Comics : Spider-Man: Blendy Pens Poster Book (Giddy Up)
This story is part of a Lookback Series: The Magic of Color
This review was first published on: Mar 2014.
Between 2005 and 2011, the folks at Elmer's Products, Inc. produced a dozen or so Spider-Man products under their "Giddy-Up!" brand. All of them featured bundled packaging with "extra features" — usually special technology such as "paint with water" or "invisible ink". At the very least, the set would include some felt-tip pens.
Spider-Man: Blendy Pens Poster Book (Giddy Up)
Year 2008 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781595244574
This "Blendy Pens" book is a perfect example of the "special technology". It features two different gimmicks. First are the blendy felt-tip pens. Six different colours are included... but you can touch two different pens together tip-to-tip and "blend" them to create an intermediate color.
Secondly, the posters in the book contain hidden textures and backgrounds which are revealed when pen is applied to paper. This appears to occur via patterns in the paper which are more or less resistant to the pen, so that you will see an underlying texture of shading, no matter which colors you apply .
The whole cardboard package is large, being 8.2" x 12.8" including the carry handle. There are six pens and three plastic double-ended connector tubes which act as two-way lids for the pens, while also being used to hold the pens tip-to-tip for color blending.
The "Poster Book" which contains the artwork is only 8.2" x 8.2", and contains 24 black and white images on thick paper stock. The pictures feature mostly Spider-Man, but Venom, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus all make guest appearances.
Looking at those posters, I can't say I find the artwork appealing at first glance. Or at a second glance. There's a lot of heavy black background which gives a bogged-down feel to the pictures.
Perhaps that's deliberate, in order to throw the colors of the pens into brighter contrast. But then, I really struggle to see how the pens are going to improve things. The "blendy" process doesn't look like it will result in anything more than a techno-color vomit over the page.
Even the example on the front cover looks utterly awful to my eyes. Who on earth would suggest that a yellow/orange speckled pattern smeared over a Spider-Man sketch is going to improve it?
If I had to guess, I would imagine that somebody's four-year old kid used their yellow marker on top of a red marker one day. This ruined the yellow marker, turning the tip orange. Their dad saw it, and said "hey, we could charge a premium for ruined markers". Kind of like selling pre-ripped jeans.
The Giddy-Up guys have jumped the shark with this one. It's a shame, because in general the "gimmicks" on their other products have been quite effective.
I can give them a couple of webs for trying, and some bonus credit for the rarity factor of this hard-to-find book. But the flawed nature of the underlying concept means I can't offer more than two webs.