This UK kids magazine is one of three regular Spidey magazine offerings from Panini. Spider-Man & Friends targets the 4-10 year old market, while sister publication Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) aims at the pre-teen and teen crowd. Finally, their Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) hits the same mid-teen crowd but with a video game/movie angle.
But let's get back to Spider-Man & Friends. It features a distinctively drawn semi-Manga style kiddie Spider-Man, his cousin Spider-Girl, plus early school versions of Hulk, Wolverine, Beast, Storm and Captain America along with guest appearances from many other big name Marvel heroes and villains. Toy tie-ins are also available, plus in 2009 they produced a hardback annual.
Published every four weeks, this UK magazine features a toy taped to the front of each issue. Inside you'll find a four page Spidey & Friends story with three panels per page, captions of 8-20 words per panel. Then there's some nice simple kids puzzles, some coloring, a couple of competitions, and a page or two of Spidey merchandise. It's similar to the formats used for the older kids' magazines, just pitched for a much younger target audience.
Spidey and Friends are playing in the snow. They're competing with each other.
Spider-Man rocks on the snowboard. Silver Surfer's not so sure. His board is rather big for snowboarding. What, the power cosmic can take you across galaxies in a heartbeat, but can't propel your long-board down a snow bank? I'd go see Galactus and get a refund, shiny-boy!
The X-Men a great at ice hockey "because they work as a team". Or maybe it's because Wolverine is a Canadian? You know how Logan never knew his last name? Maybe it's Gretzky? Just suggesting.
Hulk is good on skis, Spider-Girl ski-jumping. Storm figure skating, Iron Man speed skating. But poor old Silver Surfer still can't find something he's good at.
Until Captain America suggests the "luge". Well, actually, it's just lying on your board on a steep snowy hill. But Silver Surfer is faster lying on his board than Cap on his shield or Spidey on a web-sled. A web-sled? How on earth do you slide a bunch of blobby webbing down a hill? I mean, sure it has tensile and contracting attributes. But have you EVER in your life seen Spider-Man's webbing depicted as a smooth surface with lower friction index quoted as a key property?
Well, Silver Surfer wins. Congratulations. Your space-ship is smoother than a clump of chemical goo. Big win!
Surfer gets a medal. He's #1. His ego is restored.
Oh, it's such a fine line. Every story in this series is pointless and stupid. But somehow, not all pointless and stupid stories are the same. Really, it's all about the crazy factor. Just how stupid can the tale be. That's what separates the banal from the surreal.
This is a nice try. It's more than dull, but less than bizarre. Let's call it wacky and give it three webs.