Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: Sticker Fun (Whitman)
This story is part of a Lookback Series: The Magic of Color
This review was first published on: Dec 2011.
I am constantly surprised whenever I review a coloring book from the 1970's or 80's just how much I enjoy them compared to the modern equivalent.
There's just a fundamentally different approach. Back all those decades ago, each book was a beloved creation in its own right. It was an artistic statement meriting care, attention and creativity. The contents were created for that book alone, and often the pages formed a story.
The modern approach seems to be to assemble a bunch of stock art, and then recycle it through a dozen different coloring/activity books with different covers and varying page counts in a feeble attempt to disguise the fact that really, they're just the same book in different formats.
Amazing Spider-Man: Sticker Fun (Whitman)
Year 1976 : SM Title
|Reprinted In: Golden Books 2139-3: Amazing Spider-Man Sticker Fun|
But this book is old school! It contains 16 pages of brand new story, plus four pages of stickers. The stickers are small, but are full color. They correspond to specific parts of the page, so on each page you are supposed to (a) read the story, (b) place the stickers in the correct parts of the page, (c) color the remainder of the page.
The story involves a star athlete who has vanished. Jonah Jameson sends Peter to take some photos... of the man who isn't there any more.
Meanwhile, the athlete has actually been captured by "The Professor". The Prof's plan is to use his machine to (a) control the athlete's mind and (b) grow him (for an hour) to be 20 feet tall. His ultimate goal is... revenge! That's why he's wearing his revenge suit, his revenge boots, and his revenge cape. Oh yes, and his revenge belt buckle with a giant "P" for Professor.
Ah, the next panel reveals that the Professor wants revenge on Jameson for having "made him a laughing stock". And indeed, I see that a sticker from page one shows the Daily Bugle headline "Professor Fired"! Mind you... when you see the costume that the Professor has chosen to wear, it's really quite hard to hold the Bugle responsible for any laughing which might going on at the Prof's expense.
The Athlete is duly mind-controlled and transformed, and sent off to attack the Daily Bugle. Spider-Man is also at the Daily Bugle. Presumably he was just about to head off to the athlete's house to take photos, but hadn't yet done so. Spidey manages to halt the attack. The athlete returns to the Professor, followed by Spider-Man.
Back in the Prof's secret lab, our villain plans to make the athlete 100 feet tall this time, and send him back to try again. Why on earth he didn't just go to 100ft right away, I have no idea.
Spider-Man has seen enough. He jumps down from his hiding place, but the Professor pulls out a "Stun Gun" and zaps the wall-crawler. When our hero recovers, the Professor is nowhere in sight. Again, I don't understand why, having defeated Spider-Man, the Professor decides to abandon his entire scheme and go on the run. But that's what the Professor does, he attempts to flee the scene in a stolen van, but is quickly captured by Spider-Man.
Peter/Spidey takes lots of photos showing Spider-Man capturing the Professor. Jameson is not impressed.
I'll be the first to admit that as a story, this is nothing but corny, illogical foolery. It's nonsensical hokum, and it's absolutely, irresistibly charming.
Mad Professors, Mind Probe, 20-foot tall Bare-Chested Athletes attacking the Daily Bugle...
How can I give anything less than 5 webs?
Note: There are four different "Whitman" editions of this book, and there is also a "Golden Books" reprint.
It is very hard to find these sticker books in "Near Mint" condition, due to the fact that in an environment with any moisture at all, the gum backing on the sticker sheets will turn sticky and will attach itself to the adjacent paper colouring page. So most copies now have stuck pages, which severely downgrades them.