Comics : Spider-Man: A Great Day
This review was first published on: 2005.
This book and Spider-Man: The Super Spider were released together early in 2005. Both books are soft cover 7 1/2" x 7 1/2" with 24 full-cover pages. Each page features a single full-sized illustration, with one paragraph of text super-imposed in a box. The text is 30-40 words per page, in a mid-sized font. Comfortable self-reading age is probably in the 6-8 sort of range.
According to the publisher's own blurb on Amazon: "Two 8x8 storybooks feature classic images of Spider-Man as he battles evil villains for control of the world. Terrific art and storytelling will have boys reading both books over and over!" I'm not sure why "boys" are specifically singled out, I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason. Let's have a look at the book and see if we can figure it out.
Different illustrators were used for each book, but both have used a fairly loose and modern casual pencils style. The coloring is the major difference of note, with "A Great Day" being in bright friendly colors, and "The Super Spider" being in darker shaded tones. The coloring suits the style of the story in each case.
Spider-Man: A Great Day
Jan 2005 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0696225158
Young (school age) Peter Parker is heading home after school when he steps in (as Spidey) to help a woman being attacked, only to discover that she was a crook being arrested by a plain-clothes cop. Spidey attempts to help recapture the woman, but everything goes wrong.
Later on a similar situation presents itself. In spite still stinging from the disaster of the previous time he got involved, Spider-Man has no choice but to become involved. But this time, things go according to plan. Arriving home, Peter tells his Aunt he had "A Great Day".
The story is kind of silly. Spider-Man trips and stumbles his way through the first part of the story as if he more properly belongs in an Abbott and Costello routine. The female criminal manages to pepper spray him, despite his face mask and eye covering. How a non-super-powered woman in a figure-hugging dress manages to out-run Spidey I have no idea. The illustrations are pretty childish too, verging on silly. As for the publisher's marketing blurb: the "battles evil villains for control of the world" is a bit of a stretch.
The artwork is not traditional Spidey in any sense, which is to say it's a little childish in style, far from the comic artwork I'm familiar with. But just because it doesn't look like what I'm used to seeing doesn't mean that it's bad in any sense. This is a kids book and the style suits it pretty well.
There's actually a lovely little morality story in here. The packaging, coloring and the story almost certainly hits the market it targets, the early-readers market with parents who care about the content and messages in the books they buy. For a four-buck book, the combination is surprisingly effective, and has a nice positive message. I'd be happy to buy this story for any six year old Spidey fan.
A bright and fun story. Visually appealing, well-aimed, and pretty good value for money. Four webs. Much better than Spider-Man: The Super Spider by my reckoning.