Sunday, November 16, 2008

Visit The World of Marvel... MARVEL WORLD!



This is a LONG post!

TWO WEEKS in the making!
(well... what stolen moments I could grab here and there.)

With a budget of MILLIONS of dollars and a cast of THOUSANDS!
(ok... got a little carried away there.)

Filled with facts, informational tidbits, personal anecdotes and useless stupidity!
It ALSO promises (and hopefully delivers) some (never before seen?) "behind the scenes" photos and descriptions of one of "THE" pre-eminent collector's-items ever made...

The MARVEL WORLD Adventure Playset!

So, please read along at your leisure, enjoy the trip through time (and my memories), and when it's over, you will be delighted - curiosity sated (at least that is my hope) about this unique piece of Marvel history.

OK. Here we go.

If you're of a certain age-group, and you were reading comics at any time in the mid 1970's then you were used to seeing many types of advertisements peppered throughout your comics. Some, like the "sea monkeys", "sell seeds for prizes", "grit magazine" or even "hover-craft that you build yourself" you just instinctively knew were phony and you ignored them (although, damn... who didn't want the hover-craft?).

However, there were some ads that you saw and your whole existence seemed fruitless and hollow without the wares that were being sold. THOSE ads were most likely for the SUPERHERO MERCHANDISE / HEROES WORLD swag that seemed like the stuff-of-dreams-come-true for die-hard comic fans; Marvel & DC alike.

(And no... it doesn't really count if you were reading those issues at a later date - as back issues, because you understood that those ads were long-expired and thusly had lesser touch on your psyche. A softer grip on your fevered brow. You might still want the items, but knowing that they aren't within reach helps alleviate some of the burning desire.)

Possibly the most coveted piece of advertised comic book merchandise (of the superhero variety) was found in this ad from Heroes World - or as they were still known at that time; "Superhero Merchandise Inc.".

*click to MARVEL SIZE*

This ad page, once again drawn by the Joe Kubert school, featured some cool silver-age swag:

- Spider-Man web-shooter (a suction cup dart fired from a spring-loaded wrist band)
Possibly the closest to "An official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time" of it's time. But still, only overprotective mothers would worry about you "shooting your eye out, kid". Definitely low-level kiddie-stuff.

- Mego action figures (the best kind of action figure - ever)

- Character wrist-radios (radios of all shapes and sizes were a big thing in the 1970's. Don't ask me why. They just were. Walkie-talkies, too. Must have been the ability to make them smaller and smaller as well as the licensing that was going into their production.)

But all of those items paled in comparison to the item atop the page.
Drawn hastily, almost as an afterthought to the other, better rendered items in the ad, so that it is nearly lost and overwhelmed by them.


Produced by Amsco (a Milton Bradley company) in 01975, this item is quite possibly the "holy grail" of Marvel superhero collectibles.

Amsco had produced two other playsets; "PLANET of the APES", and "SPACE : 1999". While VERY cool themselves, due to the fact that MARVEL comics is far more widespread in it's overall fan-base and far more enduring in it's place in pop-culture, the MARVEL WORLD playset is the most highly sought-after of the three.

As a lad, I saw that ad and almost missed the item due to it's lackluster drawing, and the fact that the Mego figures seemed much cooler at the time. It wasn't until a slightly later re-reading of a then-recently purchased comic (you would never read a comic just once back then. Even a bad one. You got your 25cents worth!)... that I happened to notice one striking detail in the crude penwork:
...that WINDOW design!

The one design that has permeated my being to this very day.
(As you can tell by the masthead of the blog as well as my avatar pic.)

The window design of Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum!

It leapt off the page and once I saw it, I could never UNSEE it.
It burned itself into my mind and whenever I closed my eyes I would see it there, starkly contrast in negative, glowing in the blackness.

I had to have that playset.

For many years, however, it eluded me.
To the point where I even started to doubt that it was ever manufactured.

"Sure." I told myself. "There are LOTS of items that are advertised, but never make it into production." I consoled myself with the belief that "It never really existed beyond the rendering."

Then one day, a few DECADES later, long after it had receded to the dormant areas of my consciousness... I got proof positive that it in fact DID exist and that it was even more awesome than I had dared hope. I got a photograph in the mail, from someone who was a friend / fan of mine (at the time, in the late 01980's / early 01990's, I was a professional comic writer/ artist working for some b/w independent companies). He had walked into a comic shoppe in NYC and there, on display was the complete playset. All assembled and in it's glory. The only downside was that they kept the figures tossed together in a plastic baggie. Obviously, to avoid losing them. However, due to their safety precaution, I was denied a glimpse at the figures.

Needless to say, they weren't selling the item. So all I had was a photograph and a dream.
I still have the photo but it is no longer the mocking representation of that which I long had sought.


So hard to find in good (or even complete) condition, I must admit that I now own TWO of these... but not out of some weird urge to hoard them.

It is only because the first playset that I purchased, several years later, in 01996 did NOT contain the figures. It was a complete playset, in great condition with a near-perfect condition box, but no figures.
I got it for a steal, from a toy store / comics shoppe that I used to plunk many, many dollars into to feed my collector's mania. Spying it on display, I geeked out for a second and then, silently controlling my urge to explode, inquired the price. Figuring, all the while, that it would be too much, and that would be that.

However, fate smiled upon me that day, as the price quoted was a gift (no I'm not telling you. It was such a deal, that I'm ashamed to reveal it). All I can guess, is that the owner of the shop knew me, knew I was in there every other day and spent crazy cash, knew that it wasn't a complete set, so he just low-balled it for me as a gesture of good will. Anyone else who wished to purchase it would most likely have NOT received that same deal.

After paying him I ran out of the door like I was on fire.
(ok. I didn't really. I'm sure I comported myself admirably for someone who had just pulled the equivalent of a grand bank heist, but in my MIND I was "Freaking. Out.")

I floated back to the car, where my then-gf (now wife) was waiting and we drove to the park (where we were headed for lunch) and I SET IT UP right then and there. (Oh, yes. Always a geek.)
While she admitted that it was pretty cool, she really had no frame of reference for just how cool it was.
But, she was happy that I had found something long sought-after.
However, when I got home, I put it away (in the box) waiting for such time as it could be set up and placed on display.

It lay dormant, only being taken out of the box on rare occasions, until the next year when we were married, moved away and had a place of our own.
Therein, I had set up a glass display case. A large floor model, purchased from the same toy / comic shoppe - (oddly enough, purchased by them as a remnant of the then, recently-defunct Heroes World storefront on Long Island) and set up my Marvel World, along with many other goodies.

It was wonderful to finally have it out in the open.

Still... as stoked as I was, eventually, slowly, the knowledge of not having the figures gnawed at me over time.

To that end, several years later, a friend of mine who had a complete set mailed me HIS figures so that I could make color copies (of the front and backs - which I will post images of below) and paste them together to make my own.

That was all well and good, but nagged at my "completists" mentality and I vowed to find the authentic figures.

Jump ahead a decade, to just a few months ago this very year and I found another entire playset, in box, complete WITH all the figures AND the instruction booklet, which I had never seen before.

Before obtaining this set, I had no instructions, save the final photo on the box, with which to assemble the diorama. Mayhap, a guiding spirit helped guide my hand...
"Insert tab into slot and fold into itself"
It's fairly evident how it goes together, but still... some of it is challenging.

Let's just say that SOME of the folds are daunting.
The cardboard with which it is made, is fairly durable and can take some beating, yet even with the amazing amount of detailed die-cut design that went into the production of the playset - and mind you, it is a fabulous piece of engineering - still, there are a few places where the bends and folds can cause such stress upon the board that it will rend and/ or tear and/ or spindle if not for a gentle, yet forceful touch.

Let me just state emphatically, that, despite the "AGES 5 and UP" notice on the package, it is NOT for a child to assemble. Perhaps, it is for that age-evaluation, that there is such a dearth of these in existence today. Five year-olds do not play nicely with papercraft.
I can only imagine the horrific "Godzilla-like" events, with some rampaging pre-pubescent stomping on the Daily Bugle and crashing down the Baxter Building to the mute impotence of the cardboard cut-out heroes.

My first set is on display in a different showcase now, and as such, all of these photos are of the newly obtained, 2nd set, which is still out in the open, waiting for me to give it a proper clean-up and thorough dusting of crevices.
Oddly enough, when I had the item shipped to me, I had NO idea that the seller would pack it up and ship it - FULLY ASSEMBLED! They were afraid to try to de-construct it, lest any number of things bend, fold, tear or be mutilated. Such is the intimidating power of this complex piece of cardboard craftwork. They would rather package the heck out of it (and a well-packed colossus of a box it was) and hand it over to the less-than-tender mercies of the United States Post Office, than attempt to take it apart. That's saying something.

THIS one cost me a little bit more than the previous, but what I would still consider to be well worth it and far under the normal "going rate".


By this point I thought it would be great to share this oft-rumored, hardly ever seen item to "the world" (or, at least, I can now show it to the several dozen who hit up my blog every day).

AND... to make it worthwhile, I would give you a rough TOUR of the one square block of Marvel landmarks. There are many more people who have seen this item in photos than have seen it in actuality, and those photos are almost always shots of the front. I'm going to take you "behind" the facade. Behind closed doors.
(And later, we may check out the assorted shenanigans going down in Marvel town. It promises to be "randy".)

But before we do, I must apologize for the lack of "giant-sized" photos.
While most if not all of the pics are "clickable" to make more "Marvel Sized", I'm still new to this blogging thing, and wanted to keep the file-sizes of the pics down to manageable levels. So, to that end, you won't really be able to appreciate the insane level of detail present in this playset.
I mean it, every surface-inch of this thing, whether it's easily seen or completely obfuscated by other parts is heavily detailed with rich comic-style artwork. A real comic book setting brought to 3-dimensional "life".

That, is another point that I would like to toss out there into the web-o-sphere...
While I, and perhaps anyone from my age-bracket (or even just sharp-eyed comic-art affectionadoes) might be able to just LOOK at this art and hazard a guess as to WHO DREW IT ALL, it has never been "officially" revealed.
I will state that, once having a chance to really go over the style of line-work and design, the familiar shapes and patterns seen thereupon, I have come to the conclusion that it is the handiwork of Sal (Our Pal) Buscema.
To determine this, I have only recently sent out missives to help determine from the sources, as to whom the original artist might have been.
If I get any replies, I'll post them right here in an update (and maybe even a new post dedicated to that artist).
Still, my belief that it is Sal Buscema is not one that may be able to be confirmed or refuted.
When this item was in pre-production, and art was being worked up, it was probably 01974 or even 01973. Sal was a valuable and highly sought-after artist due to his speed and professionalism, and at the time, merely a little over a decade into the "Marvel Age", it wasn't unheard of for the "bullpen" artists to be called upon for promotional artwork, merchandising and the like. However, projects like this one, were probably handled in a rushed manner, to make sure that comic-book deadlines were met, and as such, it might not even be remembered by the person who worked on it. It might simply be a case of "it was just a job".

If Sal didn't draw it, then he at least INKED it. Perhaps over John Romita Sr. designs.
However, certain details (like that WINDOW) are the way that Sal drew items in comics during that time.
Take a look at almost any 1970's era issue of the DEFENDERS. Look at the window, the interiors and decor of the Sanctum Sanctorum, the trees in any outdoors scene, the brickwork on any random building. All readily recognized as being from "Our Pal", and all replicated here.
Read any space-scene drawn by Sal and those multiple crescent moon-shapes that overlap each other, all are within the "Negative Zone" portal found inside a chamber room.

If it isn't Sal, I'd be very surprised.

Anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I've got over 30 pics here.


3/4 view from high above.
We see the DAILY BUGLE building in the foreground.
Note that some windows are "open" and all the doors can be operated.
Also, check out the "busted wall" on the lower left.
You'll see the reason for that "play-feature" later.

3/4 view same angle - opposite side.
This is outside the PARKER's residence
(although, it makes more sense to have it represent Matt Murdock's brownstone, since Peter & Aunt May lived in Queens, NY. Not Manhattan.)
You'll also note the entrance to the BAXTER BUILDING (home of the Fantastic Four).
That door to the Baxter was really a "working" ELEVATOR!
(You'll see that later as well.)

Side view of that same portion.
You can also now note that the BOX that the playset came in also served as the BASE for the set. This is one reason why finding a set intact in box is crucial, and also so hard to do.

A montage of shots of the Fantastic Four's "pogo-plane"
or as it's listed in the package: the "sub-space vehicle".

Here's a back-angled view. All of the rear sides to the buildings are "cross-sectioned", allowing for access to play and also with which to check out all the AWESOME DETAILS!

The various levels of the Baxter Building. Reed Richard's lab on the top floor
(replete with kooky Kirby-style kontraptions).
The exercise-room (with a table and chairs - for post work-out healthy snacks) is the 2nd level.
Main lobby on the ground floor - and access to the elevator
(which you could make slide up and down the shaft via a handle on the elevator-car).

"Parker's Pad". A two-story townhouse for Peter & Aunt May
(or, as I mentioned earlier Daredevil).
- apologies for the flash-haze-

The DAILY BUGLE top-floor office of J. Jonah Jameson.
Note the pic of Spidey on the dartboard to the left.

The "basement" of the Bugle (which is oddly on the main-level) .
The front door of the Bugle opens into this room.
If you look at the bookcase, the right side of it (where light is emanating from behind) is the door out!
This was designed as a seedy flop-house environment for villains to live.
(surely no hero would leave their underwear drawer in such a state of disarray)
Also, the "break-thru" brick wall is on the right side of the room (leading to the sidewalk).
Obviously meant as a fight-zone.

Between the Baxter Building and the Daily Bugle is a large, squat piece of property with a "metal" swing-door. I've swung the door up to look inside.
The swing-door leads to where a character piece could be dropped through a trap door in the roof of this building (check out some of the exterior shots, you can see a small rectangle like a skylight. That's the trap-door) where they would drop into this chamber.
Best as I can imagine, it's supposed to be "AVENGERS H.Q." (if not Avengers Mansion).
Yet, oddly, there is, what appears to be a portal to the Negative Zone here.
That oddly shaped aperture on the far wall leads to an anti-chamber (really, the interior section of Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum).

Looking in the front door of the SANCTUM SANCTORUM, we see that multi-layered effect that now seems to lead to an alternate dimension, filled with Ditko-detailing.
(That "Ditko-verse" is really the back surface of the aforementioned "swinging door" behind "Avengers H.Q.")-------------

The Sanctum unit - removed - from the playset.

The reverse side of the Sanctum (note the multiple crescent moon shapes and the side-walls featuring interior details for the Sanctum). The brazier and Orb of Agamotto (and the outer space) all seems very "Sal Buscema" to me.
The Ditko-space is a basic approximation of Ditko's otherworldly designs.

Taking a look at the back wall of the Sanctum (with the house removed) and the multiple layers found there.

Front faces of the various hero and villain play-figures.
Each figure is approximately 3 inches tall.
(Yes. the Falcon's bird, Redwing, got a figure. Is your favorite character to be found?)
This is basically the major players of the M.U. circa 1974.

Note: NO X-MEN members. They hadn't yet hit the big-time since Giant-Sized X-Men # 1 wouldn't be released until much the same time as this playset.

The flip-sides to the figures. Some of whom, if they had a secret identity, would have that ID shown on this side. So, Steve Rogers or Tony Stark are represented instead of Captain America or Iron Man. However, characters whose ID's were known (or not too different from their "pajama'd" identities), wouldn't, like Doctor Strange or Kraven the Hunter.

For a close-up shot of one of these figs (Doctor Strange, natch) you can check out the blog post that I dedicated to the Marvel World "pre-action" figure - here.

Front page of the Instruction manual.

2nd and 3rd pages.
I'll note that they erroneously refer to Doc's home as the Sanctum Sanctorium (with an "i").
I hate it when that happens.

Back page.
(and last stop before we go "behind the scenes" of the going's on in Marvel World)

Dr. Doom paying a house-call to the F.F.
Here he's being cordial and using the elevator.
The Thing won't be impressed with Victor Von Doom's civility.

Just WHAT the heck is going on here?
While Reed is otherwise occupied with some technothigamigigawitz, Namor is making time with Sue in the "work-out" room. Desperate Housewife, indeed.

Inside "Avengers H.Q.", the Scarlet Witch is about to cast a hex that might cause more trouble for Hawkeye. Poor Clint. Maybe he should shoot her now, before she gets all "House of M" on him. Bursting from the Negative Zone is Captain Marvel (or is it a Skrull? Oooh! Topical.)

HULK no like walk around to door!
Hot sidewalk HURT HULK's FEET!


Poor Bruce Banner.
Look at the fold-away cot he has to sleep on (on the right side wall).
The indigities are compounded by the fact that the elevator (left wall) opens right into his room.
No privacy
(and no bathroom! - unless... hmmm... maybe THAT's why many NYC elevators smell like that.)

Spidey paying a call on J.J.J. (probably coating his chair with a layer of web-goo).
Ah... that is ALWAYS hilarious.

Obviously impressed with himself, old Petey makes the moves on gal-pal (and not wife. No. Never tied the knot, those two), Mary Jane Watson.
Gettin' it on (Pete, what are you going to do with that camera, you rascal?) while Aunt May frets downstairs.
"Oh, Peter is so fragile. I hope he's careful with whatever he's doing. It sounds like he's knocking around with something."

Tired of her constant nagging (and getting in the way of his gettin' some), Peter does nothing to stop Galactus from claiming Aunt May as his new Herald; "Golden Oldie"
(anyone remember THAT issue of What If? a classic.)

Meanwhile, the Defenders pay a visit to Doctor Strange.
"Where is stupid magician? He invite Hulk over for lunch. Hulk wants Beans!"
"Foul beast, even beneath the waves in the deepest trenches I can smell that you have had MORE than enough beans"
"Good one, Namor. Air-5!"
They wait... and wait... and wait...
...and leave.


"Ah... I thought they'd NEVER leave."

Paparazzi cameras follow Strange into the weird and wild psychedelic landscape of his mysterious home, looking for dirt to sell to the tabloids.

Doc "educating" the Scarlet Witch.

"Stephen? Why is the room pulsating? Were those 'magic mushrooms' on your 'mystic pizza'?"
"Just a little something to help you relax, my dear. Some special 'herbs' and spices."
"I feel VERY relaxed. TeeHee"
"Ah, yes. Maybe you should loosen your garment...By the Mystic Moons of Munnopor! Yowza!"

Oh, we all KNEW that what Doc does in his down-time, right?

Well, things have degraded pretty fast around here into the realm of potty jokes, double-entendre and just plain "entendre".
So I guess I should wrap it up.

A few of Doctor Strange's friends say good-bye, and thanks for stopping by!

"Now get the hell off of my lawn!"




(and wants)


Keep an eye out for a future announcement!

Tamam Shud!




Anonymous said...


You know, I don't think I ever knew this was a playset. Weird, huh?

And I can't believe you mentioned Golden Oldie.

Howard Hallis said...

Egad! Your post made me realize I'm missing the Sub Mariner figure from my playset! I had no idea he was one of the cardboard characters until I sat down and read this today!

A brilliant account of a great playset. I remember getting one as a young kid and ruining it by ripping open the box, since the bottom of the box itself serves as the base where the buildings are supported. It was a childhood epic fail.

I found another one on eBay many years later and have loved it almost as much as you have. Truly one of the greatest toy sets ever produced.

~P~ said...

Hey, Howard.

You had this as a KID?!?!? You lucky, lucky dude!

(although, your tale of instant destruction pretty much fits my statement that the "ages 5-and-up" bracket for this thing was surely the death-knell for many sets.)

Still, that you had one as a lad, plus your comment that your parents took you to Universal Studios where you saw the Dr. Strange jiggler, makes me wonder what life would have been like if my parents didn't loathe my collecting comics so much (to the point where I had to sneak my weekly haul in via super-spy-like machinations). I'd probably have had my fill years ago and have moved on to other things, instead.

Y'know... I noticed your lacking NAMOR when I briefly entertained the idea of baing lazy and just using some of the pics you sent to me of your set.

Not that I noticed right away, mind you. I had first determined that if I was going to do this blogging thing correctly, I'd have to put in the work and keep it authentic to just my personal collection.

Then, as I was reorganizing the montage pages of figures, I saw Namor and realized that yours was missing

Of course, you more than made up for it by making your own extra figures of everyone from the Ancient One to Eternity!

Which, by the way, is fabulous!

I had planned on asking you if you wanted some high res scans for the Namor piece, but then got sidetracked.

If you want them, I'll rescan him and send.


Lee K. Seitz said...

I find it odd that the Lizard was one of the characters who didn't have his secret ID on the back of his standee. Wasn't he always reverting to Curt Connors at the end of his appearances in Spider-Man? Also, who's the woman to the left of Galactus?

~P~ said...

Hi Lee!
Glad to see you back.
(come for the ROM, stay for my other stupidity)


A few of the characters that SHOULD have had "alter-egos" on the reverse side, did not.

Lizard being one.
I also believe that the Falcon, Valkyrie & perhaps Hawkeye should also have had civilian garb.

Plus, I'd have LOVED to see Doctor Strange in one of his (so extreme that it makes his sorcerer's garb look tame) civilian ensembles.

That woman next to Galactus is:
(in hero form) LADY SIF.
(in human form) JANE FOSTER.

ANd not for nothing, they really should have made Galactus at least double sized.
I mean c'mon.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

I had a set kind of like this sometime around 1979-80, when I was a wee tadger, that I dimly remember. I'm almost positive it wasn't this, but it was very similar -- cutout superheroes, laminated cardboard buildings, and the like.

Was there another Marvel-based cardboard-cutout set like this made around 1980? Maybe I had this very one, oh so long ago, and don't remember it accurately...

~P~ said...

Hey, Harvey.

Perhaps you had one of the other two Amsco playsets?

They also made ones for:

There's a site that has a write-up and pics of them.

Anonymous said...

I had something similar to this. It was a Spider-Man playset. Not as elaborate as this one; a cheap, soft-plastic thing that folded out into three rooms: Pete's apartment, the Daily Bugle, and (I'm guessing here) a villain hideout. The 2-D cardboard figures that came with it were almost identical to the ones shown here, except (naturally) they were all Spider-Man related.

Very cool. Wonder if that's still in my parents basement?

~P~ said...

Hello, Anonymous.

What you had was:
Spider-Man American Bricks
Made in 1977 by Playskool
Heroes, villains, and building bricks that folded out into the three buildings.
It also came with those cardboard figures that were EXACTLY like these.

Here's a photo of THAT set.
(not mine, but I found the pic online)

AH.... memories.

Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

Actually, that's not the one I had. A little googling turned up this:

The first 2 pictures are the of the one I had. Made by Ideal in 1973. By '77, I would've scoffed at such childish things. :)

Also had the Superman version of the same playset. Daily Planet, Clark's apartment, and villain hideout.

~P~ said...


Y'know, right after I posted my reply comment, that little voice in my
head said; "you probably shouldn't have said you knew 'what he had'.
Guaranteed, it'll be something different".

That darn voice. It's always right.



pmpknface said...

Hope you don't mind, I just linked this entry here:

As a fan of kits (love the ROM!) you may want to visit there! Thanks! - Jamie

Anonymous said...

I know this is probably not your area of interest, but I have a paper model of the STTMP Enterprise bridge complete with 2.75 inch high figures. I have no intention of assembling this, but want to put it on a color copier and enlarge it to scale with the Mego 3.75 inch figures and assemble the copy. Have you ever considered doing this with yours. If you do, I would be interested in a copy.


~P~ said...

Hey Anonymous (CCC),

I have a friend who scanned in HIS Marvel World and REDUCED it's scale so that it could be printed out on a regular 11x17 color copier and then assembled as a miniature version.

YOUR idea is excellent, but might require an industrial printer in order to print some of the bigger panels.

The "floor" section alone as is already measures more than 11x17, so to make the entire playset into MEGO scale (even the smaller 3.75 inch scale) might be something that requires a trip to a copy center (Kinko's or Staples or something).

Not to say that it CAN'T be done.
Hell, I'd love to have it in FULL Mego scale (or even Marvel Legends).

Sadly, my old job has the industrial printers, and I could have done so... but that was before the economy got me downsized (and unemployed) from my job.

I don't have the time or energy these days to do a,, the scanning needed for this endeavor.

However, I could ask my friend if he might be ok with my posting his scans here for download.
Then you (or anyone, really) could download them and put them to any scale they wanted.

Who knows? Maybe that'll be a good idea that he might agree to.


Scott Bryan said...

I remember wanting this! Thanks for shareing!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a blast from my past. I had all three of these set during the 70's and played with them non-stop. Though I must say that the Marvel set was my favorite along with Iron Man kicking ass all over the block. God, how I wish I still had all of those sets...
Thanks for a great blog!!!!

Anonymous said...

There was a fourth playset made at the time. I owned all four. I really don't know how they ever got away from me. The fourth one was the Waltons. It was just their big house and each of the Waltons. It was boring, but, it gave me another location for the Marvel cast to have adventure and it gave me civilians to take as hostage and stuff like that. Marvel World blew me away as a kid and is one of my fondest childhood memories (Megos and Micronauts were high up there too).

samsallspark said...

Yes please, if you can get scans of all the parts laid flat of the marvel world playset that be wonderful(full scans front and back of all parts) I would want to download and build it (I can be reached @


Anonymous said...

One of my top 5 greatest toys EVER made!! I was too young to enjoy this set when it came out. I had the Spider-man/Hulk Adventure city carry case as a kid that came out a few years later. I think I had a few of them because I would play the shit out of it and eventually the cardboard would give out...good times. But when I saw this in those Heroes World catalogs years later, I knew I missed something good. A few years ago I FINALLY got a nice mint one (we're talking a good 15 year search! Hell, you gotta be Dr. Strange to find one of these things), it was unpunched so I never could see it displayed. But I had fun looking through it and smelling the cardboard to breathe in all it's glory (and yes, it is Sal Busecma's art). Eventually, I was lucky enough to get another through a fellow collector I know, that was "still-sealed" and paid the big bucks for it. I just had too because I need to have it like it originally came in 1975 (the true geek in me that is obsessive compulsive). I sold off the other set last year and wished I didn't because I still want to play with that damn thing. This blog has taken away some of my pain with it's pictures and detail, so thanks for that.

But let me tell you this, if the world is coming to an end and there is wide spread panic in the air, with chaos all around. I will wake up out of bed, take a piss, make a nice breakfast (possibly steak and eggs with potatoes, like mommy used to make...yum), go to my collection of memorabilia, get my Marvel World playset off the shelve, rip open the shrink wrap, build this set up and pretend that it's 1975 and play the shit out of this thing!!!!!!!!!


~P~ said...


I have been granted permission by a friend of mine who made scans of his own entire Marvel World playset, to post his scans of the playset and figures for you to download, print and build!

The only "downside" is that the scans are reduced in size so as to accommodate being able to be printed on a traditional home printer.

* See my comment of September 22, 2009 for the info on that.

I'll post it as a new blog post - at some time in the next few weeks (after I get the scans, prep them and find a way to host them) - and I will also post those download links HERE at this post as well.

Keep an eye out!

Tamam Shud!

Anonymous said...

Man, if you can send me the scans at full size to my email I'd be greatful as I'm trying to get a project off of the ground, I left you a message thru my hotmail account,
( ) and you can also use
the link at the bottom to host them full size.

~P~ said...

Full-sized scans may or may not be in the cards (as I said; they were scanned and saved in a smaller size for printing ease).

However, if I can re-work them back to original size (shouldn't be too hard, as long as the scan quality is good) then I'll be glad to do so.

As far as emailing them.
As the scans are now, we're talking hundreds of MB in size. Your email will shut down.

Don't worry.

I'll get them re-sized, hosted and set them up as a download.

Anonymous said...

You could create an megaupload account and you could upload them to that, and send me the link.

(Like the Journey song goes)"No problems Only Solutions"

I can resize them if need be, Just shoot me an email after you send them if you make an megaupload account (It's free to do).

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to check on the status of getting the images.

Anonymous said...

Hi, back in april you stated you would be making scans for these, are you close to putting those here for us to use???

~P~ said...


Not as of yet.

TOO Much weirdness to go into here.

However, I did post the complete story of my recent situation on a message board where those guys are ALSO awaiting the scans.

Go HERE for the full story:


Anonymous said...

Wow, after reading your story I feel for you, you have a lot going on. But if I may make a suggestion it may help everyone in this quest.

I read that you have a set of your own, can't you go to a print store and have it scanned there and have those images place onto a flash drive or such, you could then upload them here on your site or a image hosting site, then everyone who wanted the images could get them, and you would not have to worry about touching up anything. I went to my local printer not long ago and had my planet of the apes set scanned so I could replace some worn parts, and they scanned both sides and they turned out great. Just some food for thought.

Anonymous said...

This would be a great set to have, even as a repro, so yeah, after reading everyones's posts I have to agree, if you own one then going to a print shop and having it scanned should be a snap, and like the other people here have stated you could upload the scanned images here. I can understand hardships and computer problems, but scanning the images at a shop won't set you back much at all, and sharing those images would help us all enjoy this overlooked set.

Anonymous said...

Any Chance of the scans for those who would want to make thier own set?

~P~ said...

Nope. Sorry.

Those scans will be months away - at best - since I'm in the midst of relocating.

Blame the rat-bastard, greedy and corrupt son-of-a-bitch bankers and Wall Street financiers.

Due to the craptastic economy, I lost my job over a year ago and can't find another that pays enough to save my home, so I'm forced to move my family and I to the middle of nowhere where we can afford renting a place even with whatever crappy jobs we will hopefully be able to find.

Everything is being packed up as I type this.
I hope to be moved completely into my new place by end of August (I still have to try to sell this house - in hopes of doing so before an eventual foreclosure).

And even after we're moved in, I won't be able to work on non-essential stuff for awhile afterward, as I get us set up and still looking for work.

I'll still try to post the occasional blog-post - but even that can only be done late nights with a laptop given to me as a gift by a "fan" and friend of this site.

This is the last time I will even address the possibility of those Marvel World scans.

I feel badly enough about not being able to provide them as promised.

When and if I can get them together, I'll announce it.
Don't expect any scans unless I announce it first.

Again, I am sorry.


Anonymous said...

WOW, no updates for marvel world.....pity

Anonymous said...

That ... is the greatest thing ... in the history of things.

I have coveted this for a couple of decades based on that very comic book ad, and that was without having ANY IDEA that there's all that cool interior stuff on the back side.


Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for posting these photos. I'm a 42-year-old guy originally from Baltimore, MD who used to own this set as a kid. It actually brought tears to my eyes for a second when I saw it after all this time. I got the set in early 1977 at the age of 7 when my best friend's mom bought it for me as a gift. It wasn't my birthday, so I no longer remember why she did that, but it ended up being the best toy I ever had as a child. It provided years of entertainment for hours on end! I believe I thoughtlessly chucked it in the trash in 1981 when I began junior high school. I was too cool for such things by then. I'd do anything to undo that mistake now because I'd love for my 8-year-old son to have it. It didn't cost more than $10 in 1977 either. And you're right - it sure could take a beating. I played with it religiously from 1977 to 1980, and it was still in decent condition by the time I was done with it. I was obsessed with The Fantastic Four so the Baxter Building (and the elevator) were my favorite pieces in the set. Thank you so much for sharing these photos. I literally stepped back over 30 years for a few minutes.

Anonymous said...

I still have the heroes, but the playset got trashed. PLEASE scan the pieces so repros can be made!

Anonymous said...

Man, you rule! This really put a smile on my face. I remember playing with mine for hours. This was such a clever design.

Thanks for the post.

Jason Shayer said...

Wow! Do you mind if I share some of your photos on my blog and redirect them to this amazing post!

Pier said...

Thanks, very enjoyable post. I just heard from this toy recently, I would have killed for this when I was 10.

Sheldon said...

Wow!! Wonderful post, thanks so much. I was reminded that I have a mint shrink-wrapped one of these in one of my trunks. I had honestly forgotten about it until I saw the Comic Book Men episode that I just watched. I had to go look for it and found it, whew. ;) It was really cool to see it assembled finally, and that spurred me on to look for more details about it. Your post really enlightened me, so thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I had this as a kid and loved it. Wish I still had it. I remember a feature you didn't mention. One of the buildings had a trap door on the roof. It was built on a hinge conected to a garage door. It a hero fell through the trap door the garage door swung open from the top making an awesome catapult. You can see it in the 3/4 back view picture, between the Baxter Building and Paker's Pad.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled on your blog and had to share my own Marvel World story. I was born in 1970. I got my first Marvel World sometime in 1976 and it was my favorite toy (the Mego figures being a distant second). Played with it constantly. One day I discovered that our cat used it as a litter box. I was so devastated, my mother bought me a new one. So I owned two of them back then. I am unsure what happened to the second one (the cat(s) may have again used it as a litter box - they were always doing that) way or the other, it was gone by 1979.

More than a decade later, one of the first things I try to find on this new "Internet" thing is my favorite childhood toy...but I have one problem. I could not remember what it was called! I could picture it vividly, but I had no idea of the name of it or the manufacturer. You try typing "cardboard marvel toy" into Google in 1993 and see what you come up with! (At the time, I don't even think I knew enough to call it a "playset" - I knew only that it was not a board game).

Several years later I discover a SKETCH of it, strangely enough, on the website of someone who collects Dr. Strange merchandise. He does not have a picture of the real thing, and wonders if it truly exists, but most importantly - his post reminds me what the name was! Now I can actually begin to productively search for this piece of my childhood!

Around 2000 I finally discover one. Someone has posted a MIB, sealed Marvel World on a collectibles website, asking price: $500. I just cannot bring myself to spend that much. I stare at it every day until the guy finally posts it on eBay. By this point, I am so obsessed that I have decided that if I can get it for anything less than $500, I will consider it a bargain.

I post a high bid of around $425.00, but I'm prepared to go much higher. With two seconds left in the auction, I am the high bidder at $425.00. When the page refreshes I am outbid at $426.00. The first time I was ever sniped.

I am so upset, I email the seller and tell him I'll give him $500 if he'll sell it to me instead. I have completely lost my moral compass! He refuses (good for him) and I figure I will never see another one.

About four years later I find one on eBay. Not mint in a sealed box, but complete and unpunched, the box in very nice condition. I am not losing this one. Through a stroke of luck, the auction is scheduled to end on Thanksgiving afternoon. How many people are going to be crazy/dedicated enough to make sure they are in front of a computer on Thanksgiving? While the rest of the family is settling in for dinner, I sneak away...and I win it for around $175.00!

I assembled it - how could I not? The joy of owning it was seeing it as I remembered it. I have had it on display ever since, and it has been the jewel of my very modest collection for the past nine years. However... I recently saw a sealed one sell on eBay for a more exorbitant price than I would have ever imagined. Mine isn't sealed, but it's perfect. If I can get 7 or 8 times what I paid for it...I'd have to consider selling it. If you see one on eBay soon, it's probably mine. If I part with it, I'll try not get any teardrops on it!

(P.S.: Several of the pieces of Marvel World were recycled (in slightly smaller form) in a board game called Superheroes Strategy around 1980, which I also have.)

Anonymous said...

Always wanted one but never owned one! Am now a 60 year old Marvel kid & STILL want one!

Andy S (York, UK)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a fantastic read on a lazy Sunday morning. Such nostalgia. Sadly, this is a couple years before my time so I never had one, but I can imagine the joy in finding one today. I have added this to my list of "someday..." purchases, though I might need to sell a kidney to afford one at that point. Great blog and thanks for sharing this wonderful little piece of 70s Marvel history.

Anonymous said...

O.K. I'm going to ask if it's possible to get detailed scans to build one since it's impossible to get if you can help my email is

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Unknown said...

The buildings were inked by Dave Hunt. Don't know if he did the figures or not.

Unknown said...

Was the bldg. that's Peter Parker's apartment his apartment on one side and supposed to be Avengers mansion on the other? Avengers mansion should really be a part of this given the team's significance to the Marvel Universe.

~P~ said...

Hello, Unknown.

No, Peter Parker's apartment is on the far right, next to it is the Baxter Building (home of the Fantastic Four).
Next to THAT is Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, but BEHIND the sanctum is a hidden building that is supposed to be AVENGERS Mansion.

BUT, there's a big portal to the Negative Zone, which is an FF thing - except that it was ALSO affiliated with Captain Marvel & Rick Jones (who have a figure in the set).

SO, that's where the Avengers Mansion is - you just see the back of it - not the front.

I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I found this post as I searched bc I have just attained a mint still factory sealed set. Anyone know a value?

Chefcorey1 said...

Is there one for sale?

Chefcorey1 said...

How can I get detail scans?

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Unknown said...

I have a amsco marvel world playset with only box , instructions and buildings I'm trying to get info on how much it maybe worth and who might be in it any help would be much appreciated

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