Comics : Spider-Man "Spider-Sense" Jumbo Coloring/Activity (Bendon)

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

This review was first published on: Jun 2011.

Background...

This one is a bit odd. It's very similar to the earlier The Amazing Spider-Man Jumbo Coloring & Activity Book (Bendon) in size and page count. Specifically, that's 8" x 10.5", newsprint black and white.

Then things get weird.

In Detail...

Spider-Man "Spider-Sense" Jumbo Coloring/Activity (Bendon)
Year 2009 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781593940195
Summary: Coloring Pages, Puzzles, Games (96pp or 80pp)
Publisher:  Bendon Publishing
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Inside the re-themed cover, this book is pretty much a page-for-page re-working of the earlier book. Every puzzle is identical. Every word game has the same answer.

The difference is purely in the artwork. The book creators have clearly gone through the book and identified all of the scruffy, auto-reconstituted graphics from the earlier version, and have replaced them with a clean, modern image of the same thing. So, if there was a Green Goblin-themed puzzle, it has been replaced with the same puzzle but with new art. A Green Goblin coloring page is now a similar Green Goblin coloring page, but with new art.

There are some exceptions. Some of the previous Spider-Man art was already pretty clean, and has been left unchanged. Also in a few cases, the subject of the page has changed. E.g. a scruffy Venom coloring page was replaced by a Spider-Man coloring page with clean, fresh art work.

But then there's a second oddity about this product – you can find this book in both 80 page and 96 page versions. All with the same 2009 copyright date. All with the same ISBN code. Even the cover art is the same, although it has been resized and cropped just slightly differently. Very strange indeed. You can easily tell which version you have, without counting pages. The spine on the 80pp versions is entirely blue with no printing. The longer versions have "Spider-Man Jumbo Coloring & Activity Book BENDON" printed on the spine.

In General...

I guess Bendon figures that if you're onto a winning formula, there's no reason to change it. Just improve what needs improving, and leave the rest be. That's one theory.

Overall Rating...

I have to agree with them on one point at least. Much of the artwork from the original 2006 release of this coloring book was not particularly attractive. So a revamp is justified from that point of view. But on the other hand, the whole thing suffers from a glaring lack of originality.

So let's say that the good and the bad cancel each other out, and call it a well-balanced three webs.

Footnote...

Note that the different "Cover Variants" of this book are not 100% identical. They have different cover images, and strictly speaking the internal contents are actually different. However, the differences are superficial. Yes, many pages contain different images, but the nature of the content is so similar that one book is just as good as the other. For that reason, this review applies equally to either variant.