Comics : Marvel Heroes: Glow in the Dark Boxed Activity Set (Scholastic Australia)

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: The Magic of Color

This review was first published on: Jan 2014.

Background...

Scholastic Australia have produced a number of NZ/Australia only products recently, including this "Marvel Heroes: Glow in the Dark Boxed Activity Set" in which Spider-Man appears.

In Detail...

Marvel Heroes: Glow in the Dark Boxed Activity Set (Scholastic Australia)
Dec 2011 : SM Guest
Find ISBN 9781742831749
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Publisher:  Scholastic Australia, Inc.
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Review

The entire product is contained inside a slip-case, sized 8.8" x 1.6", by 1.5" deep.

Inside is a folder which opens up on left and right. The left section holds a book, which is technically 16 pages plus cover. However in a rather deceptive move, the front and back covers have also been numbered as if they were pages, to bring the count up to 20.

The center section holds seven pieces of thick die-cut cardboard. The die-cut segments push out and assemble to make stand-up figures featuring 27 stand-up heroes (7 pages, 4 figures per page except the Hulk who is double-sized).

The right hand section is just a pointless fold-out flap to take up space and sustain the shallow illusion of substance.

The booklet is an "Action-Packed Fact File". The Spider-Man section gives a pretty good indication of the trivial level of information. For example, Spider-Man supposedly has two powers: "Incredible ability to climb", and "Power web spinning". Spider-Sense, speed, and strength don't even get a mention.

In General...

This is a truly spectacular example of how to puff up a 1.5" slab-sized product out of effectively nothing at all.

The "fact files" are the kind of laughable content that a semi-literate child could assemble from thirty seconds using Google. The cardboard stand-up figures are slightly more interesting, especially with the white "glow in the dark" border. But I can't help but feel that the graphics designer slapped this whole thing together one afternoon, and shipped it off to the printer just before going on holiday. As for the writing team, it looks like they were fired in the last round of budget cuts.

Overall Rating...

As ever-more sophisticated design and printing techniques become available, they serve only to cast into sharp contrast the ever-less effort and love that is put into the human part of the creative process.

This "Boxed Activity Set" is a triumph of marketing and technology over vision and integrity. If you walk into a store, you can easily be asked to pay NZ$30 for this box (around USD$25). It's no wonder they shrink wrap it — nobody in their right mind would cough up that much cash if they could see the miserly contents and the laughably poor text.

One web.