Comics : Decals & Fill The Color Originally

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

This review was first published on: Feb 2010.

Background...

Is it just me, or is everything that comes out of China total crap? I remember when Japanese stuff was rubbish, but then it got really good. Then it was Taiwan producing lame products, but they soon got good as well. So, when is China going to make the leap to quality?

In any case, if these "decals & fill the color originally" books were part of their attempted "leap to quality", then they certainly missed the jump and fell to the bottom of the chasm below.

In Detail...

Decals & Fill The Color Originally
Year 2007 : SM Title
Country of Origin:  China
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At 8.25" x 11" these books look great on the outside. At least, at first glance. Then you see the title text. Seriously, what is "Decals & Fill The Color Originally" meant to mean. Does it really cost that much to find somebody who speaks English properly to take ten seconds to glance at your books title before you fire up the printing press to run off a couple of million copies?

Inside it doesn't get much better. Sure, the paper's a half-decent quality for a change. It's clean white at least, and it's almost thick enough so you can't really see much through the other side. But the artwork is ghastly! I've heard all about this Chinese child-labor. Clearly, a six-year old drew this lot! Not like good old American coloring... umm... what? Oh. Yes. How embarrassing. Now that you come to mention it, the series of fifty-odd different coloring books in the Spider-Man Color/Activity Books (Paradise) series was almost as bad.

But at least those Paradise books were a decent size. Here, you get sixteen lousy pages of coloring. I was at a convention where Mark Bagley was drawing pages for fans. For $10 he sketched my daughter an awesome Ultimate Black Cat. We had it framed. You do the math on 16 pages of Bagley art at that rate. Mark would get a lobster dinner and a bottle of domestic champagne. China would finally produce their first decent quality (but still unlicensed of course) Spider-Man coloring book.

In General...

The book contains sixteen pictures of Spider-Man. That's ONLY Spider-Man, no backgrounds, no villains, no supporting cast, no nothing else at all apart from a smidgen of webbing and some... flowers and bubbles.

But wait. You also get two pages of peel-off stickers of... Spider-Man, and only Spider-Man. The stickers in one variant are on a pink background. The other variant has slightly different stickers on a blue background. The pink and blue isn't part of the stickers, fortunately.

Other than that, the black and white art is identical between the two versions... and hence is equally as crap in both.

Overall Rating...

Small, ugly, and full of shit. Hey, if I was to make a joke about some politician from Bush's war cabinet, I could conceivably squeeze some amusement out of these coloring books that would otherwise never have been possible by simply attempting to enjoy them as books.

One web. At least they were cheap.