Comics : Meet Spider-Man

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: Nov 2011.

Background...

Back in the early 2000's, the guys at Paradise Press produced several dozen different Spider-Man Color/Activity Books (Paradise). They also pumped out half a dozen different sets of four matching hardback kid storybooks, generally written by Michi Fujimoto. "Meet Spiderman" was one of the set of four {{Paradise Books: Meet Team Marvel} books.

Spider-Man also appeared in Meet Spider-Man & Friends from the same set. The other two books in the set were Meet the Incredible Hulk and Meet the X-Men, in which Spidey did not appear.

In Detail...

Meet Spider-Man
Year 2002 : SM Title
Publisher:  Paradise Press Inc.
Writer:  Michi Fujimoto
Illustrator:  Jeff Albrecht Studios
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Like its fellows, this book is 11.8" tall by 6.6" wide. It is die-cut in the top right corner, just to add a little interest. Originally recommended for retail at $5.95, it has eight pages, in four double-fold spreads.

Page 1+2: Peter Parker is bitten by a glowing spider while on a science field trip.

Page 3+4: Peter gets home and discovers that he is stronger, and can "crawl on walls" (though technically the artwork shows him clinging to the ceiling rather than the wall).

Page 5+6: It turns out that Peter has the powers of a "super spider", including "spider senses".

Page 7+8: Peter decided to use his powers to fight crime.

In General...

You might have noticed that this version of Spider-Man is somewhat abstracted from the version with which you and I may be familiar.

e.g. No mention that the spider was radioactive, or particularly special at all in fact. Also no death of Uncle Ben, so no power/responsibility lesson.

Even more strangely, there's no real correlation with the Spider-Man from the Meet Spider-Man & Friends book in the same series. The Meet Spider-Man & Friends version is an eight year old kid who lives permanently in costume, with no mention of Peter. But this version is a teenager with a secret identity.

Very confusing!

Overall Rating...

This really is Spider-Man reduced to his absolute minimum. Bitten by Spider, gains powers, fights crime. In fact, by omitting Uncle Ben and Aunt May, this really is cut down BELOW the absolute minimum.

I could understand and appreciate the Meet Spider-Man & Friends version, because it really was trying to achieve something completely different. But this "Meet Spider-Man" just falls between the cracks. It isn't different enough to stand on its own feet, but it is so far redacted from the original Spider-Man that it loses all the key elements that make Spider-Man what he really is.

Two webs.