Comics : Picture Me as The Amazing Spider-Man (Bendon)

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

This review was first published on: Oct 2010.


This book is 10.5" x 8". This book contains six thick, hard cardboard "leaves" including front and back covers. Those "pages" are so thick that even with just six leaves, the book is just over a quarter-inch thick. The right-hand corners are cut rounded. Left hand (spine) corners are square.

This is a "Picture Me (R)" book. That means that inside the back cover is a sleeve where you insert a photo of yourself (or your child), and their face shows through the cut-out which is made in each page except the aforementioned back cover.

In Detail...

Picture Me as The Amazing Spider-Man (Bendon)
Year 2007 : SM Title
Find ISBN 1601390572
Publisher:  Bendon Publishing
Writer:  Jon Kapper
Concept:  Deborah D'Andrea
Designer:  Monica Pritchard
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There's a pocket at the front of the book too, so that you can see your child's face in the left-hand pages as well as the right-hand pages. Though in fact, once you've put a photo in the front pocket facing inwards, you'll block the view from the cover through to the photo in the back cover pocket. So you're going to need a front-facing photo in the front pocket too, back-to-back with the other one. That's a grand total of three photos, which is all getting rather complicated!

Each page contains a traditional Spidey pose, but with a hole cut in the front of Spidey's mask. Really, this book would work a lot better with a character who didn't wear a full-face mask. Like Doctor Octopus perhaps? Given the child obesity epidemic in the western world, maybe Doc Ock is a more achievable role model these days? Ah, wait. Doc Ock is a scientist. Nobody studies science any more.

The caption on each page includes a "me" sentence, and some Trivia. Example sentence: "I must use my spider-strength to fight off Doc Ock and his steel tentacles." Example Trivia: "Some of Spider-Man's friends are super heroes too."

Most of the sentences and trivia are either (a) completely obvious, or (b) kind of inaccurate. For example "The Green Goblin is fast and strong, but he can't keep up with me." or "Venom may be mean and powerful, but he's no match for my sticky, super-strong webbing." Based on my familiarity with these characters, I would say that both of those statements were completely inaccurate.

In General...

The concept of the book is by Deborah D'Andrea, Ed.S (specialist of education). There's something slightly pretentious about including your university qualifications in your name when producing a book. That effect is magnified a thousandfold when listing your specialist qualifications as the conceptual creator of a book to which you have added no apparent educational value whatsoever.

I'm going to give this woman the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's not the kind of person who signs her Christmas cards "Deborah D'Andrea, Ed.S." In fact, I'm going to run with the theory that the publisher forced her to mention her degree in an attempt to persuade the doting grandmothers (who are the primary market for such works) that this offering is more than it really is. I.e. more than just a vanity-tinged gimmick.

Overall Rating...

Don't get me wrong. Even "just a gimmick" can be enough when it's a good gimmick - and this one isn't terrible at all, at least not in the basic form. A book with a hole cut out to insert a kid's face. It's a sound enough idea.

However, the implementation here is far from perfect. You're going to need those aforementioned three photos to get your face in all the shots, and then your face looks kind of odd surrounded by Spidey's mask. Add in the pointless trivia and inaccurate descriptions, and I really have to trim this down to a slightly disappointing 2.5 webs.