Comics : Spidey's Web-Shooter Scrambled Word Finds

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: May 2011.

Background...

Back in the mid/late 70's Tempo Books was (as far as I'm yet aware) the first publisher to produce a series of Marvel tie-in puzzle books. Printed in a handy 5.25" x 8" square-bound format, these books are tough to find now in top-notch condition, and are prized by many collectors.

In Detail...

Spidey's Web-Shooter Scrambled Word Finds
Year 1977 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0448127407
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Publisher:  Tempo Books
Writer:  Linda Doherty
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 Contained In: The Amazing Spider-Man Activity Box Set (4 Books)

This is the third book in the series. It follows a similar format to the previous two, with 64 black and white pages. Each puzzle covers two pages, and the answers are in the back. The answers take up a bit less space in this book, so there are 27 puzzles instead of the usual 24.

Yet again, the puzzle format differs from the preceding books - but I'm not entirely sure that these "Scrambled Word Finds" are a winning formula. As you can see form the front cover, each puzzle gives you a block of 24 characters, 4 wide and 6 high.

Your challenge is to assemble chains of characters to make words. You can start anywhere with the first character, and then step up, down, left, right or diagonally to the next letter, until you have completed a word. It's not clear if you're allowed to re-use letters in a single word.

As in the predecessors, the illustrations are taken out of 1970's issues of Amazing Spider-Man. I really enjoy looking through and seeing if I can spot which issues the artwork comes from.

In General...

The first two books in this series impressed me greatly, but I'm not quite as enamored of this effort - for two reasons. Firstly, the instructions aren't quite clear... for example, it's not clear if you're allowed to step back and re-use a letter within the same word.

But secondly and more importantly, the whole goal is completely vague. You are given one word to hunt down as a starting point, but then you're completely on your own. All you are told is "try and find 35 words". Which words? Well, that's up to you. So, you go hunting... CAT, and KID, and FAT, and MAN, and... so on until you're fed up.

Really, I can't see where the value-add is coming from. You might as well play a game of scrabble by your self.

Overall Rating...

Full Marks for effort to Tempo Books for trying to find a new puzzle idea each time. But really, this one doesn't work. In the famous words of "Not the Nine O'Clock News"... Nice Video, shame about the song.

Two and a half-webs.