I’ve always wanted to be Spider-Man. I mean, who wouldn’t? There’s a reason the web-head is Marvel’s most famous superhero. He’s charming and witty, his powers are fun and unique, and he’s got the best Rogues Gallery this side of the Dark Knight. Also, as a struggling photo-journalist with relationship issues, Peter Parker only became more relatable as I got older.
Marvel knows we all want to be Spider-Man. The spider family roster has expanded to include a diverse cast of characters of different races, genders, and backgrounds to better represent the audience. Nearly 40 Spider-Man games have been made, which goes to show how appealing the fantasy of wearing Spidey’s spandex really is. Even 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse’s central theme was the idea that anyone can wear the mask. Identifying with Spider-Man is part of the character’s ethos, so it’s not surprising that Hasbro has positioned Spider-Man as a figurehead for its new custom line of action figures.
Hasbro’s new Selfie Series lets you create an action figure with your face… sort of. For $50, you can choose from a wide selection of characters, including Power Rangers, G.I.Joe, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Marvel superheroes. By using the Hasbro Pulse app, you can capture your likeness, customize your hair and accessories, and in a few weeks, receive your very own unique action figure in the mail to delight, or in my case, terrify you. You might get a Black Panther, Mandalorian, or Snake Eyes that looks just like you, or, if you’re unlucky, you might receive a bizarre, uncanny, dark reflection of yourself that will make you forever regret wanting to see yourself as Spider-Man in the first place.
The process is quick and simple, which looking back, should have been my first clue not to expect the highest-quality product. I did my image capture at the Hasbro booth at Comic-Con earlier this year under pretty ideal conditions, including ring lights positioned to ensure the clearest image of your face possible. The entire process only takes a few minutes. Using the Hasbro Pulse app, you’ll take three scans of your face from the front camera of your phone (another red flag). First, you look straight into the camera for a few seconds, then you slowly turn your face to the right, keeping your chin up so that the app can (ostensibly) capture the exact shape of your head. You turn back to the center before repeating the process, this time turning your head to the left, then back to the center. That’s it, that’s all the app needs in order to make a haunting, funhouse mirror version of your visage.
It actually took me five tries to get my capture done. The first three times, the app just wouldn’t move on to the next step after the scan. The Hasbro rep said it was probably the congested Comic-Con Wifi, which seems likely. The fourth time, I tried to do a little Spider smirk, but it came out all wrong. Instead cocky and playful, I looked deranged and malformed, like my mouth started too far to one side of my face. We did one more retake, my fifth, and I opted for a more traditional smile. The kind of smile you give in a family photo. Nothing adventurous, just my normal smile I’ve done for every picture ever taken. Hence my shock when the Spider-Man I received looks nothing like me.
Look, I know I’m no Ryan Gosling. I’m not upset because I think my Spider-Man made me ugly. I just look at this guy, then I look in the mirror, and I don’t see it. He’s white, he’s got blue eyes, and that’s where the similarities end. There’s just something creepy in his flat smile and his thousand yard stare that I think, I hope, doesn’t represent me at all. I’ve shown it to lots of other people and they all agree, this Spider-Man isn’t me. Hopefully this Spider-Man isn’t anyone, because he looks like a creep.
Some have said the most accurate part of this hair, which is hilarious because the scan doesn’t include your hair, you have to add that from a menu of pre-sculpted hair options afterwards. When the scan is complete you’re presented with a completely bald version of your head, which may be part of the reason I didn’t realize how off the picture was. I choose the hair that looks most like mine and the color to match, which makes me wonder if a nice video game-style character creator would have allowed me to make a more accurate version of myself than this.
Ironically, the other custom character I made at Comic-Con was a Funko Pop!, and I’m much happier with the result. The New Pop Yourself program is similar to Hasbro’s Selfie Series, except there’s no facial scan, and yet somehow it looks more like me than Spider-Man.
It’s close enough that I’m not suspicious I was sent the wrong one, but it’s definitely off in a way that makes me uncomfortable to look at – and it terrifies my wife. If this is the price I had to pay to become Spider-Man, it wasn’t worth it. This is a demon wearing my face, an imposter from a hell dimension. I wanted to be Spider-Man, but what I got was a Spider-Monster. They say anyone can wear the mask, it’s just too bad this Spider-Man didn’t come with one.
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