Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: 3D Hero Action (Parragon/Scholastic)

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This review was first published on: Aug 2013.

Background...

The team from Parragon (in the UK) and Scholastic (in Australia) have been doing a pretty good job of co-publishing some highly creative and interesting Marvel activity books recently. Here's another great example of the kind of thing I'm talking about.

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man: 3D Hero Action (Parragon/Scholastic)
Mar 2013 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781445496030
Publisher:  Parragon Book Service, Ltd. (U.K.), Scholastic Australia, Inc. (Australia - ISBN 9781742837819)
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Review

This "Amazing Spider-Man 3D Hero Action" is a large-format spiral-bound folio. It's rather large in its format, being 11" x 10.25". It has hard front and back covers, and the spiral binding is concealed by a tubular cardboard spine.

Inside, the sections are organised by tabs, kind of like a super-sized Filofax (for those of you who are old enough to remember what a Filofax is). There are five tabs, as follows:

  • How to Draw
  • Create a Comic
  • Super Sketching
  • Sticker Story
  • Top-Secret Profiles

Unfortunately, the content in each section is rather thin. Each section is 8 pages plus one sheet of stickers.

The "How to Draw" shows you how to draw Spidey's face, then covers three different Spidey poses before closing with a lesson on drawing the Green Goblin's mask.

"Create a Comic" is a highly structured and guided lesson. The panels and plot are provided. Your job starts with drawing backgrounds, then later you are responsible for drawing Spider-Man himself. You have to add and letter script plus Special FX.

"Super Sketching" is prompted doodling.

"Sticker Story" simply reprints highlights from The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story with places for you to add stickers.

Finally, "Top-Secret Profiles" gives you some art and basic facts for Spidey, Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Sandman, Lizard, Electro, Mysterio and Vulture.

Oh, did I mention the 3D glasses? They're for using with the last three sections. The Sticker Story and the Top-Secret Profiles include 3D red/blue images. Also, the "Super Sketching" has a red-blue patterned background which adds apparent depth to the image when viewed with the glasses, even though the sketches themselves are only 2D.

In General...

I'm not going to try and judge this as a "Learn to Draw" book. Because it's not, and it doesn't really represent itself as such. Yeah, it has a few pages on that topic. But really that's just one part of the folio. If you really do want to learn how to draw Spider-Man, I would recommend Klutz: Draw The Marvel Comics Super-Heroes, or even the classic How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.

So treating this as a "bunch of fun stuff" book, then it comprises an attractive and varied collection of content. My primary complaint would be the low page count. There's only 40 pages of content, plus five stickers. By contrast, the Amazing Spider-Man: Bumper Sticker Activity (Parragon/Scholastic) by the same guys includes 112 pages of content.

I guess the plan here was "quality before quantity". And I really can't complain about the quality. Sure, most of the painted artwork is borrowed from the books in the Marvel: Origin Story Books series, and the line art is the same as that used by all the recent Scholastic Australia books. But it has been combined in novel and interesting ways.

Though I must say I'm a bit fed up with the whole red/blue 3D glasses thing. I guess Parragon and Scholastic have invested some money in creating some 3D artwork, and they want to squeeze some profit back out of it by using it in as many of their Spider-Man products as possible. Personally, I love 3D movies. But the red/blue 3D is a very poor substitute for real 3D, and it's rapidly becoming a worn-out gimmick among this latest line of activity books.

Overall Rating...

Excellent content, in a novel and appealing format. Yeah, the graphic material is shared among all the books in this series, and yes the page count is a bit low. And indeed I've had just about as much of the 3D glasses stuff as I can handle.

But nonetheless this is a top-quality, well-constructed product and that deserves recognition.

Three point five webs.

Footnote...

This is a sister book to the Marvel Ultimate 3D Activities (Parragon).