Action Figure Design


Welcome, true believers!

Your friendly neighborhood action figure customizer here. I set out to make custom figures of all my favorite Spider-Man costume designs and realized that I can’t paint the fine details! But, I want my figures to look as perfect as possible. So, I decided to try cutting vinyl and it worked!! I call ’em SpideyStickers. After going to all the trouble to create the designs for myself, it only makes sense to share them with the world. Hope you enjoy!

To see Spidey Customs for sale, CLICK HERE to visit my eBay!


Why Superheroes?


First Appearance, 1962

The comic book superhero is a product of 20th Century popular culture and one of few original American genres within the arts. But, every culture has its myths about the hero’s journey. We need these stories. They inspire us to find the meaning of our lives in the service of something greater than ourselves.

We live in an increasingly abstract world. Sometimes, it seems like we are getting further and further away from what makes us human. Historically, people have fought and died striving for such ideals as liberty and justice. According to the famous quote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Comic book superheroes stand for something and take action based on those values.

Each generation of artists and storytellers breathes new life into our heroes. They are continually changing, as society changes. We all have personal favorites, and they represent something different to each of us. Such is the nature of good art. Spidey Customs is my way of sharing what Spider-Man means to me and paying tribute to those artists whose work inspired me. Besides all that, it’s just fun!

Action Figures

Based on the popularity of Barbie, toy creator Stan Weston came up with the idea for a line of military themed dolls to be marketed to boys. He presented his concept to the Hassenfeld Brothers company, which sold toys under the Hasbro trade name. The G.I. Joe toy was produced in 1964 and accounted for two-thirds of Hassenfeld’s sales that year. The term “action figure” was coined because, you know…boys don’t play with dolls.

Mego Spider-Man

First Action Figure, 1973

Then came Mego.


After taking the company over from his father, Martin Abrams changed the toy industry forever. He shifted the company’s focus towards actions figures and began aggressively pursuing the licensing rights to many popular characters, including DC and Marvel. He also recognized the connection between the popularity of these characters and their portrayal on television. Mego began running television ads targeted towards children, rather than their parents. In addition, the company used a standard base body for all of its figures making it easier to shift production away from a noticeably less popular character before heavy losses were incurred. All of these things were innovative at the time and became standard industry practices. Many consider Mego to be the greatest action figure company of all time.

Marvel Legends

ToyBiz, formerly the toy subsidiary of a Canadian company, was purchased by Isaac Perlmutter in 1990. The company was focused on cost-cutting and outsourced production to China. In 1993, ToyBiz acquired an “exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free” license to Marvel characters for 46 percent equity in the company, thus merging with Marvel Entertainment Group.

The Marvel Legends line of figures was introduced in 2002. Popular for their articulation, eventually each figure was also packaged with a piece of another larger figure. Collectors of the entire series would then be able to assemble the so-called “Build-A-Figure,” which was otherwise unavailable for purchase. In 2007, Hasbro became the license holder to produce toys based on character from the Marvel Universe and continues to market figures under the Marvel Legends name.

Action Figure Customizing

Initially, action figure customizing probably came about because fans wanted to make certain characters that weren’t popular enough to be mass produced by the big toy companies. But, it has become an art form in itself and requires a wide range of skills to do well, similar to model building. Some customizers represent characters in a highly stylized way and others strive to produce very clean and accurate representations of popular comic book characters. It is largely a matter of personal taste. But, a collector market has developed and many custom figures sell for hundreds of dollars. As toy companies have continually improved on the quality of mass produced figures, customizers have had to refine their techniques to maintain interest in their work.