Comics : Ultimate Sticker Collection: Marvel Heroes Unite! (DK)
This review was first published on: Mar 2014.
The guys at DK Publishing, Inc. have had the Marvel "Sticker Book" franchise firmly under their thumb for the past few years. Sure, they're not the only ones producing sticker books. But they're sure as heck doing it better than anybody else out there.
In 2014, DK produced a matching pair of Marvel sticker books:
- Marvel: Villains Beware Ultimate Sticker Book (DK)
- Marvel Super Battles Ultimate Sticker Book (DK)
Both are 8.5" x 11" with a square bound glossy cardboard cover, containing 16 glorious full-colour pages of action scenes and information, followed by 8 sheets of top-quality, glossy, well-designed stickers.
At the same time, they also published the collected edition:
- Ultimate Sticker Collection: Marvel Heroes Unite! (DK)
This jumbo-sized book combines the two smaller books together, and more! It contains the 16 + 16 = 32 combined full-color pages of action scenes and information. It also contains the 8 + 8 sticker sheets from both books, but then adds 16 more for a grand total of 32 sheets of stickers. Massive!
Size aside, each of the three books have the same structure. The first section is text and graphics — and while it doesn't really contain any particularly ground-breaking or in-depth descriptive content, the DK standard for graphics design and illustration always sets the bar so pleasingly high.
Those expectations of quality are demonstrated once again in the second half — the stickers. Every sticker image has been carefully sourced in high-resolution, lovingly color-matched, sized, and presented in context.
The physical card stock, paper grade and sticker construction lives up to the same high standards. DK has never skimped on materials, and isn't going to start now. The final result is a luxury-grade product at a very reasonable price (the combined volume sells for less than $10).
The books are shamelessly constructed around the characters who star in the upcoming big-screen Marvel Movies. That means the Avengers (Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Falcon). Plus Spider-Man gets wedged in there as well, despite not being allowed to join the "Avengers" movie because of legal IPR complications between Disney and Sony.
That doesn't really matter here though. Whatever the lawyers have to say about the blockbuster films, Spidey and the Avengers are together in this book, as we get guided through the characters, their Weapons, Powers, Costumes, Bases, Villains and more.
It's wonderful (and rather rare) to see this level of care and commitment to a modern Marvel colouring/activity book.
Sure, the folks at Bendon, Alligator, Parragon and Scholastic produce some decent enough stuff too. But they tend to use cheaper paper, have generally lower production values (although there are some exceptions), and they rely heavily on frequent re-use of text and graphics.
By contrast, DK has approached these books with a clean sheet. Yes, their graphics are sourced from previously-published Marvel comics. But it has been adapted and designed uniquely for this product.
I'm impressed. Four-and-a-half webs impressed! Buy one, buy two, buy the combination, buy all three!