________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 18 . . . . April 27, 2007


The Amazing Spider-Man Pop-Up. (MARVEL COMICS True Believers Retro Character Collection, #1).

Marvel Comics.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2007.
14 pp., cloth, $24.99.
ISBN 978-0-439-93930-0.

Subject Headings:
Pop-up books.
Comic books, strips, etc.

Grades 3 and up / Ages 8 and up.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4



NAME: Quentin Beck
HEIGHT: 5'11" / 180 cm
WEIGHT: 175 lbs / 80 kg
OCCUPATION: Former stuntman and special effects designer.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Amazing Spider-Man 13 (Vol. 1) (1964)
SKILLS: Sleight of hand, hypnosis, able to perform physical stunts and to create mechanical and visual effects. Also has a background in chemistry and can concoct explosives, toxins, and hallucinogens.
PARAPHERNALIA: Smoke ejectors in his boots and gloves, fed by tubes running under his costume, emit hallucinogenic gas to conceal his arrivals and departures. Boots with magnetic-plate springs allow him to leap great heights. His face is concealed by a helmet constructed of one-way plexiglas and equipped with holographic projectors.

Unfortunately, the scanned image for this title doesn’t do justice to this book’s unique physical characteristics. Firstly, while the book has a quadrangle shape, it is not a rectangle. Instead, the book’s base is shorter than its top in order to facilitate the opening of the pop-ups, another feature which can’t be captured by a scan. After an opening Spider-man pop-out, the seven which follow each focus on one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes: the Green Goblin; Doc Ock; Vulture; Electro; Kraven the Hunter; Sandman and Mysterio. Each of the eight spreads has a pull-out “Fact File”with the above excerpt illustrating the types or categories of information provided for the super hero and his adversaries. Additionally, four of the spreads have an additional “Key Character Fact File” pull-out which, unlike the previously described pull-out, rotates around an axis rather than just pulling straight out. This difference in “operation” may initially confuse some younger readers and could result in damage being done to the book. All of the spreads reproduce panels from original comics with four of these panels flipping open to reveal yet another pop-up and more comic panels. The quartet of flip open panels contain a continuing story of how Spider-Man became a crusader against criminals.

     With regard to the review copy, the book’s pop-up portions worked wonderfully, and the metallic portions glowed appropriately. A big “well done” to Andy Mansfield for his design and paper engineering. If the book is going to be handled by younger children, I would suggest an adult initially work the various pull-outs to loosen them as I found a couple of them to be particularly stiff.

     This volume is evidently the first of a projected four volume set involving super heroes. Obviously, this is not a book that would likely survive long in a circulating library, but it would be a terrific addition to the personal libraries of serious comic book collectors.

Recommended with reservations.

Dave Jenkinson, who teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba, grew up reading super hero comic books.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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