Comics : Top Trumps Marvel Heroes

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

This review was first published on: Jan 2013.

Background...

This book is not at all what I expected when I ordered it. I had assumed that it was a magazine-sized album with holders for Top Trumps cards. Not at all.

In Detail...

Top Trumps Marvel Heroes
Mar 2008 : SM Guest
Find ISBN 9781844254774
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Publisher:  Haynes Publishing Group, Ltd.
Writer:  Tom O'Malley
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Review

This book is actually rather small and surprisingly hefty. It is 4.8" x 6.4", and with 192 tight-packed glossy pages it is almost half and inch thick. That makes it almost pocket-sized.

Inside are 45 character profiles of well-known Marvel Heroes and (despite the "Marvel Heroes" title of this book) a good mix of Villains.

Each character profile features 2 pages of artwork, 1 page text description, and one page of the character statistics for which "Top Trumps" is famous. Statistics include Real Name, Height, Weight, Place of Birth, First Appearance, Strength Level, Powers & Abilities, Equipment, Secondary Skills, Enemy, and Ally. This is actually a different set of information than is actually on the Top Trump cards (Height, Intelligence, Strength, Speed, Agility, Fighting Skills).

In General...

While the format of this book isn't particularly large, there is roughly ten times as much space as there is on the cards. So I really can't see why the information is still so truncated as it is. For example, Spider-Man's "Enemy" is "Green Goblin" and his "Ally" is "Black Cat". For a guy who has appeared in several thousand comics, that's a ridiculously truncated summary.

Overall Rating...

Top Trumps cards were cutting-edge entertainment for young boys in the 1970s and 1980s, and the fact that the cards are still produced today is pretty impressive in a world full of computers, consoles and iPads.

But despite the pleasingly compact format, this book is still a pretty poor excuse for a character encyclopaedia, and you can't play it as a game. So I can't really see what niche this book fulfils, and I have no idea at all why new copies are currently selling for $200 on Amazon.

Sorry, can't feel the love on this one. Two-and-a-half webs.

Footnote...

The $200 on Amazon is matched by the same sorts of prices on eBay and on AbeBooks. I guess this book is popular among both comic and Top Trumps collectors, and maybe had a low print run too, with many copies being bought by kids and given a hard live. Certainly, $200 seems to be the going price for a NM copy.