From the 1997 Toy Biz catalog:
Asst. No. 48490
Marvel 8" Famous Cover Series
Marvel maniacs your prayers will be answered with this assortment of super-poseable, highly articulated 8" action figures. Each figure is dressed in fabric clothing that authentically captures the character's costumes from classic covers from Marvel Comics history. The look and feel of these figures will make you think that you're a child again with their nostalgic appeal.
- 8" highly detailed, articulated action figures
- Figures come with real fabric clothing and accessories
- Based on classic covers from Marvel Comics history
Though only prototypes were ready for Toy Fair 1997, fans were teased with concept drawings and comparisons to the old Mego line of figures. Excitement built steadily as fans anticipated a new eight inch line of action figures with cloth outfits and maximum articulation. Fans were cautiously optimistic, but Toy Biz's previous attempt to produce 12 inch dolls was met with mixed results. Those 12-inch figures had limited articulation and it was worried that the 8-inch figures might suffer the same fate.
But there was nothing to fear! The line was nothing like anything Toy Biz had ever done before. Fans bought them up in droves.
Originally, Dr. Doom was scheduled to be part of this first series. However, the assortment was cut back to four figures and Dr. Doom was bumped to the second assortment. Aunt May was also shown in the preliminary design drawings and she would go on to be a mail-away exclusive for the first and second series of figures.
The only figures not shown at Toy Fair 1997 (in prototype) were Dr. Doom and Green Goblin. Dr. Doom's armor was still being sculpted by Steve Kiwus at the time. Problems with the slush molding of the armor sealed Dr. Doom's fate and the decision to push him out of the first series.
The Green Goblin actually had an entirely different head mold at one stage of the design process. That head was in the style of the Romita Goblin (as opposed to the final head which some feel is closer to the Joe Madureira Goblin).
There was also an alternate Wolverine head sculpt that was somewhat "tamer" in that his teeth weren't gritted as much. It is also possible that this first head had the masked sculpted on to it.