Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: The Arms Of Doctor Octopus

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

This review was first published on: May 2015.

Background...

This is one of the GIANT colouring books produced by Parkes Run, Nova, and finally by Marvel Books during the 70's and 80's. These books are rather rare, and are particularly difficult to find in undamaged/unmarked condition.

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man: The Arms Of Doctor Octopus
Year 1983 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0939766418
Summary: 17" x 22", 32pp
Publisher:  Marvel Books
Writer:  David Anthony Kraft
Artist:  Alan Kupperberg, Brian Moore
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Review

Each is a humongous 17" x 22", making them absolute the largest books in my collection, and indeed the largest book I have ever seen. Inside is 32 black and white newsprint pages of pictures to colour. As was common in colouring books of that era, the pictures are captioned and form a story.

The story is an original — albeit rather generic — Doctor Octopus story. We open with Spider-Man swinging through Manhattan. His Spider-Sense tingles, although our hero cannot determine why. But we know that in a nearby high-security prison Doctor Octopus has decided to make his move to escape.

Using his ability to remotely control his near-indestructible arms (which for some reason the authorities have decided to place on public display without removing the power source), Ock commands his tentacular appendages to do his distant bidding.

The arms make their way to the prison and free their master. Now at liberty, Doctor Octopus decides to never be captured again. In order to effect this plan, he decides to destroy the smokestack of a nearby power station. Yeah, I don't understand that bit either.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker has learned of Otto's escape. Knowing that Ock's tentacles have previously snapped his webbing, Peter decides to... make stronger webbing in his handy home laboratory. Then he suits up, and Spider-Man goes to battle Doctor Octopus at the electrical power plant.

Time to wrap this up. Battle is joined, Spider-Man uses his new, stronger webbing to web up Ock's arms, then taps him gently on the jaw. Victory (yet again) goes to the man in red-and-blue.

In General...

It's hardly an inspiring story, but it's enough of a plot to keep the images moving along. Anyhow, the real star of these books was always the glorious, oversized, simply sketched artwork which on every page begs you to reach for your crayons and make with the colouring already.

This one is no exception. The illustrations are well-designed, not too blocky, yet not too fussy.

Overall Rating...

Thirty years has done nothing to detract from the simple, inviting art-work. These books are true delights in the history of Spider-Man.

Nothing less than Four Webs can do justice to these classics.