Comics : Marvel Hero Poster Book (Parragon)

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This review was first published on: Mar 2014.

Background...

I picked up this "Marvel Hero Poster Book" in the UK for £2.99 (reduced from standard price of £3.99). It's from Parragon Books, who are probably the most active publisher of Marvel and Spider-Man activity books in the UK at the moment.

In Detail...

Marvel Hero Poster Book (Parragon)
Jan 2014 : SM Guest
Find ISBN 9781472308498
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Publisher:  Parragon Book Service, Ltd.
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Review

The book is 8.5" x 10.6", soft card staple-bound cover. Inside you will find:

  • One sheet of stickers (see picture).
  • 24 pages of full-color content (including 15 single-page posters).
  • One giant fold-out poster 32" x 21".

The pages are perforated so that you can tear out the posters and put them on your wall. There are 12 tear-out sheets, with 15 posters and 8 fact sheets. So not every character gets a fact sheet.

In General...

The tear-out posters contain bright, "painted-style" artwork which matches the look of many of the other Parragon books. They're not large, but they are high-impact in bold colors. The artwork is not entirely unique to this book, but it is presented in a generally novel and innovative re-formatting, so it actually looks pretty fresh (despite many of the pictures appearing in a number of other products from the same publisher).

The weak point of the book is the fact sheets. They contain "information" like (for Spider-Man):

Worst Enemy: Doctor Octopus, the atomic scientist who goes mad and uses his machine of tentacle-like arms to do evil deeds and organise criminals.

Yes, in some sense, that description does capture some of the essence of Doctor Octopus. But it simplifies him and twists him in a way which leaves him fundamentally removed from the original character. The result is like looking at something through a cheap, dirty mirror. In bad light. With a bit of grit stuck in your eye.

You might also have noticed Spidey's new slogan: "Have no fear! Spidey is here!"

I'm not sure where that one came from. Wasn't that the slogan of "Underdog", that TV cartoon from the 60s? It sure as heck ain't a Spider-Man catchphrase!

The big fold-out poster is big, and bright and features all of Marvel's greatest heroes. I suspect it is original artwork. I also suspect it is a shameless plug for the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy, as apparently the front row of Marvel's roster of heroes features Spider-Man, Professor X, Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. Yeah, seriously. Groot and Spider-Man are the two pillars of the Marvel Universe now.

Overall Rating...

There's good and bad in here. On the plus side, the production qualities are good, and the whole product is bright and effective. The asking price is reasonable, and the fold-out poster is a generous size.

On the negative, the "fact sheets" are inaccurate and misleading in a subtle and disturbing way. And while the artwork is bright and bold, it's not particularly detailed on closer inspection.

I think a three web rating is perfectly appropriate here.