Comics : Spider-Man: I Am 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: 2004.

Background...

The 2002 Spider-Man Movie spawned a swag of movie tie-in books, including this pair of books: "I Am Spider-Man" and "Spider-Man Saves The Day". Both are the same "Festival Readers" format, by HarpersFestival (a division of HarperCollins). This is a 6" x 9" softbound format, 32 pages.

Each page is predominantly artwork (drawn, not photos). Inset into each page is a panel containing the text, a paragraph at most. Example: "Maybe you've heard of me. Maybe you've seen me. I am Spider-Man." So, pretty basic stuff on the narrative front.

Note: There's also a U.K. printing of these books. The U.S. book is released by "Avon Books", while the UK printing is under the parent label, HarperCollins. The ISBN for the U.K. version of "Spider-Man Saves the Day" is 0-00-713797-4. Note also that hardcover editions exist of the U.S. editions.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: I Am Spider-Man
Mar 2002 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0694016446
Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers
Writer:  Acton Figueroa
Illustrator:  Ron Lim
Original Screenplay:  David Koepp
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Review

This story very simply tells the story of the geek Peter Parker, how he was bitten by a radioactive Spider on a field trip, and gained his powers. Now he is Spider-Man, and he fights bad guys. No mention is made of the Green Goblin.

The story kind of continues into the sibling book, Spider-Man: Spider-Man Saves the Day, though each of the two can also be considered independently.

All of the artwork is essentially redrawn scenes from the movie. Peter, Mary Jane, Flash and others are all drawn as they appear in the film. Even the clothing and poses are mostly the same. This does beg the question of why they didn't just use photo art, although admittedly the drawn art is cleaner and simpler, and doesn't distract from the text.

So what of the text? Well, given the savage restriction on story length, the tale is savagely trimmed. "I was sort of a geek." "Now I am fast." That sort of thing. However, overall it really doesn't come out too badly. I can imagine a parent reading the story to a four or five year old Spider-Fan, and not finding the exercise too painful.

In General...

Sure, this story isn't even in the same league as "Princess Smartypants", or "Where the Wild Things Are". But as a movie spin-off for kids, it does just fine. The publishers have obviously made a real effort to produce a book with some merit. This could have been much, much worse. Four webs.

Overall Rating...

Better than most movie spin-off kids stories. Four webs.