2008 Spider-Man Heroes & Villains (Introduction)

This set of 325 cards is difficult to acquire, and just as difficult to categorize. In one sense, it's a "Trading Card" because it was sold in random packs of 8 cards. But in another sense it's a "Promo" because the packs were exclusively bundled with the Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection magazine. Complicating things further however, these cards are both collectibles in their own right, but could also be used to play several different "games" (the rules of which were printed in the magazines).

The original set of cards #1-#275 cards randomly included in silver foil packs of 8 cards. The first Issue of the magazine included two packs of cards, later issues only one pack. The 50 cards numbered #276-#325 were added later as a pair of over-sized non-random gold foil packs each with 25 cards as part of the Spider-Man Heroes & Villains: Energy Battle Special which came out between issues nineteen and twenty.

The back of cards #1-#275 has copyright date of 2008, which I believe is when the magazines were first distributed in the UK. Distributions overseas (e.g. New Zealand where I live) happened a couple of years later. The Energy Battle special cards have a copyright date of 2010 on the back.

The cards were a ghastly mishmash of different designs, art-styles, and technologies. There are some "specials" distributed among the standard cards. The detailed breakdown of the special cards is:

  • 3 x Gold Foil (only card #174 Hulk is rare, others are non-random).
  • 6 x Lenticular (Ultra Rare).
  • 10 x Wavy Foil (Super Rare).
  • 33 x Foil (Rare, but guaranteed one per pack).

The art is taken from different sources, and various significantly in art-medium, age-appropriateness, and reproduction quality. All cards have rounded corners, and are slightly larger than standard U.S. trading cards so they don't quite fit properly in standard card cases. The Foil cards are almost impossible to scan clearly, hence the poor quality of the images here.

The card distribution was terrible. Anticipating problems, I purchased half a dozen copies of issue number one with its two packs and discount price of NZ$10. I then purchased two copies of issue number two so I could get two of the fancy tin card cases (see image) that were bundled with it. Then one of each of the subsequent fifty-eight issues all at NZ $18.95 each. So I paid a total of roughly USD $840 and got 568 cards along with my magazines.

But that didn't get me a complete set. So I ended up buying a complete second collection of sixty magazines from somebody else (add another $200, and giving me another 500 cards). I managed to track down a third collector and traded to fill a couple more gaps. But over $1,000 later I'm still missing card #178. Seriously, what am I doing with my life? I need to see a psycho-analyst. Or a lawyer.