Comics : Spider-Man: Marvel Ultimate Alliance Coloring Book (China)

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This review was first published on: Mar 2014.

Background...

Chinese Spider-Man colouring books. I really don't know why. Why I buy them, why I review them, why they even exist. But here's another one right here. A "Marvel Ultimate Alliance Spider-Man Chinese Knock-Off Colouring Book".

There's a few basic rules you need to follow if you want to publish a Spidey colouring & activity book in China. First, you'll need to assemble the very worst of artwork. If you have a neighbourhood child suffering from heavy-metal poisoning, that's a good start. Alternatively, find somebody who doesn't like drawing, especially drawing Spider-Man. Give 'em a pencil and ten minutes per page. Absolute last option... download 1,000 Spidey pictures from the Internet and throw away the best 99%. Then crop them badly, add irrelevant backgrounds, and a few nonsensical and ideally mis-spelt slogans.

For the cover you'll need to acquire some poorly reproduced stock artwork from three or four sources. Assemble this in a grotesque parody of the original material by ignoring any and all relevant context, adjusting the colours in bizarre ways, and once again cropping with no regard for framing or context.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: Marvel Ultimate Alliance Coloring Book (China)
Year 2013 : SM Title
Country of Origin:  China
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This book is a good example of the aforementioned design technique. The cramped front cover proclaims "Ultimate Alliance", while the interior features only Spider-Man. The back asserts some unexplained relevance to "Spider-Man 3", while having no connection to that film at all.

Mind you, it also says "Sticker Album" on the back, probably because the printer thought those funny English Words looked pretty. Certainly it's not because it has anything to do with stickers. There are none contained, and no obvious places in the book to put stickers if you did have any.

What there is inside, is sixteen unofficial pictures of Spider-Man. It's the same artwork that also appears in the wonderfully inept Decals & Fill The Color Originally book.

Spider-Man is the only character to appear. The pictures feature a "Mysterio" logo, although no such character actually appears. Equally, there is a logo on one page for "Doctor Octopus: The only enemy ever to defeat spider-man" — a claim which is as inaccurate as it is irrelevant.

In General...

The pages are few in number, and are of an embarrassingly thin paper stock. A couple of printing errors also marred my copy.

Honestly, I really don't know why anybody would buy one of these in any western country. They sell at the local "Cheap Chinese Crap" store for $2. That buys you sixteen thin pages. Sure, it's cheap. But for only $4 you can get something like Amazing Spider-Man: Jumbo Colouring Book (Scholastic Australia) which features 96 high-grade pages with vastly superior images and which also features valid use of the English language.

Overall Rating...

Actually, as Chinese artwork goes, this is far from the worst. Most of the Spider-Man figures are in proportion, and the elements of his costume are remarkably true to the official version. The artwork also features clean and professional inking which is a novelty in these books.

Still, "contains almost professional quality pictures" is damning with faint praise. Even with that said, this is indisputably an awful, disappointing excuse for a colouring book.

One solitary web.