Venom crashing through a skylight onto the floor of New York's International Toy Fair. As the pair tussle across the floor, they wind up crashing into various toy booths (including WCW/nWo) where one of the talking wrestling buddies from the booth starts spouting his trade-marked lines.

Spidey kicks a pile of toys into Venom, rescuing a Toy Biz employee who is watching the booth. Knowing that he is in for a tough fight, Spider-Man voices his concern that only intense sounds pitched at a certain frequency can defeat Venom. Then Venom recovers and punches Spidey through the wall into the next room. As the employee reacts in shock, he remembers what Spidey said about noise and venom, and begins to formulate a plan.

The fight continues to tumble from room to room and toy displays (Celebrity Deathmatch, Kinder-garden babies, Miss Party Surprise, Ice Cream Party Freezer), as Spidey and Venom each attempt to get the upper hand. The pair wind up on a giant-sized game board of whack-a-mole which Venom destroys. Then (as can be expected) they wind up in the Marvel action figure room, (full, naturally-enough, with figures of Spidey and his various villains). Venom clocks Spidey a good one and knocks him into a wading pool full of Spidey web splashers and inflatable toys.

Just before Venom is about to deliver the killing blow, the Toy Biz employee has returned with a posse of his fellow employees, all of whom have talking WWF Wrestling buddy action figures. At the same time they all press the "speak" button, and all of them whine at the same frequency, thus stunning Venom (yeah, fairly lame out, but this is in only an eight-page comic, and they needed to wrap it up quick). Venom is carted off by a team of Guardsmen, and Spidey swings off, leaving behind toys and rubble.

Overall Rating...

As far as a sponsored comic goes, this one is (as stated) fairly lame. Still, it is a Spidey comic, and everyone stayed in character throughout the eight pages, so it isn't a total waste. Further, the point of the comic was to spotlight the new Toy Biz Toys, and provide a very cool giveaway for people who come to the Toy Biz Booth, all of which the comic did. Hence, it fulfilled its purpose. (Plus, it had the added benefit of being able to "technically" fit into actual, on-going continuity and not violate any of the then on-going storylines).

Footnote...

This comic had a very low production and distribution, and is thus extremely rare, and when found, tends to be quite expensive.