Comics : Marvel Word Games

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

This review was first published on: Jun 2013.

Background...

This book is one of a half-dozen Marvel "variety" books published by Simon & Schuster (Fireside Books) in the late 1970's. I believe this was the last of the original-content Marvel publications by that imprint.

Originally, Stan Lee had envisages these books as his own foray into the serious world of prose writing, starting with his extended introduction to Origins of Marvel Comics. However, five year later, Stan Lee was reduced to simply adding his name to the cover as "Stan Lee Presents... Marvel Word Games".

In Detail...

Marvel Word Games
Aug 1979 : SM Guest
Find ISBN 0671248081
Summary: Word Finds, Crosswords, Scrambled Words (Spider-Man Appears)
Publisher:  Fireside Books (Simon and Schuster)
Writer:  Helene Hovanec
Designer:  Alex Soma (Type Design), Paty Cockrum (Art Design)
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This softcover book is 8.3" x 11" with 128 pages. Printing is grayscale only, on good quality white paper stock.

As promised, the interior is packed with word games. Word Finds, Crosswords, Scrambled Words (as promised on the cover), but also lots of code breakers and anagrams. There's an impressive amount of variety from puzzle setter Helene Hovanec. The puzzles are grouped into chapters of increasing difficulty, with the answers at the end of the book, should inspiration fail you.

In General...

The presentation is top-notch (given the printing technology of the time). Every page is freely illustrated and enhanced with Marvel characters and background illustrations. In 1979 this would have been state of the art, and would have made a wonderful Christmas present to any budding puzzle-loving Marvel fan.

Overall Rating...

This may be a million miles from the "Great American Novel" Stan Lee may well have dreamt when he first saw Marvel make the step from comic format to book format. But that's Stan's problem, not ours.

What we have here is a high quality book of puzzles. Attractive inside and out, it should appeal to any lover of Marvel books as much today as it did 35 years ago. I give it a rock-solid four webs.